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
Steve

Posted on Oct 13, 2010

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My 2003 Sportster is leaking or pushing oil out air filter, my sportster has chrome rocker box covers but none of the rest of the engine is chrome. My mechanic says he has never seen this before.


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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3. Restricted oil return line to oil tank/pan.
4. Restricted breather hose to air cleaner.
5. Restricted oil filter.
6. Oil tank/pan overfilled.
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Oil leaking from your air cleaner is caused by oil carryover from the engine. For what ever reason the breather system is not seperating enough oil mist and air from the piston downstroke. There are cheap and quick easy fixes and there are more exspensive ones. Start by trying the following:
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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1 Answer

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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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Oct 24, 2010 | 1979 Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster

1 Answer

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On your Sportster, pull the oil tank fill plug out of the tank and start the engine. Shine a flashlight into the tank to upper rear and watch for the oil pumping back into the tank. If you see oil pumping in, your scavenge pump is alright.

Now, go to the oil pump underneath the right side cover just below the timer cavity. You'll see the oil pressure sending unit. Take the wire off and take the unit out. Take the spark plugs out of the engine. Spin the engine over and watch for the oil to pump out of the pump. Pump a few ounces out and I'd replace the oil pressure sending unit. Be careful when tighten the nut that holds the wire on as you can break the sending unit. If the oil pumps out like it should, the feed pump is ok.

If you have no oil pressure, the tappets will rattle loudly. You'll know it immediately what it is when you hear it. It will rattle something awful as the tappets are hydraulic just like in most cars. If you indeed do not have any oil pressure, please repost. That's a major job.

Good Luck
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2 Answers

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