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Discussion Starter #1
So, I was riding my bike a bit last night and when I got back, I discovered that the crankcase is leaking oil. Suddenly. I can see the oil spurting out of the top of the crankcase on the left side (clutch side). It is coming out right behind the plug/screw thing that looks like it takes a giant flat head screw driver. I can include a picture if necessary.

I assume I need to replace the case gasket and hopefully that will fix the problem, but should this gasket leak to begin with? Might there be a bigger problem I should be concerned about?

--

2009 V Star 650 Custom
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So, I tightened the bolts on this (I figured maybe loosening bolts was more likely than a bad gasket on a 2009?), but that didn't fix the problem. I did notice something strange, in that when I pushed the choke in, it seemed to leak more. When I first start the bike with the choke all the way out, it really doesn't leak that much. Any ideas on why choke seems to affect the rate the bike leaks? Does choke change pressure somehow?

I think that's a side point and probably not related to the issue, but I found it to be interesting all the same.

Thanks.
 

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I will have to do some more research, but it sounds like perhaps you have a bad needle valve causing the carbs to keep pouring gas into the bowls then it overflows into the mouths of the carbs, then the cylinders and down into the oil. Maybe turning on the choke does something that allows the vacuum to break causing even more fuel to flow.. One way to verify this without pulling the carbs is to turn your fuel OFF and see if the oil still leaks..

GL!

eGo
 

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So, I tightened the bolts on this (I figured maybe loosening bolts was more likely than a bad gasket on a 2009?), but that didn't fix the problem. I did notice something strange, in that when I pushed the choke in, it seemed to leak more. When I first start the bike with the choke all the way out, it really doesn't leak that much. Any ideas on why choke seems to affect the rate the bike leaks? Does choke change pressure somehow?

I think that's a side point and probably not related to the issue, but I found it to be interesting all the same.

Thanks.
Golany - Just wanted to say I'm not responding substantively 'cuz you're well beyond my level of expertise. Your situation sounds really odd... My gut feeling is that something's going on beyond just a bad gasket. But what that is??? Hopefully others here with more experience than I can chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I tried your test eGo. I think I may have been incorrect on that choke thing. It doesn't really seem to leak less with full choke like I thought. The bike vibrates more with the choke shut off, and I wonder if it isn't the vibration that causes the oil to sputter out just a little quicker. I may test it again when I'm awake.

I also have a fear that something inside the crankcase is causing a problem, but it does seem like that gasket has to be bad in any case, otherwise I don't think it would leak (but I'm not certain of that).
 

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Yah, can you post pictures by any chance? Most likely it is the o-ring. Part # 93210-32172-00.. If it's the spot/plug I think you're talking about..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm falling behind on the questions here. It seems to be the same problem as is described here:

http://rinasvstar.blogspot.com/2013/06/oil-leak-from-crankcase-kickstand-side.html

Maybe the gasket just went bad? It is leaking at the crankcase cover gasket (not the "crankcase gasket"). I should have taken a picture... I've already started to tear things apart. That kickstand is a bear to get off. I needed to stick an open ended wrench on the nut behind the bolt, and used a large torque wrench to move the front bolt. Once the wrench on the nut got braced against the frame, those bolts moved.

Regarding the oil level...I've already drained the oil. I had a hard time seeing the level through the site glass (a dip stick would be nice, but the 650 custom doesn't come with one). It looked fairly full. It actually looked too full, but it was hard to tell with the poor lighting in my garage.

So, I'll update again once I get the time to work on this some more. I'm hoping to finish the job tonight.

On a side note, with my 650 temporarily out of commission, I keep finding myself compulsively looking at Sportsters and find myself wanting a second bike...

Thanks for the input so far!
 

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On a side note, with my 650 temporarily out of commission, I keep finding myself compulsively looking at Sportsters and find myself wanting a second bike...
I definitely understand the 'urge' with your bike out of commission.

My ADVICE is go ride a sportster, and my GUESS is you'll stop wanting one after that... They are good looking bikes and as close as HD comes to 'value pricing'. So YMMV, especially depending on your size/height - to wit:

I looked at Sportsters before I bought my 1100 - a used sportster being the only HD in my budget range. I found them rough and unpleasant to ride. I also found it just a bit small for me - e.g. my knees were bent well >45 degrees on the pegs, and were even still pretty bent with feet flat on the ground. I rather felt like my arms were pulled in too tight while holding the bars too. It seemed like a bike that you'd want to at most 5'9" to be comfortable. I'm not going to say it's a "girl's bike" - but I do guess making it more approachable for the ladies was on their minds while designing it.

(FWIW, the new HD "Street 500" is DEFINITELY for the shorter person. Happened to ride one on Sunday and felt like I was on one of those Junior-size dirtbikes they sell for kids)

Mostly with the Sportster, I just didn't like sitting at stop signs/lights and feeling like I was in one of those vibrating massage chairs.

Do watch the mileage if you buy one used - I recall hearing pretty consistently that its engine has a reputation for NOT going high miles all that well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
caseyjones,

Thanks for the input! I have taken a few different Sportsters for test rides (they all seem to have horrible stock shocks), and the weird thing was that some felt obnoxiously rough, while others I loved. I'm not sure if it was a difference in year or in trim or something else. The 72, while having too much chrome for my taste and with ape hangers that big, it made me feel like I was about to fall over unexpectedly at any moment, was actually pretty fun to ride. The 48 I liked too, although I imagine the seating position wouldn't be comfortable for too long. I kind of like the peanut tanks and the narrowness of the bike between your legs and the forward controls on both models. I'm a hair under 5'11", and found them more or less on par with my 650, if not with a little more leg room. I was half considering finding a used 883 Iron and putting forward controls on it. It wouldn't be a huge of a bump from my 650 (from the specs, the torque and hp on the 883 looks to be right in the middle of the V Star 650 and the Sportster 1200), but I am in town 90% of the time anyway...

I still think it was odd that some Sportsters felt wrong, while others just seemed to run better. Maybe it was my imagination, or maybe it was the mechanic who prepped it. I don't know and I'm probably not experienced enough to say.
 

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Golanv -

On the one hand, typical Harley to have that variance!

On the other, the important thing is that you've accurately noted it and realize you need to get the "right" exact one for you if you go that way.

I only rode 2. Maybe they were both just badly set up...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I actually kind of thought it had more to do with tuning than anything. The one I rode that I really didn't like I think may have been 100% stock and had zero tuning. In fact, I rode a second one at the same dealer that was only marginally better. At a different dealership, every one I took out that day (demo day) just seemed to feel good. Maybe it was a coincidence? Or my mood that day? Or the mechanics at each respective dealership?
 

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Forget the Sportster.....save a couple more bucks and get a real Harley. I've never known a single soul that was happy with one after owning it longer than 2 weeks.....there are way better beginners bikes out there.
 

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Thanks, Mick for stating clearly the sentiment I was really trying to convey, but was being too PC and delicate to say outright.

U know the song by Cee Lo Green that's called "forget you" on the radio but something else on the album?

"Forget" the Sportster. If you must have a Harley, go big or go home. If not... an awful lot of great options out there that kick the sportster's butt on a price/value/performance basis.

If you get a Sportster, I'll say nice things and genuinely be happy for you. But ride a lot of other options first, before you make the call...
 

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lol......sometimes I'm not very politically correct.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
So, I got the 650 fixed. It just seemed to be a bad gasket. You can see below that there is a break in the gasket (that's where it was leaking). I'm guessing something went wrong when it was installed. The Clayton manual and a couple of online articles later, and all was good!



Also, regarding Sportsters...a local dealership happened to have a demo ride on Saturday. I took out a 48 and a Softail Slim. The 48 vibrated like crazy at a stop light, which was kind of fun, but I swear that thing was smoother than my V Star once it started rolling. The Softail was a very nice bike, but it didn't speak to me or feel as fun to me as my 650 Custom or the Sportster. Most of my riding is commuting, with some periodic 80 mile trips to visit family. I think I may just like a slightly smaller bike, providing the foot pegs and handle bars are in comfortable positions for me.

And thanks for everyone's input!
 

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Never been on a sportster but in my opinion if you are taller than 5'6" and more than 150lbs it's too small. If someone that size could get comfortable on one. I have always felt the sportster was basically designed so folks that couldn't afford 20K bikes could still ride a Harley if they wanted. It's obvious no one keeps them because craigslist has them for a dime a dozen!

Glad you got your bike fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
To each his own I guess. I'm somewhere between 5'10" and 5'11" at about 180lbs, and the 650 only feels slightly cramped to me and I think that is mostly because the foot controls aren't forward enough. I'm happy with forward controls on that sized bike. I'll keep trying new bikes whenever I get a change. Maybe my tastes will change in the next few years.
 

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The Harley Sportster is their biggest seller and the reason of course is price but there are other reasons: Light weight, excellent torque with either the 883 or 1200, ease of hop up tuning with literally thousands of parts and hundreds of vendors, they look GOOD and sure won't be mistaken for a V-Star 650---no offense. They are also totally reliable and very easy to maintain, especially with their hydraulic lifters. Basically it's just oil and filter changes. The belts require a very slight and easy adjustment at 500 miles and then normally every 20,000 miles or so. Life on the belts in my experience are easily 80 to 100,000 miles.

They are all rubber mounts since 2004 and so they are very smooth past parking lot speeds. Shaking at idle is normal.

The suspensions can easily be made much, much better by Progressive springs in the front forks and a set of Progressive rear, longer travel shocks.

A really cool deal that HD had is the guaranteed trade in value if sold new and traded back in for a "Big twin" bike within I believe, a years time frame and in excellent condition.

I don't know anyone with a Yamaha Tattoo:eek:

Sam:)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Porky, you sound like an undercover Harley own cruising the V-Star forums. I actually ended up buying a 2013 Sportster Forty-Eight recently (got a good price on it). It like it a lot. I'm still comparing it to the V-Star 650. In my opinion so far, some things Harley does better, some things Yamaha does better. I feel like Yamaha is a solid product across the board. I think Harley really nailed some bits of their bike and got better than Yamaha, but other things they seemed to have skimped on a bit. I can see why people love Harley's and why others hate them. I think it's a matter of what's important to you. I'm happy with the sportster so far, but I can't say it's "better" than the V-Star over all, but "better" to some.

Regarding it's looks compared to the V-Star 650...the V-Star looks a little bigger. I think I personally like the looks of the Forty-Eight better, but comparing a little V-Star 650 to a chromed-out more traditional sportster, like the 1200C, I think the Yamaha looks a lot better.
 
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