Panhead question...

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George Greer
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Panhead question...

#1

Post by George Greer » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:28 am

Hi all,

Since finding a knuck engine, or cases is becoming one of the most rare pieces of metal on the planet, I am thinking of another option......

Going to show my ignorance in public (again).

I hope that this is not sounding like a stupid question, but here goes:

What is the general opinion of which panhead engine is one of the best to consider looking for?

Reasons?

Engine casings reinforced?

Better bearings...stronger all around engine?

Availability of good parts?

I quite honestly, think that it would be neat to have a 54 engine....(my birth year), but an not set in stone on that one.

George



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Re: Panhead question...

#2

Post by Sir_Rat » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:07 am

Hands down gotta be the Outside oiler motors...'63-'65 I believe. But I wouldn't kick any pan motor out of my bed...er garage. IMHO

Aloha....Mike

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Re: Panhead question...

#3

Post by steve_wood » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:57 pm

Another thing to consider is the frame. Do you want hard tail or duoglide? 57 was the last year for hard tail frames...

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Re: Panhead question...

#4

Post by kitabel » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:00 pm

I see this is the same as elsewhere: people speak, but do not listen.
Last edited by kitabel on Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Panhead question...

#5

Post by Bosheff » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:52 pm

1948-1954 in my opinion are the least desirable as they do not have Timken bottom ends and use plumber nut intakes. The sprocket shafts by comparison are frail and spindaly. Cases by design are considerably weaker. 1955 introduced the The Timken bottom along with the O-ring intake. Much stronger bottom ends with compensator primaries, and a better sealing intake design. 55-62 things stayed basically the same internally. 63-65 were the best years as the outside oiler top ends evolved which meant top ends lasted considerably longer. A 65 in stock form featured outside oiler heads, 12V electrical system, centrifugal advance timer, aluminum primary chain cases, and the first year electric start for the Big Twins....bosheff

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Re: Panhead question...

#6

Post by Cotten » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:11 pm

Bosheff wrote:1948-1954 in my opinion are the least desirable as they do not have Timken bottom ends and use plumber nut intakes. The sprocket shafts by comparison are frail and spindaly. Cases by design are considerably weaker. 1955 introduced the The Timken bottom along with the O-ring intake. Much stronger bottom ends with compensator primaries, and a better sealing intake design. 55-62 things stayed basically the same internally. 63-65 were the best years as the outside oiler top ends evolved which meant top ends lasted considerably longer. A 65 in stock form featured outside oiler heads, 12V electrical system, centrifugal advance timer, aluminum primary chain cases, and the first year electric start for the Big Twins....bosheff
Bosheff!

Deciding the least desirable with Pans is like choosing from a veggie tray. No matter what your tastes, they are all good for you.

And please consider that the material problem has been worked out with "plumber's" manifolds. I now consider them superior to band-clamped o-rings.
Although JAMES viton may extend the life of an o-ring dramatically in modern fuels, it can never be expected to last many years.
PEEK plumber seals, produced by many, have a decade of duty upon them, with proven total re-useability.
(T'aint cheap though!)

So,.. even though I have a couple of '65s laying around here somewhere,
my taste shall remain: The older the better!

....Cotten

George Greer
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Hybrid WL/KH bobber project.

58 FL, engine, frame swingarm, gas tanks.
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Re: Panhead question...

#7

Post by George Greer » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:39 pm

wow..

Thanks for all the good tips..........I am not going to restore a bike...

Just a rider the I can fix myself..

And NO computer controls anything. :twisted:

Cotten....

Got a set of cases ya wanna part with?? :D

George

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Re: Panhead question...

#8

Post by panhead rick » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:59 pm

58 up,,more pinion bearing

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Re: Panhead question...

#9

Post by speedking1949 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:51 am

I don't disagree with anything said so far, but remember that the last pan was built in 1965. Any example that you buy now will only be as good as its last rebuild: the skill and knowledge of the builder and the quality of the replacement parts installed.

Richard M.

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Re: Panhead question...

#10

Post by Robert Luland » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:22 am

panhead rick wrote:58 up,,more pinion bearing
I'll take the bushing anytime over the bearing, hands down!

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Re: Panhead question...

#11

Post by Frankenstein » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:45 pm

George, Take Cotten's advice, the older the better! Us old geezers prove that every day, right? :lol: As I recall, the 54 had a unique one year pinion shaft, but no biggie. The 54 sprocket shaft bearing setup is the same as the Knuckle's and no one complains about that. "The motor will be as good as the last person who rebuilds it" is a pretty fair statement of fact. Just make sure it's you, and you're all set!
DD

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Re: Panhead question...

#12

Post by Cotten » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:05 pm

DD!

'54 through '57 used a 1" shaft with a taper instead of splines for the gear (and retro-fitted into my split-pinion '37s perfectly.)

This causes '55 through '57 crank assemblies to require staggered knife-edges when balancing!

....Cotten

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Re: Panhead question...

#13

Post by Frankenstein » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:46 pm

Thanks Cotten, so I guess the unique thing about a 54 motor was old style left shaft, later style right shaft. Once again, I've proved I forget lots more than I remember :lol:
DD

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Re: Panhead question...

#14

Post by panz4ever » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:18 pm

For me it is 49 and 65 because I am fortunate enough to have those two models. Built correctly a pan motor of any year is a good thing

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Re: Panhead question...

#15

Post by steinauge » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:51 pm

Just my 2 cents-If you are building a hot rod engine use aftermarket cases.That way if anything untoward happens you havent destroyed anything you cant replace.If you are building a stock type engine use any year cases you can get in usable condition with good numbers.Like Cotten says,theyre all good.

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