Help on theft numbers 3200 miles from home!

Identifaction of VIN, case numbers and cylinder heads
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Ripley/Fla
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Help on theft numbers 3200 miles from home!

#1

Post by Ripley/Fla » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:19 pm

I am inspecting a 50 Pan. I am 3200 mile from home at the seller! Case numbers are 50 Fl 10324. Theft numbers are 156-5292. Does this seem ok. Any help would be appreciated. I fly out tomorrow. Thanks to any of you guys on the site.



Robert Luland
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#2

Post by Robert Luland » Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:38 am

No way! The belly numbers are 57. Bob

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#3

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:30 am

Ripley,

I would look for some good documentation that the engine was a factory replacement restamped by a dealer when installed. The 1950 production figures indicate that total production for OHV engines was slightly over 10,000 so the VIN number with 5 digits following the model letters is believable but the machinists case numbers (belly number or theft number as you call it) indicate that the engine castings went through the machine shop in 1956. The "1" in the 156- part of the belly number indicates that it was intended for a 74 ci engine.

There were a lot of engineering changes between the 1950 engine and the 1956 engine. If you buy it make sure you don't try to put 1950 replacement parts in the 1956 engine.

let us know how it turns out

mike

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#4

Post by Robert Luland » Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:41 pm

Flathead. I read your post earlier and it dawned upon me in the shower (That’s where I do my best thinking). Even if it had been a factory replacement case. It still wouldn’t have 57 belly numbers. The dealer would have stamped the original 50 numbers. Most dealers didn’t bother doing it at all. Those cases are bogus. Bob

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#5

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:05 pm

Bob,
Its quite possible that a 6 year old bike went back to a dealer in 1956 or 1957 with a blown up or completely worn out motor. The dealer ordered a replacement engine, or possibly just the cases, with a blank serial number pad under the timing plug hole. Standard practice would have been to stamp the replacement cases with the original VIN, the one that matched the owner's title, and install the new engine. The old cases should have been destroyed.

If the complete history of the bike is known (unlikely) there should be some documentation that the engine was legitimately replaced by a dealer in about 56 or 57.

it could be legit, really

mike

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#6

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:19 pm

Bob,
It just dawned on me why you thought the cases were bogus. The belly numbers were not ever stamped by the dealer, they came from the factory that way. When the raw castings arrived at the machine shop the first thing they did was stamp a matching set of numbers on the bottom of the case halves to keep them together as a matched pair through the entire machining process.

Replacement engines, or cases, arrived at the dealer with belly numbers and blank VIN pads.

mike

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#7

Post by Robert Luland » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:42 pm

Mike,
After giving this more mind bending thought, you are absolutely right. I keep thinking in my head that the factory would only send one case. It never dawned on me that someone could order an entire set of cases in which case it would have the 56 belly numbers. I stand corrected.
Bob

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#8

Post by Ripley/Fla » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:30 am

First, let me thank all of you who answered. Your info an a couple of searches got me the information I needed. Secondly, in no way was I implying that the present owner of the bike did anything illegal. She had inherited the motorcycle from her uncle and was selling it for a house downpayment. It was legal enough to be titled in Maine and Oregon. The bike was by Portland and I live by the Everglades. My greatest concern was the 5th digit in the VIN number. Call me a tight ass, if you will, but I can't afford $12,000 plus shipping to risk a hassle in Florida. FYI. It is a 50 Pan, stock frame, matching motor and trans, primary stuff in good shape, 12 volt, wide glide, 21 inch, original oil bag, hubs and brakes. The motor sounded real strong and had real flames coming out of the straight pipes! Is for sale on HD Trader. Thanks again to all!

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#9

Post by BigMike » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:41 am

You won't have any trouble in FL. Someone from your county tax office will go outside and verify the number on your bill of sale, transferrable registration or title, (whatever the state of origin uses) and the left case match and are not obviously altered. Not a problem at all. I've done it several times, and my wife works at a dealer doing title work.

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#10

Post by FlatHeadSix » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:15 am

Ripley,
As I mentioned above, total production of OHV models, 61 and 74 ci combined, went over 10,000 units in 1950. Since the serial numbering started at 1000, like "50FL1001" the 5th digit is very believable.

didja buy it ?

mike

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#11

Post by VPH-D » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:03 pm

The VIN number is probably legit, the problem is that they are on a set of late 56 or early 57 cases. I, personally, would pass.
VPH-D

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#12

Post by rigidpanman » Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:33 pm

the 1950 engine used the floater style motor shaft bearings,the 1956 engine used a timken,what kind of bearing is the left case setup for?

Ripley/Fla
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#13

Post by Ripley/Fla » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:59 am

I have no idea!

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#14

Post by Panacea » Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:55 am

so,you think the bike would be fun to ride?.......buy it.

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#15

Post by Commander47 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:33 pm

Sounds pretty good to me!!!!

And I agree with Panacea. (gorgeous 51 I might add, I look at the pic of your bike for reference regularly)

I found that when I went looking for my 51, and it had to be a 51, there are a lot of mangled pans out there.

Having an original unaltered frame, original heads and sheet metal is sure a plus in my book.

I gave up finding an original unaltered frame I could afford. I went with an original frame I could restore.

I also checked diligently for an original engine and trans. The rest I can cobble together which as much original stuff as I can.

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