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Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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  #1  
Old 17th November 2012
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Default Does your oil filler cap pop out? Here's a cheap and easy fix!

A few times this year I noticed my oil cap mysteriously popped up. Not an uncommon problem if you read some of the threads. At first it was just annoying, until it got to the point where it would not stay down, a situation that could prove embarrassing in public, but I digress

I didn't really have the cash for a new one or a cap with the built-in temp guage. I figured a solution might present itself with a little investigation, so here is what I found.

One of the first symptoms is that the cap will not stay flush, but will protrude maybe an eighth of an inch above the tank surface. Eventually it would not click down in place at all. Take a close look just under the cap, where the plunger enters the body. If you see the black sleeve protruding above the grey body, as indicated by the right side arrow here, you have your first indicator of the problem. The sleeve should be flush around the perimeter as shown by the left side arrow.

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Old 17th November 2012
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To disassemble, find the two square tabs on the side and push each one in, and the mechanism will pop out under spring pressure.



This is what you will have, notice the ratchet spring on the side, note how it fits for re-assembly later

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Old 17th November 2012
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Now take a look at the bottom of the 'sleeve' you will see that it is two halves held together by two very thin sections of plastic, or as in the circled areas below... not!

In my case, the thin connecting material was cracked, and broke out when I removed the sleeve.


Here are all the components, minus the broken out pieces. The sleeve is now in two halves.
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Old 17th November 2012
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Now here we can see the second poor design choice, notice the locking tabs are both on one half of the sleeve, the other side is free to slide inside the body. As long as the sleeve is joined together in one piece that's fine, but the bottom thin section is prone to cracking, possibly because one side is locked and the other moves up and down ever so slightly, each time the cap is popped. Once this fails, the 'loose' side will protrude up as seen in the very first image in this thread... and guess what? That is also the side with the ratchet spring, which adds additional up and down drag every time the mechanism is worked, accelerating the failure.

Stupid, huh?

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Old 17th November 2012
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The Solution

My fix? Re-assemble the mechanism and install a set-screw to hold the loose side in place. I found a brass screw from an electrical lug, it was short enough not to interfere with the moving plunger, while long enough to screw through the grey plastic body and into the black inner sleeve. Find a way to hold the sleeve down flush with the outer body and drill a hole slightly smaller than the screw thread. Drill it right through both the body and sleeve. I did it with the plunger installed, but it would be smarter to leave it out altogether. Drive the screw into the plastic, it will cut its own thread (that's why you drill a smaller hole)

...and voila



Here's what it looks like from the inside. I was a little hasty in picking my spot and put the screw partially in the slot, which would have nullified the fix



A smarter choice would have been into one of the lugs as indicated.

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Old 17th November 2012
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The entire operation shouldn't take more than an hour, if you take your time. The only items required are a small screwdriver to push in the locking tabs, a set screw, an appropriate drill bit and drill to spin it with. The end result works like new, and if you want to get fancy, you can find a small flat head screw, countersink the hole and drive the screw head flush for a better-than original look and function.

That's all, ride safe
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Old 17th November 2012
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Great idea.
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Old 17th November 2012
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Thanks for posting this! I noticed my filler cap sticking up a little bit. Now I know why.




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Old 17th November 2012
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Great write up. This is what this forum is really good at. Great job!
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Good report and a lot of effort make it. Thanks...
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