frame + transmission date

Identification information of frames and transmissions
RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 5151
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...
Has thanked: 16 times
Been thanked: 507 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#16

Post by RUBONE » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:13 am

The motor is a 56FL and it is my intention to restore the bike as original as possible.
But as it seems now it is going te be more work than I thought.
Well at least the engine and transmission are a match.
The chopper days were hell on frames, and straightleg frames got the worst of it. They were the most desirable for customs and many bikes were split up just for frames, including Knuckleheads ( the reason why so many Knuckle frames were modified for pan engines). depending on how high your VIN number is the frame you need would be a date code from about June '55 to May or so '56. Those were not real high production years so that is about the total range. We were into a recession by the mid to late '50s and motorcycle sales world wide went down for all brands. My '54 FLE is a straightleg version as it was late production. Luckily all the 'late '54 to '57 frames are the same so any will work. If you are going for 100% accuracy though you need to try to match the month with the approximate build date of your bike. Hard to do since actual records do not exist. However some folks with original unrestored machines have been generous in providing some of the info to at least come close.
So it appears you will be in search of a frame!! Good luck!
Robbie



theo
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:08 pm
Bikes: 1956 panhead, honda cbr 1000rr
Has thanked: 9 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#17

Post by theo » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:29 am

I will keep you posted during the restauration.
The engine it self looks quite nice as well.
motor.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

CaptMike
Posts: 323
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:23 am
Bikes: 1998 Roadglide, 1957 FLH
Location: North Myrtle Beach
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 10 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#18

Post by CaptMike » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:42 am

HD48FL wrote:
CaptMike wrote:
theo wrote: My '57 engine was in a '48 frame. (When I sandblasted mine I could read the stamping on the upper mount.)
Which stamping on the upper mount are you referring to?

Upper engine mount.

Here's a 1954. (Picture)

On the Right hand side of the upper mount, you should see a Letter and a Number. The letter A=Jan, L=Dec, and the number is the year. (There's much more to it. Buy a new copy of Palmers Panhead book.) What's baffling is the "31" in the picture where the guy says it's a '54.

The engine looks nice but you have the Wrong Color Silver on the Cylinders and Tappet blocks. :mrgreen:
img02.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by panhead on Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: attached pic

Hog54
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:10 pm
Bikes: 1954 Panhead
1980 Lowrider
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 29 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#19

Post by Hog54 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:02 am

Im wondering how he is going to get the timer/distributor in it with the heads on?

RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 5151
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...
Has thanked: 16 times
Been thanked: 507 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#20

Post by RUBONE » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:33 am

As I said in my previous post,the frame date codes only started in '52 so don't waste time looking on your earlier frame, it isn't there.
Im wondering how he is going to get the timer/distributor in it with the heads on?
It is possible, just fiddly!
Robbie

HD48FL
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:01 am
Bikes: Yep
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#21

Post by HD48FL » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:50 am

CaptMike wrote: My '57 engine was in a '48 frame. (When I sandblasted mine I could read the stamping on the upper mount.)
Which stamping on the upper mount are you referring to? [/quote]
Upper engine mount. [/quote]


As previously mentioned by Robbie, pre '52 frames don't have a date code on the upper motor mount, that's why I was asking which stamping you were referring to. Maybe your '48 frame has a later upper motor mount?

Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois
Has thanked: 100 times
Been thanked: 268 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#22

Post by Cotten » Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:16 pm

Theo!

The word "restore" is a dangerous one to use.

You would have to tear the motor down and start over with correct fasteners, at least.
Things like the custom pan cover reinforcing rings would have to go, and as CaptMike pointed out, your cylinders, tappet blocks, and oilpump need to be "silver".
Even the over-polished cam cover is technically a flaw.

You might just want to enjoy it as it is, and not use the the R word.

You will have to install the timer in two pieces, but the head finnage should not interfere.
(I have only encountered a problem with a 1961 machine.)

....Cotten
PS: CaptMike!
Your photo just says Free Hosting Cloud.

theo
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:08 pm
Bikes: 1956 panhead, honda cbr 1000rr
Has thanked: 9 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#23

Post by theo » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:37 pm

Thanks for all replies.
Perhaps the word restore is a bit misplaced.
I'am going to leave the motor as it is now, and look if I can get all/most '56 parts to put it back together.
So if anybody knows where to get a good '56 frame I would be interested.

VPH-D
Posts: 867
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:00 am
Been thanked: 58 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#24

Post by VPH-D » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:24 pm

The trans appears to be a 56-58 model, assuming the kick cover was born with the trans. That type of kicker spring stud was last used in 58, the case breather stud started in 56, the 3-3 case code stopped in 57.
The frame looks like the later 49 to early 51 type.
VPH-D

Speeding Big Twin
Posts: 930
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:29 am
Bikes: H-D
Location: Western Australia
Been thanked: 73 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#25

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:33 pm

theo, welcome to the forum. As indicated above, the 3 3 date code on your trans case was used for several years. Normally that code would suggest casting in March 1953 but it has also been found on bikes a few years later than that which are unaltered from original. We don’t know why that 3 3 code was used for such a long time. Also as already mentioned, yours has an unmachined vent screw boss so it’s a 1956 or later model case. I don't know exactly when the 3 3 code ended but the nearest example I have after it is 2 58 (February 1958 casting).

The starter cover (kicker cover) appears to be the type used for 1951–66.

The top cover on your trans appears to have a neutral indicator switch at the front so that indicates a 1959 or later cover. But the cover screws appear to be countersunk socketheads and that may indicate the cover is somewhere from 1965 to early-79.
Eric

Speeding Big Twin
Posts: 930
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:29 am
Bikes: H-D
Location: Western Australia
Been thanked: 73 times

Re: frame + transmission date

#26

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:17 pm

CaptMike wrote: My '57 engine was in a '48 frame. (When I sandblasted mine I could read the stamping on the upper mount.)

Quote: 'Here's a 1954. (Picture) What's baffling is the "31" in the picture where the guy says it's a '54.'


CaptMike, if your 48 frame has a date code on its top mount then something is amiss. Exactly what characters are stamped on your top mount? And can you post three photos: one of the code; and photos showing each side of the frame in full.

I have no proper evidence yet that the code was even on 1952 model frames. It remains unclear exactly when the date code first appeared on the Panhead frame. Palmer says on page 37 that when the 1952-style bracket started production the factory started stamping date codes on the frames. However, I do not think that is what happened. In January 2010 Palmer told me his notes re the frame code were archived but he recalled his source for that was one of two men, both of whom I shall leave unnamed. Palmer continued, and I quote from his PM to me: ‘It may be a situation of mid year intro, late year intro, or early 1953s having a 1952 frame date which led to this conclusion.’

Therefore it seems that not all 1952 model frames have a date code. Maybe none of them do? And if anyone thinks they have a 1952 model frame with an original date code I’d certainly like to see photos of it.

Re the photo you posted of the frame that is said to be a 1954 model, you say its code is 31 and that it’s baffling. But why do you think the second character is the number 1? If it was the number 1 then I would expect to see a serif at top left and also at the base. But that second character in the photo you posted appears to be sans serif so I’m betting it’s the letter I. The code would then be 3 I and that would indicate 1953 September manufacture which would be consistent with a 1954 model frame.
Eric

Post Reply

Return to “Frame / Transmission”