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How do the cylinders drain, or is their residual oil left in the system?
The loader cylinders will not drain. There will also be some residual left in other places - just the way it is.

Will it use the full 5.5 gallons?
What I do unless I’ve done enough oil changes on a certain piece of equipment is this -

If it calls for 5.5 gallons start with 4.5 gallons. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes then check the level. Then keep adding a quart at a time while waiting in between until you have it just right.

While you are waiting those 15-20 minutes intervals do your cleanup, put your tools away, grease the loader check the torque on your wheel bolts, etc.

Is it true these are self bleeding, meaning that air pockets will not be a problem?
Yes, they are self bleeding. Once the engine is running for a few seconds you are good to go.
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