Frame year and #'s

Identification information of frames and transmissions
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Cogburn
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Frame year and #'s

#1

Post by Cogburn » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:57 pm

I have a recently acquired 1956 panhead with an unknown frame.

The frame is a swingarm frame with the code E6 on the top motor mount and a stamped number from the state dmv...there appears to be no vin #.

Does that make this frame a 1966?

What other possibilties are there?

The trans has the part # 12 1 35 and L8 for a date code and a GG stamped on the back above the adjuster bolt. I think that this may mean it is a 1948 transmission. Does anyone know if that is correct?

The heads also have 1948 and L8 cast into the bottom of them.

This thing was pieced together around 1980 locally.



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Re: Frame year and #'s

#2

Post by Robert Luland » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:00 am

Frame= May 65, Tranny=December 48.

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Re: Frame year and #'s

#3

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:32 am

Welcome to the forum, Cogburn. E6 on a swingarm frame, along with no VIN boss, would usually indicate the frame was made in May 66. However, the frame could have been made in May 76 but had its VIN boss removed or its steering head replaced.

Does your top mount look like the one at below left (1969 and/or earlier type)? Or the one to the right (1970 and/or later type)?
1969orearlierCopy.jpg
1970orlaterCopy.jpg
But regardless of which type of mount you have it would help if you posted full photos of both sides of your frame because anything could have happened over the years. It's even possible it's an earlier type of frame made later on as a replacement. And a close-up photo of the right-hand side of the steering head would also help.

Number 121 35 on the transmission is a casting number and it was used for many years. L8 on the trans and the heads indicates those parts were cast in November 1948. Apparently the letter I wasn't used in date codes for Panhead aluminium parts cast in 1948-49 because of confusion with the number 1. And that means the letter M was used for December.

Are you sure the heads have 1948 cast into them? Or is there 119 48 on the front head and 119 482 on the rear head? The first number 1 in both those casting numbers may be hidden by a fin. And the number 2 in 119 482 may have a hole drilled through it to accommodate a rocker cover screw.

The letters GG on the trans case near the adjuster bolt may have been stamped by an inspector at the Harley factory. Other letters have also been stamped in that area and that explanation appears to be the best one at this stage but I can't say for sure. Eric
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Cogburn
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Re: Frame year and #'s

#4

Post by Cogburn » Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:59 pm

Thanks for replying with the information.

The frame has the engine mounting holes like the pic on the left. Some of the casting #'s end in 53. I will have to post some pics when I get a chance.

The vin stamped on it comes back as a 1955flh. :roll: This bike has been riding around this area for 30 years with the bike titled with the engine vin as it should...there is also a vin stamped in the neck by the dmv and it has not been transfered since 1980.

The heads could have the numbers as you describe. I have one off for a head gasket so I can look at it more closely and perhaps post a pic of that as well. I'm pretty sure they had the same date code cast in them as the trans.

I'll see if I can take a few pics and post them tomorrow.

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Re: Frame year and #'s

#5

Post by Cogburn » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:14 pm

dsci1334.jpg
dsci1330k.jpg
dsci1336.jpg
dsci1337.jpg
dsci1338.jpg
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Cogburn
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Re: Frame year and #'s

#6

Post by Cogburn » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:17 pm

How's this for luck of the Norse...

Was bolting it back together and....
dsci1344.jpg
My Buddie couldn't believe I got it out. The first thread or so were screwed up so I ran the remainder down and tapped the top thread with a bottoming tap... Cleaned the thread and ran another bolt in and tapped on it...backed it out and ran the broken end of the bolt out with a pick. :)
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Re: Frame year and #'s

#7

Post by john HD » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:46 pm

that is a stroke of luck!

go buy a lotto ticket you might be on a streak!

john

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Re: Frame year and #'s

#8

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:40 am

I had trouble with those photos several hours ago and I'm only now getting the full versions of photos three and four. But not the full versions of the others.

In photo one I can just see the top of the frame date code and you've said that was E6 so that's okay.
In photo two I can only see 482 on the rear head but that's okay.
In three the frame appears to have the usual steering head lock which means the steering head is no later than 68. So it wouldn't have had a VIN boss. And it looks like you’ve got late model springer forks. If so then that means the forks are 1988 or later.
Photo four shows the usual front head ID as mentioned above.
I’ve only got the top of photo five and I can't tell if the back of the frame is 58-64 type or 65-68 type.

But if the frame date code is E6 then it was probably made in May 66 as previously indicated. And that probably means it's either a 66 or 67 model frame. Have a look at the left side of the steering head and you may find a capital letter followed by three or four numbers but they are very small so you'll have to look close. We don't need to know what the numbers are but the letter may be either D, E, F or G. And any of those four letters is apparently consistent with either a 66 or 67 model frame.

You mentioned some of the casting numbers end in 53. Are you sure it's 53 and not 58? And is there a casting number on the other side of the frame in a corresponding area? If so, what does that one end in? Can you please clarify both of those for us.

You mentioned the VIN stamped on it comes back as a 1955FLH. Do you mean the paperwork says 55? What's the engine, 55 or 56? We can check the VIN stamped on the left case for you if you post a clear photo of it. And please cover a couple of the characters in the sequential portion if you’re concerned about showing the VIN on the Internet.

And check the crankcase numbers on the bottom of each case half. They are underneath the cases and somewhat toward the front outer edges. They should be something like the following examples: 155-1234; or 156-1234. Eric

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Re: Frame year and #'s

#9

Post by Cogburn » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:22 pm

Thanks for looking! I appreciate the information greatly!


There is a code on the steering neck that starts with an E.

Here is a pic of the frame that may be better.

Image

And a pic of the vin.
dsci1350.jpg


The casting numbers do end with 58 on the frame-both sides.

The motor match numbers are 156-149* on both sides and match.

The forks are off a 96 FXSTS. The were bent in an accident and I straightened them for the guy I got this bike from. They are of another buddies bike that he rolled sideways numerous times on a wicked curve.

The title for the frame says 1955 FL54. The DMV people here are know to make mistakes on titles occasionally. I don't think it should even have a vin stamped on the frame but it has been since 1981.
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Re: Frame year and #'s

#10

Post by Bosheff » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:46 pm

Frame is probably a 66. Top motor mount, non-drop link, neck lock, date stamp on top mount lead me to believe this....bosheff

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Re: Frame year and #'s

#11

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:03 pm

Cheers, Cogburn. Your serial number looks to be okay (I got just enough of that photo to see the characters) and I've posted 56FLH42++ below for comparison. And the number 1 in yours is the usual type for a 56 Pan serial number.
56FLH42.jpg
Your belly numbers are consistent with the serial number. The title is a bit strange but may just be a mistake as you've indicated.

Looks like I got all of the new frame photo and the upper rear castings appear to be 65-later, as Bosheff has indicated (non-drop link). For 58-64 the upper rear castings dropped down to meet the frame tubes but those castings were straightened out beginning for 65. And the letter E on the left side of the steering head is consistent with a 66 or 67 model frame as I mentioned above.

You said the casting numbers end with 58 on both sides of the frame and I assume we're talking about the lower rear castings. The 58 suffix is correct for the right-hand side (47651-58). But it doesn't make sense for the left side to end in 58. I thought the left side would end in 65 (47654 65). If the left side ends in 58 can you post a clear photo of that whole casting number and some close-ups of the whole casting so I can try to figure out what's going on. Eric
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Cogburn
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Re: Frame year and #'s

#12

Post by Cogburn » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:58 pm

Thanks!,

Here are the frame casting pics...

Left
dsci1366.jpg
Right
dsci1357.jpg
Any thoughts on the year of the heads?
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Re: Frame year and #'s

#13

Post by panhead_kicker » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:29 am

Cogburn wrote:
Any thoughts on the year of the heads?
The little rectangle above the 48 on the second head has a letter and number, pretty sure that will tell you the year based on the type head you have. Whats it say, L 8?

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Re: Frame year and #'s

#14

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:06 pm

As I indicated above, the info on the heads appears okay. Casting number 119 48 was used for the 1948–49 front head. I can still only see part of the other head but the whole number is probably 119 482 and that was used for 1948–49 rear heads. Date code L8 means they were cast in November 1948.

I don’t know what’s happening with the photos but I can only see the very top of the two latest pics you posted of the frame castings. I’ll send you my email address in a PM so you can email me the two latest photos. Eric

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Re: Frame year and #'s

#15

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:35 pm

I got your photos and I'm posting the one of the rear head. I don't see a casting date code on it but it doesn't matter because some just don't have date codes (same thing applies to some Panhead front heads).
dsci1330k.jpg
The two rear casting photos were a bit blurry and I can't make out some of the characters. Anyway, the right-hand one should be 47651-58 and that was used for 1958-early-73.

Does your left side have 47653-58? The suffix indicates 1958 was the introduction year for the casting and I thought it only lasted through 1964 but your frame appears to be a 1966 or 67 model. Some similar left side castings have a 65 suffix so I've been thinking that should indicate they were introduced for 1965. The only other thing I can see in your left side photo is the casting extension which accommodates the rear brake line and that extension looks to be in the usual position for 1958-69. I'll do some checking and see what I can find. Eric
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