Question about 2000 Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic

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2001 Heritage softail, carburated. Gas in oil.

2001 Heritage softail, carburated. Gas in oil. Replaced oil, filter, ran 2 minutes and gas & oil came out vent in carb bracket, and crankcase was overfull. Pulled carb bowl, and float was free, gas clean. Pulled fuel line off, and no gas came out. Could blow on gas line and hear bubbles in gas tank; could not **** gas no matter where the shutoff valve was. What do I try next?

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If you had gasoline in your oil, there's only two ways for it to get there. It either came through the carb or someone poured it in there.

I've been messing with Harley's since 1966, back before they created these cute little names for the engines like Panheads, Shovelheads, Evolution, Blockhead, Fathead. We only had two engines, Sportster 61 cu. in, and the 74 cu. in. in the big bikes.

Now, the way the fuel got into your gasoline was through the carb. If you've ever watched an old timer get off his bike, he'll reach under the tank and turn the fuel off. This was keep what happened to you from happening. It worked every time. The problem these days is in their infinite wisdom, Harley has adopted the misguided conception that the Japs started, the vacuum operated petcock. The absolute worst invention man has ever designed and put on a motor vehicle.

Now, in both the petcock and the float bowl of the carb you have a "needle and seat" all it takes is one very small bit of trash to cause the gasoline to seep past the needle. Keep in mind now that gasoline has a lower viscositiy than water. It will go where water won't go. It's thinner. A lot of gasoline can seep past a needle and seat in a 12 hour period. I've seen fuel tanks empty themselves in that time.

I've fixed many bikes that had the vacuum operated petcocks on them. They started putting them on the bike in 1996. I've seen people stranded beside the road with full tanks of fuel but not a drop getting to the carb. I've seen gasoline pouring out the small vacuum line (probably what happened to you) after the engine had been flooded out due to a ruptured diaphragm. And, I've even seen a couple of cases where the engine was sucking air through the petcock and would not idle or even run very well.

Now, when you change the oil on a harley engine, you don't get all the oil out of it like you do on car engine or a Japper engine. There will be a certain amount of oil left in the top of the heads and the camchest. Also, the gasoline fills up the crankcases that are supposed to be empty of oil. If you have a quart of gasoline that has run down past the rings into the crankcase, you now have one extra quart of fluid in your oil system. Whenever I suspect something like what happened to you, I always take the spark plugs out and spin the engine over a few times to get any excess fluid out of the crankcase. It will blow it out of the crankcase vents which in your case is in the heads. Those big bolts that hold the air filter backing plate on are hollow and are actually crankcase vents.

So, in short, my suggestion is to take that vacuum operated petcock off your bike, plug up the vacuum hose, and purchase a high quality manually operated petcock like a Pingle. They're expensive but if you get into the habit of turning it off whenever you get off your bike, this problem will NEVER happen to you again.

BTW:, you need to check your primary oil to see if it's been diluted as well. The gasoline will go past the sprocket shaft seal and contaminate that oil as well. You're pretty safe on the transmission lube though.

Good Luck
Steve (old biker)\\\\\

Posted on Jul 11, 2010

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