Buying a Panhead, what to consider

All other topics
Forum rules
Please do not start new topics here, but here: New Panhead and Flathead topics
Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:37 pm

Buying a Panhead, what to consider


Post by 11031 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:09 pm

Author: 11031

hi there,

i am on the edge on buying a panhead. i know it might not be quite easy over the net without seeing something. BUT what would everyone of you consider/check before buying a panhead.

btw - it is a rigid 52 with an aftermarket springer - bobberstyle. which draws my interset.

thanks for any help
--> dave from europe

Post by Plumber

90% of all motors will need a rebuild, often a reason for selling them. The motors are as precision as clocks. Make sure your motor builder has his walls papered with responses and pix from satisfied customers. You need a guru nearby. Books won't get you through it.

Post by wheels

11031, i bought two pans off the net and what a story i have. the first one was a61 all original. it was shipped to me from el paso, tx and when igot it it didn't look quite as nice as the picture but it wasn't too bad. the problem was i couldn't get it to run. fortunately i bought it from a dealer, barnett harley. i negotiated a deal and they garaunteed me it would run good. i took it to a local mechanic that used to work on my other pan and he had it running in a day but discovered several other problem that would need fixin. he had it runnin to fine tune the carb and the n the motor locked up. i was devastated. i called barnet hd and they gave me three choices, have my guy fix it, they come and get it or get my money back. i opted for the third choice and in the mean time they got another pan in, a 65 that looked really clean. so i bought this 65 and they gave me a decent deal and a free hd jacket to boot. their owner was really pissed about them shipping a bike allthe way to illinois that wasn't checked out . all in all it worked out pretty good for me . i think my morale is buy from a dealer or someone you can trust.

Post by 11031

hi plumber,

this is what i call and answer!

--> dave

the engine:
he says that the engine was done from a builder with good reputation (i know you can tell that everyone)
they have done oilpump, crankshaft, pistens (s&s new) all the bearings, lifter (jims bigaxle) and lifterblocks. they hone the cylinders and the case had been glasblasted. the heads were done for unleaded gas.
the generator is with a electronik regulator. single fire ign.

the frame is original (it still has the sidecar mounts on) no welding reraking whatever. sandblasted and powder coated.
redone rims and spockes.
new paint on all other stuff.
he has redone the bike from 99-01 and has now only 500km after his work on it. (health reasons) it seams that the bike was in the garage only for the last 5 years.

Post by VintageTwin

Buy it. Live with it. If it needs work get it fixed. Don't go over 74 c.i. Stay away from Big Inch people that might carry you away into building their dream, not your dream. Stick with a dealer if you can find one that will work on your machine. Pay the dealer whatever they want to work on it. They already proved to you that they back their stuff. Stay away from everone else unless they have that wall papered with nothing but good news from other clients.

Post by FastEd53

11031, I'm with VintageTwin on this one, buy it and enjoy it. I purchased mine off of ebay, not what I expected but I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed taking it apart and rebuilding it the way I wanted it. Sometimes you dont have to look very hard for help, There is excellent old iron wisdom on these pages and I have found a great shop to deal with here (Terra- Glide Motor Co.). So have fun, jump in and get going. Ed

Post by junker

sounds interesting if your sure you dont want it tell us were it might be somebody here might want it.but i dont think you can enjoy something like this if you dont get a little greasy yourself.jump in there.

Post by Billy

Two RED FLAGS jump out here;
. Surprised Surprised
(1) Heads done for Unleaded gas, Usually meaning changed the valve seats= BAD, they often fall out since the original seats are poured integrated into the head cast. Panheads only..
This is a step backwards, & costly..
Read Archives, plenty to info to back this up..

(2) Glassbeaded cases= Unless the insides are painted thoroughly with Red Glyptol, this motor will have a SHORTER life. Glass Beads imbed themselves into the internal castings of the motor & are slowly released into the motor oil, as temperatures heat up from running & the pores of the aluminum open. The end result is NOT good. Again Read in Archives...

For this reason I NEVER glass-bead any internals of ANY Motor, Trans I build.

I Love Antique Harleys, 35 some years worth of riding & wrenching. ;D
To own an older bike is very helpful if you are somewhat mechanical, the higher mechanical skill level the better.
& don't mind getting greasy.
Or have plenty of money to pay $$ the mechanic for every little thing that will need a little attention & adjusting..

The one question I would ask the seller is,
are the cases bare inside??? If they are painted with Red Glyptol, he should know that!!! & mention it!!!!!
& how much is the overbore ?? He should know this too.
If it's more than .060" over, those 2 things would affect the price in my eyes.
From a Mechanical standpoint.............

PS: many bikes 'FOR SALE' are said to be just rebuilt, ask to see all the reciepts... Even by email & a clear pic of the VIN # 's on the motor.
The term 'rebuilt' takes on many meanings according to who is using it.......... Good Luck..I hope it's a Good one..

Post by junker

alright billy now im worried about my motor.i glassbeaded the cases before it was put together.know of a guy who sandblasted his and his did not last glassbeading what your talking about?

Post by Billy

Yes I avoid using Glassbeading, sandblasting or any type of media-blasting on the insides,
for this reason. Don't freak out!!
There are builders who still do this to this day. And think nothing of it.. NOT me.
I would change your oil often, & drain it, Right after the bike has been ridden a while, full heat, that's the best way..while everything is still all churned up,
& don't worry, ride it. What else you gonna do?

Post by junker

you learn something new everyday cant talk to go change my oil.

Post Reply

Return to “General/Miscellaneous topics”