Question about 2006 Harley Davidson XL 883L Sportster

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Hi I just picked up a 1990 sportster however it has a knock in the motor only whenit is warmng up doesnt smoke no excess vibration just a knock just wanted to know do these have oil pumps and if so do they give out or do the have rokers onthe top of the cylinder and when these start to go do they make a noise onnly seems to happen as the bike wams up has plenty of oil

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Let's see, you asked if the Sportster had an oil pump. The answer is yes. If you'll under and behind the right engine cover just below the round circular plate, you'll see the pump. It's the thing with all the oil hoses running to it.

You also asked if it had rockers on top of the cylinder. The answer is again, yes. It is a pushrod operated overhead valves engine, not an overhead cam engine. When these start to go, they'll make a noise but it will be continous, not just when it warm or cold.

You need to try to determine where the noise is coming from. Use a long screwdriver and touch the tip to the engine in various places and listen to the handle like a stethescope. Or , you could buy a mechanic's stethescope. They don't cost much. Try to locate where the noise is coming from. Sportsters are very tough and usually you don't hear of a problem with the engine.

Now, they have other places that they give trouble. One is the alternator on your bike. I think 1990 was the last year for the alternator on the backside of the outer clutch drum. I had one in the shop that sounded all in the world like a rod knocking but it turned out to be a magnet came loose in the outer clutch drum and was hitting the transmission access cover.

Another thing to check is the primary chain tension. Take the top access cover off and stick your finger in and feel of the primary chain tension with the engine off and cold. Check the up and down play in the chain. It should be 3/8" to 1/2" up and down play. Adjust the tension with the bolt on the underside of the outer primary cover on the left side of the engine. Loosen the lock nut and turn the clockwise to reduce the up and down play. Don't forget to lock the lock nut when you're finished.

Now, locate the general area that the noise is coming from and repost. One thing that could be wrong is a blown head gasket. Start the bike up in the dark. Rev the engine a bit and watch for a flame to come out between the cylinder and the head. Once the engine warms up, it will stop. This is about the only thing that I know that will make a noise when the engine is cold but stop when it's warmed up.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on Jul 31, 2010

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