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no oil pressure

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Old May 13th, 2009, 11:40 PM     #1
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no oil pressure

Hello to all, newbie here, first post.

I have a 2003 ultra classic, and two rides ago I noticed that the oil pressure gauge was bouncing from 0 to 35-45psi. I was almost home when this happened so soon as I got home I checked the oil and it was low. I added 1 and a quarter guarts of syn3 to bring it back to the top of the full mark. The next weekend I rode and put about 250 miles on it. while riding i noticed it would bouce around every now and then still. I thought that it may be the sending unit or even the gauge at worst. Well I put in the garage until the next weekend when I got it out to change all the fliuds since I was at about 4250 miles since last change. I started it to warm it up before putting on the lift. When I started it the Oil light(dummy light) stayed on and no oil pressure. I went ahead and changed all fluids and went back with Mobile 1. Well when I took the oil filter off i noticed some small "orange" shavings in the filter housing. They were not metal, maybe some type of plastic? they were about the size of the head of a straight pin if not smaller? It had a little bit of metal filings but no more than usuall, no more than the transmission or primary had. I think that was just normal wear. But, the orange shavings have me puzzled AND my light is still on and no oil pressure. I do not hear any rattling from the top end. How can I check to see if I'm building any pressure and if my problem is in the sending unit or gauge or the pump? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old May 14th, 2009, 12:16 AM     #2
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Re: no oil pressure

Quote: Originally Posted by Ultra Guy View Post
Well when I took the oil filter off i noticed some small "orange" shavings in the filter housing. They were not metal, maybe some type of plastic? they were about the size of the head of a straight pin if not smaller? It had a little bit of metal filings but no more than usuall, no more than the transmission or primary had. I think that was just normal wear. But, the orange shavings have me puzzled AND my light is still on and no oil pressure. I do not hear any rattling from the top end. How can I check to see if I'm building any pressure and if my problem is in the sending unit or gauge or the pump? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
THIS IS VERY VERY SERIOUS!! Your cam chain tensioner(s) have nuked!! DO NOT RUN THE BIKE ANY MORE UNTIL YOU HAVE REPLACED THE TENSIONER(S) AND COMPLETELY CLEANED OUT THE OIL SYSTEM. Remove the pump relief spring and plunger from the plate and make sure you completely clean out the tube. Drop the pan and clean it out, replace it then flush the engine with clean oil by removing the plugs and turning over the engine with the starter to circulate the oil at low pressure. You should remove the return line to the tank and route it to a big container that you can look in so you can see the condition of the returning oil. Change the oil filter several times while you are doing all this. You can go get some cheap filters to do this with since you are not running the engine, only turning it over, and trying to trap the bits of plastic scattered through your oil system. You may need to change the sending unit if the port in it is clogged. There is more to worry about, but I will give you some references to read instead.

This is the time to consider doing the roller chain conversion.

Cam Tensioner: what should I do? - Harley Davidson Community (Cam Tensioner: what should I do?)

Cam Chain Tensioners - Harley Davidson Community (Cam Chain Tensioners)

Oil Pressure Drop.. - Harley Davidson Community (Oil Pressure Drop..)

cam tensioners - Harley Davidson Community (cam tensioners)

Cam Chain Tensioner Bearing Swap. - Harley Davidson Community (Cam Chain Tensioner & Bearing Swap.)

Roller Chain Conversion - Harley Davidson Community (Roller Chain Conversion)

TQ's Engine Build - Harley Davidson Community (TQ's Engine Build)

Chain Driven Cams And A Twisting Crank - Harley Davidson Community (Chain Driven Cams And A Twisting Crank)

Pinion shaft runout and cam shafts' drive systems - Harley Davidson Community (Pinion shaft runout and cam shafts' drive systems)

Chain vs Gear Drive - Harley Davidson Community (Chain vs Gear Drive)

Baisley oil spring twin cam - Harley Davidson Community (Baisley oil spring twin cam)

Good luck.

TQ
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Last edited by TQuentin1; May 14th, 2009 at 12:32 AM.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:28 AM     #3
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Re: no oil pressure

I agree with TQ.

DO NOT RUN THE ENGINE UNTIL YOU REPLACE THE CAM TENSIONERS.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 01:34 PM     #4
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Re: no oil pressure

I also agree with TQ. I had a similar situtaion, but not as bad as yours. Oil pressure would drop over the course of the first half hour of the ride. Couldn't get it over 10 lbs/". Took TQ's advice and pulled the cam cover. Primary tensioner was almost toast, secondary not as bad, but bad. Didin't have the tensioner shavings in the oil filter as you did, more than likely because the tensioers were so worn there was nothing left to wear. Did the roller chain conversion (TQ did a fantastic write up on this), replaced the inner cam bearings with Torrington units, along with Andrews 26N cams, Big Sucker air cleaner, and a TFI. Oil pressure now holds at 30 lbs/" regardless of how hot it is or how long I have ridden. The cams added some much needed middle RPM umph. Take the advice given, and have this corrected. Good luck.....
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Old May 14th, 2009, 01:52 PM     #5
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Re: no oil pressure

I have the tools for rent. They include oil pump alignment screws, inner cam bearing removel tool and the inner bearing installer and the cam pinion locking tool.
Ken
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Old May 15th, 2009, 03:00 AM     #6
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Re: no oil pressure

Thanks everyone! I see I have my work cut out for me. After reading all the info from TQ and doing some of my own research, I know that I can do it but not sure which to go with, gear driven or roller? I'm actually learning towards the gear driven cams, but that is where I value you guys opinions, because up until about 24 hours ago I thought I had a bad sending unit and had never even seen a V-Twin cam tensioner. I guess I got to do my homework. I'm not sure I understand the "run out" issue with being able to run the gear driven cams? My first thing to do is order a factory repair manual(OEM) so I can understand as much as possible before I start. Maybe some of you veteran V-twin guys can shed a little light on the run out? and how to check it? Also, is my motor an "A" or "B"? All opinions are welcomed because I have no idea of the pros and cons of either route.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:11 AM     #7
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Re: no oil pressure

Your motor is a "A" motor and if you want some solid advice go with the roller chain setup that TQ used. It's going to replace the gear drives in the future and there's no problems with any run out in the crank when you use the roller chain conversion. Gears can be pretty noisy if you have any run out at all and you can verify that with a dial indicator.

Roller Chain Conversion - Harley Davidson Community (Roller Chain Conversion)

Crankshaft Runout (videos) - Harley Davidson Community (Crankshaft Runout (videos))

TQ's Engine Build - Harley Davidson Community (TQ's Engine Build)

Oil Pump Aligning - Harley Davidson Community (Oil Pump Aligning)
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Old May 15th, 2009, 11:15 AM     #8
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Re: no oil pressure

Quote: Originally Posted by Ultra Guy View Post
I know that I can do it but not sure which to go with, gear driven or roller? I'm actually learning towards the gear driven cams, but that is where I value you guys opinions, because up until about 24 hours ago I thought I had a bad sending unit and had never even seen a V-Twin cam tensioner. I guess I got to do my homework. I'm not sure I understand the "run out" issue with being able to run the gear driven cams?
OK. There is lots of info on the site about the option between gear drive and roller chain conversions. Also lots of stuff about runout. Do a search using a number of keywords (roller chain, gear drive, runout, etc.) and you will be swamped with stuff.

Here is the short version from my perspective. Each poster here will have their opinion based on their own personal experience. Ultimately it is up to you. It's YOUR bike!!

I personally like the idea of a gear drive best. I am more of a mechanical kind of guy, and the gear drive option would have been my first choice. I said WOULD have. That is until I learned more about two things. First, in order to have all of the stuff at hand when I start the project so that it can be finished quickly (like same day!!), I would need to have bought the basic gear drive kit plus the oversize and undersize gears specified in the instructions to make sure the approriate amount of backlash exists when converted. The instructions cover this (in essence, I would have bought four extra gears). Second, although it seems to be more of a problem with the 96cid engines and above, the runout problem had me spooked.

If the engine had an assembled crank shaft that was welded or bolted together instead of just press fit at the crankpin, I would not have worried about going with the gear drive. But the pressed crankshaft is a weakness in this engine (IMHO).

So I opted for the roller chain conversion and some fairly mild (although better than original equipment) cams that provide more bottom end TQ (Andrews Products 21N).

Now the cheapest option for you is to replace the spring loaded tensioners, clean out the oil system and button it back up. I would suggest getting the Baisley spring and swapping the OEM spring out to get your oil pressure up a bit, but that is not absolutely required. If you choose this option, then make it part of your annual maintenance plan to pop the cam cover off and inspect the tensioners.

So as I see it, those are your three basic options: refresh current configuration, gear drive conversion, roller chain conversion. Each has pros and cons that you must evaluate. To add complexity to the mix, there are a number of alternatives to the latter two options. But that can be evaluated once the type of system is decided on.

Good luck, and keep us in the loop!!

TQ
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Old May 17th, 2009, 03:07 AM     #9
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Re: no oil pressure

OK guys, I think I've decided to go with the gear driven cams, providing that my run out is within tolerance. I've been on the road all week with work but my first order of business when I get back home is going to be to take my Dial indicator(finally have a use for) and check my run out. I will post the results as soon as possible. My second order of business is going to be deciding hich cam set to go with. S&S? Woods? Andrews? etc.? I've got to decide which cam is going to work best for me? I want the most torque as possible, with a box stock motor, S/E air intake and BUB slip ons. I weigh around 265 and want all the "get up and go" that I can get with what I have to work with. Any suggestions on the gear driven cams I need? I really don't care about top end power but, I just don't want to give up any mid range and up power, I just want more out of the hole.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 01:40 PM     #10
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Re: no oil pressure

Andrews, TW21. Contact John at herko at insightbb.com for the gear drive package if you go that route; he can save you a few sheckles.
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