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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #11  
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The oil pump check valve plays a role in the operation of the oil pressure switch.




The check valve is not a pass through but instead a cartridge type one way check valve operated by a spring loaded cup against a seat pressing at 4-6 PSI.
Oil pressure enters the center of the check valve, lifts the cup against its spring and exits the check valve by pushing around and past the cup and into the engine.
At a point, the cup will float off it's seat up against the spring towards the end of it's travel.

According to the FSM, the check valve has two main functions;
It prevents gravity oil drainage from the tank to the engine when not in operation.
It also acts as a restriction to activate the oil pressure switch.

Without the check valve, the pressure would not build up as much in the pump.
It would free flow into the crankcase and disperse.
With the check valve installed and the oil having to find it's way around the cup, pressure builds behind it.
This back pressure builds inside the pump and pushes the pressure switch contacts open, shutting off the oil light.

The cup will stay off it's seat and open as long as there is sufficient oil pressure pushing against its spring.
This spring actuates the 4-6 PSI pressure that the pump must overcome.
If there is not enough oil pressure coming from the pump to keep the check valve cup completely or partially off it's seat;
The back pressure from the spring will push the cup toward it's seat, or closed position, equal to the amount of minimum pressure loss from the pump.

Until the seat is fully closed, the remaining oil pressure will still try to push past the cup.
At a point, the pressure from the pump will not be sufficient to completely float the cup off it's seat.
So, the cup will turn sideways a bit only allowing oil to pass it on one side.



This reduction in pressure is also sensed by the oil pressure switch.
When the pressure drops, the diaphragm eases back toward the closed position.
If the pressure is low enough, the contacts will close or partially make contact while closing or intermittently opening and closing.
The oil light will come on or flicker depending on the action of the contacts.


The pressure switch requires no back pressure from the engine to stay open.
It opens solely from the pressure generated from the oil pump with the assistance of the check valve to hold some of that pressure in the pump.
So, it is possible but not likely to have a stuck closed check valve with no oil light on.
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Low pressure - high volume. Don't try to improve on perfection.
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Like tacho's, they'll just scare you if you look at 'em.

Anyway, you should be looking at the road, not instruments. That's dangerous.

An idiot light is good on a bike. It might attract your attention if it does come on. A gauge won't.
Would probably be better if we hooked the idiot light into the ignition system so it killed the engine if we lost oil pressure.

Nah, next we'll be dreaming about electric starters or some kind of fancy turn signal things. Where will it all end ? Solar powered electric Harley's ?
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really???
where is the position in relation to the pump???
oil pressure is a result of engine restriction, truth told, the pressure switch will work with the check removed.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryder rick View Post
An oil pressure gauge is useless on an Ironhead.

You cant see a gauge at night and there are no gauges made that will accurately display 3psi that you will see at a hot idle and not blow up with 80psi on a cold start. (Plus the vibration issue)

Keep the light it is the right choice.
absolutely.listen to rick.
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