Question about 2001 Harley Davidson XL Sportster 883 Hugger

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Started it up after 5 years of storage the oil tank fills up and over flows

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Evidently, you have more than three quarts of some type of fluid in the engine. The question is, what type of fluid. It could be gasoline that seeped past the needle and seat of the carb and into the engine, or it could be condensation that formed in the engine. Take a look as the oil and smell of it to find out if either of these are the problem. It could be that someone checked the oil and "topped it off" before starting the engine.

When a Harley that has the oil tank mounted higher than the engine, such as your Sportster, is allowed to sit for a long period of time, some of the oil can seep past the check ball in the oil pump. This oil winds up in the engine. It's a condition that we call "oil sumping". When someone goes to start the engine, they check the oil level which indicates that it is low. So, they add oil, topping the tank off. Now the oil in the tank and the oil in the engine is greater than three quarts. When you start the engine, the tank overfills and runs over. I've seen the oil filler plug blow out of the tank because of this before.

Either way, I'd draw the oil down a bit and run the engine until I had all the oil pumped out of the bottom end. Then, I'd change the oil if it's been sitting for five years. You might have some condensation in the there. The same goes for the primary/transmission fluid as well.

Good Luck

Posted on Aug 24, 2010


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