Question about Harley Davidson XL Sportster 883 Motorcycles

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91 psortster 1200 runs ruff and fuel spitting out of carb. Black exhaust smoke.

When starting my Harley 1991 sportster it is spitting out gas from the carb will not tsay running and black smoke is comming out of the exhaust. I changed the fuel thinking that was the issue(BAD GAS)but no luck. I also took apart the carb and cleaned it. I didnt find and issue there. Thank you for your help in advance

Posted by Anonymous on


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  • Harley Davidson Master
  • 48,496 Answers

Hi Anonymous, and the usual suspects are:
1. Spark plugs in bad condition or partially fouled.
2. Spark plug cables in bad condition or leaking.
3. Spark plug gap to close or to wide.
4. Faulty ignition coil, module and or sensor.
5. Battery nearly discharged.
6. Damaged wire or loose connections at battery terminals especially the ground cable at BOTH ends, ignition coil, or plug between ignition sensor and module.
7. Intermittent short circuit due to damaged wire insulation.
8. Water or dirt in fuel system, carburetor or filter.
9. Fuel tank vent system plugged or carburetor vent line closed off.
10. Carburetor controls misadjusted.
11. Damaged carburetor.
12. Loose or dirty ignition module connector at crankcase.
13. Faulty MAP, CKP, and or CMP sensors.
14. Incorrect valve timing.
15. Weak or broken valve springs.
16. Damage intake or exhaust vale.
good luck:

Btw, I’m available to help over the phone in case u need at

Posted on Jun 09, 2015


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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

cape cod bob
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SOURCE: bike runs at Idle but dies when given gas

have you changed the fuel filter? you are not getting enough gas, are jets squeaky clean? there is a good fuel system cleaner in the USA called Berrymans B12. put some in the tank warm up bike then let it stand overnight and see what happens. if still no luck repeat process. if you still have same problem then get new fuel filter

good luck

Posted on Apr 02, 2009

ollie reece
  • 1167 Answers

SOURCE: 06 yamaha rhino 450. ran fine when parked 6 mos

foat problems buddy adjust float in the manual it is set to high so it is shutting fuel off take carb off take bowl off and adjust the metalk the little valve is hanging on

Posted on Aug 09, 2009

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: I have a 1998 Sportster 1200 custom that idles

I have the same bike, but never ran sea foam in it but ill tell ya when i put sea foam in my mustang it blew black smoke for a good while, but i thinks its normal for it to do that, i would run it for a while to get all that sea foam out of there, as far as the idle being rough what do you mean, cause mine idles funny too, but i was told its normal for it to be idleing like that. Man i hope i help you out some. You wouldnt know the size of the fuel line is would ya??

Posted on Aug 20, 2009

  • 6674 Answers

SOURCE: carb trouble on harley Sportster

Not saying this will be your solution, but certainly worth considering. We had some Onan generators that sat too long at out RV dealership and were basically told carb would need replacing, as they do not have rebuild kits. At $500 a shot we decided to dump some Lucas fuel treatment and fresh gas in it. We basically tripled recommended dosage on bottle, and when engine ran we had enough lucas in there that it smoked like crazy but ran. We would run a little more through it, shut it down, let it sit for a few hours, start again, run a little, shut it down. Then let all that cleaner sit in overnight, and filled it with fresh gas again, and started it up, and after an hour or so of running steady, quit smokin, and ran like a charm. $10 worth of Lucas vs $500 carb. Did same to 3 other generators with same problem, and 2 out of 3 were cured. As it says on their site, too much will not damage the engine, so we didn't worry about that. After they were running good again, we replaced spark plugs and they were good to go, and owners were thrilled. Maybe we got lucky, but for $10-$15, I'd try it.

Posted on Apr 18, 2010

  • 3567 Answers

SOURCE: 81 Suzuki gs650 #2 carb floods gas out after start

The float is stuck open in the leaking carb. Remove the float bowl and clean the carb after removing the pin holding the float in place. While the float is out, shake it to see if gas has gotten inside it. If so, you will need a new float or will need to drain the float then re-solder it to seal it up again. To drain the float chances are you will need to drill a vent hole in it to allow the gas to drain. Just solder the vent closed when done.

Posted on Jul 14, 2010

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2003 Harley Sportster XL 1200 backfires through carburetor

Hi, James if your carburetor or exhaust is:
COUGHING is usually caused by an air leak in the intake system and will generally have the same telltale signs, a wet or damp build up of oil/gas seepage at the intake manifold to cylinder head or carburetor to intake manifold connection and in rare instances a worn throttle plate shaft and or seals.
POPPING on deceleration is usually caused by a lean fuel condition or an air leak in the exhaust system and is generally located where black carbon soot is seen as a flashing build up from any joint connection. This condition can easily be remedied by removing and cleaning both joint pieces and reassembling with high temp silicone and torquing the exhaust clamp to the proper spec.
SPITTING is usually caused by a faulty accelerator pump and or nozzle, or the float bowl needle and seat leaking and overflowing through the main jet mixing well nozzle, or the air-fuel mixture screw is adjusted too lean.
BACKFIRING is usually caused by a sticky/tight intake valve or a timing issue, 180 degrees out or cam chain off 1or 2 teeth.
For more information about your issue and valuable "FREE" downloads that you will need for viewing or printing please click on the blue links below and for more specific information or questions at no charge please feel free to contact me at Good luck and have a wonderful day.
HELP coughing or backfiring through the carb and intake Harley Davidson...
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Oct 11, 2013 | 2003 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

1 Answer

2005 hd sportster xlc 1200 spits and sputters when taking off

Hi Roncummings1, if you have a carburator the usual suspects are:
1. Damaged or restricted fuel tank venting system (gas cap).
2. Inlet system air leak.
3. Vacuum piston malfunction.
4. Accelerator pump leaking or no output.
5. Plugged bowl vent.
6. Fuel level (float chamber) too low.
7. Restriccted fuel supply passages.
8. Plugged jets or passages.
9. Worn or damaged needle or needle jet.
10. Enrichner valve not seated or leaking.
Good luck

Btw, I’m available to help over the phone in case u need at

Jul 16, 2012 | 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

1 Answer

2000 Harley Sportster 1200 XL carb leaking gas and overflow tube leaking gas when running. Help!

Hi Madmaxlunkma, and the usual suspects are:
1. Damaged or restricted fuel tank venting system.
2. Loose float bowl screws.
3. Damaged float bowl o-ring.
4. Improper fuel level in float bowl.
5. Worn or dirty inlet valve or seat.
6. Damaged or leaky float assembly.
7. Particle contamination in inlet fitting cavity.
8. Ethanol sludge, dirt, rust in bottom of fuel tank
Good luck

Btw, I’m available to help over the phone in case u need at

Dec 31, 2011 | 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

1 Answer

The bike a 1989 1200 sportster, blows black smoke from rear pot through exhaust, splutter when throttle cracked open,but fine when opened slowly, also farts through carb,but still goes well when cruising.

It sounds like you may have a vacuum leak on the front cylinder where the intake manifold bolts to the front head. This will cause the rear cylinder to run a bit richer than the front and the lean mixture on the front cylinder will make it spit back through the carb occasionally.

Now, you didn't say what type of carb you're running. If the carb has been changed to an S&S carb, the accelerator pump is adjusted too rich. Go to this site, download the installation instructions, and read the part about adjusting the accelerator pump.

Click on "download" for the Super E Super G carb. Instruction sheet 51-1012

Good Luck

Jan 10, 2011 | 1993 Harley Davidson FLSTF Fat boy

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2000 XL 1200 S Sportster Sport: 2003 Harley 883 Sportster Hugger sat for a year. D...

Remove the carb soak in carb cleaner, **** out small bleed holes with a wire from a wire brush etc. One of the passageways is still clogged, or the float is sticking.

May 17, 2010 | 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 S Sportster...

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We got a harley sposter 1200 2005 , its running rich . at idle the rpm goes up and down , also its smoking through the pipes , black smoke

It's time to service the carb. You've got raw fuel getting into the carb when it's not supposed to be. You've got either something causing the fuel level in the float bowl to be too high or you've got a bad accellerator pump diaphragm. The latter is the most likely. When the diaphragm gets a hole in it, it allows fuel to slowly dribble into the throat of the carb through the little brass 'squirter' causing your problem. Check your accellerator diaphragm.

Mar 24, 2010 | 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

1 Answer

Carb spittin out fuel when using throttle

change the air filter they spit oil out of the breather tubes that are connected to the rocker boxes when the air filter gets dirty the air pressure lowers on the cleaner side of the carb and then the fuel wants to go to the lower pressure making it come oput of the airfilter side

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1991 deville idling very ruff

Hi you should change the coolant temp sensor this is a white sensor on top of the intake and is part ot the computer system.

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