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

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  #1  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
porch_hornet porch_hornet is offline
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Default Oil leak from rear sprocket cover lower bolt

After several months of a night here, and a weekend afternoon there, the 1977 XLCH I bought from a friend is running. I rode it about three miles in my neighborhood. When I got back, I noticed oil all over the back tire. Turns out it was dripping from the lower bolt that holds the sprocket cover on. Now, the bolt in the picture, is not stock, nor is its installation correct. The hole is stripped so the previous owner did what you see in the pic. My question is, beyond holding the sprocket cover on, what is the function of this hole? I was surprised that any oil was coming from it at all. I didn't think it terminated in the trans box where oil could travel through it. My plan is to use a helicoil to repair the stripped threads, and then use a copper or fiber washer with the correct bolt and lock washer to seal it up. Any info on what this hole is and why oil would leak from it would be appreciated. I didn't see anything in the shop manual.


Last edited by porch_hornet; 3 Weeks Ago at 19:05.. Reason: Edit picture
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not sure why harley saw fit to make that a through hole for that bolt, but instead of a fiber washer, which might make the cover sit cocked, i think it would better to use a little teflon tape or some plumbers pipe dope on the bolt to seal it up after your helicoil repair.
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That hole does go right thru into the trans compartment, which is the source of the leaking oil. I recall that the correct bolt length is 1", but my recollection may be incorrect so do get confirmation.
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Had the same problem with my 77 XLH. When I rebuilt the trans, I cleaned the inside of the trans cavity and sealed the through hole with JB Weld. After it cured, I put the sprocket cover on and measured the depth. Got a new cap screw and tightened it up. Hasn't leaked since. Sorry, I do not remember the new screw length.
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I ended up removing a bad helicoil, cleaning the threads with the tap, and installing a new helicoil. With that, some Teflon tape, and a dab of ultra black on the bolt, no more leak. Thanks guys. I appreciate the assist.

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