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Thread: panhead low oil pressure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    8

    Default panhead low oil pressure

    besides an oil pump problem what else can cause low oil pressure on a '49 panhead (less than 5 lbs. all warmed up). I have gone thru the oil pump and all seems OK.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Arroyo Grande CA
    Posts
    15

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    My 49 Pan does the same thing and I have been riding it that way since I got it in 1972. A wise engine rebuilder in Santa Barbara where I was living at the time hipped me to the notion that pressure was not the intent as with modern engines, but volume of consistent flow was what the intent is. When my bike was a chop back in the 70's I had an oil pressure gauge screwed into the pump and on a hot Calif. day (running Valvo racing oil 60wt.) at an idle the needle would drop down to +- 5lbs. So long as you are not running a really worn out motor I would not worry.
    Last edited by Hack; 02-07-2018 at 08:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Beautiful Northern New Mexico
    Posts
    2,436

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    It is built around roller bearings and splash, there is little resistance to create pressure. Just ride it.
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubone View Post
    It is built around roller bearings and splash, there is little resistance to create pressure. Just ride it.
    Thanks for the quick replies and the good advice. I guess I have just been too used to seeing substantial pressure in our modern engines

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    The First State
    Posts
    104

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    I found out about my Pan oil pressure from an old timer. When it's hot and I'm idling, I get around 5lbs or so. He said as long as you see flow in the oil tank at idle, don't worry about it and just ride.
    Craig (Delaware)
    AMCA Member #1011

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Menomonie, WI
    Posts
    1,176

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    Yes If you have flow do not worry about the pressure. Every early Pan I have ever ridden will flicker the idiot light when hot and at an idle.

    Quote Originally Posted by craig (DE) View Post
    I found out about my Pan oil pressure from an old timer. When it's hot and I'm idling, I get around 5lbs or so. He said as long as you see flow in the oil tank at idle, don't worry about it and just ride.

  7. #7

    Default

    Howdy chaps,

    So how bout when your roll’n along in rural Mississippi on 95 degree summer day a 100 miles from home and your trusty old Fatster - 77 FLH - starts flickering the light at 60 mph in the middle of nowhere. Why, just stop at the several old country stores enroute and amongst the curing venison hanging from the ceiling locate and grab successive bottles of STP... at the last stop siphon off most of the remaining oil on the ground and replace that with STP.

    Got home to discover the duct tape that I’d wrapped around the cheap Ted’s sourced oil temp gauge - in - oil cap dip stick that had shrunk from heat was leaking and threatened to rattle out had dropped into the tank and snaked its way down the feed pipe to the pump effectively plugging it. No oil pressure. Removed the tape and STP, replaced with real oil and motored on. That was over 15 years ago so apparently none the worse for wear, as they say, thus 5 lbs would seem more than adequate.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Huntington, New York - American Zone
    Posts
    777

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    Quote Originally Posted by PRG View Post
    Howdy chaps,

    So how bout when your roll’n along in rural Mississippi on 95 degree summer day a 100 miles from home and your trusty old Fatster - 77 FLH - starts flickering the light at 60 mph in the middle of nowhere. Why, just stop at the several old country stores enroute and amongst the curing venison hanging from the ceiling locate and grab successive bottles of STP... at the last stop siphon off most of the remaining oil on the ground and replace that with STP.

    Got home to discover the duct tape that I’d wrapped around the cheap Ted’s sourced oil temp gauge - in - oil cap dip stick that had shrunk from heat was leaking and threatened to rattle out had dropped into the tank and snaked its way down the feed pipe to the pump effectively plugging it. No oil pressure. Removed the tape and STP, replaced with real oil and motored on. That was over 15 years ago so apparently none the worse for wear, as they say, thus 5 lbs would seem more than adequate.
    Try THAT with a Babbitt-journal lower end!
    Bill Pedalino
    Huntington, New York
    AMCA 6755

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    S.E.N.Y. State American side of Hudson River
    Posts
    447

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill pedalino View Post
    try that with a babbitt-journal lower end!

    lol! Nooo thanks!! Lol!
    D. A. Bagin #3166 AKA Panheadzz 440 48chief W/sidecar 57fl 57flh 58fl 66m-50 68flh 70xlh

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    202

    Default

    I put 73 and later oil pump drive gears for more volume in the system and blueprint the rocker arms for more pressure.
    Carl

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