Vintage Engine Oil Leaks?

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by Randall K. Wilson, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. Randall K. Wilson

    Randall K. Wilson Junior Member

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    Just a few days ago I was at the HD shop in Knoxville TN. There were two nice older choppers for sale on the showroom floor. One was a shovelhead, and one was a panhead. Both of these dudes were very tastefully chopped and the real deal...Not like the ones built on TV, done by those Neanderthal acting and looking goobers.

    I noticed both of these bikes at the HD shop had a paper towel under them to catch what seemed like a tweenie weenie oil drip.

    For the sake of this discussion, were there panheads and shovelheads that never leaked? Or was that something one had to live with? I've only had two Evolution V2's and now a Twin-Cam and never seen the first sign of an oil leak. I know nothing personally about these older engines.

    Please respond.
     
  2. Fossil

    Fossil Active Member

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    The pan and shovel heads were not designed to leak oil from the engine cases, etc. However, they were designed to leak oil from the engine breather hoses that were routed straight to the ground. When these engines were built they used the stsndard gaskets and seals of the day. Some were paper thin and fitted between parts that were not machined be that good a match. They alse were never designed to go roaring down a turnpike at a steady speed and get very hot and warped things. The primary and final drive chains had a spray of oil on them that simply fell to the ground or leaked out of tin covers. A good wrench today can make these engines oil tight. Fossil
     
  3. silentflyer

    silentflyer Active Member

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    To be polite, shall we say the old HOGS had a reputation of leaking oil.......
     
  4. 01dynaglide

    01dynaglide Junior Member

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    from everything i have heard i would say yes.
     
  5. Bubbaglide

    Bubbaglide Member

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    Instead of leaking oil, we referred to it as marking its territory. New gaskets and a little bit of care will keep it from leaking.

    Both are cool enough to ride even if they did leak. You can't beat old iron !

    Bubba
     
  6. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

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    The most common leak point is the trans shaft oil seal. That why you see the leak at the rear end of the primary case....

    On my '77, I have blocked off the chain oiler, since I use an o ring chain. I also sealed my primary and blocked off the oil pump supply and return. I run the primary like an evo.

    My breather is run to the air filter (stock). I also installed a windage tray on my last bottom end rebuild.

    So my old shovelhead has no leaks at all....
     
  7. Tigg

    Tigg Junior Member

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    Thats what we called it too. Vintage iron ROCKS
     
  8. Bluesugar

    Bluesugar Member

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  9. H-D Pilot

    H-D Pilot Member

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    And remember...a thin film of oil prevents rust! :D ...HDP