Question about Harley Davidson Motorcycles

1 Answer

Oil sumping on a sportster - Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Posted by Anonymous on


1 Answer

  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points

    Top Expert:

    An expert who has finished #1 on the weekly Top 10 Fixya Experts Leaderboard.


    An expert that got 20 achievements.


    An expert that got 10 achievements.

  • Harley Davidson Master
  • 41,624 Answers

Hi Anonymous, it's called wet sumpping. Evo's and earlier engines were famous for oil draining out of the oil tank past the oil pump check ball/valve and into the bottom end when left without starting for long period of time (winter storage). When the bike is restarted the piston downstroke creates pressure in the bottom end which is routed back through the gearcase, up the push rod tubes and into the rocker boxes and finally into the air cleaner where unspent fuel particles are recycled back through the carburator and into the combustion chamber. Oil mist and air are seperated by a baffling system in the cam gearcase compartment. Under normal circumstances there is only a couple ounces of oil in the gearcase and bottom end. If the bottom end has a gallon of oil in it, well you get the picture and the mess. Best way to prevent oil eruptus is to drain it before it has a chance to to relocate and take up residence in your bottom end. Enjoy the new season.

Posted on May 17, 2015


1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017


Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

My 1993 harley davidson sportster 1200 the oil dipstick pops out when i ride

breather pipe blocked for the sump. pops the dipstick as pressure builds up.

Jul 27, 2017 | Harley Davidson Motorcycles

1 Answer

Have oil comeing out of a line that is not hooked up to anything on my '79 XLH Sportster. would this b a case of oil sumping ??

Follow the steps in the manual if you have a manual and if you don't have one I recommend that you get one.

May 09, 2014 | Motorcycles

1 Answer

Why does a 900cc 1967 spit oil out when started

Hi Anonymous, old iron was famous for wet sumping if you let the bike sit for a week or so.

Apr 20, 2014 | 1979 Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster

2 Answers

While warming up the bike in the driveway I heard a sound of metal slapping metal....( only one time ).the oil can indicator comes on when the bike is in neutral...the light is located on the dash...when...

I don't like the sound of that on two counts. The oil pressure warning lamp should come on only when the engine is not running and stay on until the engine is running, whether in or out of gear.
The metal slapping sound is possibly, due to the cold weather depending upon the high mileage, piston slap. That is not too serious in the case of an Iron Head, (like my 1963 XLCH1000) as they have done many miles but a newer machine it is somewhat worrying.
A good friend of mine has a 1200 Sportster. His problem was oil pump. The pump couldn't keep up with the engine revs and he finished up on one piston, the other was in the sump.

Make sure the oil pressure is good and check for dirty oil. If the bike has not been started for a while, the dry sump fills up with oil and that causes odd noises until it clears ina minute or so.
Check that oil warning lamp!!!

Jan 11, 2011 | 2005 Harley Davidson FLSTF - FLSTFI Fat...

1 Answer

I would like to know what weight oil i need to put in my 2002 sporsters crankcase

A Harley Sportster, and their Big Twins for that matter, do not have oil in the crankcase. They are what we call "dry sump" engines in the fact that they carry their oil in a seperate remote oil tank.

On your Sportster, you can use Harley's Syn3 20W50 oil in the oil tank. There are other manufactures that make fine oils suitable for your engine but you'll have to check their websites for their recommendations. Amsoil, Royal Purple, Mobil V-Twin are a few.

On the transmission and primary, I'd use H-D semi-synthetic primary and transmission lubricant. There may be other brands that are available as well.

Good Luck

Aug 19, 2010 | 2002 Harley Davidson XL Sportster 883

1 Answer

I have 2005 sportster and i cant get my oil cap off,oil that mixes with gas,also what kind of oil should i use,that mixes with gas...thanks

oil doesnt mix with gas on a 4 stroke motor--u have a dry sump or independent oiler for the crankcase-cap may be stripped cud use a rubber gripper onit--use the lubricant a dealer tech sez

Aug 16, 2010 | 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

1 Answer

I changed the oil in my 2000 XLC 883 Sportster and when I started it up the oil/dip stick blew off and oil spilled out. I put three litres of oil in - same as last year. Could it have been an air bubble?

To begin with, the capacity of your Sporty's oil tank is 3 quarts, not 3 liters. A liter is slighly more than a quart and the oil tank on the bike is designed to hold three quarts of hot oil. Oil expands when it gets hot. If you notice the marks on the dipstick, the lower mark is "full cold" and the upper mark is "full hot". Never overfill a Sporty.

Now, if the bike had been sitting for a while, they have a tendency to "oil sump". Oil sumping is a condition where oil seeps past the check valve in the oil pump and builds up in the bottom of the crankcase. Any Sportster and any Big Twin prior to the Twin Cam that has the oil tank located higher than the engine will do this. That's why the older Harley's would "puke" oil out of the breather when restarted after sitting for a while. If you had a half quart of oil in the bottom end and then poured three quarts into the oil tank, you were overfilled. That's one reason to always start the bike and run it until it's at full operating temperature before you change the oil. The warm oil drains easier and there is none left in the bottom end to play a nasty trick on you. This event happens quite often. You are lucky in the fact that the oil plug didn't blow off while you were riding down the road. When that happens, you get covered in oil. Not something anyone would like.

Good Luck and Ride Safely

May 31, 2010 | 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

1 Answer

Why do i have oil blow back out of my carb

usually leakin check valve in oil pump allowing oil to seep overnight into the sump of the motor requiores replacement of oil pump check valve. Dealer service.

Sep 14, 2009 | 2003 Harley Davidson XLH 883 Sportster

2 Answers

Cant fit oil cap back on properly

Those are tricky but all it takes is to push the cap down and screww it in, then firmly grasp the cap and turn it till it lines up flush to where its supposed to sit.

Jun 21, 2009 | 2002 Harley Davidson XL 1200 S Sportster...

1 Answer

How much oil does my 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom? I was told by tech at Harley dealer (and he sold me 3 qt) that it took all most 3 qts, but when I changed it new filter and all, it...

Maybe it wasn't flushed and there was still some old oil in it.
Do these things have a level indication?
If the level is right, start the bike and run it for a minute or so, watch the oil light. Then stop it, leave it a few mions to let the oil settle in the sump and check it again.
What I mean by flushing out, have a look at how it's done on a different type of bike -

Apr 25, 2009 | 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

Not finding what you are looking for?
Motorcycles Logo

Related Topics:

96 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Harley Davidson Experts

Arnie Burke
Arnie Burke

Level 3 Expert

4521 Answers


Level 3 Expert

4339 Answers


Level 3 Expert

76051 Answers

Are you a Harley Davidson Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides