Question about Harley Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard Motorcycles

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I have a 1984 FLHS Shovel. It is pumping oil out of the crankcase breather tube.

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You either have too much oil in there or the engine needs rebuilding as the rings/bore will need sorting out.

Posted on Mar 18, 2011

  • 1ziggy Sep 16, 2011

    the check ball in the oil pump has some grit holding it open. Pull the filter out the top of pump, under that large cap accessed via a flat screw driver, clean it out, reinstall and crank it again. This happens with shovels that haven't run for a few months and are ready for a oil change. If this don't fix it, then you may have a larger problem, requiring a tear down.

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1 Answer

Why is engine oil blowing out of breather after oil change


That's common if there's too much oil in the crankcase. You may want to re-check the data you have on how much oil the crankcase is supposed to hold.

It can also happen if there's too much blow-by from cracked rings, a punctured piston, or a badly scored cylinder wall. It can even happen if the valves are badly out of adjustment. But if the engine is running smoothly, it's unlikely to be any of these.

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91Harley FLH, OIL pouring out of breather tube . Whats problem?


Has the bike been sitting for a while? If so, I may have "sumped". This means that oil from the oil tank flowed past the check ball in the oil pump and flowed into the bottom of the crankcase. If the oil level is low, there is a good chance this is what happened. Only way to get the oil out of the crankcase is to run the bike until all the oil is pumped out thru the breather. Place a pan under the breather hose to catch the oil. Eieset way to solve this problem in the future is to place a clamp on the feel line that goes from the oil tank to the pump. Don't run the bike with the clamp in place! Hope this helps.

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The engine "sumped", meaning the oil in the oil tank leaked past the check ball in the oil pump and is now in the bottom of the crankcase. Place a pan under the breather tube and run the bike until no more oil comes from the breather. keep an eye on the level in the oil tank. You don't want to run it dry. If you added oil, chances are the dipstick will fly out due to too much oil pressure. When you're done, either change the oil and filter, or add oil to the tank.

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77 shovelhead w joe hunt mag and s&s oil pump everything is great except after about 20 mins of riding oil start coming out of gasket all around cam cover and mag assembly dont know what would cause...


There ae a number of things it could be. What it sounds like to me is that the oil is not being pumped back into the oil tank and is collecting in the cam chest. It should be blowing out of your crankcase breather tube as well if your crankcase breather tube is open. Behind the oil pump, there are three holes. One is behind and above the oil pump. This is where the breather tube from your oil tank and the primary comes into the engine. The hole directly behind the oil pump in the middle is the oil return line from the very back end of the primary where the oil from the primary is recirculated back into the engine. The bottom hole behind the oil pump is the crankcase breather. It should have a hose that runs back around behind the transmission and just dead ends in a bracket pointed towards the final drive chain. This hose should be open to vent the crankcase pressure. Have you checked to see if oil is being pumped back into the oil tank? If not, the scavenge gears of the oil pump may not be pumping the oil out of the engine and back to the tank. If this is the problem, you may not have the drive key properly installed in the scavenge gears of the oil pump. Still, oil should be pouring out of the crankcase breather hole. But, this is what it sounds like it's doing to me. The oil is building up in the cam chest for some reason.

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1 Answer

Oil is blowing out of tube into filter housing on my 89 Harly soft tail. Bike hasent been started in awhile.is there a check valve? Any info. Thanks.


Yes there is a check valve but it's in the oil pump. This is a problem with the pre-2000 Softails. The oil tank is mounted higher in the frame than the oil pump on the engine. When the bike is allowed to sit for an extended period of time, the oil seeps past the check valve ball in the oil pump and settles in the engine cases. We call this "oil sumping". When the engine is restarted, the oil pump scavenger gears simply cannot pump the excess oil back to the oil tank fast enough and it is blown out of the crankcase vent tube. Since the EPA requires that vented crankcase pressure be cycled through the engine to be burned, the crankcase vent tube is connected to the backside of the carburetor backing plate. There are baffles in the tube but they only work for oil mist. The results is that your air filter gets filled with oil when you restart the engine after a lenghty downtime. Most riders will disconnect the tube from the backside of the backing plate and plug the hole in the backing plate. Then they install a simple hose about six inches long or so to the nipple that comes out of the engine cases and run it back towards the rear of bike underneath it. Some guys will put a small crankcase breather on the end of the hose as well. This way, the oil will go on the ground and you can clean it up. I usually slide a shallow pan under the bike before restarting one that has sat for a while. Avoid "topping off the oil tank" before restarting a bike that has sat for a while. Check the oil level and as long as the oil is visible on the dipstick, restart the engine and check the oil level when the engine reaches operating temperature. Harley improved on this problem in 1993 when they went to the "head breathers" where the crankcase vents are located in the cylinder heads.

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Hi,
oil getting on a breather can indicate excessive crankcase pressure. Check all the `crankcase breathers and the valve cover breathers.

if the crankcase has been overfilled with engine oil. The crankshaft has to "beat" it's way through the oil and thus acts as a pump and sends oil all over the internal surfaces of the crankcase.

If the engine cylinders have developed 'blow-by" they will also contribute to an increase in crankcase pressure which will be evident by oil in the breathers. The fumes / pressure in the crankcase are designed to be removed by the engine breather system, and drawn through the engine etc.

I hope this info helps.

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worn compression rings , & oil control rings
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loss of crankcase vaccumm , - c/case gasket broken/leaking
stuck breather ,
high oil level
blown head gasket ,


check simple things 1st

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1 Answer

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This is an age old problem for the Harley engine. In you 89 model, the crankcase breaths from behind the oil pump through a tube that runs to the backside of the air filter assembly. Most people that I know, simply remove the tube coming up to the air filter and block the hole in the air filter assembly backing plate. At the breather, they run a short hose to just behind the transmission and cut it off there. This is similar to the earlier Shovelhead engine and the way it breathes. In 1994, Harley went to the "head breather system" which was better but it still gets oil into the air filter assembly.

There is one thing I saw on the aftermarket assessories market once called a "CatchCan". The breather tube ran to it and it seperated the oil from the air and the held it in a small container to be emptied on a regular basis. I have never used one nor have I ever seen one so all I can tell you is what the book said. Matter of fact, I cannot remember where I saw it now. Custom Chorme catalog, maybe. Good Luck, Steve

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