When an Engine Gets Hot

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by Bikergeek, May 22, 2011.

  1. Bikergeek

    Bikergeek Active Member

    I apologize if this thread is out there somewhere on this forum but I couldn't one one related to my model year.

    Was out yesterday riding in temps around 70. Got into a bit of traffic and started sitting at lights way too long. When the light changed I noticed upon mild acceleration to get the bike moving the engine throttle was really lagging. Felt like the engine could stall and that there was a lack of fuel during the acceleration. It didn't stall but the throttle lag was making me worry. Looking at my oil tank thermometer, it was reading about 250 degrees.

    Just got the bike last August and haven't ridden it in the warm/hot weather yet so this experience was new to me. I did an oil change in Sept. 2010 since I am a new owner and wanted to be sure the oil was fresh. I used Harley's dino 20-50W.

    I do recall reading somewhere on one of these harley forums where others have had the same experience; as the engine gets real warm or hot this is a "common" occurrence. So most riders will shut down and allow the engine (oil) to cool down before restarting.

    The specs on my model year ('08) indicates that the oil system holds 2.5 qts. This seems to be really a small amount of oil in the system. Maybe this is causing the heating problem.

    Does other '08 Softail owners have the same problem? I'd like to hear from you here. What have you done to correct the "overheating" on these '08 models with 2.5 quarts?

    I also noticed that the newer models from 2009-on have a larger capacity oil tank. Do I sense a Harley factory correction here? Harley realized 2.5 quarts doesn't quite cut it? More oil circulating has to provide better engine cooling. Yes?

    Sorry for the rambling.
  2. glazier

    glazier Junior Member

    Are you sure it only holds 2.5 quarts of oil??? I have a 2000 FLSTC and it holds 3.5 qts. When I change the oil I only add 3 qts. cause it all doesn't drain out. I'd double check your manual and check the dipstick also. 250* is pretty warm for the engine, but thats where mine used to run in the summer, even cruising on the highway. Just put in the high volume oil pump and switched to Mobil1 V-Twin 20W-50 synthetic and its running a lot cooler now. 25-30* cooler. Not sure if the heat is related to your throttle lagging. Mine is a carb and yours is injected, so I'll leave that to the experts here.
    Good luck and check your oil.
  3. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I think that once the temp gets to 250 Dino oil is perhaps not lubricating as well as it would at lower temps so if your bike is going to get the oil to that sort of temp then perhaps it would be better to switch to a full synthetic oil which should perform much better at higher temperatures

  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    Your bike is listed at 3 quarts, not 2.5 but see if you are checking the oil level properly probably straight up and level. Warm the oil and recheck it on the dip stick.

    The dino oil will break down at 250* and you should consider a good synthetic oil to replace it.

    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  5. gator508

    gator508 Senior Member

    The owners's manual states "3.0 U.S. qt.", oil tank with filter, so it sounds like you are somewhat shy of a full tank. Also, as Glider states, the oil temp of 250 is borderline to breakdown, so switch to a godd full synthetic.
  6. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

    All air cooled engines run hot when not moving for long. Definitely as the previous posters said get some fully (not mixed) synthetic oil in you crank. Try to stay away from long traffic situations. If it's too long, turn you engine off ( I do at all train crossings I have to stop at )

    Some of us run Lenale Fans to help with that scenario but that's up to you if you want to go that route. I suspect with future EPA rules HD may also go water cooled and I really don't care ( boy I'm probably gonna get flammed for that one) since I think it would be kinda neat not having to worry with the heat issue or have my thighs burn in the summer anymore.

    I've ridden behind many water cooled bikes on rides and with the right pipes they sound awesome. I can always spot the water cooled guys at a kick stands up scenario but there is still a long line to wait on.

    The water cooled bikes always crank it up and just sit there idling while the long procession gets going. The HD guys (includes me) always wait and only crank it up after it looks like we are actually gonna move.
  7. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

    Your bike has EITMS (engine idle temp.management system), fuel is shut off to one cyl. at idle when a certain temp. is reached. That may be the throttle "lag" you describe. Type engine temp. management in the search box in the top right corner of this page, and you will get a lot of info. about eitms.
  8. ckhismine

    ckhismine Active Member

    Are you reeving the engine sitting still ? Thats a big no no on air cooled engines. Just makes them get hotter. I see a lot of people doing it.
  9. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

    That's very good point, the OP might want to investigate that avenue with his dealer. I was under the impression though that as soon as you turned the throttle the ECM immediately kicked the idle speed (and the back cylinder) back up (and on).

    But as Breeze pointed out it could take a bit for the back cylinder to lean back out and get going smooth again. If it does in fact take a short lag to get going the OP could bump his throttle when ready to go (to take the bike out of EITMS mode) and then take off a short second later.

    Oh and as chhismine said, don't bump the throttle while sitting, it keeps the idle speed higher than the ECM would have it at that scenario.
  10. Bikergeek

    Bikergeek Active Member

    Are you sure that the '08 softail has EITMS? I believe the touring bikes have it but I didn't see any reference to it in my owner's manual even though it is for a '09 model.