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Sportster Models 883, 883 Custom, 1200 Custom, 883L, 1200L, 1200S, 1200 Roadster, XR1200, and the Nightster.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:25 AM
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GB_FXST GB_FXST is offline
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Default 1999 1200S; Dry Oil Tank / Oil in the crankcase

1999 1200S; Dry Oil Tank / Oil in the crankcase

After committing the sin of allowing the bike to sit too long, I noticed that the oil tank is completely dry. I am pretty confident that the oil has drained down into the crankcase, as it did not simply disappear.

Can anyone please share some insight as to what failed to allow the oil to drain to the crankcase? I do have a service manual, and the oil flow diagram notes an oil flow “check-ball” in the filter mount. Is this offending part, or is there another check-ball or valve?

Lastly, I intend to fix the problem (either myself (if any easy fix), or at the dealership), but is there any risk or harm in running it as is?

Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:32 AM
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I can't tell you for certain if its the check ball or not....But I can tell you for certain not to run it that condition.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:57 PM
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Yes, it's the "check-ball" that's letting the oil leak down. The check valve may be bad or just hung open from a bit of debris.

I would add 1 quart of oil to the tank and fire it up. Leave the cap off the oil tank and let the bike run at a fast idle for a few (5-10?) minutes keeping an eye on the oil level in the tank. YES, this may cause there to be too much oil in the system once the oil is pumped back up from the sump but you can suck the excess out with a turkey baster.

Once you have the oil level stabilized in the tank, I recommend 1/2 way between the ADD & FULL marks, take the bike out for a nice long ride. After you get back, monitor the oil level for several days and see if it's still leaking down. If so, replace the check valve.

Also, if you haven't changed your oil lately, you might want to do so, AFTER you have the oil back in the tank.
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Last edited by cHarley; 02-22-2010 at 04:07 PM..
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:00 PM
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What he said. Excellent post. Softails and sportsters have had this leak down problem forever. Sometimes it will only take a few weeks and you can tell that the oil is lower in the tank. I wouldn't even add oil, just leave the oil fill cap off and watch the level come up after you start the engine.

Bwana
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwana1 View Post
What he said. Excellent post. Softails and sportsters have had this leak down problem forever. Sometimes it will only take a few weeks and you can tell that the oil is lower in the tank. I wouldn't even add oil, just leave the oil fill cap off and watch the level come up after you start the engine.

Bwana
The problem with that, is that he said the oil tank was dry and that means he will have no oil supply to the motor when he starts it. It takes a while to get enough oil back into the tank so that it is available to flow back down and lube the motor. If it was just a case of the oil level being low in the tank, that would be different.

I say better safe than sorry, even if you have to remove the excess later.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:03 PM
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Thank you all very much for your replies.

I added a quart of oil, let the bike idle for a bit, and oil has now returned to the tank. I wll change the oil.

I assume that the next step is to monitor the oil level, and fix the check-ball if the problem persists, correct?

Thanks again!
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:52 PM
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Thanks for the info.
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617 Mach1 on NOS (Rotax)
1996 D3500 V10 425hp 600+lbs tq.
1996 HD 1250 XLH "Custom" Stage 2 Heads, SE.497 Cams, SE Prog. Race Ignition.
A Tiger Doesn't Lose Sleep Over the Opinion of Sheep.
Vet: ★US ARMY 78 - 81★Patriot Guard Rider ID#45266 07/06/06★
1996 HD 1250 XLH
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:20 PM
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Nothing has failed that is normal, the check ***** leak on all the old bikes, that's why they tell you to start and run the bike before changing oil or you will over fill the oil bag and it will blow oil all over the place on startup.
You guys got to stop giving advice when you don't know what you're talking about on the older bikes.
Sure hope this guy doesn't go out and waste a bunch of money now trying to fix something that's not broken.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jag1886 View Post
Nothing has failed that is normal, the check ***** leak on all the old bikes, that's why they tell you to start and run the bike before changing oil or you will over fill the oil bag and it will blow oil all over the place on startup.
You guys got to stop giving advice when you don't know what you're talking about on the older bikes.
Sure hope this guy doesn't go out and waste a bunch of money now trying to fix something that's not broken.
Well to an extent your right, as long as the oil bag (tank) isn't empty. But only an a$$hat would recommend cranking a bike with an empty oil bag.

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IF YOU CAN'T RIDE IT OR TAKE IT TO BED, IT AIN'T WORTH HAVING


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:43 PM
 
 
 
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1200s, 1999, 883, 99, crankcase, fill, filling, harley, issues, leaks, oil, quarts, sportster, tank, xlh, xr1200


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