Question about 2000 Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic

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Harley Evo blowing oil through air filter. Isn't

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Well, there is an "umbrella valve" in each of the center sections of the rocker box. These can and do get brittle from the repeated heating and cooling. They do a good job of keeping the bulk of oil out of the air filter but they can't get it all. As will all previous Harleys, they blow a bit of oil and those that relieve their crankcase pressure into the air filter do still make a mess that must be cleaned out occasionally. But, it shouldn't be excessive. Excessive blowby on the rings can exaggerate the problem.

To replace the "umbrella valves", simply take the bolts out of the rocker box cover and replace the gaskets and the valve. You will have to pull the fuel tanks to do this job.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on May 21, 2011

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Hi, Stacey it's called "WET SUMPING" most Harley's with external oil pumps if left sitting for weeks or months will eventually let the oil tank contents drain pass the oil pump check ball and fill up the bottom end of the crankcase when the bike is started the excess oil will gush out of the breather vent and if routed to the air cleaner will also flood the filter. This messy condition will continue until the bottom end is forcibly emptied by the flywheels or manually drained if there is a plug. There are 3 options you may want to consider:
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My 1994 FLSTC keeps blowing out the front top rocker arm box seal every few thousand miles. Mechanic said it is due to poor design that year on how seal sits? Any suggestions?


Go tell your mechanic that he doesn't know what he's talking about. I own a 1994 FXDWG and the only thing it does is seep a bit of oil on the rear cylinder base gasket. Your '94 model Evo engine is what we call a "head breather" in that the crankcase pressure is vented into the air filter through hollow "union bolts" that go into each head. If you or someone else has changed these bolts to eliminate the "breathing" effect, crankcase pressure can build in the engine causing it to blow the gaskets. Another thing that could be wrong is that your breather gear in the crankcase may have a broken tooth on it. This is the rotating "valve" that allows your crankcase to evacuate the oil into the cam chest so that the oil pump can pump it back to the oil tank. The gear is made of plastic and the teeth on the gear will break off. When this happens, the "valve" will either stop turning or become out of time with the crankshaft causing excessive pressure in the engine. Also, when installing the new seals, the middle and upper rocker box covers must be aligned properly to ensure the seal is not squeezed out or pinched.

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1 Answer

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Regrettably, this is a common problem. The EPA requires that air vented from the crankcase be circulated through the engine to be burned. Since a Harley engine is a V-Twin engine with a single crankpin, the crankcase pressure is quite high with both of those pistons going downward at the same time. That is why Harley moved the crankcase vents to the heads in 1993. This helps but there is still some oil mist in the vented air and it will accumulate over time. This requires that you periodically clean the air filter cover out to keep most of the oil build up from dripping out. If the oil blowby is too bad, you may need to consider having a leak down test run on the engine to check the condition of the rings. Also, there are some "umbrella seals" in the rocker box covers that may need to be replaced.

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1 Answer

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The EPA requires that all crankcase vented air pressure be run through the engine to be burned. In order to comply with this, the crankcase vented air is vented through a hole in each head and is carried to the air filter by large hollow bolts called "union bolts". There is one on either side of the air filter element. Since the vented air has an oil mist in it, this mist will eventually build up in the air cleaner and drip out or be blown out by the wind. You should clean this buildup out of the air filter assembly regularily. If the build up is excessive, it could be due to excessive crankcase pressure due to wear in the rings or it could be caused by the umbrella seals in the center rocker box cover not sealing well. Replacing the umbrella seals is simply but it requires the removal of the rocker box covers. To get the covers off, you'll have to remove the fuel tank.

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1 Answer

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3 Answers

Where does the oil go from tank when bike sits a long time?


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1 Answer

Oil blowing out through air-filter,rough running,engine light comes on,tries to cut off.stop then shut down for a few min. then usually runs ok till next ride.was told to clean "breather tubes,air filter...


Your '98 Evo motor is what they call a "head breater" engine. This means that the crankcase ventilation is at the upper end of the heads rather than way down at the lower end of the engine like it used to be. They the first year for the "head breaters" was 1994.

Now, At the top of the heads where the rocker boxes are, there are three pieces. The lower rocker plate with the rocker arms in it, the middle piece and the upper cover. If you take the four bolts out, you'll see an umbrella valve in the middle piece of the rocker boxes. This valve is a replacable rubber piece. Over time and many times of heating up and cooling down, they can get brittle and allow a lot of blowby resulting in oil in your air filter element.

Now there is another part in the cam chest that has a lot of effect on the operation of the crankcase breather system on your bike. This part is called the "breather gear" and is located down in the cam chest to the rear of the camshaft. In you bike, the part is made of plastic if it's the original part. I have seen the teeth break off of the drive gear and the breather gear stop turning. This will screw up the "breathing cycle" on your engine and cause it to "blow oil". Usually, the oil pump locks up when this happens due to the plastic teeth getting in the oil pump but not always. If this eventually turns out to be your problem, have the mechanic or yourself install one of the new S&S reed valve type breather gear replacements. They don't turn at all and work absolutely great. The part is about a hundred dollars but it's well worth it. Solves the old broken breather gear problem that has plauged the Evo engine it's entire life.

There are no "screens" in the Evo engine other than the "tappet oil screen". Just in front of the oil pump is a screw plug that is in the engine cases itself. If you remove this plug, there is a small spring and cone shaped screen that filters the oil prior to it going to your tappets. This should be cleaned every other oil change but it has nothing to do with the oil in your breather.

Now some riders will tell you that if you allow your Harley to sit for any length of time that it will "oil sump" with you. By this, they mean that oil will seep past the check ball in your oil pump and pool up in your crankcase. When you start the engine up, oil will be blown into your oil filter. Not true on your Ultra. The bikes that will oil sump are the Sportsters, Softails, Shovelheads, or any bike that the oil tank is higher than the oil pump on the frame. On your Ultra, the oil tank is on the bottom of the transmission. Your bike will not "oil sump" unless you have a sheared key in your oil pump or the oil has somehow learned how climb. You oil tank is below your pump in other words and oil does not flow uphill.

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