Harley Rocker Boxes will sometimes seep oil, and on this 883 they were. Removing them and replacing the gaskets is not too awful as long as you hold your tongue right to get the boxes out of the frame.
In this picture, the box is already out and you can see the pushrods. The exhaust and intake pushrods are different lengths so they must go back the way they came out (they do have to be removed to get the rocker boxes out).
In the picture above, you can see the rocker arms still in place. The rocker boxes are made up of three pieces stacked on top of the heads (heads stay bolted in place).
Head still in place.
The photos above and below show the area of gasket failure and a piece of the failed gasket material. The new replacement gaskets for this area are rubber coated metal and far superior to the failed gasket.
Below, a new seal is installed on top of the rocker arm housing. the rocker arms are back in place. The top two covers will be finessed back into place in the opposite order in which they were removed.
Below, all buttoned up, save the air cleaner.
Don’t let those Rocker Box oil seeps bother you. We can take care of them for you. Thanks for reading.
A customer brought this Suzuki in to see whether we could “get it running”. I could, but I normally have to determine whether it’s really worth it to the customer. I’ll take you on a short photo tour to show you some of the particulars.
Evidence of a mouse house. I theorize this may, I say just may, be related to the chewed wiring that would need replacement.
More rodent architecture
I called the owner and we spoke about the time required to clean everything and locate the parts for a bike like this. The seals were all dried out and needed replacement along with the other maladies chronicled above. The owner picked it up with the thought of doing it as a project with a friend, but I haven’t heard the outcome. Regardless, I thought you might enjoy taking a look at this old machine that had been tucked away in a shed for a few years.
Here’s a fun one, and incredibly aggravating for the bike owner. It’s a softail that would periodically lose all of its lights, as in, fender lights, driving lights, and headlights. This proved quite an interesting problem while driving home from Myrtle Beach in the rain. The fuse would blow and require a replacement, but all too often. So, what did I find? Take a peek.
The wiring for this bike converges under the seat. In the above photo, you can see a dimple in the pink wire. I love Harleys and ride a Dyna myself, and they are my favorite bikes to work on because I know them well. I also know they vibrate, much of which is by design. In this case, the vibration caused the wires to rub together and wear through the insulation. The orange wire is actually the culprit in our fuse shorting.
To expain the picture: I’m holding a metal tool right on the orange wire to point out the break in the insulation. I can stick the tool right down through the insulation to the wire. This wire would short out and blow the fuse and take all the lights out. I spliced in a new section of wire and put two layers of heat shrink material around it to eliminate athe problem.
**Note — click on any of the pictures for a larger view. ** A sitting motorcycle is a sad motorcycle if it’s not properly prepared to sit. Gasoline has a shelf life, and the current rumor is that it’s gotten much shorter since there is ethanol in gas these days. This Nighthawk sat for a while and the gas deteriorated. Once it deteriorates, it clogs up the small passages in the carburetors, which prohibits the bike from mixing air and fuel the way it’s supposed to. Many times customers will say, “It will run on choke but not without it” or “It won’t take any gas”. This bike was that way. Many times, the prescription is to clean the old film and sludge from the carbs (this one has 4). Preventing this type of thing is easy — ride your bike more often. Seriously. If you ride at least once a week, the chance of this happening goes down dramatically because you are burning fuel and replacing it with fresh fuel. Some of our customers report success with Startron and Stabil fuel stabilizers for periods of storage as well, so trying those is also an option that may work.
Above is a picture with the carbs removed, then below are the carbs on the bench.
Now, let’s take a look at the picture below to see what could be the problem…
The carb above, which is just one of the four, really doesn’t look all that bad compared to others that come in. The floats (the yellowish plastic) look pretty clean. The jets (from top to bottom – the main jet, the idle jet, then the enrichener jet) have some crud around the entrances, which normally indicates there will be some crud inside the jets. Jets are so small to begin with that it doesn’t take much crud to affect them. On this bike, the enrichener circuit was completely clogged. It took quite a bit of soaking before I was able to get the sludge out of it. The other three carbs were the same story. Once done, however, the bike ran like new.