With 3,994 miles I decided that it was time to try my first at home oil change.
After putting the bike on its center stand, I pulled three 5mm (?) hex bolts out of the left hand fairing at the locations marked on the photo with red circles.
Next, I pulled out the two infamous plastic Honda clips from the front underneath the fairing. Here is a shot of the underside of the VFR where the left and right fairings are connected via the two clips. The clips are obviously shown installed in this photo:
Third, I removed the two bolts that attach the inner fairing (black plastic) to the outer fairing on the left hand side. The hex bolts that I removed to pull the left fairing away from the inner fairing are circled in red.
Below you can see the three of the five allen bolts and the two plastic clips I removed:
Once I had removed the five bolts and two clips, the left side fairing could be pulled away far enough to do the rest of the job. I then warmed up the engine to help facilitate oil drainage. In this picture the view is a peek behind the rearmost portion of the left fairing as it is pulled away from the bike. The overflow hoses block a view of the oil drain plug from this angle:
So... next, I temporarily moved the hoses out of their retaining clip so I could get a better view of what I was working with. Obviously, the next step was to put an oil pan under the plug to catch the used oil, remove the plug and commence the oil drainage process. IIRC, I used a low-profile ratchet with a short extension and a 17mm socket to remove the drain plug.
I soon realized that I needed to buy a couple of other things at the local auto parts place. I was due to have the crush washer replaced so I bought the below pictured assorted package and picked one that looked like it would fit well. It did, and 300 miles later still no leaks.
I also purchased the filter wrench you see. I had more difficulty getting the filter off than I had anticipated... it's in a tight spot (behind hoses and exhaust plumbing) and was on tight. Total cost at O'Reilly's Auto: ~$10 for everything. I tried using a channel locks to remove the filter initially but it simply tore up the filter housing and was otherwise ineffectual. I used the filter wrench with a universal joint "knuckle" plugged into it, attached to an extension and a ratchet the filter came off easily. Without the knuckle, the filter wrench slipped badly enough so that it was ineffective. Having the right tool for the job was clearly a must, in this case.
A question was raised as to what was meant by "knuckle" in the above description. Below is an example of what I used. I attached the knuckle directly to the filter wrench, plugged a long extension into that and then finally the ratchet. I had no clearance issues or slippage issues using that method.
When I first did this project, I bouth Supertech ST7317 filter at Walmart for $2.44 plus tax. It had the blue plastic valve inside instead of the black rubber one as has been discussed HERE even though it does say "Product of USA" Although this filter is significantly longer than the stock Honda filter that I pulled off and I initially had trouble getting the Honda filter off (without the filter wrench), I didn't have much trouble getting the Supertech on. Sorry, I neglected to get a comparison photo between the Supertech and the Honda part. Anyhoo, I put a thin coat of old oil on the new filter gasket and the new filter spun right on without a hitch. Using the right filter wrench, ratchet, extension and u-joint makes ALL the difference.
2012 UPDATE: Apparently, the Supertech ST7317 is no longer produced. Here is the one I just pulled off my VFR:
I purchased the Purolator designated replacement. While it seemed like it was ever so slightly longer than the Supertech, it went on just fine. I do note that the Purolator does claim to be made in the USA.
As to oil, I had previously ordered some Amsoil 10w40. It was about $39 a gallon but wound up being around $45 shipped for the container pictured below. Not inexpensive stuff. The most recent order of this stuff I received came in a different (gray) container.
The manual calls for 3.3 quarts of oil but I suppose the longer filter requires some additional oil to maintain the proper level. Obviously, I installed the new filter and drain plug with the new crush washer prior to adding fresh oil. This is all I had left in my one gallon container after I was through:
After adding oil and running the engine and then adding a little more I came up just a wee bit shy of the top line. The manual says "at or near" and it is most definitely near. I check the oil with the bike off the stand level front and back, side to side as much as possible. Do be careful if you don't have a hand with this as it is a great opportunity to badly damage your bike by simply dropping it.
I figure if I monkey with it I'll end up overfilling it so I'll be satisfied with this result. Beats the heck out of the $109 dealer oil change.