I'm due for an oil change soon. First, what's the best filter brand to get? Second, I want to run synthetic from now on - is there anything special I need to do? Also, what weight should I use? It's a 96 Vulcan w/ close to 100k miles. Thanks
You can read all the debate about what oil to use here in the forums.
Mostly it depends on what you expect, and how much you want to spend.
Napa Gold filters are good, Frams are fair. I can't speak for much else. As long as you replace it regularly, It should not be a problem, ever.
Oil brand.....that's a huge debate, but weigh your piece of mind and brand loyalty against the value of your car. That's all there is to it. For all we know, the oils are all the same and the manufacturers are making all the money off marketing and name recognition.
You do not need to do anything before hand to change to synthetic oils.
If you want, check out Auto-Rx. It is an oil additive that cleans your engine. I have heard many good thing about it. With your mileage, it can't hurt.
I only use Castrol Syntec or Mobil 1 Synthetic. I'm sure all synthetics are probably the same, but I had bad experiences in the past with other brands' dino oils. I have been using Fram Tough Guard filters for a couple of years now and they seem ok. DO NOT get the Double Guard Frams because they have that Teflon crap that does nothing but cause problems.
No one needs that teflon or other garbage additives. Regular oil changes will get you more miles out of your car. Just my 2 cents.