Question about 2008 Harley Davidson FLHRC Road King Classic

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I tried to start my harley but it would not run, than oil started coming out of the vent tube (alot of oil) what would cause this and is this an easy fix. Thanks

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  • wd4ity
    wd4ity May 31, 2010

    I need more information. The header says your bike is an '08 Road King. I find this hard to believe as I've never seen a RK "puke" oil out of the vent. Which vent is the oil coming from? Smell of the oil and see if it smells stongly of gasoline. Your fuel system may have leaked gasoline into your engine.



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How long since last start? If long time, oil from vent tube is practically normal. Make sure you check oil level and add if needed. Also, the gas is probably gone bad, which will impede starting after a long time.

Posted on Jun 01, 2010


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1990 Harley Davidson has not been running in 4 months, started it up noticed oil coming out of the vent tube, I hear its normal about 1/2cup. Is it a problem?

Hi, Robert it's called "WET SUMPING" most Harley's with external oil pumps if left sitting for weeks or months will eventually let the oil tank contents drain pass the oil pump check ball and fill up the bottom end of the crankcase when the bike is started the excess oil will gush out of the breather vent and if routed to the air cleaner will also flood the filter. This messy condition will continue until the bottom end is forcibly emptied by the flywheels or manually drained if there is a plug. There are 3 options you may want to consider:
1. Drain the oil tank before storing the bike.
2. Replace check ball and resurface seat in the oil pump.
3. Install inline ball valve shut off in the feed line to the pump.
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.
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71 FLH been awhile since started, started and oil came out the tube that comes from oil pump as a overflow I think and onto the ground

There's a spring loaded check ball that is suppose to prevent oil from gravity feeding past the oil pump when the engine is off. Over time, the seat could pit, or the check ball itself could get a groove worn in it from the seat, or the spring could weaken (take a "set").
If your's is all original, let's face it, it's 42 years old!
You could try a new ball and spring and see if that helps.

BUT, if it sat a looooong time, no matter what, SOME oil most likely will seep past the check vale, and get pumped out a vent.
If after running a bit, and it doesn't do it again, I wouldn't worry about it.

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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Your crankcase vents into the carb air filter. This was required by the EPA. All crankcase vented pressure has to be cycled through the engine. So, If you'll look behind your air filter to the rear of the bike, you should see a pipe coming from just behind the oil pump up to the backside of the air filter. The air pressure exhausted from the crankcase has an oil mist in it. There are baffles in the pipe but sometimes during servicing, these baffles get left out. Still, even with the baffles, there is some oil mist that makes it's way to the air filter. This oil builds up over time and causes a drip out of the air filter. Regular cleaning of the air filter assembly reduces this.

If you're getting more than the usual amount of oil, your engine could be "oil sumping". This is where the oil in the oil tank seeps past the check ball valve in the oil pump and builds up in the bottom end of the engine. When you start the engine, the oil pump cannot pump it back to the tank fast enough and it's blown out the crankcase vent tube right into your air filter. You can "reseat" the check ball and may be able to get it to stop doing this.

Or, you could remove the crankcase vent tube going up to the air filter. Put a piece of tubing about six inches long on the nipple coming out of the engine case and plug the hole in the backside of the air filter backing plate. Then, the oil will directed onto the ground instead of into your air filter.

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It sounds like you've got a lot of "blowby" past your rings. When was the last time you had a top end overhaul? I've seen all sorts of problems that cause excessive oil to be blown out of the crankcase vent when starting the engine or when it's idling but when it's running, it's usually because it needs a new set of rings in the engine.

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1 Answer

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hi 81 yamaha i am concerned about the fuel smell coming out with the oil. could be the carbs flooding filling your crankcase with fuel? if not it sounds like you have blow by which would cause your crank case to be slightly pressured. this is caused by worn piston rings. do not plug your crank vent. if you leave your vent open install small filter to stop dirt from entering jim

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