Water in transmission

Discussion in 'Transmission' started by W1ld Card, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. W1ld Card

    W1ld Card Member

    Hi there, all, I have a question for the gurus.

    I went to change the oil, filter, spark plugs, and tranny/primary fluid in my 2008 Sportster 883. This bike is a repo, so it's history is unknown until it came into my possession. A little over 6k miles on it. And it's from Texas (I live in Michigan).

    Everything went well (that oil filter was quite difficult to remove, but I got it!), until I took out the drain bolt for the tranny/primary. What came out can only be described as a beautiful, silver-colored sludge. Completely silver colored. The tip of the drain bolt had a very small amount of debris on it, nothing too bad.

    I made sure this thing drained very well (I took it on a 15 minute ride before I drained it to warm it up and mix things up), and then I cleaned all of the foamy-white (EDIT) off of everything I could see (the clutch adjustment bolt, derby cover, drain plug). I then proceeded to put some Spectro Heavy Duty Primary Chaincase Oil in, which is a nice transparent color.

    The bike rides about the same, but shifts sooo much smoother.

    My question is: How would water get into the transmission/primary? It would seem a fair amount was in there, as ALL of the oil that drained out was a consisten silver color.

    Secondly, could I experience some long term damage from this aqueous exposure? Short term? Is this slightly normal? The bike did get a fair amount of condensation on it over the winter storage, enough so that water was dripping off of it.

    Thank you guys very much!


    Please read and understand the info in this link...
    A Friendly Reminder - Harley Davidson Community
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2011
  2. harley@16

    harley@16 Junior Member

    did you save the old oil and let it separated out? if it's water, it goes to the bottom and clears up but if metal it will stay the same color. maybe it was some sort of additive which will make it look different when it gets adgitated.
    i beleive the only way water could get in is if the filler hole was left open in the rain.
  3. mat 60

    mat 60 Senior Member

    One of the experts will help you soon but all that condensation and the fact that none of the fluids my not of been changed since new would be my gess...Id keep a eye on it. I would think you will be ok
  4. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

    Unless that bike has been in a flood I can not see how that much water could get in,I would change the fluid and primary gasket JMO
  5. dbmg

    dbmg Guest

    As Jack has said if in a flood there would be allot of other noticeable damage. A multi purpose or the wrong type of lubricant may have been used that has broken down and turned silver.
    As others have stated changing the fluid and gasket and ride. Only time and riding will tell if any significant damage has occurred.
  6. Dr.Evil

    Dr.Evil Junior Member

    Are you keeping an eye on the new oil? If you can't tell by the dip stick, you may want to drain it again and inspect it, if it looks good reuse it.
  7. W1ld Card

    W1ld Card Member

    Well, this transmission/primary does not have a filler or dipstick (have to take the clutch cover off to even see it or fill it...it's a pain to do it every time). I think I'm going to give it about 50-100 miles, let it mix up really good, and then take a look at it again. If I have to "flush" it out a couple of times, no real big deal.

    Thanks everyone!


    BUBBIE Well-Known Member


    That is the best way to do it.. IF it shows No color change when it is checked,,, I would run it, I would do an early change tho, at 500 miles, then you are good to go.
    You can use HD's Formal+ in the primary.. Good stuff.

    The Oil in clutch-primary/tyranny on the sportsters needs to be Kept in good condition..
    I Change all oils often in my sport, at 3,000 mile, both engine/filter,,,tyranny even tho HD may suggest longer..JMO

    I too would like a better way to check and fill on these little Rascals.. But they have been this way forever and doubt If HD will change that anytime soon.

  9. Iceman24

    Iceman24 Well-Known Member

    Biggest concern, if it was indeed water, would be damage to bearings & clutch assembly...definitely keep an eye on it.
  10. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I am with Bubbie on this although i would take the bike on a good run get it nice and hot then drain and refill with good oil the sooner you get all the traces of what was in there out the better