How To Do Harley Oil Pump Check Valve Repair

If you own a Harley Davidson, you need to understand the Harley oil pump check valve repair process.

Especially when you experience or have to deal with the issue of wet Sumping.

When Sumping occurs, the oil tank will drain its content and fill the crankcase.

This causes the engine and oil pump to work harder as they attempt to pump the excess oil.

The check valve is a significant component of your bike’s pumping system.

This component supports effective fluid movement and application. It acts as a defense system against possible backflow, which may result in complications or severe issues in the pumping system.

In a situation where there is continuous or constant oil backflow, this could affect the operation and performance of the engine and pumping system.

Harley Oil Pump Check Valve Function

The check valve allows oil to flow/move in a direction, ensuring the oil tank doesn’t run dry. It retains the oil in the oil tank when the engine is idle or turned off.

Immediately you turn on the ignition, the oil pressure opens the check valve, allowing easy oil passage into the engine.

Without the oil pump check valve (in a situation where it is absent or faulty), the oil present in the tank would only move or run into the lower end/part of the engine.

So, whenever the engine starts, the oils blow out the breather. A situation that is popularly known as “Sumping.”

How do you know if your Harley oil pump check valve is bad?

When the oil pump check valve begins to fail, or when it’s going bad, there are some early warning signs or indications you will perceive or experience. Make sure you pay attention to these signals.

  • A faulty or bad check valve may start vibrating, which may lead to the loss of some essential internal components
  • The check valve may begin to leak. When this begins to happen, it is a clear indication of a breakdown.
  • Most times, this occurs when there is debris or contaminants between the ball and the seat of the valve.
  • This could also happen when the ball wears out or when the seat experiences a small cut in it
  • When your oil pump check valve begins to break down, it may as well produce strange and disturbing sounds.
  • This occurs when the disc starts crashing or knocking into the valve’s seat
  • A faulty oil pump’s check valve causes the engine to run/function/operate poorly. In some cases, the motorcycle may stall
  • Another sign of a failed, damaged, or faulty check valve is reverse oil flow.
  • This occurs when the components wear out or are excessively damaged
  • A bad or faulty oil pump check valve could prevent your bike from starting (no ignition).
  • In some cases, it takes a long time (after series of attempts to crank the engine) before it finally fires up

What to do when the oil pump check valve is bad?

Whenever your oil pump check valve goes bad, the ideal thing you need to do is to fix the problem.

A faulty check valve can be corrected through repair or replacement.

You can explore these available options and choose the one that sounds interesting and fun to you.

Watch out for the signals that denote check valve trouble or issue from time to time.

You can choose to conduct the replacement on your own (if you have the necessary tools and the needed experience to get the job done) or contact a technician or professional.

Failure to replace or repair your lousy check valve could eventually lead to system failure.

Harley Oil Pump Check Valve Repair

In the past, it is complicated to repair a faulty check valve due to a lack of adequate tools or equipment needed to initiate or complete the repair process.

Oil pump check components or rebuild kits were not available on the market. As a result, a check valve replacement was majorly considered.

To repair a faulty check valve, you may have to remove the oil pump. In some cases, you may need to have the oil pump body replaced.

Today, oil pump check valve repair or rebuild is made possible using rebuild kits from various vendors available on the market.

Compared to oil pump check replacement, a rebuild is easier, and the process is not time-consuming. Nevertheless, Harley oil pump check valve rebuild is technical.

If you are conducting the repair on your own, make sure you get the necessary repair tools and follow the steps intentionally for a successful task.

A valve technician uses appropriate and custom tools and follows the proper techniques or procedures for a reliable and cost-effective task.

The process involves replacing the check valve ball, O-ring, spring, and screw using the ideal/specialized tools.

After completing the repair process, your check valve is refurbished and restored to the manufacturer’s specifications.

This option is majorly considered by bike owners who do not have the time and patience required to conduct a replacement. Also, a repair is a cheaper option.

Like every other component of your bike, a repaired or refurbished check valve must be inspected from time to time (routine maintenance).

This ensures you keep your motorcycle in ideal working condition.

Steps involved in repairing or rebuilding Harley oil pump check valve

  • Get a rebuild kit for your Harley’s oil pump model
  • Drain the oil from the tank
  • Using a flat head screwdriver, take out the screw of the check valve’s cover
  • Take out the check valve spring and O-ring. You can easily remove these components using your hand
  • Take out the check valve ball. A mechanic’s magnet does the job better. Avoid using a screwdriver or any other related devices to prevent scratching the seat
  • Get rid of any contaminants
  • Check the seat to detect if there are scratches. For easy inspection, you can make use of a magnifying glass. Alternatively, use a flashlight
  • If the seat is in good condition, look through the open check valve and check if the cavity inside the oil pump is filled with oil
  • In case the cavity is empty, add fresh oil inside the cavity
  • Conduct a replacement of the valve ball, valve spring, O-ring, and screw
  • Start the bike’s engine. Before you turn on the ignition, ensure the bike is in neutral

Replacing oil pump check valve

Sometimes, getting the oil pump check valve repair components (O-ring, spring, and ball) that fit your bike from can be complicated or stressful.

Some Harley owners have reported that repairing the check valve (replacing the components with new ones) doesn’t solve the oil leak issue sometimes.

As a result, most Harley owners consider replacing the faulty valve as the correct approach to fixing the issue.

Although the process is time-consuming, the end result is very reliable. A replacement can be conducted by any Harley owner, provided they have the needed tools and patiently follow the steps involved.

Suppose you decide to replace your Harley oil pump check valve and you do not have the skills or experience required for an excellent job.

In that case, you may need to consult an experienced valve repair technician.


Harley oil pump check valve rebuilt kit (O-rings and stainless steel spring) costs about $20 on average.

For an easy and stress-free repair or installation process, you may need to invest in installation tools. The tools cost about $100 on average.

If you are not a technician or are not planning to use the installation tool frequently, investing in these tools may be very expensive.

Even more costly than getting a new check valve. This says a lot about why Harley owners who seek or desire repair consult a technician as against doing it independently.

A new check valve costs about $75 on average, and it requires some basic tools to complete the installation process.


With the right tools, check valve repair and replacement can be completed in a few hours.

How soon or how fast the process takes depends on the individual’s level of experience.

Harley Oil Pump Check Valve Replacement Tools

  • Torque
  • Deep socket
  • Magnet
  • Bike’s service or part manual
  • Spanner
  • Screwdriver
  • Side-cutting plier


  • Drain the oil from the tank
  • Disconnect the check valve from the pump
  • Replace the old check valve with the new system
  • Replace/refill drained oil with a fresh one
  • Ensure your bike is in neutral, then turn on the engine

FAQ’s About Harley Oil Pump Check Valve Repair

How do I ensure a successful oil pump check valve repair?

While replacing your Harley oil pump check valve, make sure you remove the faulty valve safely.

You must be willing to take your time as this requires a lot of patience. While installing the new system or component, ensure safe attachment or installation.

Make sure the check valve is rightly positioned, placed, or inserted for a successful installation.

What causes Sumping in a bike?

Your engine may blow oil out the breather when there is an absence of oil in the check valve.

This happens a lot when your bike is idle during the winter and you attempt to start the engine in the spring.

At this moment, the oil must have drained past the check valve. This is fair to some extent, and it doesn’t automatically depict a faulty check valve.

You can only get bothered when this happens (Sumping occurs) when you start your bike’s engine after being idle for few hours or a day.

How long can the check valve last?

The check valve is powerfully designed. It is durable and built to last for years, provided the necessary maintenance factors are adequately considered.

Nevertheless, like other mechanical or automobile components, as you cover more miles or as your bike gets older, the check valve will wear out.

Whenever you notice any of the signs and symptoms of a faulty check valve, make sure you conduct a repair or replacement immediately.

What causes the oil pump check valve to fail?

Many factors could contribute to check valve failure. First is wear due to the age of the valve (after a long time of use or operation); another factor is maintenance.

When there is debris or contaminants in the pipeline, it could lead to check valve failure. Also, when the valve operates under extreme temperature, it could as well fail.

If you have replaced your valve previously, and the installation process is not conducted rightly (inadequate assembling of components), the check valve could also fail.

How can I prevent valve failure?

If you want to prevent valve failure or extend the life span of your check valve, there are basic maintenance routines that you can adopt or follow.

First, ensure the valve is kept clean (free from dirt, debris, and contaminants).

This can be achieved by ensuring the oil filter is in a good state, thereby guaranteeing the oil that passes through the valve is clean.

Also, you can extend the lifespan of your valve by lubricating it from time to time.

When you lubricate your check valve, it improves its performance and guarantees effective/reliable operation.

Why is oil pump check valve replacement very costly?

A new check valve is costly for various reasons. The installation takes a very long time to complete.

The process involved in taking out the faulty or damaged check valve is rigorous, thereby influencing labor costs.

Custom or special tools are used for easy replacement. These tools are also costly.


We have discussed the major signs of a faulty check valve that you can watch out for.

Harley oil pump check valve repair or replacement must be conducted immediately you start experiencing any of these signs.

This ensures uncompromised engine performance, the best possible operation, prevents system failure, and guarantees safety.

If you are conducting the repair or replacement on your own, ensure you follow the necessary steps and instructions.

The check valve must be installed and maintained correctly. Do not just invest in any design of check valve.

Make sure you purchase the appropriate valve for your Harley application. This is how you can prevent further damage to the system or avoid complete valve failure.