V-Twin Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
According to Harley stealerships and the official service manual for my 2003 Softail, mechanical oil pressure gauge connection must be made by removing the oil pressure switch and plumbing a “T” fitting at the switch location. Of course Harley ( as well as any number of aftermarket retailers ) will gladly sell you everything you need to connect a gauge at the pressure switch and mount it on your rear cylinder rocker box lid for $150 - $250. What about the two socket head plugs in the oil filter base on the TC-B? Why can’t a gauge be connected in place of one of those plugs? Harley stealership techs that I have talked to about it say “No” but cannot explain what the plugs are there for or, why a mechanical gauge can’t be connected there. A quick check of the oil flow diagram in the service manual also shows that flow goes to the pressure switch and then to the oil filter so, if pressure can be checked at the switch, I could find no reason why it could not also be checked at the filter base plugs.

First of all, I’m not a person that is going to pay $150 - $250 for parts that MIGHT HAVE cost $50 just because it’s chromed and has a bar & shield or some over-priced name embossed in it. Not that I am a cheapskate ( I DO after all own a Harley ) but, nobody cares how much money you spent for parts for your sled so, the only person it should appeal to is you. Other than that, really, who gives a f*ck what anybody else thinks?

Here’s my mod. I’m happy with the way it turned out and the way it looks but might decide to paint the brass with high temp black. The best part is, my total cost was less than $50! If you’ve REALLY got to have chrome, I’m sure that you can get the same fittings that I used in chrome instead of brass, chrome might cost you a little more than brass but, I can bet that it still won’t cost you $150 - $250. For those of you that have used the lifter oil screen port on the Evo's, this will put the gauge face close to the same location on the TC-B and it is easily visible while riding ( without a bracket mounted on the rocker box jabbing you in the leg ).

Here’s my parts list: 1-1/2” 0-60 liquid filled gauge ( Amazon, $12. ), 1/8” copper tube gauge installation kit with compression fittings ( Advance Auto Parts, $8. with 25% promo code ), One 1/8” female x 1/8” female 90 degree brass fitting, One 1/8” male x 1/8” female 90 degree brass fitting, One 1/4” male to 1/8” female brass reducer fitting, One 1/8” x 4” brass nipple and, Two 3/8” insulated P-clamps. ( Home Depot, $22. ).

Heres the instructions for the installation: Remove the lower socket head plug from your oil filter base ( I shouldn’t have to tell you this but, any oil in your oil filter will drain from this hole ). Using thread sealant — NOT teflon tape — install the 1/4” to 1/8” reducer fitting then, install the 1/8” male x 1/8” female 90 degree fitting into the reducer. If you install the 90 into the reducer and then try to install the two fittings as an assembly, you will find that you don’t have enough clearance at the frame ( ask me how I know.... ). Tighten the fittings so the outlet is pointed at roughly 2 o'clock ( when viewed from the front ). The 1/8” male npt x 1/8” compression fitting ( from the copper tubing kit ) is installed next.

Next, remove the two outside bolts from the rear cylinder lifter block. Assemble the gauge (1/8” rear connection ), 1/8” female x 1/8” female 90 degree fitting, 1/8” x 4” nipple and the 1/8” female npt x 1/8” compression fitting ( from the copper tubing kit ). Place both 3/8” insulated P-clamps on the brass nipple and secure the assembly to your rear cylinder lifter block. Point the gauge face upward so that it can be viewed between the rear cylinder and head pipe and tighten the lifter block bolts.

Routing the 1/8” copper tube is a matter of preference but, I routed mine behind the front cylinder pushrod tubes and then out to the connection at the rear cylinder mounted gauge. I wrapped the tube with double wall heatshrink to protect the line from rubbing and to also make it black. With the heatshrink, the copper tubing is held securely by the cooling fins on the front cylinder.

  • After cleaning everything up, I started the engine and within a few seconds, the oil pressure gauge worked perfectly. The brass fittings on my 2003 black & silver Heritage doesn’ really bother me. If you happen to have a 2008 black & gold, it would probably fit right in. As a couple of suggestions for anyone that wouldn’t be able to sleep with the brass fittings ... You could paint the fitting using VHT ceramic paint ( silver or black depending on if your engine is black or “raw” ) or, you could look for chrome fittings instead of brass.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
I believe those ports are for adding an oil cooler, and yes, as you discovered, full pressure is there and can be tapped into....dont know why HD Techs said no.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Its my understanding that, if you plumb an external oil cooler into those ports, the oil ( or at least some of it ) will bypass the filter. I don't know why the techs all said "no" either but, even the official 2003 H-D Softail service manual specifies that, for checking mechanical oil pressure, the gauge is connected to the pressure switch port.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,700 Posts
I have had several gauges on my bike over the years, I have yet to find one that doesn't **** it's self after a year or two, usually leaking the liquid damping fluid all over the friggen bike

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I have had several gauges on my bike over the years, I have yet to find one that doesn't **** it's self after a year or two, usually leaking the liquid damping fluid all over the friggen bike

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
I have never had an oil pressure gauge installed on my TC, only because I didn't like the setup that was being offered, with the bracket mounted to the rocker box lid. IMHO, it looked like it would constantly be in the way. I HAVE had gauges mounted on my Evo's ( at the rear cylinder lifter screen) and never had one fail, which made me think that the failures on the TC's were due to WHERE the gauges were being mounted -- on top of the engine, above the cylinders instead of lower on the engine case.

As I said, I've personally never had a gauge fail on any of my Evo sleds and would like to hear from anyone who has, just to see if my experience was unique. I have only had the gauge on my TC for about 200 miles now and no problems but time will tell. Doesn't seem that the gauge is taking a beating where it is now while riding.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
448 Posts
Years ago I installed the HD oil pressure gauge that is tapped to the oil pressure switch location: The gauge started to leak and lost the damping fluid and the pressure line is a cheap low quality type. I bought a Marshal gauge and the Russell line and had no failures thereafter.

Armin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Glad that worked out for you Armin. I have never had one of those rocker box mounted gauges on my TC for a couple of reasons ( besides the exorbitant price for the kit ). First, it looks like that gauge would be gouging me in the inside of my leg. Maybe ok for a short while but after several hundred miles I would be thinking otherwise but, again, I have no personal experience with that gauge setup so it is just my observation.
Secondly, unless you have stock ( or stock style ) rocker boxes, that gauge setup won't work because the bolt pattern of the lid is different. My TP rocker boxes are an example of that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
In the event that anyone is interested in knowing how this gauge setup is holding up, I will update this thread from time to time..... So far, Ive got just over 1100 miles since the installation with no problems. The Winters gauge is not leaking and is easily readable with a quick glance even at highway speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
In the event that anyone is interested in knowing how this gauge setup is holding up, I will update this thread from time to time..... So far, Ive got just over 1100 miles since the installation with no problems. The gauge is not leaking and is easily readable with a quick glance even at highway speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,700 Posts
Years ago I installed the HD oil pressure gauge that is tapped to the oil pressure switch location: The gauge started to leak and lost the damping fluid and the pressure line is a cheap low quality type. I bought a Marshal gauge and the Russell line and had no failures thereafter.

Armin.
I will have to check that guage out, I ran my own braided line because I didn't like the offerings out there. The setup is all good but the gauge or maybe how it is mounted

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Years ago I installed the HD oil pressure gauge that is tapped to the oil pressure switch location: The gauge started to leak and lost the damping fluid and the pressure line is a cheap low quality type. I bought a Marshal gauge and the Russell line and had no failures thereafter.

Armin.
I had the same experience. Mine is an Accel 1 5/8" 60 psi gauge and the same Russell line. Harley gauge, less than 1 year; Accel gauge, still doing it's thing close to 18 years. Probably 90K+ miles. I did replace the line about 8-9 years ago, but only because it was looking a little dingy, not for function.

It's never bothered me being where it is, only sometimes I wish it was lighted.
265876
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
Good reading in this thread. I just bought a cheaper version of the rocker box mounted gauge from JPCycles along with the russell oil line because I didn't want the plastic crap on there. I'll definitely check out placement to see if it will be annoying before installing.

I like the OP's setup and will consider going that route if I don't like anything about the kit I bought.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top