Oil Tank Drainage

Gr8_Lakes

New Member
Hello, my name is Jeff. Just joined the community. I have a question about my 2007 K-9 with S&S 117. My father unfortunately passed away last summer, and I inherited this bike with ~2,200 miles.

The bike was ridden very little, and this is the second time I’ve gone to start it out and found the oil dipstick dry. Absolutely no leaks. Last time I pulled the dipstick was dry, I drained the crankcase, then refilled the oil tank with fresh oil. I was under a time crunch to move the bike a few miles for long distance shipping, and couldn’t source a new oil filter in a day. So I topped it off, rechecked level, and moved it.

Now that the bike’s home in my garage, I have all the time in the world.

So last week I checked the oil… dry dipstick. I’ve since read a bit about Big Dogs, and it seems they have a “leak down” issue when stored for long periods of time. My question: Is it safe to allow the sump to recirculate the oil in the system after it has drained from the oil tank? Or am I stuck doing an oil change after letting it sit too long?

I live in mid-Michigan so storage is always going to be an issue. I‘ve ordered a filter for a complete oil change before riding it now. Frankly, it’s still new to me and I’ll have the piece of mind knowing it’s a fresh oil and filter change (not to mention it traveled many miles in a semi-trailer with the fuel pet-cock on). But I certainly don’t want to do an oil change every time it sits for more than a few weeks. (I know the “right“ answer - Ride that beast !) But life Just seems to fly by, and it’s so much easier to pull out my Street Glide on a nice day. But I’m getting pretty antsy to put some miles on the chopper.

Thanks for any advice. - Jeff
 

Mikeinjersey

Active Member
Welcome from NJ

You are supposed to have a warmed up engine and also dipstick gives a different reading when leaning on the Kickstand when you check the oil. This is the manual and it is explained on page 62.
Also it is not recommended to drain the oil from the crankcase in order to avoid possible stripping of the drain plug. It is suggested to drain from the oil tank. Of course it's up to the individual how its done but if the crankcase gets damaged it's a much bigger problem than leaving a little old oil in the system. There is a way to completely drain the system without pulling the crankcase plug but someone else on the site will have to explain that to you. I think it's a special tool.
Good Luck and I'm sure you will be parking the Harley once you get use to the K9 :D
 
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Gr8_Lakes

New Member
Welcome from NJ

You are supposed to have a warmed up engine and also dipstick gives a different reading when leaning on the Kickstand when you check the oil. This is the manual and it is explained on page 62.
Also it is not recommended to drain the oil from the crankcase in order to avoid possible stripping of the drain plug. It is suggested to drain from the oil tank. Of course it's up to the individual how its done but if the crankcase gets damaged it's a much bigger problem than leaving a little old oil in the system. There is a way to completely drain the system without pulling the crankcase plug but someone else on the site will have to explain that to you. I think it's a special tool.
Good Luck and I'm sure you will be parking the Harley once you get use to the K9 :D
Thanks for the owner‘s manual link! Greatly appreciated as I never located one in my father’s records. He purchased the bike used, and didn’t recall whether he‘d gotten a manual. I agree about the crankcase drainage and warm oil. It was a hectic time with my father suddenly falling ill, and then passing. I was unfamiliar with his bike and didn’t want to even try starting the bike with an unknown quantity of oil. Now that I know better, and am not as frazzled as I was then, I can take the time to research and do things the correct way.

From my web research, it would seem the term for what I’m experiencing is “sumping.” To the best of my understanding, oil is slowly seeping through the oil pump into the crankcase.

I guess my biggest concern is stressing components in the bottom end of the motor by cranking it with a crankcase full of oil. Maybe I’m worrying too much because it immediately starts pumping oil back through the system, but I have no experience with V-twin engines, and frankly don’t know how robust the crankshaft, connecting rods & bearings, and oil circulation system is. If anyone has a good idea of how I should approach this, I’d love some advice.

(I’ve been building 4x4s top to bottom, inside and out, for 25 years. I have lots of mechanical experience, but little motorcycle experience aside from scheduled maintenance. I’m green when it comes to bikes, but I ain’t scared).

Thanks again.
 

Mr. Wright

Guru
Supporting Member
If there's no oil on the ground, it's safe to assume it's still in the system. With your battery fully charged, start the bike and let it idle for three or four minutes. This will pump the oil back into the tank,. The older 107 s&s engines had a crank case breather, and oil had a tendency to flow out it onto the ground when the bike was first started, but the 117s will pump it back into the tank. And just to give you an idea not that much oil bleeds through there.
 

HMAN

Just like to ride
Supporting Member
(I’ve been building 4x4s top to bottom, inside and out, for 25 years. I have lots of mechanical experience, but little motorcycle experience aside from scheduled maintenance. I’m green when it comes to bikes, but I ain’t scared).
Thanks again.
Sorry about ur pops man. It sucks no matter what. As far as the bike goes, you got this. Just take a deep breath and repeat...parts is parts. 4x4, v8, bike.....parts is parts. They just Different parts. Fwiw I just gutted the trans in the 04 Chopper. Had to replace a broken shift pawl. Was a bit nervous, aint gonna lie, but again parts is parts. It wernt near as bad as my head was telling me. Ask questions n take pictures.
 

Mickmorris

mick
Supporting Member
Sorry about ur pops man. It sucks no matter what. As far as the bike goes, you got this. Just take a deep breath and repeat...parts is parts. 4x4, v8, bike.....parts is parts. They just Different parts. Fwiw I just gutted the trans in the 04 Chopper. Had to replace a broken shift pawl. Was a bit nervous, aint gonna lie, but again parts is parts. It wernt near as bad as my head was telling me. Ask questions n take pictures.
:agree: 100%
 

SKOGDOG

One of the old ones.
Supporting Member
My first K9 did that all the time. Remember that the sump oiling system means that the oil pump is really two oil pumps.The high pressure side pumps oil from the tank to the engine parts through the galleries. The oil falls into the sump and is sent back thru the low pressure side of the oil pump through the filter and then returned to the tank. So if there is oil in the tank, your engine will never be without oil pressure.
I fought that sumping for a couple of years and never did get it figured out—the bike was still doing it when I sold it—without any operational issues at all.
 
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Gr8_Lakes

New Member
Thanks so much for the helpful and welcoming replies. More than anything, I just wanted some piece of mind from those experienced with Big Dogs and S&S engines. Makes sense that the oil would just recirculate, but when it’s something new to me, I like to get the views of people with real experience to make sure I’m not doing something unhealthy to the engine. Going to do a new filter and oil change, then put some wind in my face. There is a peace that comes in knowing I’m with my pops when on his bikes - it keeps me connected to him in a very visceral way.

Much appreciated. :)
 

Gr8_Lakes

New Member
Just wanted to throw another thanks for the help. Spent the morning doing an oil change on the Big Dog. As stated, the oil tank pretty much immediately refilled as I was cranking the motor. Let it warm, drained and changed oil & filter. Ran rough, so… Changed out the plugs, which were horribly fouled. And man, did it sound SWEET after that! Then it was time to meet a buddy for dinner, so showered and back on the Street Glide. Hopefully :chopper: in the next couple days. More pictures to come. image.jpg
 

Coolbreezin

Active Member
Welcome from NJ

You are supposed to have a warmed up engine and also dipstick gives a different reading when leaning on the Kickstand when you check the oil. This is the manual and it is explained on page 62.
Also it is not recommended to drain the oil from the crankcase in order to avoid possible stripping of the drain plug. It is suggested to drain from the oil tank. Of course it's up to the individual how its done but if the crankcase gets damaged it's a much bigger problem than leaving a little old oil in the system. There is a way to completely drain the system without pulling the crankcase plug but someone else on the site will have to explain that to you. I think it's a special tool.
Good Luck and I'm sure you will be parking the Harley once you get use to the K9 :D
As always, awesome response Mike.
 

Mickmorris

mick
Supporting Member
Just wanted to throw another thanks for the help. Spent the morning doing an oil change on the Big Dog. As stated, the oil tank pretty much immediately refilled as I was cranking the motor. Let it warm, drained and changed oil & filter. Ran rough, so… Changed out the plugs, which were horribly fouled. And man, did it sound SWEET after that! Then it was time to meet a buddy for dinner, so showered and back on the Street Glide. Hopefully :chopper: in the next couple days. More pictures to come. View attachment 104634
Wow! Love that paint job! Can’t say I have ever seen one quite like that! :cheers: :chopper:
 
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Mickmorris

mick
Supporting Member
Welcome from NJ

You are supposed to have a warmed up engine and also dipstick gives a different reading when leaning on the Kickstand when you check the oil. This is the manual and it is explained on page 62.
Also it is not recommended to drain the oil from the crankcase in order to avoid possible stripping of the drain plug. It is suggested to drain from the oil tank. Of course it's up to the individual how its done but if the crankcase gets damaged it's a much bigger problem than leaving a little old oil in the system. There is a way to completely drain the system without pulling the crankcase plug but someone else on the site will have to explain that to you. I think it's a special tool.
Good Luck and I'm sure you will be parking the Harley once you get use to the K9 :D
The Scavenger is what Mike is referring to & removes all the oil that’s in the sump during a oil change. See enclosed brochure for info. 9E84E9E6-3D61-416A-A69E-F44991492E56.jpeg
 

Gr8_Lakes

New Member
Be nice to see the entire bike.
Promise to post pics when finished with stainless polishing. I had no idea the can of worms I was opening when I started a few days ago. My OCD has me about 10 hours in so far. Still need to do rear wheel and brake caliper assembly. I’ve learned stainless is an interesting beast. Can be brought back to perfection with enough patience and knuckle grease… and Budweiser. Foot pegs are kind of a nightmare.
 

HMAN

Just like to ride
Supporting Member
Promise to post pics when finished with stainless polishing. I had no idea the can of worms I was opening when I started a few days ago. My OCD has me about 10 hours in so far. Still need to do rear wheel and brake caliper assembly. I’ve learned stainless is an interesting beast. Can be brought back to perfection with enough patience and knuckle grease… and Budweiser. Foot pegs are kind of a nightmare.
Stainless? What you got on that Dog thats stainless?.....just wondering. Alls I got is chrome and polished aluminum.
 

Gr8_Lakes

New Member
Stainless? What you got on that Dog thats stainless?.....just wondering. Alls I got is chrome and polished aluminum.
Ya know… I just assumed the pegs, speedo housing, triple trees, wheels, calipers, etc. we’re all stainless.

Not chrome, not magnetic.

But it stands to reason it could all be high-polish aluminum. Hadn’t put much thought into it. Just turning all my microfiber towels black with tarnish. I feel a bit silly now that ya point it out, but yeah, it’s definitely aluminum. Stainless doesn’t keep lifting tarnish like aluminum does. Glad you got me straightened out on that one. I’m learnin’. :cheers:
 
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