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  1. #1

    Default 2012 Sportster 1200 48 engine failure - Need Advice

    Hello,

    I rode my bike from CA to TX and when I was riding back my engine took a crap.

    I was able to still turn the bike on on the side of the road but there was loud clanking sound in the jugs (not ride-able at all). I'm not sure what it may be either a broken cam , piston or valve ?

    how do i go about diagnosing it? If i take it to a shop can they test it and pinpoint what exactly is wrong with it for relatively cheap? or should I should i just tear out the engine and see whats the issue is?

    My question, when i pick it back up in AZ

    -Should I aim to just rebuild the engine? If so how much would it cost?, I can do most of the labor myself.
    -just buy new top end rebuild kit for $1000 and see what happens when i install it?
    -or just buy a used engine for $1500-$2000 to start riding as soon as possible?

    any advice is much appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Try to determine what the problem is yourself first. Do you know the history of that bike? How many miles? When was last service?
    Probably pretty easy to pop off the rocker covers to look at rockers and and pull the sparkplugs to see pistons inside the cylinders as you turn the engine over.
    Got a manual and parts book?

    Can you access the engine diagnostics codes? Might be some useful info there:
    Harley Diagnostic Codes 04 – Present
    https://dgcustomcycle.com/tech/harle...es-04-present/

    This site may help visual what ya got; Ronnie's online parts finder:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    2012 XL 1200X FOURTY-EIGHTŪ (LC)
    http://partsfinder.onlinemicrofiche....0W/%20PUSHRODS

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    http://partsfinder.onlinemicrofiche....0W/%20PUSHRODS
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 03-27-2019 at 6:05 AM. Reason: sp

  3. #3
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    OP, from the sound of your description, you may not be all that experienced with engines? If so, get a some friends with experience to check out the bike in person...I believe a independent shop may charge 50-100 bucks to give you a good idea of what's wrong..

  4. #4
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    If you have good insurance a gallon of gas and a country match would provide enough cash for a shovel head.

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    After the investigation you can compare repair cost to other options.

    A bike is x amount of money on two wheels. See what the numbers say.

    If you have good insurance a gallon of gas and a country match would provide enough cash for a shovel head.
    Anyone who isn't an experienced mechanic or determined to become one doesn't need a shovel. Most used shovels need work which is more money.

    Post what you find out before spending money on parts.

    xlforum has a shitload of info: http://xlforum.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=205

  6. #6

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    IMO the blockhead Sportster motor is probably the simplest, easy to work on yet robust and reliable motor HD has ever built... one of my favorite motors produced in the last ~60 years along with /5 R series BMWs and 70s era MotoGuzzis. I'd stick with it and if I were in your shoes I'd buy a good running motor to put in the bike and do what's necessary (at your leisure) to get the toasted one running because it never hurts to have a backup and learn how to work on it without having a deadline or itch to ride looming over your head.
    Last edited by Skjoll; 03-29-2019 at 6:11 AM.

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    Will it run if so does it just run on one cylinder? Ive redone the top end on mine twice now from personal mistakes theyre super easy to work on and xlforum and youtube is super helpful on the rebuild.

  8. #8

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    thanks for the advice, I finally picked up my bike from AZ and started to disassemble the jugs. The valves look fine. As for the pistons, the bottom of them are chipped off ( I would upload a pic but it doesn't let me for some reason ? I'm pretty sure some of the broken metal pieces are in the crankcase. I'm guessing I'm looking at a entire engine rebuild... any thoughts ?

  9. #9

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    A total rebuild is in your future.
    The above advice about buying a running motor and swapping it into your bike is without doubt the best results/dollar solution. Then, as said above, you can go about the rebuild of the bad motor at your leisure.
    Or, you can scrap that bike and buy another. Five speed XLs are cheap.

    Jim

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    Bore the cases and go big. It's just money right?

    Post the links to your pics and somebody can fix them. Want to get some couch failure analysis in to see what killed your engine. Blockhead sportsters are usually pretty solid probably the best engine Harley ever made.

  11. #11

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    Unless you have the desire, knowledge, and resources (or cash) to do something special with that motor, I would get your hands on another one and just swap it out. As a few mentioned, that is the most cost and labor effective solution to get you riding again. It sounds wasteful, but parts alone for a total rebuild would cost more than getting another running motor. Rubber-mount EFI sporty motors are relatively easy to get, and the positive here is that at most you're getting a 12 year old motor...so the chances of receiving a clapped out boat anchor are much lower compared to a carb'd evo. If you do go that way, make sure you buy from a trusted source/reseller though, especially on eBay - I personally will only buy an eBay motor from Pinwall Cycles.

    Another option is to get a runner and swap motors. Will be much more costly since you have an EFI bike (you'll need to look '07-up, not able to score those cheap 80s/90s bikes), but you'll at least get the chance to run and ride the motor before buying. I am suggesting this only as a junk hoarding addict, but at that point you'll have a platform to build another bike. If you rebuild your blown motor, you'll have 2 bikes then and a solid excuse to take on a build project

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    Price engines and price similar used bikes. For example if I got a clean low mileage machine with cosmetic damage I'd fix that by raping parts off your dead bike.
    Let money and effort required guide you. It's a disposable consumer good, not a shrine. There are plenty more.

    Whatever broke off the piston skirts is in your engine. I'd tear that down completely (using the factory manual) and can inspect everything. You can use the experience which is valuable. Take more pics than you think you'll need and store everything so you can find parts easily. If you don't keep the parts they're ready to Ebay.

    How much do you like that particular motorcycle? You can always part it out and buy whatever you like and can afford.

  13. #13

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    I'm still trying to weigh out my options here. It seems too easy but sketchy to buy a used motor from ebay. It also seems like a hit or miss, how am i supposed to verify how much mileage a motor really has! If I rebuild it I know it will be a little more $$ but at least I would know its solid. Yes I can buy a used bike but I don't want to sell out and buy another fucken sportster thats going to take a shit on me. I tore apart my motor finally and found a bunch of metal pieces in the crankcase. The transmission moves smoothly and seems unharmed. I'm unsure about the flywheel. The top end seems okay to me not 100% sure. I definitely need a new set of pistons. I'm going to try to link my pics to the thread hopefully you guys view my pics. Is my motor at all salvageable ? if so what would I need to rebuild this bad boy?

    http://www.chopcult.com/Suerte2019/albums/14076

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Suerte2019; 10-19-2019 at 10:43 PM.

  14. #14
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    The pics don't show anything horrific. Since it's a Harley and not melted or seawater damaged, it's salvageable. Everyone should learn to rebuild their scoot so while it may not be a great immediate economic choice you'll have popped your cherry and learned things worth more than one motorcycle.

    Looks like a case of (basically) top end job, inspect crankshaft, bearings, oil pump etc and reassemble.

    What does your factory shop manual tell you regarding parts inspection? Get that and a factory parts catalog if you don't already have them, then start making a parts and services list. You'll need a full engine gasket and seal set.

    You can compare prices of piston kits plus boring/honing your cylinders to complete aftermarket kits from NRHS etc. Your local motorcycle machine shop (Evo jugs require torque plates to bore AND accurately measure bores) can measure your bores and order the correct size piston kit. Your local machine shop can inspect your valve seats and guides. They're likely good and those combustion chambers do look OK but it's wise to check while everything's apart for cleaning. I'd have them install new valve seals while at it. Have that shop inspect your crankshaft. We can't measure clearances over the internet. Do inspect it yourself for practice.

    A new piston/cylinder kit from a reputable maker has a key advantage. It's not been machined by someone who may not do a lot of that job. Many small machine shops do very low Harley volume. Check with NRHS and Hammer Performance for your options.
    They also do head work and postage isn't expensive so you could have either refresh your complete top end.

    Tip: Not every independent machine shop has every service manual so I bring mine along with my parts and if using aftermarket pistons, their literature too. That way we're on the same (literal) page.

    Tear down and inspect your oil pump and flush all oil passages thoroughly. The oil squirters may have crumbs in them so don't omit removal and cleaning. Clean all your engine parts thoroughly and inspect using a BRIGHT light. Assume nothing and don't forget to flush your oil tank and hoses (I replace hoses any time I pull an engine, quality hose isn't expensive).

    You need to inspect tappets, their rollers, cam lobes and every other common wear surface. Study the shit out of engine rebuild videos (with your factory service manual open to the appropriate pages) and read your ass off. Knowledge is power.

    Continue your engine teardown, cleaning and inspection documentation in this thread and the hive mind will assist you. Post a shitload of pics to help us help you and all of us help the next guy!

    In this case the only dumb question is one you fail to ask, so when ya have a question make it detailed.
    Last edited by farmall; 10-20-2019 at 8:14 PM.

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