Question about 2005 Harley Davidson XL 883L Sportster

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Checking the oil

How to check engine oil on 05 883 sportster

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On the older Sportsters there is a rubber pipe that is clamped onto the base of the battery box underneath. So when you unclamp the pipe the oil spews out. When replacing you just fill the oil tank and fill the primary case up to the marker screw near the bottom

Posted on Jul 23, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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Hi Anonymous, the engine oil dipstick on Softail and Sportster models is located on the right hand front side of the oil tank and the Harley Bible says, engine should be at normal operating tempurature, let idle on jiffy stand for two minutes. Shut off engine and hold bike straight up and dipstick all the way in, correct engine oil level will be at the top full mark. Do not overfill oil tank as this will cause engine breathing issues. On Dyna and Touring models The engine oil dipsticks are located on the right front top corner of the transmission and the engine oil pan is underneath the transmission. The engine oil level is checked in the same manner as Softails and Sportsters. If you are having oil carryover or breathing issues (dipstick launch) try running oil level half way between the add and full marks, running the engine at this oil level will not harm normal operation. Good luck

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Hi Anonymous, the engine oil dipstick on Softail and Sportster models is located on the right hand front side of the oil tank and the Harley Bible says, engine should be at normal operating tempurature, let idle on jiffy stand for two minutes. Shut off engine and hold bike straight up and dipstick all the way in, correct engine oil level will be at the top full mark. Do not overfill oil tank as this will cause engine breathing issues. On Dyna and Touring models The engine oil dipsticks are located on the right front top corner of the transmission and the engine oil pan is underneath the transmission. The engine oil level is checked in the same manner as Softails and Sportsters. If you are having oil carryover or breathing issues (dipstick launch) try running oil level half way between the add and full marks, running the engine at this oil level will not harm normal operation. Good luck

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Hi Anonymous, the engine oil dipstick on Softail and Sportster models is located on the right hand front side of the oil tank and the Harley Bible says, engine should be at normal operating tempurature, let idle on jiffy stand for two minutes. Shut off engine and hold bike straight up and dipstick all the way in, correct engine oil level will be at the top full mark. Do not overfill oil tank as this will cause engine breathing issues. On Dyna and Touring models The engine oil dipsticks are located on the right front top corner of the transmission and the engine oil pan is underneath the transmission. The engine oil level is checked in the same manner as Softails and Sportsters. If you are having oil carryover or breathing issues (dipstick launch) try running oil level half way between the add and full marks, running the engine at this oil level will not harm normal operation. Good luck

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Hi Anonymous, the engine oil dipstick on Softail and Sportster models is located on the right hand front side of the oil tank and the Harley Bible says, engine should be at normal operating tempurature, let idle on jiffy stand for two minutes. Shut off engine and hold bike straight up and dipstick all the way in, correct engine oil level will be at the top full mark. Do not overfill oil tank as this will cause engine breathing issues. On Dyna and Touring models The engine oil dipsticks are located on the right front top corner of the transmission and the engine oil pan is underneath the transmission. The engine oil level is checked in the same manner as Softails and Sportsters. If you are having oil carryover or breathing issues (dipstick launch) try running oil level half way between the add and full marks, running the engine at this oil level will not harm normal operation. Good luck

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Hi Anonymous, the engine oil dipstick on Softail and Sportster models is located on the right hand front side of the oil tank and the Harley Bible says, engine should be at normal operating tempurature, let idle on jiffy stand for two minutes. Shut off engine and hold bike straight up and dipstick all the way in, correct engine oil level will be at the top full mark. Do not overfill oil tank as this will cause engine breathing issues. On Dyna and Touring models The engine oil dipsticks are located on the right front top corner of the transmission and the engine oil pan is underneath the transmission. The engine oil level is checked in the same manner as Softails and Sportsters. If you are having oil carryover or breathing issues (dipstick launch) try running oil level half way between the add and full marks, running the engine at this oil level will not harm normal operation. Good luck

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Hi Anonymous, the engine oil dipstick on Softail and Sportster models is located on the right hand front side of the oil tank and the Harley Bible says, engine should be at normal operating tempurature, let idle on jiffy stand for two minutes. Shut off engine and hold bike straight up and dipstick all the way in, correct engine oil level will be at the top full mark. Do not overfill oil tank as this will cause engine breathing issues. On Dyna and Touring models The engine oil dipsticks are located on the right front top corner of the transmission and the engine oil pan is underneath the transmission. The engine oil level is checked in the same manner as Softails and Sportsters. If you are having oil carryover or breathing issues (dipstick launch) try running oil level half way between the add and full marks, running the engine at this oil level will not harm normal operation. Good luck

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1 Answer

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Hi Anonymous, the engine oil dipstick on later models unscrews, on earlier models it just pulls out with moderate force, on Softail and Sportster models the dipstick is located on the right hand front side of the oil tank and the Harley Bible says, engine should be at normal operating tempurature, let idle on jiffy stand for two minutes. Shut off engine and hold bike straight up and dipstick all the way in, correct engine oil level will be at the top full mark. Do not overfill oil tank as this will cause engine breathing issues. On Dyna and Touring models The engine oil dipsticks are located on the right front top corner of the transmission and the engine oil pan is underneath the transmission. The engine oil level is checked in the same manner as Softails and Sportsters. If you are having oil carryover or breathing issues (dipstick launch) try running oil level half way between the add and full marks, running the engine at this oil level will not harm normal operation. Good luck and have nice day.

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I think the later models are designed to use the same type of oil in both the engine and the prmary/transmission. But, I have never agreed with this. I use H-D Syn 3 20W50 oil in the engine but I prefer to run either Harley's primary and transmission lube or one of the other manufacturers lubricants in the transmission. If you use another manufacturer's lubricant, go to their website and check for compatibility for use in your Sportster.

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I have a Harley Davison XLH 1000 Sportster . It seems to put oil in the tank but not back in the motor . When you turn the motor over oil comes out the oil fill.


You may just have it overfilled. If you checked your oil before you started the engine up and found it to be low and added oil, this is more than likely the case. Since the oil tank is higher than the engine, the Sportster (and Softail models) have a tendency to "oil soak". What is happening is as the bike sits the oil seeps past the check valve in the oil pump and starts to settle in the engine. When you check the oil tank, it's low. So, you add a quart. When you start the engine or turn it with the starter, the oil pump pumps the oil out of the engine and into the tank which is already full. The oil has to go somewhere so out the filler it comes.

Now, to determine if your oil pump is indeed pumping into the engine, screw the oil pressure sending unit out and remove the spark plugs. Spin the engine with the starter and watch to see if the oil is being pumped out. If so, the oil pump is fine. We already know that the scavenger pump is pumping oil back into the tank. So, if you think the engine is overfilled, drain about half of the oil out of the tank and start the engine. Watch the oil level in the tank with a flashlight. Do not allow it to run dry. Allow the engine to run until it is warm and then check the oil. There are two marks on the dipstick. The top mark is "FULL HOT" and the lower mark is "FULL COLD". Check the oil with the bike on the side stand. Do not overfill.

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