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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok - so I have a 2010 XLN 1200 Sportster that was bough used in 2012 with 1800 miles. Did an oil change and changed rear tire last Summer with about 5,000 miles and adjusted primary chain. Mostly highway miles driven. Getting ready for a MC Harley sponsored ride this summer and 6500 miles and noticed primary chain loose again. Also noted the primary oil was low. Adjusted and added half a quart of oil. 750 miles later (after the ride) two days, drained primary oil, only 1/3 quart and brownish in color again. Added over a quart of oil and drove another 300 miles and took to dealer. They noted that the primary chain is completely stretched, adjuster & shoe needs replacement, noted only 1/3 quart of primary oil & brownish in color. No leaks, no extra oil in engine. Recommending to do a complete tear down to see what is happening and where the primary oil is going. Big $'s for something their lead mechanic has never seen nor the Harley Tech support people can help with. Has anyone seen this before and what is the cause.
 

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The primary oil, can only leak to the outside, or into the engine, where it would be scavaged to the oil tank. No where else to go.
 

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Hit it she goes boom
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Its gotta go someplace... when you check your oil level, on a Sporty you need to bring it to operating temp to check the level.. it could be going into the engine.
 

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Ok - so I have a 2010 XLN 1200 Sportster that was bough used in 2012 with 1800 miles. Did an oil change and changed rear tire last Summer with about 5,000 miles and adjusted primary chain. Mostly highway miles driven. Getting ready for a MC Harley sponsored ride this summer and 6500 miles and noticed primary chain loose again. Also noted the primary oil was low. Adjusted and added half a quart of oil. 750 miles later (after the ride) two days, drained primary oil, only 1/3 quart and brownish in color again. Added over a quart of oil and drove another 300 miles and took to dealer. They noted that the primary chain is completely stretched, adjuster & shoe needs replacement, noted only 1/3 quart of primary oil & brownish in color. No leaks, no extra oil in engine. Recommending to do a complete tear down to see what is happening and where the primary oil is going. Big $'s for something their lead mechanic has never seen nor the Harley Tech support people can help with. Has anyone seen this before and what is the cause.
Something wrong here!! The primary on a Sportster only holds 1 quart of oil. More than that and it's overfull. You said you added over a quart one time The oil only goes up to the bottom of the clutch, with the bike sitting level. From empty, that's just 1 quart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This has so far been a mystery. Lost 2/3's quart of oil twice over three days. Engine oil level hasn't changed, no leaks, no smoke, nothing and the remaining 1/3 quart in primary is brownish in color. It's definitely going somewhere. Today the head mechanic tears the whole engine apart.
 

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Retired citizen
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I would check the trans vent hose. Some Sportster models have that hose routed up the frame under the right side of the seat. Oil escaping there can go unnoticed.
 

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"I would check the trans vent hose. Some Sportster models have that hose routed up the frame under the right side of the seat. Oil escaping there can go unnoticed."

Over a quart! Would have to be noticed! One hell of a mess.
 

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A number of things could cause the oil to escape from the vent hose. Overfill of oil would cause it to blow out and the venturi effect could keep it flowing. A hole spider web could be blocking the line and when enough pressure builds up in the trans the oil would push through the web and continue to flow.
The trans oil must be going someplace so if it's not leaking or sucking into the engine past the crank seal or leaking into the starter then the only other place is the vent hose.
 

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Wayward Son
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Is the underside of the bike clean?
Leaking only when running and riding. That is why no puddle when parked.
 

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I'm sorry guys, but if that much oil was escaping the transmission if would have to show somewhere! Over a quart is 700 miles is a hell of a lot of oil. The vent tube is over top of a bunch of stuff!
 

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Wayward Son
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I'm sorry guys, but if that much oil was escaping the transmission if would have to show somewhere! Over a quart is 700 miles is a hell of a lot of oil. The vent tube is over top of a bunch of stuff!
Can not believe with that much oil, as you said possibly exiting the tube, is not dripping off of something at least a little when parked.

Almost bet money it's going into the engine. Also why is the primary oil so discolored?
Staying in the bottom of the crank case?
Return holes plugged on heads? Pooling up there?
A burnt smell was not mentioned. Picking up rust(?) from somewhere? That does not seem right either.
The mystery deepens.
 

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Oil going into engine when running you would notice smokey exhaust, going into the engines oil your oil level would be high, has to be coming out the vent hose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks everyone for your thoughts.
We are thinking it's going into the crank as well. Ventury effect is possible as this was highway driving 60-70 mph mostly, but we thought we would see at least a little too and how would we stop it cuz it's drained three times now. The brownish color is bothersome too? Should know more later today I hope. I'll post their findings (and $'s to fix).
 

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The brown colour is due to the low level of oil in the primary causing the chain to wear prematurely as it isn't receiving enough lubrication and also explains the excessive chain stretching.
I've seen this on primary's that have had little or no oil in them particularly big twins and usually due to no oil being put into primary at service! I'd be more than a little concerned about your transmission as this should be sharing the same primary lubricant and a low level for any length of time would not be good news.
I think it would be more benifical to carry out a few tests before disassembling the engine as it's unlikely to be something glaringly obvious.
We've used an additive before that glows under ultra violet light and can show the transfer of primary oil into the engine or vice versa.
If you are able to show the service history of the bike, I'd consider asking the HD technical support to look into resolving this issue for free or to offer some kind of goodwill gesture as this sounds like a premature failure even though the warranty period has expired. It sure can't hurt and the worst they can say is no which will leave you no worse off.
Good luck and hope you get to the bottom of the issue soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok, so the whole engine had to come out. Complete transmission is shot. The oil was going through the crank seal into the crank case. Harley corp is saying its out of warranty (of course, right). Digging more, heard that the only way that this can happen is if the seal is installed backwards. This had to have happened at the factory. Every time it was serviced, oil was added to the trainy but sucked out immediately leaving 1/3 quart in and no way to know until the damage was already done. Any thoughts from anyone? Looking like this may have to go legal to get Harley to stand behind their product and factory error.
 
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