Question about 1979 Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster

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When running my 1986 sportster it has bad rattle in or around front of engine, if you hold the oil filter it feels like it could be nuts and bolts rattling around inside, could this be reflecting whats going on inside the oil pump.

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In all my years messing with Harley's, I've never heard of an oil filter making a noise. However, there is a first time. Since the oil travels to and from the filter through 3/8" hoses, nothing is going to be any larger than that in the filter. And since the oil pressure is so low on all Harley engines, I doubt it has anything to do with the oil pump. If you think you have a bad filter, simply change the filter and top off the oil tank.

Now, if you have a long screwdriver, you can use it like a doctor's stethoscope. Put the blade of the screwdriver on the engine somewhere and the handle up to your ear or cheek bone. Trace the location of the sound and this will help you identify the cause and the problem. When you get some more information, re post and I'll see if we can figure it out.

Good Luck

Posted on Oct 13, 2010


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hydraulic lifters fitted to that engine
shimmed adjustments

that rattle on start up will happen
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Hi Anonymous, if it's leaking from the case seams aside from splitting the cases and resealing them is to check the torque on the case bolts 1/4" bolts/nuts 10 ft lbs. 5/16" bolts/nuts 20 ft lbs. for all other leaks the usual suspects are:
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5. Restricted oil filter.
6. Oil tank/pan overfilled.
7. Bottom rocker housing gasket installed upside down.
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1. Run your oil level half way between the add and full mark when hot.
2. Run oil breather lines from head into a TEE fitting below carb/induction module then a single line into a mini filter under frame.
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Good luck and have nice day.

Btw, I’m available to help over the phone in case u need at

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1 Answer

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I need to know what year model Sportster you're working on. I know the book says you can change the oil pump without removal of the engine from the frame but it ain't that easy. Let me know exactly what year model you're working on. You may NOT have to pull the pump.

Are you certain you have no oil pressure? Pull the spark plugs and remove the oil filter. Spin the engine with the starter and see if oil pumps out of the oil pump adaptor. If it does, you have oil pressure and the oil pressure switch is lying to you. If your bike is equipped with an Evolution engine, 1986 or later, it will have hydraulic tappets. If you indeed do not have any oil pressure, the tappest will rattle badly.

Good Luck

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1 Answer

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Good Luck

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1 Answer

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