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  #1  
Old 21st December 2018
Mike'sXL883 Mike'sXL883 is offline
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Default Oil tank building presure & blew out dip stick

Hi,

PLEASE DON'T DO WHAT I JUST DID! STEP BACK AND READ THIS FIRST IF YOU JUST BOUGHT AN OLD SPORTSTER THAT HAS BEEN SITTING FOREVER & IS BUILDING PRESSURE IN THE OIL TANK!

I just bought a 10 year old bike, a 2008 XL883C with 4K miles on it without riding or starting it. Sounds like a bad plan already.

It looked like a museum exhibit. The dude did not ride/start it for 2 years. Near perfect cosmetic condition.

The battery was original and was spent and would not take a jump or take a charge when I went to look at the bike. It had a flat front tire as well. So we could not get it started. That was probably a good thing too, because the gas was real bad. I checked the oil and it was down about 1-1/2 to 2 qts., which I thought could be a red flag but, I decided to take a chance and buy it anyways.

I got the bike home and I checked the primary case for oil and it was coming out like new, so I put the plug back in. put air in the tire. I flushed out all the old gas, which smelled real bad. I put a new battery in and filled the oil back to full line on the dip stick, along with putting in fresh gas in the gas tank. The bike started right up! Oh yah! Happy times!

Well I gave a few cranks on the throttle and it sounded sweet, with the drag pipes. No engine lights, no smoke, no goofy engine noises. AND THEN, BANG! THE DIP STICK BLEW RIGHT OUT OF THE OIL TANK AND WENT LIKE 10FT IN THE AIR AND SPEWED OIL EVERYWHERE!

So, I drained the oil down to the 1/2 way mark on the dip stick level (reading about 1qt low now). The oil was perfectly clean. So I started the bike back up with the dip stick out and the oil still was gushing over when it was running, and it was somewhat full of air bubbles and brown.

Well I shut the bike down and proceeded to this forum for any information on this issue. I was not able to find any thing that made sense for this problem I was having. In any event, I proceeded with the typical advice - I checked vent lines, check valves, oil pump, oil filter, compression, ect., Even pulled the cam cover off to inspect the oil passages.

THE ABOVE STUFF S IS NOT THE ISSUE HERE WITH A BIKE THAT HAS BEEN SITTING FOR A LONG TIME. PLEASE DO THIS 1ST BEFORE YOU TEAR INTO IT!

Please drain and change the engine oil & filter 1ST.

For some weird reason all the oil will drain down into the motor from the tank when it has been sitting for a long time and it will give a false reading on the dip stick. The Harley dealer where I bought the gasket for the cam cover said that this was a common issue with a bike that has been sitting for a long time. I wish when I searched this forum I would have found that advice. When I drained it, I had about 4.5 qts come out. It sucked because it all new synthetic and wasted.

Refilled it with the factory amount along with a new filter, and no more pressure. Bike is all good & runs great! I hope this helps someone avoid all the aggravation I just went through. God Bless....
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  #2  
Old 21st December 2018
shanneba shanneba is offline
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Default

Did you get the owner's manual with the bike?

If not you can download one from Harley Davidson here:
https://serviceinfo.harley-davidson....47004977401919

The oil sumping when parked is discussed here often, you might not have searched for sumping.

62954-10 OIL TANK ASSEMBLY
The oil tank was updated in 2010 and has a 10 psi pressure relief valve.
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  #3  
Old 21st December 2018
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Yep,
That condition is called wet sumping.
It is Very common with our Sportys.

Many people do the same as you did, assume the oil is low and over fill the tank.
The FSM says to run the engine up to operating temp before checking the oil.
That's to allow the scavenger gears to send oil sitting in the bottom of the sump back to the tank before checking the oil level.

But, if you just bought a used bike and not knowing the quantity of oil that's in the system,
As you said, it's best to drain what's there and refill with proper amount.
Of course, when draining cold, you will not get all of the existing oil to drain.
So, it may be better to drain and add the proper amount minus a half quart, run it up to temp and recheck.
Then add some more if needed.

Bet that was a mess.
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  #4  
Old 21st December 2018
Bored now Bored now is offline
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There is a drain plug for the sump, in the case at the back of the oil pump towards the rear. In a case like the OP it is best to drain both the tank and the sump and start from scratch. Too late for the OP but could help someone in the future.
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  #5  
Old 21st December 2018
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Who cares about the oil spewing and the lessons learned, where are the pictures of the bike???

And for bonus points, where are the pictures of the oily mess all over the place???

On a slightly more serious note, glad there was nothing major wrong with the bike and you figured it out. Congrats on the new ride
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  #6  
Old 21st December 2018
Mike'sXL883 Mike'sXL883 is offline
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Thank you everyone for the input and references, they will be helpful because the bike came with no manuals and I need to order a service manual. That (oil sumping/overfill) is one mistake I am never going to forget! The bike is still dripping with oil from the gusher, I have some papers under it to catch it. I am just glad the dip stick let loose and did not blow a seal or something. Ill post some pictures of it when I get a chance.
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  #7  
Old 21st December 2018
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Pulling the case drain plug can be shady.
If you decide to pull that plug, it's best to do it when the engine is hot.
Else you could possibly destroy the threads.
That plug can cold weld to the threads.
It's best to use the drain hose.

Else you may be in need of case thread repair.
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t...:ref:engmech01

edit:
This will only drain the tank though and only down to the level of the hose fitting at the tank.

You can take the return hose off at the tank,
lower the end to a container , put the transmission in high gear with the bike on a lift and spin the rear tire.
This will turn the engine over, while the scavenge gerotors push sump oil into the container.

That would even be easier with the primary or cam cover off as you could spin the engine over in neutral.

Last edited by Hippysmack; 21st December 2018 at 18:16..
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  #8  
Old 21st December 2018
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Adding to what Hippysmack just said...

The best shot you will have trying to pull a plug that has corroded itself into the case is with an air impact. The quick hammering can many times break it loose without splitting the case. Not always possible, and you may need thread repair as has already been mentioned. The worst case scenario is if you just put a breaker bar on it and muscle it out. You may hear a loud crack, and find a crack all the way across the case. I did that to my old Honda many years ago. I still slap myself in the head every time I think (ouch) of it.


At least on the Honda it was a cast oil pan rather than the case, and I found another at the junk yard. It was a different year, but I put it on the mill and got rid of a small casting change to get it to fit over the oil pump. It's still on that bike.

Oh... Sumping. On my 1250 build, it was still running 883 gearing, and a friend took it to Vegas and sumped it on the Baker grade after running a steady 95 MPH for a very long time. That heated the CKP to the point of meltdown from the heat that sumping generates. Somehow the CKP continued to work great while the bike pumped all the oil out of the CKP hole, all over his boot, leg, and the bike.

The 2008 you have I am sure has the newer oil pump, so sumping while riding should be much less possible. I have two new style oil pumps on the shelf and am going to replace on both of my bikes.

The moral of this story for everyone here is that with 883 gearing and an engine capable of steady 95 for miles after miles is a problem waiting to happen. Keep the steady speed in the range that the bike was designed for until you up the gearing or make sure it has the new oil pump already.
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  #9  
Old 21st December 2018
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For more sump oil removal during engine operation,
Yes, based off research, I would highly recommend all 91-06 owners to replace their oil pump with the 07 oil pump.
The pump itself is a direct swap.
All you have to change out is the fitting on the pump that leads to the filter.
(the 07 fitting has a different hose end thread but the threads on the pump side of that fitting are the same)

86-90 owners will benefit from any 91 and up oil pump.
That requires a little more work and the conversion article is here:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/techtalk:evoil03c


We have many comparison pics of Sportster oil pumps , including the different gerotors in the Sportsterpedia also.

Here is the page with all those links:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/techtalk:evoil03
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  #10  
Old 21st December 2018
Mike'sXL883 Mike'sXL883 is offline
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Default

The moral of my story is:

If you have a 2008 883C that has been sitting for 2 years and has a low oil indication on the dip stick, keep it simple and don't over complicate the problem.

Change the oil and filter first, but keep it about a 1qt low with the cap off and see if it is still pumping up when you run it. If not top off, if it is, then refer to the Sumping threads and tare into it if you keep blowing dip sticks

Thanks for all the info & good luck!

I hope this post helps someone avoid the headache of this oil level anomaly from prolonged sitting.
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