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Old 09-07-2010, 12:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Foaming Oil

I have an 81 Sturgis that I am having trouble with my oil foaming. I can ride about 2 or 3 miles and the pressure is fine around 32 psi after that it drops down to about 10 or 12 psi. The pressure gauge is on the rocker cover.

When I stop and look in the oil tank there is about an inch of foam on top.
I'm of course hoping someone has had this problem and found a cure. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sturgis81 View Post
I have an 81 Sturgis that I am having trouble with my oil foaming. I can ride about 2 or 3 miles and the pressure is fine around 32 psi after that it drops down to about 10 or 12 psi. The pressure gauge is on the rocker cover.

When I stop and look in the oil tank there is about an inch of foam on top.
I'm of course hoping someone has had this problem and found a cure. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Try switching over to Torco 20w/50 .It has anti-foaming properties.I run it in my bike, & the bike runs cooler.I like it!!!!
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Craig,
Did you consider the Torco straight 50w. Just wondering.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Craig,
Did you consider the Torco straight 50w. Just wondering.
No Pike I didn't.When it gets cooler in nj ,& I ride i figured it would be hard starting without the muti weight oil!!! But I do like Torco alot.I read about it here on this site.I will switch to it ,in my sports bike too!!!
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High Flow HPI Inj & BB TBW Throttle body
D&D Boarzilla (perforated baffle)
Lenale cooling fan
Jagg 10 row oil cooler
K&P engineering oil filter
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Pikeslayer,
I did try 50W and I recently tried Redline 20W60 with the same foaming problem. I've talked to people who think it may be gas bleeding into the oil but the oil doesn't have the expected gasie smell. It reminds me of when I owned my first beater of a car and the water got into the oil causing it to foam. If I could just find where they hide the rad on harley's I could check it. Just kidding. I am stumped though.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I used to run SynIII oil like most lemmings and always noticed LOTS of foam in my tank. Now I run Torco 60w and theres no foamy stuff on top. Foam is for------>
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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currently using this and it does run cooler http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...illips66XC.php
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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All oil foams. It is the nature of what they do in a machine. They get air in them. Mostly small amounts that the anti foamant deals with nicely. Excessive foam is very bad.

Motor oils have anti foam additives to deal with it. used to be silicons, not it's more exotic.

Small bubbles bump into each other and make larger bubbles, these rise. The antifoam agents exert pressure on the large bubbles, helping break the surface tension that holds them together. Pop!

That's the ideal.

Causes of excessive foaming:

Contamination, in the form of;

-Very fine particulate. Many times finer than you can see or feel. ( a current issue at my place)

-Water

- air is a contaminant. Leads to increased oxidation and loss of lubricity.

It is possible to get air introduced in a return line. Bernoullis principle will show that a low pressure area can develop and suck air in. Particularly at restrictions, bends, fittings.


Excessive agitation. There is such a thing as too much flow and pressure.

or simply, Anti foam additive depletion.

Now, fix the problem, not the symptom. You can get a thicker oil, but should you? I don't. Modern multi weight oils have very robust viscosity modifiers, So you get cold start and hot run protection. Really, unless you live somewhere where it never gets below 80, don't do straight weights.

Change the oil, check the fittings. Run a proper filter.
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Last edited by RobertC; 09-10-2010 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey Colonel,

Thanks for your reply regarding the foaming. I was using 50W and had foaming as do I now with the 20W60. I tried the synth oil because the supplier I had for 50w no longer carried it. The reason I would and did go with the synth oil at all was someone I respect the opinion of has recommeded it in the past, Donny Peterson. He has written books on the Harley maint. and is a regular contributer to Harley magazines. I'll include a link to his web site at HD Cylces in Canada. If you have a look at the section Tech TV in video one he mentions it but doesn't really go into detail. I would think the improvements made over the past 20 years would support the use of synth oil.
If I can get rid of the foaming while protecting my motor I'd use cooking oil.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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sorry I meant to add the link,

http://www.heavydutycycles.com/#techtv.html
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you Robert for the comments.

I will drain the oil again and see if I can get some 50W. While I'm at it I'll replace the filter. It's a bit trickier to do anything about the bends as they are minimal and there aren't any alternate method of getting to and from the tank. I should mention that I also have an oil cooler on the bike as well in case that may also have an impact. The other thing is this isnt a small amount of foam but rather about an inch deep on top of the oil in the tank. Of course this is affecting the oil pressure read at the rocker cover as well.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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an oil pump that is not sealed properly at the cam plate will tend to foam as well.
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Foam that affects oil pressure is excessive. Period. so you're thinking right on correcting it.

I know you can't do much about the hose and tube routing, all the same, check the connections.

And as coolmaker says, oil pump if all else fails.
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolmaker View Post
an oil pump that is not sealed properly at the cam plate will tend to foam as well.
Cam plate?......Isn't this an 81 Sturgis?I don't recall if the Sturgis runs a belt primary.If not,are you still circulating the oil through the primary?It helped me when i sealed it off.Also,when I do an oil change,I pull the return line from the top of the tank and run the bike,with fresh oil in it,until you see clean oil coming out of the line.Some oil coolers will stir up the oil quite a bit as well.You could try bypassing the cooler too.Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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This was a problem years ago with some brands of multi-grade, when all manner of additives were added. Some problems can be simply that the oil comes back into a cold tank and may get better on a long ride, where the bike and tank get really hot through.

Just try a different brand of the same grade of oil.
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