serial numbers

Information on the identification and numbering of frame, motor belly, transmission and other parts
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bigern
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serial numbers

#1

Post by bigern » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:50 am

just bought my first panhead in a basket and started reading my Clymers manual. Under the serial # heading it says that 60's pans had the first number odd or even to match the year of manufacture. In other words if its a 62 the first number has to be even and if its a 61 the first number is odd. Any truth to this?



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Re: serial numbers

#2

Post by UPSROD » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:05 am

Yes!

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Re: serial numbers

#3

Post by hplhd » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:44 am

depends if its a 4 or 5 digit serial number. you can have 61 FLH 21*** but 61FLH 12*** would be wrong. now i don't know and am not debating if they made that high a serial# in 61 but you get my point i hope.

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Re: serial numbers

#4

Post by cdndewey » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:32 pm

bigern wrote:just bought my first panhead in a basket and started reading my Clymers manual. Under the serial # heading it says that 60's pans had the first number odd or even to match the year of manufacture. In other words if its a 62 the first number has to be even and if its a 61 the first number is odd. Any truth to this?
It is my understanding that sequence of numbering began in 62....I may be wrong (apparently it happens... :) ), but I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere once upon a time.

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Re: serial numbers

#5

Post by RUBONE » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:44 pm

The old story of odd-even numbers starting in 1962 has been disproven and currently 1960 is accepted as the start of odd-even numbering. The number sequences get high because only every other number is used.

Do a search on here about numbers and there is a ton of info, mostly supplied by Speeding Big Twin (Eric) who has done huge amounts of research on it.

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Re: serial numbers

#6

Post by cdndewey » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:50 pm

RUBONE wrote:The old story of odd-even numbers starting in 1962 has been disproven and currently 1960 is accepted as the start of odd-even numbering. The number sequences get high because only every other number is used.

Do a search on here about numbers and there is a ton of info, mostly supplied by Speeding Big Twin (Eric) who has done huge amounts of research on it.
Well there you go....I'm wrong again. I'll definitely remember 60....thanks Robbie.

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Re: serial numbers

#7

Post by chris haynes » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:56 pm

Everything you need to know about 1970 and earlier numbers is in this pirated CHP manual.
http://vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/v ... k.pdf.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: serial numbers

#8

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:28 pm

Regarding the CHP booklet, some of us know it contains errors relating to H-Ds but other people may not be aware of this so the following is mainly for their benefit and I’ll start with the even-odd (E-O) code because it’s mentioned in the booklet and the code is a subject that continues to crop up on one forum or another. Page 19 of the CHP booklet says model year 1962 was the beginning of the E-O code and that it continued to the present. Given the year the booklet is said to have been printed, and given some of its references to the early-70s, it seems the present at that time may have meant approximately 1971. But the booklet is wrong because my research indicates the E-O code did not begin in the 1962 model year; instead it began with 1960 models. My research further indicates the E-O code did not continue into the 1970s. It seems the E-O code was only used for 1960 models through 1969 models. I have found no evidence that the E-O code was used after the 1969 model year.

Code numbers used in belly numbers:
Page 15 says code number 1 in a belly number indicates 61ci E/EL models and 74ci FL/FLH models but that is misleading because although 1 was often used for those machines it was also sometimes used for the Model S (125cc) although the 125cc belly number often employed a different format—for example, on a 1948 Model S you may find a belly number formatted similar to 48-1-1234. Also, 1 was not the only code number used for Big Twin OHV belly numbers.

Page 15 says code number 2 indicates 125cc S model and 165cc ST/STU models but that is misleading because although 2 was often used for those machines it was not used all the time and as I mentioned above, code number 1 was sometimes used for the Model S. And you will also find code number 2 on 1949 model Panheads (61ci and 74ci).

Page 15 says code number 3 indicates 45ci W, WL, WLD, G and GA models but that is misleading because although 3 was often used for the WL, G and GA it was also used for early-1950 model Panheads (61ci and 74ci) and at least some 1950 Model Ss. Also, engines such as the WL, G and GA do not always have code number 3. And given that code numbers for Harley belly numbers began with 1948 models, why is there reference to a W and a WLD? Weren’t the W and WLD discontinued prior to the 1948 model year?

Page 15 says code number 4 indicates 75ci and 80ci V, UL, VH and VLH models. It is true that 4 was used for 1948 model Big Twin Flatheads. However:
1. 75ci appears to be a typo and should be 74ci.
2. V, VH and VLH appear to be typos and were probably meant to be U, UH and ULH because code numbers did not begin until the 1948 model year and the V-series machines were discontinued more than ten years before that.
3. Weren’t the UH and ULH discontinued after the 1941 models anyway? And if so then why would they be included in a list about code numbers that began with the 1948 model year? (Yes, I have read mention elsewhere of 80ci Flatheads allegedly being available via special order after 1941 but I have seen no evidence to support such claims and if they were to have code numbers then they would need to be 1948 models or later. If anyone can post proof of a production model Big Twin Flathead being made after the 1948 model year then please do so.)

Page 15 fails to mention code number 4 was used for 1949 model 45ci Flatheads (Solos and Servi-Cars). And some belly numbers beginning with 449- will be found on machines with 1950 serial numbers.

Page 15 says code number 5 indicates some K-series machines (1952-later) and that is correct but the booklet fails to mention that code number 5 was also used for early-1950 model 45ci Flatheads (Solos and Servi-Cars).

Supplemental identifying numbers (aka additional original component identifying numbers):
Pages 17-18 include a list of letters used in supplemental identifying numbers stamped on the frame, front forks (lower tree), and with the exception of Sportsters, on the transmission for 1962–1967 and 1969–1970. And although the booklet says there are many deviations from this general rule, and that the list should be used only as a guide and not as an inflexible rule, there are questions to be asked:
1. Why was 1968 omitted?
2. Does the omission of 1968 affect the letters provided for 1969–70?
3. Why would 1970 be included as far as supplemental ID on a frame is concerned, given that 1970-later model frames usually have a VIN? Did some 1970 model frames receive the extra ID? I do not know.
4. Do the letters provided in the booklet really relate to all three parts (frame, lower tree, trans) for the years mentioned? My research indicates that sometimes they do and sometimes they do not—for example, at this stage it seems for 1962–66 the letters for trans cases may be the same as letters for lower trees but for 1967–70 it appears there were more single letters used overall for lower trees than transmissions. (And my research goes beyond 1970.)
Eric

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