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  1. #1
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    Gearbox, primary case lube.

    This might be obvious to all, but not me! In English, is the gearbox on my 2009 Sporty lubed by the engine oil in the oil tank, or by the primary case oil?
    I know there are only two things to change oil in, unlike the big twins which have separately lubed gearboxes. But which oil lubes the gearbox?

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    bluenose-1956 (09-25-2018)

  3. #2
    Senior Member bluenose-1956's Avatar
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    The Sportster motor is unit construction, engine and gearbox share the same casings and the same lubricant, it holds 2.65 litres.

    The primary chain case has it's own lubricant and holds 946 millilitres.

    Big twins have separate engine and gearbox castings which are bolted together, each has it's own lubricant.
    Last edited by bluenose-1956; 09-26-2018 at 01:32 AM.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Gettin'onabit's Avatar
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    I think you will find the Sportster crankcase has separate engine oil in the oil tank on the right side of the bike.

    The gearbox and clutch are lubed by what HD call transmission oil; ie: HARLEY-DAVIDSON FORMULA+ TRANSMISSION AND PRIMARY CHAINCASE LUBRICANT

    The parts manual clearly shows the gearbox and the crankcase are two separate closed compartments.

    AL

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    Uncle Ed (09-28-2018)

  6. #4
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    The engine AND gearbox use oil from the oil tank.
    The primary drive and clutch use oil contained in the primary case.

    You can use 20w50 in both holes but most people use a transmission/gear oil in the primary.

    The gearbox uses the same oil as the engine from the oil tank, only in Big twins is there a separate gearbox filler.

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    bluenose-1956 (09-27-2018)

  8. #5
    Senior Member bluenose-1956's Avatar
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    Thanks Johnnythefox,


    Here is a Delboy's Garage video showing how to change a Sportster's Primary Drive lubricant.


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    Johnnythefox (09-27-2018)

  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gettin'onabit View Post
    I think you will find the Sportster crankcase has separate engine oil in the oil tank on the right side of the bike.

    The gearbox and clutch are lubed by what HD call transmission oil; ie: HARLEY-DAVIDSON FORMULA+ TRANSMISSION AND PRIMARY CHAINCASE LUBRICANT

    The parts manual clearly shows the gearbox and the crankcase are two separate closed compartments.

    AL
    I'm with you on this Gettin'. The engine is dry sump and isolated from the gearbox. HD owners manual emphasizes the need for the correct oil for the combined primary and gearbox.

  11. #7
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    For Gods sake people, Harley call the Primary a 'transmission' this is not the same thing as a gearbox.

    The primary transmission and the clutch are oiled by the oil contained in the primary case.

    The engine and the gearbox are oiled by the oil tank.

    If you believe anything else then you are sadly wrong.

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    Leeds883 (09-28-2018)

  13. #8
    Senior Member steveket's Avatar
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    Johnnythefox - and those who agree with Johnny - are correct for Sportsters 883 and 1200 - the right handside oil reservoir doubly serves to lubricate the engine and gearbox. The primary casing requires just a small amount of "primary transmission oil" just under a litre to simply lubricate the primary double-chain and bathe the clutch basket.
    Larger twins - yep - are different in that the oil reservoir is solely to lube the engine crankcase etc, then there is a separate gearbox filler neck to top up/refill gearbox, and finally once again the primary side for primary double-chain and clutch.
    It's that simple.

  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnythefox View Post
    For Gods sake people, Harley call the Primary a 'transmission' this is not the same thing as a gearbox.

    The primary transmission and the clutch are oiled by the oil contained in the primary case.

    The engine and the gearbox are oiled by the oil tank.

    If you believe anything else then you are sadly wrong.
    I think you will find HD use the term Transmission/Primary chaincase,(denoting two separate components)
    HD also give separate oil capacities for the Engine Oil Tank and the Transmission/Primary chaincase,
    I quote from my owners manual:
    "An opening between the transmission and the front chain compartments allows the same lubricant supply to lubricate the parts in both components"
    This is verbatim (but from 1996 manual it must be said)and I take Transmission to read as Gearbox(a rude term when I lived there in the 60's).

  15. #10
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    the Harley term transmission causes this problem, because of the engine design that Harley uses, the primary transmission, transmits the power from the engine via a chain and thence to the gearbox (the gearbox in Harley speak is the secondary transmission)

    As I have stated - the primary transmission and clutch share one oil, the engine and gearbox (secondary transmission) the other.
    Last edited by Johnnythefox; 09-28-2018 at 08:24 PM.

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    bluenose-1956 (09-29-2018)

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