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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been going all through my 72 Ironhead lately...it seems to me that the oil is not flowing well, I know that these engines dont hold alot of oil pressure, and my gauge shows about 25 lbs just after startup...If I look in the tank before I start it, it is almost empty...then it starts to fill back up, then the gauge goes to pretty much 0 lbs (I have heard this is normal...?) Still looking in the tank, I can see the oil bubbling ontop of the feed hole...kinda like blowing through a straw into your drink...if I rev the motor, the oil just starts splashing around inside the tank. It does return oil to the tank after the motor warms up...just very little drops at a time, no steady stream.

Also, I took the rocker oiler lines off, and one of them had no oil in it, the other one was full...so I took the cam cover off and blew cleaner and air through that specific passage. Then I removed the plug from the non-oiled rocker box and oil ran out of it. I timed the oil pump breather per the original HD shop manual....3 times! All of the oil lines are new rubber, If I take the filter off, or the pressure gauge (its on the pump) oil will spit out while the motor runs. If I plug the breather on the cam cover, the pressure will shoot up to about 35 lbs and it blows the cap off the oil tank!?!

Does anyone have any Idea or a suggestion as to any problems...or am I just worrying over nothing. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Figuring out an oiling issue without seeing it is not easy, but if it hasn't siezed yet there is still hope. First your oil tank should not be near empty before you start the bike, if it is you are experiancing wet sumping, that's not good. Usually when this happens as soon as it start the oil will spit out the breather on the cam case just below the generator, that tube is the breather and it has know to puke a lot of oil if the sump is full. Your bike should only have about 1 to 2 oz's of oil in the crankcase when running. So first off I would replace the ball bearing and spring in the end of the oil pump just behind the oil pressure sending unit or gage. Before you do take a brass punch and give the old ball a little wack (don't smash things cause the pump is Aluminum) that tends to reform the seat in the pump. Replace the ball and spring, that spring also has control over oil pressure somewhat the rest is generated by the clearance between the gears in the pump housing. Next before you start the bike drain the crankcase with the (9/16) plug under the motor not the transmission plugs and pour that back into the oil tank. Make sure either you or a previous owner has not mixed up the breather line and return line I can't give you specifics cause I do not have a manual in front of me but but if you look at the breather line it should be coming out of the cam case and the return is out of the crankcase. Oil will not return into your tankin a steady stream but rather in gulps as the motor collects oil the scavenger gears scoop it up and push it to the tank so you may not see a steady stream but at 2000 rpm's and above it should be returning at a good clip. Hope this helps and let me know how you make out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Its not easy figuring the problem out with the damn thing infront of me either..LOL...I have replaced the ball and spring...and did "reseat" the ball...this did cure the spewing oil onto the pavement...but the tank is still empty...only the oil returns to it..through the feed line. I think Im gonna take the pump back off and give it another go through...I have some spare oil pump parts...maybe will have better luck with them.

Thanks you for the info....I will post an update when I find out whats going on:confused:
 

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oil check valve
ChopSully said:
Its not easy figuring the problem out with the damn thing infront of me either..LOL...I have replaced the ball and spring...and did "reseat" the ball...this did cure the spewing oil onto the pavement...but the tank is still empty...only the oil returns to it..through the feed line. I think Im gonna take the pump back off and give it another go through...I have some spare oil pump parts...maybe will have better luck with them.

Thanks you for the info....I will post an update when I find out whats going on:confused:
 

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I worked on an early 70's 1000cc sporty and the oil pump air locked on me, having never even seen or heard of such a thing, went nuts figureing it out. The old farts in the shop clued me in, the fix is like bleeding brakes. You remove the pressure switch, end cap, spring and check ball, spin the motor over untill you get good oil flow and reassemble. Iv'e never seen it again but I know it can happen.
 

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my 71 has good flow through the return line. solid splurts at idle, and a steady stream at higher rpm. i dont know how much is normal, but doesnt seem like just a drip is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
PONY said:
I worked on an early 70's 1000cc sporty and the oil pump air locked on me, having never even seen or heard of such a thing, went nuts figureing it out. The old farts in the shop clued me in, the fix is like bleeding brakes. You remove the pressure switch, end cap, spring and check ball, spin the motor over untill you get good oil flow and reassemble. Iv'e never seen it again but I know it can happen.
Now there is something I hadnt considered....thanks Pony...any everyone else who has pitched in....Im still working on it...got two weeks till the BBandBBQ up north...hope I can get it going right before then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sawsall said:
Feed & return lines aren't mixed up are they?
Not exactly...but I do think that I have something plumbed wrong....I have the fitting on the back of the cam cover going to a constant oil supply at the bottom of my oil tank....I think that this is supposed to go to the top of my tank so that it can relieve pressure...not let oil flow....anybody....anybody...bueller? Its a barrel style tank as well....two fittings on the bottom and one fitting plus a plugged hole on top. Thanks.
 

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ChopSully said:
Not exactly...but I do think that I have something plumbed wrong....I have the fitting on the back of the cam cover going to a constant oil supply at the bottom of my oil tank....I think that this is supposed to go to the top of my tank so that it can relieve pressure...not let oil flow....anybody....anybody...bueller? Its a barrel style tank as well....two fittings on the bottom and one fitting plus a plugged hole on top. Thanks.
Sure do!

The fitting on the back of the cam cover is a vent to the tank as you stated.

The feed from tank should go below the cam cover to the rear fitting of the oil pump

the forward fitting on the oil pump is return to the tank.
 
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