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Old 05-15-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
govmule84
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Default Shovel sumping to primary?

Alright fellers... sorry about the long read; just wanna be accurate.

Buddy buys '81 FLH Shovelhead, appears to be an 80 in. (10 fins is a 74 incher, and 9 fins an 80 inch, right?)

Guy he bought it from knows fuck-all about the bike. Been setting a while, guy thinks it's got fucked up oil lines, because it's puking oil into the primary.

I got a diagram of the oil lines from the factory manual (fuck, that is a lot of lines. Four hundred and twelve separate vent lines.) I couldn't see every inch of every line, but it looked like the shit was all where it was supposed to be. Jim's aftermarket pump, but the line routing looked pretty close to stock, I guess.

I put a battery in. I opened the inspection cover, and oil barfs out. I put new 20w50 about halfway up in the oil bag, and start it. Bitch comes to life, and the oil pressure starts climbing to about fifty pounds, and the top end seems noisy. (The whole thing was noisy - drag pipes in a concrete garage!) Open the primary, pukes everywhere.

I repeated this process three times, and finally, the oil level in the bag stopped dropping, the clacking up top stopped, she put out a solid forty pounds of pressure at fast idle without climbing, and the primary stopped filling. (I think - it sure as shit slowed down if it didn't stop!)

Is this normal? I assume the check ball either wasn't seating or had some crap between the ball and seat, and since the bike has some odds-and-ends safety bullshit that needs pretty immediate attention, told him to check the primary level again after he next started it to see how bad it's sumping. (The bike sat for like five years or some crazy shit.) I figured if it did the same shit, we'd try and clean up his seat with a new check ball or some lapping compound, but if it was in pretty good shape, we'd chalk it up to the long spell it just sat for.

But can this feeding into the primary chaincase happen? Instead of crapping through the vent onto the garage floor, can Shovels offload that oil into the primary? I watched it for a bit with the inspection cover off, and it was fucking puking in there at the beginning of this little science experiment, but it seems to have stemmed right down to nothin'. I've only really worked on Blockheads, and those have sealed primaries, so I'm in the dark on this one. I pronounced this bike drivable for the time being, but I told him I'd ask all of you guys to give me a green light before it got my blessing - did I do right, or just fuck my buddy?

Thanks!
-L.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Anybody?
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

http://www.shovelhead.us/specs/oil/oil.htm
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Several folks have directed me to this now on some other forums, and I am confused. I understand why one would wish to isolate a primary, but I don't see how this helps me figure this problem out.

I suppose if it were isolated, I could figure out once and for all whether or not the leak was a crank seal, but that seems like a shitload of work.

I was really hoping someone who owns a Shovel could pipe up and say "Yep, that happened to me!" or "Nope, kid, you're gonna fuck that bike up!"

I'm not really sure if sealing the primary is a good diagnostic tool here.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Well.....here is my take.

You want to find out where the oil is coming from...
Plug all lines going to the primary and ride the bike....

The return line at the back, lower part of the primary wouldn't be needed to plug....Unless there is something up with the breather valve..Which I doubt.
You would want to check this line..If it was pinched off would have the oil building up in the primary.

This test is for the case race passing oil by and filling the primary..The return has big time suck going on ...(Or should have) ...Very uncommon for the race to come loose on a Shovel case so maybe , perhaps this is not the problem going on...But, has been known to happen....Mostly from Hot-Dog riding.

Could be the chain oiler feeding the primary has went nuts....
Also the vent line that tee's into the primary could be a suspect.
Can't really see the vent line being the problem cause for it's high on the crankcase.....Oil would have a big time getting to that level in the motor case to fill the primary...

Last edited by Dragstews; 05-16-2012 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Thanks, Jesse.

I'm comfortable tearing it apart, no prob... my problem is twofold.

First, the problem stopped! Hard to find a problem that's gone.

Second, I'm afraid to run the bike with no history, (what was) mounting oil pressure, and an original bottom with 76 thousand on the ticker.

I hadn't thought about it, but the battery was parked on top of a wad of hoses. Perhaps the return (from the primary) was kinked up in there.

You guys are smart!
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

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Originally Posted by govmule84 View Post

You guys are smart!
Maybe 30 years ago we was...
Now....Mostly just lucky.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

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Originally Posted by govmule84 View Post
..........First, the problem stopped! Hard to find a problem that's gone.


"(The bike sat for like five years or some crazy shit.)"


Let it sit another 5 years and it'll probably be back. Until it's cranked again.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

It was parked for 5 years which allowed it to wet sump into the primary. It quit doing it cause now you're riding it regular and it isn't wet sumping from sitting for years. Check where your crankcase vent line goes....
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry T View Post
"(The bike sat for like five years or some crazy shit.)"


Let it sit another 5 years and it'll probably be back. Until it's cranked again.
Larry T
....Five Years....???.....

Must have not read that part...
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:17 AM   #11
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Quote:
(The bike sat for like five years or some crazy shit.)
Yep. I know all about sumping, but Shovels are not something I get to work on often (I'm purty young, all my friends are broke. Mostly I see Jap bikes, but occasionally the odd rich guy walks in with an Evo.)

I wasn't sure if they could sump into the primary under normal conditions. I've definitely seen them sump out of the vent hose onto the garage floor, but not the primary - Evos are all sealed.
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

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Originally Posted by Creepinogie View Post
It was parked for 5 years which allowed it to wet sump into the primary. It quit doing it cause now you're riding it regular and it isn't wet sumping from sitting for years. Check where your crankcase vent line goes....
I did. Goes to atmosphere. But, there's also that fucking setup that moves oil between the bag, engine, and primary that's confusing me some. I'm starting to think on this, and I think if the lines are run short, without a loop (acting like a sink drain's P-trap), and a sumpin' check ball, the case may drain into the primary due to the lean angle of the bike on the jiffy stand.

I'm not a genius, but thinkin' on this for a few days sure is starting to help.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

The oil is gonna go to the lowest point, that's usually into the bottom end. But with the set up that has the chain lubed by engine oil, the primary is tied into the oil pump (I think that's where it's tied in, haven't dealt with one lately) and will sump through that line and even through the primary return line.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:05 AM   #14
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Hate to say.....

But it would be wise to isolate the primary from the motor...

Reason for is all the ware and tear that the primary chain, clutch plates, hammered clutch hub fingers and the adjustment shoe goes right back into the engine to be use to lube the Vidal components of the motor....

Even with a filter on the return side of the pump....It still is being sucked into the cam chest and return side of the pump before it makes it way to the drop-in filter....
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

Quote:
But it would be wise to isolate the primary from the motor...
I know. I told him as much. He's excited to ride it, and he knows it's arthritic, so I think he's gonna run it around this year, and then tear it apart after fall turns cold.

I appreciate all the help, you guys!
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:42 PM   #16
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

the best reason to isolate would be to eliminate all potential issues but best of all you can switch over to ATF (automatic tranny fluid,type F) in the primary and never have to fight to find neutral again.

jeff
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:18 PM   #17
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

I have long ago lost count of how many I have converted back to OEM design...

My associate just cranked one out a coupla weeks ago.


....Cotten
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

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Originally Posted by Cotten View Post
I have long ago lost count of how many I have converted back to OEM design...

My associate just cranked one out a coupla weeks ago.


....Cotten
I know this question will be regretted..
(Hoping that I don't turn into a pillar of salt)

But...Why would you want to do that...

The last of the pull backs was the last year of the Shovel...
When Harley came out with the Evo they made the primary sealed,,
I would think that somewhere down the line (Engineering Dept.) they had good reasoning for doing that move...

Way to go Mr Buell....

To further this discussion on oiling....
Lets take a look at what Harley did with the Twin Cams for a moment..

In order to have filtered oil feeding the vidal areas of the motor...They ran the feed side of the oil pump to the filter first then to the motor...
Let say the chain drive takes a shit...Ok... Now we have cuttings in the cam chest...Well Sir..The return side of the pump is in line of catching hell from the blow-up...It will pump all that shit back to the tank to be picked up ny the feed side of the pump....Now that the feed side goes right to the filter....No further damage is done to the motor....

Good-Bye... Oil Pump....

Last edited by Dragstews; 05-17-2012 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

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Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
..Why would you want to do that...
Because its all about the customer, Dragstews.

Most of them do not scrupulously inspect and maintain, and frankly, I haven't the crew to keep 'em up for them.

(Liberty has positions open Folks, seriously.)

All of them regretted sealing the primary.

The original plan worked better.
If the M0C0 made a great leap backwards, it certainly wasn't their first leap off a cliff.

(We won't even bring up moisture issues with sealed primaries. Acts of Gawd don't count.)

We made them happy customers.

....Cotten
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:17 AM   #20
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Default Re: Shovel sumping to primary?

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Because its all about the customer, Dragstews.
I just had to quote this... Dont see businesses with this attitude much anymore...

Some people dont get it.

Sorry about the hijack. Has the guy been riding the bike with no more issues now?
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