Question about 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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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?

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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
Steve

Posted on May 31, 2010

  • Tom Sorg May 15, 2011

    ABsolutly ;)

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