Question about Harley Davidson FLHX Street Glide Motorcycles

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I have a 1974 shovelhead harley iv built from the ground up . i enstalled a TP Pro-series billet oil pump from engineering total performance . the pump has 0 oil pressure after the motor has been running for some time . at startup it has about 60 lbs . but after rideing the bike for about 45 mins no oil pressure. so after turning the motor off & leting it cool down & starting it up i have 60 lbs oil pressure. do you have a recommendation for this.

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Well, I've got no experience with TP oil pumps but I do have experience with S&S and Ultima. This is common on Shovelheads. When your engine gets hot, your gauge will show zero or very little oil pressure when idling. If you think you've got problems with oil, when it does this, pull the dipstick out of your oil tank and watch for the oil to swirl due to the return. The oil will look sort of "foamy" on top as well. Rev the engine a bit. This indicates that your pump is pumping oil.

A Harley engne uses a high volume low pressure oil system. The reason it won't hold oil pressure when hot is that the crank and the rest of the engine is constructed of roller or needle bearings. It doesn't have shell type babbit bearings like a *** bike. When a roller in the rod bearing rolls over the oil hole in the crankpin, you might build up a bit of pressure momentarily but very quickly, the hole is reopened and oil is squirting in between the round roller or needles. Take a dozen round pencils or something and place them side by side. Notice how much of the pencils touch the table, not much. The reason you get oil pressure when the engine is cold is because the oil is thick and the small holes it has to go through offer a lot of resistance when the oil is cold. When hot, the oil flows readily through the holes.

I assume you built your engine and used hydraulic units in the tappets like original or some other type of hydraulic tappet system. If you didn't have any oil pressure, the hydraulic units would be clattering quite loudly. Still the best way to check to see if your oil pump is indeed working is to watch for the oil return to the oil tank. Take the large oil filler cap off and remove the oil filter. Start the engine and watch for the oil flow. Do this with the engine hot.

Then throw that gauge away. You asked for a recommendation, that's it.

Ride Safe
Steve

Posted on Sep 09, 2010

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