Question about 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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Bike runs for a mile then stops - 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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You didn't tell me what year Sportster we're dealing with. So, I'll cover a few general things to check.

If your bike is running for about a mile and then stopping and it does this repeatedly, It sounds like a fuel problem. Most likely it's either the petcock or the fuel tank vent system.

First, If your bike is made after 1996, it probably has the OEM vacuum operated petcock. These petcocks are designed to open when the engine is running and close when it stops. There is a small vacuum line that plugs into the backside of the petcock. When the engine is running, this line supplies the vacuum. Check the line and make sure that it hasn't come loose or cracked. It originates behind the carb and goes upwards underneath the tank to the VOES switch and it has a "Y" in the line that reduces the size and then runs to the backside of your petcock.

If it is intact, you'll need a hand vacuum pump to test the petcock for proper operation. Connect the vacuum pump to the rear of the petcock. Remove the fuel line from the petcock. Now, apply vacuum to the petcock with the pump. Fuel should flow from the petcock. If not, the petcock is either bad or the strainer in the tank is stopped up.

Remove the petcock from the tank. Place a large funnel under the petcock and direct the funnel into an empty gasoline can large enough to hold all the fuel in the tank. Loosen the petcock enough so that the fuel runs out at a rate that you can control. When empty, finish removing the petcock from the tank. Inspect and clean the screen. Now, on the back side of the petcock is a square plate held on by four screws. Remove the screws and remove the plate. Underneath the plate you'll find a diaphragm. Hold the diaphragm up to the a light and gently stretch it and look for holes. If you find a hole, you'll have to replace the diaphragm.

Look inside the petcock where the needle is for trash. At this point you should be able to blow back up through the petcock to check for obstructions. Reassemble petcock and reinstall in the tank.

I've seen these petcocks give a lot of trouble exactly like you're experiencing. I recommend that you replace the petcock with a manually operated petcock. The Pingle petcocks are very high quality units but a bit pricey. If you'd rather stick to an OEM type unit, purchase a petcock from the Harley shop for a 1995 or earlier model. This will be a manually operated petcock. Plug the vacuum hose that you'll no longer need. You'll have to get into the habit of turning the gas on and off whenever you get on or off the bike like the old timers did. But, they'll never let you down.

Now, remove the fuel cap. Wipe it down real well with a clean cloth. Now, make sure your friends are NOT around for this test or you'll never hear the end of it. Put the threaded end of the fuel cap up to your lips and try to **** and blow through the vent. If you cannot, the vent is bad and you're not getting gasoline to your carb due to a buildup of vacuum in the tank.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on Jul 15, 2010

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