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need help to id trans

Identification information of frames and transmissions
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dbanana
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need help to id trans

#1

Post by dbanana » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:56 pm

Can anyone tell me the year of this trans? From what I have read , I think the threaded vent on the right side of the trans case makes it a '40 to '55 ?......and if the (3 3) raised numbers and the stamped (121-35) were used for several different years.....would the stamped 2 E be what identifies the year ?

Thanks.
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Robert Luland
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Re: need help to id trans

#2

Post by Robert Luland » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:15 pm

From late 52 to the end of 57 all trannys were stamped 33. Why? Nobody knows. The date coding resumed in 58. Hope this helps, Bob L

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Re: need help to id trans

#3

Post by caschnd1 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:03 am

I hadn't heard about the "3 3" date code from 52 to 58 before. Good to know. We can pin down the date a little bit closer because in the second photo you can see the vent boss that is drilled in the case itself. This type of venting was used from 1940-1955. So that info along with the "3 3" date code would narrow the years to 52-55. Starting in 56 they stopped drilling the vent boss on the case and started using a special vented transmission top screw.

Not too uncommon but your transmission has both the vent in the tranmission case and the special vented transmission top screw. This is common because so many tops have been swapped around and screw sets have been replaced. Most new screw sets come with the vented screw.

-Craig

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Re: need help to id trans

#4

Post by dbanana » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:47 pm

Thanks for the reply's. The top cover and kicker cover are not original. Is there any chance that this date trans ( if it is a '55 ) would have been used on a '56 ?

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Re: need help to id trans

#5

Post by caschnd1 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:42 pm

It was not uncommon for Harley to have a few left over parts from the previous model year. So even though they stopped drilling the vent boss in the case in the '56 model year, you might have a trans case that was already drilled and with a vent left over from '55. If that's the case you should probably also have a relatively low production sequence number following 56FL on your motor.

-Craig

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Re: need help to id trans

#6

Post by panbagger » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:32 pm

So this is the question, if I am looking at the second picture correctly just next to the vent screw in the top of the case is the case vent is that correct. So if your case doesn't have that and only has a vent screw then its a 56 or later, is that correct. Thanks Scott

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Re: need help to id trans

#7

Post by Robert Luland » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:43 am

Scott, The 55 and up vent just screws in to an existing shifter top hole. The difference is when you have a box that has the breather boss on it but is not drilled or tapped. 55 and up. Bob L

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Re: need help to id trans

#8

Post by panhead_kicker » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:58 am

hhmm... if 55 up had untapped vent boss, maybe this one was drilled after the fact?
The D-7 I thought would be early 57?
tranny2.JPG
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Robert Luland
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Re: need help to id trans

#9

Post by Robert Luland » Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:43 am

Thats 1947. Bob L

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Re: need help to id trans

#10

Post by caschnd1 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:31 am

Yes... 1947. Bob... my info (from Palmer's book) is that the '55 still had the vent boss drilled and tapped and that '56 was the first year they went to the special shifter top vent screw. Are you saying '55 didn't have the vent boss drilled and tapped?

-Craig

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Re: need help to id trans

#11

Post by caschnd1 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:36 am

panbagger wrote:So this is the question, if I am looking at the second picture correctly just next to the vent screw in the top of the case is the case vent is that correct. So if your case doesn't have that and only has a vent screw then its a 56 or later, is that correct. Thanks Scott
Scott, the '37 to '39 cases didn't have a vent screw either. But they didn't have the vent in the special shifter top screw either. They had the vent in the kicker cover. '36 was the same way, but that was a one-year transmission case and it didn't have the mounting hole on the bottom for the hold down bolt next to the kicker cover.

-Craig

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Re: need help to id trans

#12

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:34 am

dbanana, the casting date code on a Big Twin transmission case seems to have changed from a letter-number format to numbers-only as early as January 1950 (1 0). So a date code of 3 3 would usually suggest March 1953 casting. But as indicated above, a lot of cases have that 3 3 code and we don’t know why. Bikes as late as 1956 models which are unaltered from original have been found to have trans cases with that 3 3 code. After that the next example of a trans case date code I know of is 2 58 (February 1958).

Palmer indicates on page 283 that the vent screw boss in the case body was originally undrilled for 1956 and later model cases but anybody could have drilled a hole in that boss at anytime, threaded it and inserted a vent screw.

Regarding the 2E, on some BT trans cases instead you’ll find 1E, sometimes you'll find a lone 2 and other times you'll find a lone 1 but I don’t know what any of those characters represent. It's interesting to note in the examples I have so far that the E, accompanied by either 2 or 1, has only appeared on cases with date codes of September 1949 or later. But I have no idea what, if anything, is indicated by the addition of the E. And the E continued to appear on some cases with date codes from the late-50s and early-60s. Stamped near the hole for the adjusting screw you may find other letters and/or numbers and it’s been suggested they were stamped by an inspector at the Harley factory but we do not know for sure.

Casting number 121-35 can be found on trans cases for general production models for 1936 and onwards into the early-1960s. But photos I have indicate that sometime in 1963 the casting number changed from 121-35 to 34703 64 and then not much later it changed again, becoming 34703 65. Eric

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Re: need help to id trans

#13

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:44 am

Mark (panhead_kicker), D 7 indicates April 1947 casting. One reason we know it can’t be 37 is because date codes on the BT trans case didn’t start until the following year, with the earliest example I know of being from April 38. And because of the 3 3 code appearing on so many cases, I don’t yet know if there were any 1957 codes but if there were then I’d expect them to have a numbers-only format, no letters. Eric

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Re: need help to id trans

#14

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:58 am

Bob, although a lot of cases bear the 3 3 code it’s my understanding that 3 3 under normal circumstances would have initially indicated March 1953 casting. Yet in your first post you said: ‘From late 52 to the end of 57 all trannys were stamped 33.’ Therefore I have a couple of questions:

1. How would a late 52 trans case get a date code of 3 3, if 3 3 initially indicated March 1953 casting?
2. How do you know the 3 3 code was used on ALL trannys from late 52 to the end of 57?

Eric

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Re: need help to id trans

#15

Post by Robert Luland » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:32 pm

Eric, we did an in depth tranny date code thing on the AMCA forum about a year ago complete with pics. I try to add to it every time I come across a new one. I have searched for a 57 date code for ten years and never found one because it doesn’t exist. What the 33 stands for? I don’t know. Now let’s go back to pre 40. In 1938 the factory had the new kicker covers with out the vent but had a shit load of cases left over so they drilled and taped them for the breather. The boss didn’t show up until 40. So you can have a case with say L8 on it but if the boss isn’t there it’s 38. Bob L

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