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Sportster Motorcycle Transmission, Clutch, Primary & Secondary Drive Transmission, Clutch and primary or secondary drive problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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  #1  
Old 9th April 2017
frittatta frittatta is offline
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Default 1970 sporty, hard to crank

Greets from sweden!
Iīve searched the forum and the interwebz and cant find any info or thread about this.

I bought a 1970xlch, ironhead, a couple of months ago. Probably it has been sitting without oil for a while, how long I canīt tell.
I started working on it a week or two ago and was about to adjust the valves. I put it in gear, reached for the back tire and tried to rotate the engine. And it was stuck, totally stuck. Couldnīt kick it around either at this point.
Then, after some thinking, I poored diesel through the sparkplugs thinking it would disolve any eventual rust inside of the cylinders.
A couple of days later, still no luck turning the engine over via the tire. But I was able to turn the engine over using a wrench on the crank nut. (spark plugs and valves removed.)
I worked that wrench pretty hard, got the engine turning a bit easier. At some points during the rotation itīs still hard to rotate it. Almost as itīs stuck again.
Yesterday I filled the motor with new oil, re-did the transmission, adjusted the valves.
I took a small lightbulb, sent it down via the sparkplug hole. The cylinder is smooth and shiny.

Now I can turn the engine over by using the kick, even if itīs sluggish. It still has two points during, I think, one rotation where it feels like getting stuck again. Me thinking that being when it turns from up- to down-stroke.
Rotating it with the back tire aint even worth tryinī.
If I have it in gear, the back wheel turns with the engine.

I donīt know where to look or what to do next. Iīm afraid that if I keep kicking it i might break it.

One idea I had was that I atleast should get the engine running, or atleast try and start it. So I was about to adjust the timing, so I was about to look for the timing mark. However, having the crank nut covered in itīs oily case I canīt turn the engine using that, and finding the timing mark using the kick is a nightmare.

It feels as if I checked the whole engine except the clutch.

Does someone recognize this problem? Any ideas, feeback or advice?

Thx in advance!
/Fred
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  #2  
Old 9th April 2017
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You may get a better response in the Ironhead section, for pre-1986 Sportsters.

It may require disassembly to determine, as post 70 of this thread shows a bike (206,000 miles) runiing with 1/2 the crank bearings gone.
http://xlforum.net/forums/s....php?t=2005408

However, seized bearings may be the issue.
Best to wait for responses from Ironhead owners.
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  #3  
Old 10th April 2017
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a good product to use is aero-kroil by kano industries for breaking free stuck pistons. you can use a soft object to determine position of the drag through the plug hole. if the cyls had a sizeable taper and the rings siezed in the larger area and when moving the pistons to the narrower area can cause drag since the rings can not move freely, just one option.
you need to pre-lube the engine because it sat so long before cranking. but to be safe, a D&C is usually a safe thing to do for a machine in this condition.
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  #4  
Old 10th April 2017
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You say it was sitting without oil for a while, was the oil tank empty? And did you fill the tank? When sitting oil can leak into the bottom end causing considerable drag.
Are you trying to turn the engine with the plugs in?
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Old 10th April 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bustert View Post
a good product to use is aero-kroil by kano industries for breaking free stuck pistons. you can use a soft object to determine position of the drag through the plug hole. if the cyls had a sizeable taper and the rings siezed in the larger area and when moving the pistons to the narrower area can cause drag since the rings can not move freely, just one option.
you need to pre-lube the engine because it sat so long before cranking. but to be safe, a D&C is usually a safe thing to do for a machine in this condition.
D&C?

Thx for the advice.
I'll probably remove the transmission chain and crank nut. Read somewhere that it could be the crank bearing.
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  #6  
Old 10th April 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefRex View Post
You say it was sitting without oil for a while, was the oil tank empty? And did you fill the tank? When sitting oil can leak into the bottom end causing considerable drag.
Are you trying to turn the engine with the plugs in?
Thank you for the advice!

There was a very small amount left in the oil tank and very little in the engine itself.
Is there an easy way to clean the "old" oil out Of the engine?
You say "bottom of the engine", does it clog up and become rubbery? Is there an easy way too get it out? Or does the engine chew it up?
I've changed the oil in the transmission and there was a lot of small flakes almost dusty metal.

I've removed the spark plugs and the pushrods.
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  #7  
Old 10th April 2017
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D&C = dig & see what is wrong
these old iron usually tolerate being setup long term. but iron and aluminum are dissimilar metals and will corrode together. so ring seizure is usually a first suspect. if it were me, i would pull the top end off to examine the piston assy and then do a rod shake and inspection. if the drag goes away, the rest of the bearings probably ok. it can come off in frame and all it cost is some time and gaskets. and since the top is off, check for cyl taper and for valve recession and seat leakage.

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Old 10th April 2017
frittatta frittatta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bustert View Post
D&C = dig & see what is wrong
these old iron usually tolerate being setup long term. but iron and aluminum are dissimilar metals and will corrode together. so ring seizure is usually a first suspect. if it were me, i would pull the top end off to examine the piston assy and then do a rod shake and inspection. if the drag goes away, the rest of the bearings probably ok. it can come off in frame and all it cost is some time and gaskets. and since the top is off, check for cyl taper and for valve recession and seat leakage.

Seems logic the rings would start to rust if the motor has been left with little or none oil in it.
Iīve had a small light bulb inside of the cylinders. They are all shiny and neat. But I guess that the rings could be in a worse state without leaving a mark inside of the cylinders?
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  #9  
Old 11th April 2017
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rings corrode in the piston lands and yes the do rust to the cylinder walls at times. stroking it over with diesel will wipe the walls but the rings can still be stuck.
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Old 16th February 2019
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Fill oil tank 1/2 eway put a half qt in lower end through timing plug hole with light oil plugs out attach a rope and put it in gear slowly tow it down the street spinning the motor over it might loosen up use 2nd gear what do you have to loose ? might work might not ?
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