Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

Identifaction of VIN, case numbers and cylinder heads
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Newbie

Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#1

Post by Newbie »

Hi: When checking out a Early Pan Engine ('4 both the belly numbers should match, is that correct? Also, if these numbers are separate of the vin number then how do I know if they are from 1948? Should they end in 48? Same question for the cylinder heads, should they end in 48? Also how easy is it to check the head numbers? Thanks. Any other engine buying tips would be greatly appreciated.



Cotten
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Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#2

Post by Cotten »

You really need a copy of Palmer's How to Restore Your HD (Motorbooks International), as it it your best tip off against obvious problems that most of us had to learn the hard way.

It describes accurately the different numbering systems. Your VIN should always be lower than your case producton numbers, unless replacement cases can be verified. (Good trick.)

The authorities will not get disturbed about a mismatched right case, unless it corresponds directly to something on the national hot sheet.

suicideshovel65
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Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#3

Post by suicideshovel65 »

Newbie, Cotten is right - that book is an invaluable guide to knowing what is what on your bike. Furthermore, with these bikes now more than 50 years old, they have often been modified from original. Whilst this is less of a concern if you're not looking for a show bike, it does help to know what changes have been made when you come to regular maintenance. And frankly, a lot of mods and changes done on a budget over the years can actually be more detrimental to the bike than benificial. On opening up my cam cover a short while ago, I found that it had been run with a cam designed for hydraulics despite being fitted with solid lifters for example.
Whilst I can't help you on the belly numbers (although they should match on an original engine), the first and foremost guide to you knowing whether or not your bike is a '48 will be the VIN on the left case's boss. It will start with a "48".
The heads have a "48" cast into the underside between the pushrod tubes, and I believe an additional date code nearby. These heads were used through '54 from memory.

Hope this gets you started whilst you wait for your Palmer's to arrive!

Cheers,

S.

Cotten
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Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#4

Post by Cotten »

'48-'49 heads have large welchplugs installed where the oil drain galleries were drilled.

Newbie

Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#5

Post by Newbie »

Message for Cotton, It's gonna take a few days to get Palmers Book. Is there any chance that you may be able to look in the book and see what detailed information is available for '48 FL Panheads? I am curious to know anything that I can regarding vin #'s, belly numbers, head numbers, etc. Anything to look out for, dates, codes, etc. I know I'm asking for a lot, however I won't have the book before I go to look at this Pan I'm interested in. Thanks again.

Cotten
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Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#6

Post by Cotten »

There are dozens of pages pertinent to your questions, and the rest of the huge book is pertinent to deciding the detailed correctness of the machine, thus its market value.

And only a detailed, digested study of it on your part would prepare you for inspecting a prospective purchase.

If it were simple, everybody would know it. Avoiding getting burned on buying a used motorcycle happens even to pro's. Palmer's levels the playing field, and you would be foolish to spend big cash without sleeping with it for a few weeks.

The best help I can offer is to review a clear picture of the VIN for you. Take your digicam and set it on macro mode..

And again, good luck.

....CottenTake your time, You'll be glad you did.

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Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#7

Post by Billy »

Newbie-
I agree w/Cotten & SS65, This is something that is best NOT rushed into Blindly(uninformed) Or it's likely you will be posting of your "Tale of Woe" :'(
"I didn't know" "He told me" "I Thought" & Blah...

On another thread you asked about the same questions.
HASTE makes WASTE

Once ya buy it, that's it. It ain't K-Mart.
Study Palmers as already suggested, & as I said before to you, Find a Pan knowledgable friend & when you have done your research, take him w/ya.

Cotten
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Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#8

Post by Cotten »

(Or pay a professional to look at it for you.)

weezeo
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Re: Belly numbers and cylinder head numbers

#9

Post by weezeo »

What are belly numbers? I have no uniformed numbers on my motor except the case (vin) # and it dosen't match the (part #) on heads or underneath (bottom case) where the split in case is it has a couple # stamped in it but not in set pattern????????

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