Question about Harley Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Hugger Motorcycles

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Blke runs for a couple miles then dies

Bike is a 2002, 1200 conversion with a racing ignition. It runs for a couple miles then dies and won't restart until it sits for awhile. It seems to stall more under acceleration. New battery, which tested good. Suffers from oil blowby. I Recently cleaned the oil out of the air cleaner assembly.

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Now, this may sound overly simple but I've seen it work more times that I care to tell. Next time you go for a ride, loosen your fuel cap. Don't take it off, just loosen it. If the vent system in your fuel tank is not working, it will do this exact thing you're describing. Check your vent system to be sure it's open and working. I've seen rusty fuel caps not vent and I've seen "dirt dobber" wasp nest built in the vent tubes of fuel tanks. The bike runs for a short distance, sputters and dies. Shortly, it start back up but will do the same thing in just about the time and distance.

If that's not it, go by an electronics store and buy a small can of "component cooler". Take the cover off the ignition unit. Ride the bike until it dies. When it dies, spray the electronic ignition unit with the component cooler and see if the bike will start up immediately after you cool the unit. If it does, try it again until you're satisfied that the problem is heat affecting the ignition unit. If this test proves not to be the problem. we'll have to look for something else.

You can also try running it without the air filter. Run it until it dies and then look into the carb and "milk" the throttle a couple of times. You should see a jet of fuel from the accelerator pump squirt into the carb throat. If you do, then your problem is not fuel related. If you don't see the fuel squirt into the carb, your engine is starving for fuel for some reason. Check the fuel supply hoses and the petcock. The petcock on your bike is vacuum operated. There is a small vacuum line that feeds vacuum to the VOES switch and the backside of the petcock. I've seen lots of these petcocks go bad and leave the riders stranded with a full tank of fuel but none to the carb. I'd replace the petcock with either a pre-1996 unit or a good aftermarket unit, a manually operated one.

The oil going into the breather is common. On a bike that is several years old, like yours, the small "umbrella" seals in the rocker box cover has probably hardened and is not sealing well. To fix the problem, pull the rocker boxes off and replace the unbrellas and the gaskets. Reroute the crankcase breather system away from the air cleaner. Good Luck!

Posted on Nov 12, 2009

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G'day,
I have a couple of ideas what may help.
First I would think it was starving for fuel.Or maybe an unusual ignition system fault- So how do we find out?
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