Question about 2000 Harley Davidson FLSTS Heritage Springer

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Where does the oil go from tank when bike sits a long time?

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This is what we call "oil sumping" around here. On the soft tail line or any other line of Harley where the oil tank is higher than the oil pump, the oil will seep past the check ball in the oil pump and leak into the crankcase of the engine. When the engine is started up, it will "puke" the oil out. Now, up until the introduction of the Evo engine, the engine would puke on the ground under the bike out the breather tube. Now with the Evo engine and the EPA's regulation that crankcase ventilation fumes have to be fed back through the intake, it pukes into the breather. An even bigger mess. So, what we do whenever we think we've got this situation is put a pan under the shovelhead and panhead bikes, On the Evos and Twin Cams, we take the air breater cover and the air filter out before the fire the engine. It's a mess either way you look at it. I don't think the Twin Cams are as bad as the Evo engines due to the different type of oil pump.

Posted on Jul 16, 2010

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Diagnosis sounds correct . Maybe change the check ball ( small ball bearing ) and get a new spring .

Posted on Apr 18, 2014

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89 EVO FLH oil is coming out of the breatherhose while the bike is running loses about a qt every 50 miles Does this engine have butterfly valves like the 99 evo? What can be causing this?

Posted on Sep 14, 2011

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I have a HD 2003 Deuce -- It's ejecting the oil temperature gauge from the oil tank and splattering oil every were. Normally takes place during starting. Why?

There is too much pressure in the oil system. This problem is usually caused by too much oil, or a clogged oil line. Did the bike sit for the winter and the oil level seemed low when you brought it out of storage, so you added oil to the tank? If so, the bike "sumped", meaning oil from the tank drained into the bottom of the engine. Putting more oil into the tank caused an over full situation and that is why the dipstick is popping out of the tank. If this is the problem, siphon or drain some oil from the tank and run the bike until all the oil is out of the bottom of the motor. Then change the oil, adding the correct amount to the tank. DO NOT drain all the oil from the tank before running the bike!

Jun 20, 2012 | 2003 Harley Davidson FXSTDI Softail Deuce


Motorcycles - What to do if bike has been sitting for extended period of time.

Man, I just got one heck of a deal on this bike... it's been sitting for quite some time... it's starts up but won't stay running. Sound familiar?

Most riders won't prepare their bike for sitting through the winter or if it's going to sit for a long time. Change all fluids, Oil, Anti-Freeze (if water cooled), Brake / Clutch fluid (if it is time), and Gear Oil (again, if it is time). Check spark plugs and clean / replace as necessary and add Sta-bil to the fuel tank (also add 1/4 ounce of Carb Cleaner or Injector Cleaner - depending on your fuel delivery system - and run the bike for 3 to 5 minutes). Check / replace the Air Filter. I, personally, take one plug out of each cylinder and pour 1/4 ounce of lightweight motor oil (10W-30) into the cylinder and then replace the plug. For heaven's sake... COVER the bike - even if all you have is a sheet.

Let's face it, some people are just plain lazy while others are not able to do the maintenance or can't afford it.

When you buy a used bike that has been sitting for a long period of time, it's always a good idea to ask the owner if they have preformed any, or all, of the above procedures. If not, you are in for a lot of maintenance work.

Whatever you do, do not try to start the bike - this will force all the gunk, from sitting gas, through the fuel system (especially if the fuel contains Ethanol - people, Ethanol is bad news... it causes valve deposits in your engine, gunk in the carb bowls and fuel tank, plus numerous other problems). Get a trailer, or ramps, and haul the bike home - unless the bike has been prepared to sit a long time. If none of the above procedures have been done, then do the following;

1. Drain any remaining fuel from the tank.
2. Take the carburetor bowls off the carbs and clean them.
3. If you don't want to take the carbs completely apart, get a spray can of B-12 carb cleaner and spray it into every open hole on the carb you can see. NOTE: cover any surface you don't want discolored / damaged before using the B-12.
4. Remove and change the fuel and air filter(s) if necessary.
5. Change the oil and filter.
6. Change the brake and clutch fluids (DOT 4).
7. Check the gear oil and change if dirty / gritty.
8. Buy a can of Sea Foam, fill your fuel tank with Premium gas (no Ethanol additive) and add the recommended amount of Sea Foam (and 1/4 ounce of B-12 (injector cleaner if Fuel Injected)) to a full tank of gas.
9. Check the battery voltage, and charge if necessary - do NOT fast charge your battery as this is not good for it - put a 1.5 / 2.0 amp trickle charger on it. Be patient, this will take some time to fully charge the battery. NOTE: Do NOT jump start your bike from your vehicle - you can cause damage to the electronic components on your bike.
10. Check the spark plugs and clean / replace as necessary.

NOTE: I didn't mention anything about the needles and seats because I believe that they should be checked by a qualified technician.

You can now start your bike. Be prepared for a bit of smoke from the tailpipe(s) due to the the bike sitting. The valve seals and rings should re-seat themselves within a day or two of riding (possibly sooner).

Make sure to check / change the fork oil if the bike has been sitting for longer than 6 to 8 months. One thing to keep in mind; If it looks dirty or gritty... drain and change it.

I know this is a lot of work, some will think it is not necessary, but it will save you from a major headache down the road. Also, your bike will love you for it. *grin*

One other thing I should mention is you need to check the carb(s) float(s) for correct operation. The float(s) can become heavy from fuel leaking into them. If they are heavy, buy new ones.

It would be a good idea to buy a service manual for your newly purchased bike. The manual will show you how to preform the recommended maintenance on your bike. It will show you how to preform necessary adjustments too.

There are many other things to check, such as the brake system, the condition of the wiring (hopefully mice haven't been chewing on the wires) and the condition of the tires. The above information is meant as a starting point. Look for the obvious problems and repair them immediately. Again... buy a Service Manual for your bike. I can't stress this enough.

I have been riding bikes since I was 12 years old and have always started or rode my bikes everyday - rain, sleet and snow - and have had no major issues. I am still riding my 1985 Honda Gold Wing Aspencade and my 1996 Suzuki VS800 Intruder, that I bought new, and have no problems.

I hope this tip helps out many of you and I wish you lots of luck with your bike purchase. Hopefully the previous owner cared enough about their bike that you won't have to go through all of the procedures listed above.



on Jan 16, 2011 | Motorcycles

1 Answer

When i start my 91 ultra oil comes out of the vent filter under center of bike. Just started doing this after sitting 2 months,

Regrettfullly, this is a common occurance on any H-D motorcycle in which the oil tank is mounted higher than the oil pump. When the bike is allowed to sit for a while, the oil will seep past the check ball valve in the oil pump and build up in the engine. Harley changed the oil pump in their 1999 and later Twin Cam engines because of this. When the oil settles in the bottom end, we call it "oil sumping". When the engine is started, the scavenge gears simply cannot pump the oil back into the oil tank quickly enough and some of it is blown out the crankcase vent tube. Make sure that when your bike sits for a long period of time, do not add oil to the tank as long as you can see the oil level on the dipstick. If the oil checks a bit low, it may be in the engine cases. If you "top it off", it'll blow it all out the crankcase vent. Once the engine clears itself out, this should stop. If not, you'll have to have the check ball "reseated" in the oil pump.

Good Luck

Aug 22, 2011 | Harley Davidson FLHTCUI Electra Glide...

2 Answers

I have a 1990 harley fxr and when you start the engine oil starts leaking out of the crankcase breather what would cause this

This is a common problem with the older bikes. The reason is the position of the oil tank and the type of oil pump the engine is equipped with. With the tank being higher than the engine, oil will seep past the check ball in the oil pump and into the engine. When you fire the engine up, the oil pump cannot pump the excess oil back into the tank quickly enough and some gets blown out of the crankcase vent. If you allow the bike to sit for extended periods of time, this problem is worse. It's commonly called "oil sumping" around here. When you hear an old Shovelhead rider talking about his bike "puking", that's what he's talking about. I've seen those bikes puke nearly a quart of oil after sitting a few months. I've seen Ironhead Sportsters completely drain the oil tank into the engine. This is normal to a degree but if it gets too bad, you can "reseat" the check ball by removing the plug above the check ball on the oil pump and use a small hammer and punch to gently tap the ball into the seat in the pump. Then, remove the old ball and drop in a new one.

Good Luck

Jul 26, 2011 | Harley Davidson FXR Super Glide...

1 Answer

I have a 2007 sportster 1200 costom do you check the oil on the kick stand or standing stright up Thank You Vicki

On your Sporty, check the oil with the bike on the kickstand. The dipstick has two marks on it. The top mark is "FULL HOT" and the lower mark is "FULL COLD". Do not overfill your oil tank. Keep the oil between the two lines. I suggest that as long as you can see the oil on the dipstick when the engine is cold, do not add oil. Ride the bike to get the engine to full temp and then check the oil and add if necessary.

Also, if the bike has been sitting for an extended period of time and the oil checks low, do not add oil. When the bike sits for a long time (three months or so) the oil can seep past the check valve and "oil sump" the bottom end. When you start the engine,it will pump this oil back to the tank. If you fill the tank before you start the engine, you'll have a major mess.

Good Luck

Apr 25, 2011 | Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom...

1 Answer

Will be gone for over a year and don,t have anyone to move or start it what can i do to keep it in good shape while i,m gone?


You can buy a fuel stabilizer, Sta-bil, and add to the fuel tank. This will keep your fuel from gunking up in your fuel system. Start and run your bike, after adding the Sta-bil, and let it run for a few minutes to get the Sta-bil throughout the system.

Change the oil and filter, change your clutch and brake fluids and remove the battery from the bike.

Place the bike upon something to get the wheels off the ground and cover the bike with a tarp or bike cover.

Give your gear oil a look, but it should be OK for that length of time.

Some people drain the gas out of the system, but if your tank has any inside damage, it will begin to rust and you will have to clean the tank before running the bike.

I wrote a tip on what to do when a bike sits for an extended period of time. You can find the link here; Bike sitting for extended period

Hope this help. If you find this information useful, please vote on this post. Thank you.



Jan 17, 2011 | Harley Davidson FLHRCI Road King Classic...

1 Answer

2003 Fatboy while winterizing drained the oil very little came out however there was oil in filter..New filter,filled with oil started sounds like usual then the oil shot out of the cap where you insert...

On the softail model Harley Davidson's the oil tank is external and sits up higher than the engine crank case and oil pump. when these bikes sit for an amount of time the oil gravitates from the tank to the crank case. starting may seem sightly harder and seem like the battery is going dead. the bike should be started in knowing that you had oil in it to start with and no giant leak puddle underneath of it. warm up the engine and then drain the oil out of the tank. the reason why your filler cap popped off is because you had probably 2 1/2 to 3 quarts to much engine oil in the bike. so drain the oil from the tank at the drain pug at the bottom of the hose on the high (right side ) of the bike where the swing arm meets the frame (it is a 5/8 socket) put the drain plug back in run the bike for about 5 minutes inspecting with a flashlight continuously that oil is circulating back into the tank. then dran it again and replace with new oil.

Dec 10, 2010 | Harley Davidson Harley-Davidson Motorcycle...

1 Answer

Bike Sitting For 2 Years .. Need help

You say the bike is a custom so I don't have a good idea of what we're dealing with here but it shouldn't be that difficult.

Most custom bikes have carbureted engines. The first thing to do is drain the fuel tank and get some fresh fuel and a good battery. Check the oil in the tank. As long as the oil is showing on the dip stick, proceed to start the engine. Do not add oil at this time because the engine may be "oil sumped". When they do this, the oil in the tank seeps past the check ball in the oil pump and accumilates in the bottom end of the engine. When you start the engine up, the oil pump will scavenge the oil out and back into the oil tank. Once the engine runs for a few minutes, then turn the engine off and check the oil level. Fill it to the lower mark on the stick, full cold level.

Now for the biggie, the carb. If the engine has been sitting for two years, the jets in the carb are probably clogged up. When the fuel left in the float bowl evaporated, it left behind a thick gummy deposit made up of the additives that are added to gasoline. This mess will plug up the jets in your carb. It would be advisable to remove the carb, disassemble it, and soak it in carb cleaner overnight. Then check all passageways in the carb and the jets to make sure they're open. Reinstall the carb and fire your bike up. If I were in the Yuma area, I'd do it all for you but I live in Georgia. Sorry but good luck getting it back going. It's not difficult. Just keep looking for "resources".

Nov 09, 2009 | 2004 Harley Davidson XL 1200 R Sporster...

1 Answer

Bike stalls from time to time

the fuel filter is inside the tank, be sure your thorughly cleaned the tank of expired gasoline, clean the jettings again on the carb, those are so tiny particles you think cleaned already. Change the hoses too, they have a life span and the particles from the old hoses goes to the jettings. Your prob is definitely fuel based prob

May 03, 2009 | 1996 Suzuki GSX-R 750 T

1 Answer


Also check that bike is properly positioned. Is bike on level ground? With most bikes oil is checked on center stand or holding bike upright not on side stand. Also check manual some bikes say to check hot very few with cold motor. (many bikes with oil tanks will fill up crankcase and appear empty if checked cold especially after sitting for a long time) Most will say to wait a period of time after turning off motor (usually between 10 and 30 min.) but some say to check immediately after turning off. ,

Nov 10, 2008 | 2005 Kymco Xciting 500

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