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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All!!

Just got a 2003 Softtail Heritage Classic, 88 cu in, 26K miles. Very well maintained. No leaks, drips or spots. Doesn't smoke or backfire. She's runs great, no noise, knocks, pings or sputters. Plenty of power and response.

So..... when I arrive at my destination, why do I smell burning oil? Is this just a quirk of this engine or is there a problem I should be looking into?

Just want to get your thoughts and ideas. Thanks in advance.

Ted:coffee
 

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Wayward Son
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Not normal.
I would start looking for leaks starting at the rocker box covers and work your way down.
Using a flashlight would probably help.

In the meantime check your oil level and keep an eye on it.
 

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Kicking Rocks...
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I would say not normal per se....

What does the oil on the stick smell like? Is it burnt?

Im guessing you have a weeping gasket either on the rear rocker or at a base gasket possibly... some small weeps may be hard to sopt...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would say not normal per se....

What does the oil on the stick smell like? Is it burnt?

Im guessing you have a weeping gasket either on the rear rocker or at a base gasket possibly... some small weeps may be hard to sopt...
The oil level is fine and the oil isn't burnt. I had the rocker boxes done on my Sportster and as I recall I didn't smell burning oil so I suppose that could be the "problem". I'll get in there with a flashlight and check for small weeps.

Thanks for your input!!
Ted
 

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If those don't work check the air cleaner. I know it sounds silly but on my 2012 there seemed to be some blowback or something that left very small amounts of oil dripping from the cleaner. I needed to clean it out periodically. It smelled more like a burning oil and gas mix.
 

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Check around exhaust ports. Be the hottest part of engine to burn some oil leaks.
 

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Check around exhaust ports. Be the hottest part of engine to burn some oil leaks.
I agree, oil can leak onto the exhaust and gets burned off so nothing ever makes it to the ground. Also it would not take much to make that smell, so you would not notice your oil level going low.
 

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That's exactly what it is . Install some new umbrella valves in heads or better yet get yourself a DK performance aftermarket air cleaner assy. along with one of their breather systems that reroute the oily mist into a catch can or small K&N filter . Hell , you don't want that smelly greasy oil mist going into your combustion chamber diluting the fuel & carboning up your plugs do ya ?
 

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If willing to change out the umbrella valves, increase the drain holes in the rocker supports to .125".
Scott
 

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I would not be to concerned about it. The word is Harley's--would not be Harley's if it did not weep. Just keep a eye on the dipstick level.
 

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I would not be to concerned about it. The word is Harley's--would not be Harley's if it did not weep. Just keep a eye on the dipstick level.
Modern Harley's neither leak or weep. Putting up with an oil smell or leaking is your choice, it doesn't have to be that way.
 

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Wayward Son
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Modern Harley's neither leak or weep. Putting up with an oil smell or leaking is your choice, it doesn't have to be that way.
^^^THIS^^^

Older Harleys, in my case an 83 Shovel, properly maintained did not leak or weep either.
What many mistook for a leak was the rear chain oiler doing it`s job.
 

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^^^THIS^^^

Older Harleys, in my case an 83 Shovel, properly maintained did not leak or weep either.
What many mistook for a leak was the rear chain oiler doing it`s job.
I'm pretty sure the early and mid 70's AMF Harleys are the ones that got a lot of complaints and a bad reputation. That's when quality control was almost non existent, especially in the auto industry.
 

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Modern Harley's neither leak or weep. Putting up with an oil smell or leaking is your choice, it doesn't have to be that way.
True statement. I would keep looking for the source. May leave you on side of the road :eek

PS: Need to start looking for another source of oil smell. Could be a small leak under the engine or trans getting on a exhaust pipe ????
 

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Curmudgeon
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I have that problem now and then, usually after I've checked the oil level. Could be as simple as a few drops somewhere hot.
 

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Wayward Son
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I pretty sure the early and mid 70's AMF Harleys are the ones that got a lot of complaints and a bad reputation. That's when quality control was almost none existent, especially in the auto industry.
If you want to talk early Harleys. Used to be a "total loss" system.

Think it ended sometime in the Knucklehead Generation.
 

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If you want to talk early Harleys. Used to be a "total loss" system.

Think it ended sometime in the Knucklehead Generation.
Just marking there spot :thumbsup
 
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