Correct markings on Dipstick

Discussion in 'Oil' started by afriventure, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. afriventure

    afriventure Member

    I have seen the other posts here about running temps when checking oil levels etc.
    Now my question, the dipstick has a mark on the lower end which I presume is the filler mark, should the oil level be at this mark to be OK? or above it? and is there a higher mark for when full?
    The reason for my confusion is I checked a buddy of mine's '96 fatboy yesterday and his stick only has a small mark way higher (about 2') up and he is filling to that mark. :6:

    Again we are getting different answers from the diffirent techs here in SA:(
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    The lower mark is the cold or add mark and the upper mark is the full/warm mark. Best to check oil level at operating temps with the prescribed method in the owners manual. Some are left on the side stand while others are straight up (mostly softails).
  3. afriventure

    afriventure Member

    Again Glider THANKS
  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Here is what I have done on my bikes:

    Ride the bike around until it is clearly at operating temperature (like at the end of a day's ride).

    As soon as I get back to the garage (flat and level) I put the bike on the stand (like it says in the book), and check the oil level. If necessary, I add enough to bring it up to the "full when hot" mark on the dip stick.

    Next morning, I check the dip stick to see where it is cold (on all my bikes so far, that has been about half way between the low and high marks on the dip sticks).

    From then on, I check the oil level about once a week BEFORE I start the bike for that day and make sure it is at that "cold" level.

    When I change the oil, I fill the oil tank to that level. Then after running around, I check it hot to make sure it is at the "full when hot" mark. Add as required, and check it the next day.

    There ya go! Easy.


    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    On my 2000 dyna , the OIL tank is low with the trany-engine and I've never had THIS happen to IT BECAUSE oil tank is at an equal level with engine...

    NOW on my sportster 2006 1200 Roadster----

    I have had the oil level show WAY below the add mark after sitting for a couple of weeks.... I knew it was FULL as I change,checked and ran it checked it again before I parked it..... when I started it I let it warm up SLOWLY ON IDLE as I KNEW the motor had to have that X-TRA OIL in it's crankcase..(your thoughts please)....after 2 minutes of IDLE TIME i turned it off and checked the oil level and it was where it should be on the dip-stick.....

    I run a LONG hd filter(dyna type) just to have the x-tra when down in HOT az. I'm running 20/60 redline also......great stuff!

    JUST wondered on filters,what are the differences of long than the short one harley calls out for on the sporty.... ? keeping oil into tank???? I like the VOLUME of the LONG one and if it doesn't clean as SMALL MICRONS no=matter to me. as i change OFTEN

    I've run this longer filter since bike was new and never had the oil disapear into the bowls before....


    I just came in from cking COLD oil level and it is NOT lower than it should be on COLD level and has not run for a couple weeks..... so it seems to be nothing happening on a daily weekly sitting time span...

    What DOES keep the oil from gravety flowing in my sportster????

    was the oil pump setting just right to allow the oil to sump???

  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    The sportster and softails will sump when not being used in some cases because of the oil tank being higher than the engine. It back flows usually because of some grit holding the valve open that prevents this. Always start an engine and warm it up for the best oil level indication. Try some marvel mystery oil added to the oil but don't overfill the level. It will loosen up any sludge that will be removed after you run it a few hundred miles and drain the oil when hot. Should eliminate the sumping unless it is a mechanical problem.

    Marvel Mystery Oil - Harley Davidson Community