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  1. #1
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    Default Panhead intermittent oil puke

    Howdy, Id like to know if anyones seen this happen before... Disclaimer this is a long post about an ongoing and strange scenario ive experienced with my Panhead.

    So my 52 got some new heads recently and I thought, dang since those old heads oil galleries were all clogged up with years of shit, why not run some sort of oil filter on this thing? made a plate for the front under the generator and popped a spin on oil filter, lines all ran correctly, i checked multiple times and i have oil flowing in the correct directions when the bike is running. now this is where it gets weird...

    first real day riding it around after the new heads and rings, i had some light "break in" oil that my friend swore by... i didnt care for it since i had used 50wt on both pans and my older ironhead but i tried it anyway. it wasnt too hot out but i was about 25 miles of just putt putt roads from home and i noticed i had a lil snail trail following me... my primary was full of oil and i freaked out and raced home. had about 2 qts left so it didnt piss out too much but i was worried and had never seen this before on this bike which i had been riding for a long time, always a reliable and strong runner, and done more than one top end on it. I thought it was the new oil i tried. so i put 50wt then my usual 70wt tribodine stuff (i know its heavy but the bike has always liked it).

    about 250 miles since the rebuild i thought i was good since I hadnt had any problems, no smoke, nothing. so on my first good highway run after the rebuild (kept it at low r's like 2500-3000 since i have tall gearing) i felt great until i tried to turn left to go home and my bike slid out from under me while i shifted. my rear wheel was covered in oil on the left side!! so i got up and just zipped home and found i had about 2 qts left.. of 70wt from just an easy cruise on a cool morning like 80 mi. it was spitting out the snoot chain oiler deal and whipping back, my whole leg was covered and shifter and everything.

    I started to experiment to see how far id get without losing any oil and i learned that it wouldnt ever happen with my usual 70wt around town, or short highway rips. normal riding and accelerating and all that. but going over about 75miles on the highway at a good cruising speed seemed like the ticket to oil loss is what i found. I also found that it would smoke white out the pipe, which it never used to do except sometimes after sitting for awhile on a cold start up...no loss of power though but definitely burning oil in addition to spitting it out. so i thought: only thing i really changed about the bike besides better flowing heads was an oil filter and the longer lines it required, and the piston rings of course...

    so i guess the question i mean to ask after this long winded explanation is: could an oil filter like this cause a loss of oil pressure at a perfectly good stock harley oil pump, enough so that it just sumps in the crank case after a while and poops out cuz it has no where else to go??? or did i just mess up my rings on install and if so, will a new ring job and a quickie hone get this old turd happy again?

    my friend told me to do a leak down test on it to see exactly where the loss of compression is and that will tell me if its my rings or my oiling system. I was pretty bummed to have to put the bike away with a problem like this but he said dont worry since a bad ring isnt all that out of the ordinary, something about in the 70s and 80s new shovels usually always smoked and had to come in to the shop he worked in at the time, to get a new ring job and proper hone... before i left i wanted to just set it back up without the oil filter and see what happened, and if it kept up id know it was my ring job.. maybe i put a ring in upside down or something, probably did lol. I'm on deployment now so i cant really do anything to it but ive got nothing else to think about except this shit so here i am asking ya'll what ya think... Anyways thanks for taking the time to read, i hope it was easy enough to understand.

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  2. #2
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    sorry, the pics posted upside down for some reason, just pretend theyre not there haha..

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    Got breather problems do ya .. ??

    Lets explore what all that entails .. Shall we .. ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Got breather problems do ya .. ??

    Lets explore what all that entails .. Shall we .. ??
    Well, I know that the breather is supposed to give crank case pressure a place to go, and I also know that when the bikes sit for a long time they can sump into the crank case so usually the breather will discharge that oil in the first few minutes after the initial start up. my breather issue for this pan is like the blow-by I had on a head breathing Evo once, except this one is a case breather and ive never seen a bike poop out this much oil while riding and at such a specific time interval. If i remember correctly when i had the cases apart last there was a gallery going thru from right to left behind the oil pump for the tapered oil adjusting screw, so I threaded the screw all the way in (only a few thou out anyways) and that did nothing. hitherto this screw adjuster was always super sensitive on the amount of oil that would mist the chain, and id never have more than a small small spot under the bike after a good hard ride. but thats all I know about the breather on this bike, sorry I didnt put that into the original post. thanks for the reply btw.

  5. #5

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    Metered chain oil is delivered through the crankcase breather into the primary case. But excess oil in the motor will also cause oil to carry over into the crankcase breather, and into the primary.

    Based on your description, my money is on a restrictive oil filter that you have added. It is causing a deficit of return oil, and over time that oil that is building up in the motor starts to carry over into the crankcase breather cavity, and starts to build up in the primary. And eventually the oil is going to find its way out of the primary, by the hole for the breather pipe, or the hole at the transmission mainshaft.

    Bypassing the oil filter system (and I say system to include the lines, fittings, filter base, and the filter itself, as any of those could be causing the restriction) should show within a good long ride if that is the source of the problem.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    Metered chain oil is delivered through the crankcase breather into the primary case. But excess oil in the motor will also cause oil to carry over into the crankcase breather, and into the primary.

    Based on your description, my money is on a restrictive oil filter that you have added. It is causing a deficit of return oil, and over time that oil that is building up in the motor starts to carry over into the crankcase breather cavity, and starts to build up in the primary. And eventually the oil is going to find its way out of the primary, by the hole for the breather pipe, or the hole at the transmission mainshaft.

    Bypassing the oil filter system (and I say system to include the lines, fittings, filter base, and the filter itself, as any of those could be causing the restriction) should show within a good long ride if that is the source of the problem.

    Jim
    Do you think that these older motors really need a filter at all? i know there was that funky accessory filter they had back then but ive never run a filter on it, even when it was my daily and i never had any problems related to not having one..i figured id pop one on there because ive seen all my friends with shovels and evos do it the same way and their bikes never flinched. i think you could be right though, i never thought the filter would be too restrictive but i did think that there might not be enough pressure in the system to push oil all the way down by the generator and back up to the tank, especially at OT pushing like maybe 8-10psi at the highest on the highway. either way i guess theres only two options: pull all the junk off and go back to the old no filter systm to test, and/or new rings and hone w/o a filter.

    have you ever seen or heard of something like this before?

  7. #7

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    Yes, I've seen this problem a few times, mostly on shovels where a spin-on filter was added. I do believe an oil filter will extend the life of your motor. I put one on my pan when I rebuilt it, many decades ago.

    Jim

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    You didnt mention the oil filter make/model you used. I have seen, (and personally experienced), folks trying to use an off the shelf oil filter used on cars: Most of these oil filters have an anti drain valve that takes about more oil pressure to open than your typical oil pump can give. That results in oil puking out of the breather (not to be confused with sumping)

    Some folks will buy a bolt on remote oil filter mount and use whatever oil filter will fit, not realizing an anti drain valve might be in what they are using, Now add 70wt to the wrong type filter = what you are getting

    Ill bet the prob is your oil filter. (And yes, I would run an oil filter) Good luck and let us know what you find

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    Forgot: And in the case of remote oil filter mounts, some folks when changing out the old proper one, will get one of similiar size and fit, but get your problem when installing a filter with the anti drain valve

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    Question: Do the harley filters come equipped with a bypass valve like other filters? Is this filter designed with harley's in mind?

    When the filter plugs (Or the medium can't handle 70W oil) if there's no bypass.. Or, if 8 PSI isn't enough to open the bypass on the filter you are using.. That would create a restriction and cause a similar condition, right?

    If it is a filter with an appropriate bypass- Running oil through the filter in the wrong direction may also cause the bypass not to open?

    Bet if you take the filter out of the loop your problem will vanish.

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    I had one act this way and after 2 years of fighting with it. I found that the Chinesey filter housing had in and out labeled backwards! the return pump could overcome the check valve in the filter or flow through the emergency bypass until the oil got real hot then it would wet sump. So I would try it with out the filter If that fixes it I would check that the housing flows the right way then check that the filter is a reasonable micron. Couldn't hurt to check the clearances in the return pump.
    Dusty
    Last edited by DustyDave; 07-07-2021 at 5:40 PM.

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    Why not just use the original stone filter ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by docmel View Post
    You didnt mention the oil filter make/model you used. I have seen, (and personally experienced), folks trying to use an off the shelf oil filter used on cars: Most of these oil filters have an anti drain valve that takes about more oil pressure to open than your typical oil pump can give. That results in oil puking out of the breather (not to be confused with sumping)

    Some folks will buy a bolt on remote oil filter mount and use whatever oil filter will fit, not realizing an anti drain valve might be in what they are using, Now add 70wt to the wrong type filter = what you are getting

    Ill bet the prob is your oil filter. (And yes, I would run an oil filter) Good luck and let us know what you find

    Thanks, Sorry I was underway for a bit and my boat didnt have any internet... but i believe the filter was a drag specialties, and i made the mount for it based on one they sell. if it wasnt a drag, im not sure, but it was certainly for motorcycles, although, you bring up a good point because i know for these older bikes its more about flow than pressure so, even if it was made for a harley a panhead was prolly not what they had in mind... i run a standard oem horse shoe oil bag, with my hard lines clipped and attatched to some 5/8 lines to accommodate the filter i added

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    Quote Originally Posted by confab View Post
    Question: Do the harley filters come equipped with a bypass valve like other filters? Is this filter designed with harley's in mind?

    When the filter plugs (Or the medium can't handle 70W oil) if there's no bypass.. Or, if 8 PSI isn't enough to open the bypass on the filter you are using.. That would create a restriction and cause a similar condition, right?

    If it is a filter with an appropriate bypass- Running oil through the filter in the wrong direction may also cause the bypass not to open?

    Bet if you take the filter out of the loop your problem will vanish.
    not even sure what a bypass valve is so I cant really answer the question haha..i will definitely be taking this darn thing off whenever i can get home to my bike though. that wont be for awhile i assume but, when it does happen and i figure this thing out, I'll be triumphantly letting yall know what the problem turned out to be! After reading all these knowledgeable posts to my question I have begun to think that maybe i was getting ahead of myself with this and making it to be something bigger than it might actually be. im reasonably sure that the filter i used did not have a panhead 8psi motor in mind, maybe more something like an evo aftermarket filter. its one of the only non-stock or oem parts I have on the bike and this is one of the only really weird things ive seen since building it a few years ago...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyDave View Post
    I had one act this way and after 2 years of fighting with it. I found that the Chinesey filter housing had in and out labeled backwards! the return pump could overcome the check valve in the filter or flow through the emergency bypass until the oil got real hot then it would wet sump. So I would try it with out the filter If that fixes it I would check that the housing flows the right way then check that the filter is a reasonable micron. Couldn't hurt to check the clearances in the return pump.
    Dusty
    thanks dusty, thats cool you fixed your problem and that it sounds just like mine too. I made my mounting plate for it out of aluminum and just put a threaded hole in it for the filter mount that fed the oil supply and then one that was offset for the oil return to flow into once it had passed thru the filter. i didnt even think about microns or anything at all so that just shows u when i get excited about making something i can make an ass out of myself haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 47str8leg View Post
    Why not just use the original stone filter ?
    what is this stone filter? does it go inside the horseshoe bag like the filter in the iron head kidney bag? or are you talking about the one that attaches outside near the rear exhaust and looks like a beehive? I was told those were shit cuz they leaked all over and the gentleman showed me the inside of one and it looked really restrictive so i never bothered... but my bike is basically a turd that manages to go highway speeds so a leaky filter is not really something i shouldve worried about i guess haha

  17. #17

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    Hazymaze: C'mon, man: Give us an update: Others can use the info I am sure, even if what you did didn't solve the issue

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    Quote Originally Posted by docmel View Post
    Hazymaze: C'mon, man: Give us an update: Others can use the info I am sure, even if what you did didn't solve the issue
    Sorry Doc, i wish i could! my bike is in San Diego and im deployed on a ship right now lol

  19. #19

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    As others have posted......could be the filter......could be a weak pump even though it was stated it was okay.......could be the location/distance to pump oil to a remote oil-filter.......or even a bent oil-line. Can't see the photos well to see if it also has an oil-cooler........nor know if any of those old in-line screens were used in the oil-lines......the more restrictions (and distance) may cause issues with oil flow.

    Was the breather "window" check for timed opening/closing during build (?), and the breather timed to cam/pinion-gear (?).......what was measured clearance on gears in oil-pump (?).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    As others have posted......could be the filter......could be a weak pump even though it was stated it was okay.......could be the location/distance to pump oil to a remote oil-filter.......or even a bent oil-line. Can't see the photos well to see if it also has an oil-cooler........nor know if any of those old in-line screens were used in the oil-lines......the more restrictions (and distance) may cause issues with oil flow.

    Was the breather "window" check for timed opening/closing during build (?), and the breather timed to cam/pinion-gear (?).......what was measured clearance on gears in oil-pump (?).
    Yep the breather window was properly timed during the assembly, dont remember the clearance for the oil pump gears but that pump is a strong one. but the screen you refer to, would that be the screen that goes near the scavenger thingy or something else inside the oil line? i have never used a screen inside my oil line. before i put the filter on there i had average oil pressure, like 4-6 psi at highway op temp but w the filter it would never go below 10 until it started to puke out the case breather and then it would be back around 4-5 again since all my oil was going overboard..

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