Custom Vehicle Discussions > Screamin’ Eagle® Dyna® Fat Bob

Oil usage (again)

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Hi all,

I've been having an ongoing saga with my dealer with a 2009/2010 FXDFSE (yellow), and I'd like to get a feeling for what other people's usage is to get a baseline of what's normal

I've been experiencing what I believe to be excessive oil usage or consumption for the past year I've owned the bike (I purchased it with 1000km/600mi on clock)

Current stats are for every 1000km (600mi), I'm using approximately 400ml(almost half a quart) of oil

The dealer has performed compression tests on the engine and said there are no issues here, but state the usage is normal and expected. (which then makes me wonder why they were doing compression tests if it was normal?)

do other people out there believe this is expected usage? What do you experience on these?

That's usage of almost a quart every thousand miles.  If it's actually using that much through the engine it is agreed that it's too much by everyone but Mother Harley.

With modern standards it is too much.  Harley is likely to put you off with a quart-per-thousand specification and say it's ok.

However....  You're describing adding at half quart increments.  Are you filling it to the full mark on the dipstick?  If so you may not have an issue at all.  It is very common that "full" on the dipstick is, in practice, too much.  And if filled to there the engines blow a half quart or so out the top end past the breathers.

If you're filling it to the full mark try leaving at about a half quart low on a cold engine.  See if the loss continues.  If it does continue at the pace you're describing and the shop says a compression test is ok ask them to do a leak down test.  It's a more thorough version of an engine pressurization test and give some insight as to where the oil might be going.


With my vast experience and knowledge  :confused5: regarding Harley Davidson (all 7700 miles of it), I think Twolane may have guessed correctly.   :o 

I'm on my 3rd oil change on my first Harley, which I bought new - 1st oil change at about 30 miles, next at 1000 miles, and next at 5000 miles.  Using the flawless logic that more is always better, I filled the oil level to full each time, and noticed the oil level (on the cheapass digital temp/oil level gauge I bought from HD) seemed to drop pretty dramatically until it read "low" when cold.  At that point, the oil loss would stop.

I initially thought it was burning oil, even though there was no discolored exhaust, and the oil pressure gauge always read in the normal range.  But when I cleaned the air filter, there was a lot of oil in the filter and the base of the intake housing.  The owner's manual explains the oil levels are read differently when the oil is hot vs when it's cold.

I know it's hard to do, but before you tangle with your dealer again, let the oil level on the dipstick drop, and see if the oil loss stops.  Just make sure the oil pressure doesn't drop.   :'(   Also, check your air filter to see if there is any motor oil there or in the bottom of the intake tube of the Heavy Breather.

Don't know if this is your first Harley, but this newbie is finding that there's a steep learning curve with these bikes.  Hope this helps!

My 2012 uses almost NO oil in 5000 miles. So little I never add oil. Your bike has a major problem. Find another dealer. I sell my bikes when they reach 50,000 miles and have never had an oil problem. Lots of other problems.


First, Twolanerider gave you some very good advice.  Leave the oil level at least a pint below the full mark on the dipstick and see if that doesn't help - it has for many people including me.

Second, if you continue to experience that much oil loss even after lowering the level in the tank, you need better diagnostics by someone a little more qualified than that dealership.  A compression test is not a definitive test for oil consumption.  You can have excellent compression and be pumping oil past the oil rings or valves all day long; the oil will help seal the compression rings.  In fact that is one way to help diagnose low compression problems, by adding oil through the spark plug hole to see if the compression improves.  A very common source of oil consumption on a Harley is the valve stem seals.  A compression test won't tell you a thing about those.  In other words, there is a lot more involved than just a simple compression test.

Find a better dealer, and good luck.



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