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Sportster Motorcycle Air intake, Carburetor, EFI, Fuel, and Exhaust Problems, advice and/or how tos for Sporster and Buell motorcycle carburators, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), Air Intake, Fuel and Exhaust.

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1250 conversion, breather, oil, oil blow by

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  #1  
Old 22nd June 2012
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Default Breather / oil blow by

have a 1250 conversion that i've been running for a couple years, in an effort to try and control the oil coming out of the breather i've always ran a hose to a filter on the under side of bike. Prior to rebuild i'd have to change that filter once a year before it would start dripping. With the 1250 conversion the filter would fill up in about 200 miles and drip / spray oil everywhere. This made sense to me because the conversion increases the crankcase pressures. So i've tried two catch canisters now (kuryakan & EBOC) which haven't helped too much. the problem is they capture the oil but the mist still saturates the filter at which point it begins spraying everywhere again within 200 miles. I've tried only running 2 quarts of oil and replaced the butterfly seals in the rocker boxes with really no noticeable change. I've checked the compression in the jugs to make sure something hasn't changed where i'm getting more piston ring leakage...all seems to be in spec (front 183psi, rear 190psi). the only other difference is the bike is lowered 1/2inch in the rear...not sure if that has something to do with it but it doesn't seem to make sense that that would contribute since the butterfly seals sit at the high point of the v in the motor. probably try to check the butterfly seals again but really at a loss on this one. Anyone else have similar issues...any more heavy duty butterfly seals available on the market? i've seen the idea of breathing off the cam cover which is a great idea but don't want to head that route just yet. thanks
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  #2  
Old 22nd June 2012
Deimus Deimus is offline
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In order to be blowing so much oil, your crankcase must be venting a lot of gasses. The question is then what is the source of those gasses. You could be getting the gasses into the crankcase from the compression chamber. I know you did a compression test but also do a leak down test before you rule out blow-by completely.

If you do rule out blow-by as the source, then something is allowing air to be sucked into the crankcase space during the upstroke of your pistons. First to check would be the umbrella valves. The umbrella valves are your one way valves to allow the pressures out but not allow any gasses back in. I don't actually know the best way to test these. Ah, if you attach a low pressure gauge to your vent line and pressurize it, then you could watch to see if the valves hold this pressure. Kind of a leak down test for the umbrella valves.

If both leak down tests show good results, then it would seem your source must be a leaking gasket allowing air into the crankcase during the pistons upstroke. Remember that the o-ring on your oil cap is a seal as well. Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 25th June 2012
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Originally Posted by Deimus View Post
In order to be blowing so much oil, your crankcase must be venting a lot of gasses. The question is then what is the source of those gasses. You could be getting the gasses into the crankcase from the compression chamber. I know you did a compression test but also do a leak down test before you rule out blow-by completely.

If you do rule out blow-by as the source, then something is allowing air to be sucked into the crankcase space during the upstroke of your pistons. First to check would be the umbrella valves. The umbrella valves are your one way valves to allow the pressures out but not allow any gasses back in. I don't actually know the best way to test these. Ah, if you attach a low pressure gauge to your vent line and pressurize it, then you could watch to see if the valves hold this pressure. Kind of a leak down test for the umbrella valves.

If both leak down tests show good results, then it would seem your source must be a leaking gasket allowing air into the crankcase during the pistons upstroke. Remember that the o-ring on your oil cap is a seal as well. Good luck.
i purchased some umbrella valves over the weekend and will probably change them out after i do the leak down check assuming that's good. i checked and made sure that the pressure is pushing out of breather and not also sucking in. As a band aid for the moment i'm running the EBOC and put some steel wool in there to reduce the velocity of the oil mist prior to i hitting and saturating the filter. seems to work better but until i go burn a tank of gas on the highway i won't know for sure. I did talk to dan over at NRHS to get his opinion and he said humidity can play a huge factor in how much crap comes out of the breather. played around with my oil cooler over the weekend to also make sure my oil is getting warm enough to get rid of the extra moisture w/out thinning out the oil too much. thanks for the replies!
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  #4  
Old 26th June 2012
Deimus Deimus is offline
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Originally Posted by thinktank View Post
i purchased some umbrella valves over the weekend and will probably change them out after i do the leak down check assuming that's good. i checked and made sure that the pressure is pushing out of breather and not also sucking in. As a band aid for the moment i'm running the EBOC and put some steel wool in there to reduce the velocity of the oil mist prior to i hitting and saturating the filter. seems to work better but until i go burn a tank of gas on the highway i won't know for sure. I did talk to dan over at NRHS to get his opinion and he said humidity can play a huge factor in how much crap comes out of the breather. played around with my oil cooler over the weekend to also make sure my oil is getting warm enough to get rid of the extra moisture w/out thinning out the oil too much. thanks for the replies!
I hope your leak down test shows good ring seal; however, since you didn't detect any sucking back in through the breather pipe I have to suspect that your source of excess crankcase gasses will turn out to be blow-by.

I do hope you find the cause of your excess venting. Especially since you want to continue using the head vents which will always carry a load of oil with it.
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  #5  
Old 22nd June 2012
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How full do you fill the tank?
At 1/2 to 2/3 up from the low line, I had a lot less issues with oil in my air filter, etc.
That is not to discount Deimus' comments
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  #6  
Old 25th June 2012
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Originally Posted by sportsterdoc View Post
How full do you fill the tank?
At 1/2 to 2/3 up from the low line, I had a lot less issues with oil in my air filter, etc.
That is not to discount Deimus' comments
I keep it a quart low, most the time the oil barely hits the dipstick
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  #7  
Old 23rd June 2012
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This just happened to me this morning ... I think. It's hard to tell, because there is oil everywhere. Nothing of the sort happened like this from 1989 to about 2005. Then one day I was riding and the guy behind me thought I blew a gasket, there was smoke and oil everywhere, and oil was dripping out of the air cleaner. After some research, (here) I found out about the crank case vent and how, from the factory, it vents into the air cleaner. I did the fix where I put the hose to a filter down low on the frame. No problems since then. Oh, I've noticed some times after a ride there is some smoke coming out the filter or there is a teeny bit of oil dripping down, but nothing really bad.

Until this morning. I checked the oil, and it was low, so I added some. I am absolutely sure I did not add too much. It was just over the line. Within 3 miles, I see smoke coming up from the engine, and when I look down, there is oil everywhere - all over my shoe, my pant legs, the engine, the pipes, there was oil all the way back to the end of the pipes. I take her home and check it out. Sure enough, that little crankcase filter is just oozing oil, and when I check the oil, it doesn't even touch the dipstick. WTF.

Why does this happen? What makes her decide to puke up that nice fresh dino juice she loves so much? It was not really that hot out (86*), I was not romping on the throttle, hardly any traffic so we were moving along at a reasonable clip for an air cooled engine ... it looks so disastrous...smoke and the smell of burning oil everywhere. If it did it regular or often, I would suspect those butterfly valves and do the pressure check described above. But it doesn't. It happened once in 2005, again in about 2007 (after "The Fix") and now in 2012. I wonder why, what sort of curious random circumstances have to happen for her to just decide to vent a pint of oil all over herself and me.
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  #8  
Old 23rd June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Baazzoo View Post
This just happened to me this morning ... I think. It's hard to tell, because there is oil everywhere. Nothing of the sort happened like this from 1989 to about 2005. Then one day I was riding and the guy behind me thought I blew a gasket, there was smoke and oil everywhere, and oil was dripping out of the air cleaner. After some research, (here) I found out about the crank case vent and how, from the factory, it vents into the air cleaner. I did the fix where I put the hose to a filter down low on the frame. No problems since then. Oh, I've noticed some times after a ride there is some smoke coming out the filter or there is a teeny bit of oil dripping down, but nothing really bad.

Until this morning. I checked the oil, and it was low, so I added some. I am absolutely sure I did not add too much. It was just over the line. Within 3 miles, I see smoke coming up from the engine, and when I look down, there is oil everywhere - all over my shoe, my pant legs, the engine, the pipes, there was oil all the way back to the end of the pipes. I take her home and check it out. Sure enough, that little crankcase filter is just oozing oil, and when I check the oil, it doesn't even touch the dipstick. WTF.

Why does this happen? What makes her decide to puke up that nice fresh dino juice she loves so much? It was not really that hot out (86*), I was not romping on the throttle, hardly any traffic so we were moving along at a reasonable clip for an air cooled engine ... it looks so disastrous...smoke and the smell of burning oil everywhere. If it did it regular or often, I would suspect those butterfly valves and do the pressure check described above. But it doesn't. It happened once in 2005, again in about 2007 (after "The Fix") and now in 2012. I wonder why, what sort of curious random circumstances have to happen for her to just decide to vent a pint of oil all over herself and me.
The smoke coming out of your filter, is mostly condensation...so nothing to worry about there. As far as the oil dripping out of that filter, over time the oil vapor eliminated builds up in that filter and saturates it. It's a good idea to change that filter out once in a while. As to your butterfly valves, how long has it been since you changed them?
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  #9  
Old 23rd June 2012
Deimus Deimus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Baazzoo View Post
This just happened to me this morning ... I think. It's hard to tell, because there is oil everywhere. Nothing of the sort happened like this from 1989 to about 2005. ...
You should do a leak down test on your bike to see if wear in your engine over these years has created a blow-by condition. If the leak down test is good, then you should probably just replace your butterfly valves or you could also try a pressurized leak down test on them to ensure they are not allowing your engine to suck air back into the crankcase. But somewhere there is a source of air/gasses entering your crankcase space.

The issue with the vents being located in the heads is that it is an oil rich environment. So if your bike starts venting much air from the crankcase, then it is going to carry oil with it. The original engineers did not locate the crankcase vent in the heads. That change was made much later. Probably for aesthetic reasons since the EPA requires the vented air be routed back to the intake so it will be drawn into the engine and burned.
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  #10  
Old 25th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Baazzoo View Post
This just happened to me this morning ... I think. It's hard to tell, because there is oil everywhere. Nothing of the sort happened like this from 1989 to about 2005. Then one day I was riding and the guy behind me thought I blew a gasket, there was smoke and oil everywhere, and oil was dripping out of the air cleaner. After some research, (here) I found out about the crank case vent and how, from the factory, it vents into the air cleaner. I did the fix where I put the hose to a filter down low on the frame. No problems since then. Oh, I've noticed some times after a ride there is some smoke coming out the filter or there is a teeny bit of oil dripping down, but nothing really bad.

Until this morning. I checked the oil, and it was low, so I added some. I am absolutely sure I did not add too much. It was just over the line. Within 3 miles, I see smoke coming up from the engine, and when I look down, there is oil everywhere - all over my shoe, my pant legs, the engine, the pipes, there was oil all the way back to the end of the pipes. I take her home and check it out. Sure enough, that little crankcase filter is just oozing oil, and when I check the oil, it doesn't even touch the dipstick. WTF.

Why does this happen? What makes her decide to puke up that nice fresh dino juice she loves so much? It was not really that hot out (86*), I was not romping on the throttle, hardly any traffic so we were moving along at a reasonable clip for an air cooled engine ... it looks so disastrous...smoke and the smell of burning oil everywhere. If it did it regular or often, I would suspect those butterfly valves and do the pressure check described above. But it doesn't. It happened once in 2005, again in about 2007 (after "The Fix") and now in 2012. I wonder why, what sort of curious random circumstances have to happen for her to just decide to vent a pint of oil all over herself and me.
it gets frustrating because it's pretty damn messy but glad to see another sox fan on the forum!
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