Frame Production Number Sequence Question

Information on the identification and numbering of frame, motor belly, transmission and other parts
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2Hacks
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Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#1

Post by 2Hacks » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:02 pm

Palmer's book indicates that starting in '52 the frame production date is a number followed by a letter... or, 2 C would be a wishbone made in March 1952. I've looked all over this forum and noticed that on some frames, the sequence is reversed from what the book says, such as C 2. Which is correct, or is either acceptable?

Also, some of the pictures on this forum and some I've seen on fleabay and other places show date codes that appear to be different sizes. What size is correct?

Hate to ask questions that are probably answered somewhere, but I just can't find them. :?

I even asked a couple of friends who have panheads and they were still arguing about it when I left them.



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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#2

Post by Cotten » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:31 pm

2Hacks!

My '65s are letter first.

....Cotten

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#3

Post by panhead_kicker » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:32 pm

2Hacks,
They'll be found both ways. Search the forum , there have been a couple pretty good frame related threads where this "discrepency" was noted.

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#4

Post by 2Hacks » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:43 am

I've been searching on and off for a couple of days and can't find any discussion about why the production date is found both ways. Also I haven't found any discussion at all about the size of the numbers and letters.

Maybe I'm just gettin' too old and senile to do the search right.

Lloyd

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#5

Post by panhead » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:03 am


2Hacks
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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#6

Post by 2Hacks » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:46 pm

Thanks, Panhead for the link but I had already read those comments. There's a lot of good info there, but none of them answer my questions. Most seem to lean toward number first and then the letter and the proper location. None of them talk about the size though. I've looked at several pictures of the date code on this and other forums and some look larger than the others and the sequence has been different on some of them.

I'm guessing that the MoCo just left it up to the guy with the hammer to decide...

Thanks for all the comments.

Lloyd

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#7

Post by UPSROD » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:56 am

The guy at the factory told me there is a letter and a number, no specific order.

My 62 is K 1, my 65 is 4 H and my 58 is 8 A.

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#8

Post by RUBONE » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:11 pm

A couple of mine! A Pan frame and two K-Model. A couple made the same year and month!
Robbie
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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#9

Post by hydra74 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:14 pm

here's one a month later sept 54
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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#10

Post by 2Hacks » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:20 am

Thanks everyone for all the great info and pictures. The argument I referred to in my first post pertained to my frame being stamped 2H. One guy told me it should be H2 and if not, someone had messed with it. I feel sure it's a correct frame though because all the other things are correct, even the front motor mount (filled in instead of a deep V).

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#11

Post by Bigincher » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:33 am

2Hacks wrote:Thanks everyone for all the great info and pictures. The argument I referred to in my first post pertained to my frame being stamped 2H. One guy told me it should be H2 and if not, someone had messed with it. I feel sure it's a correct frame though because all the other things are correct, even the front motor mount (filled in instead of a deep V).
2Hacks, I also have a '52 frame. Sadly, the top motor mount has been defiled, and since replaced as part of it's restoration, so no comparison on the stamps. 1952 panhead frames are a one-year item--- the next year the deep V was filled in between the motor mounts as well. Your '52 frame should have the 'filled V' only on the outboard portion of the crossover casting, between the motor mount boss and the frame leg only. The V should still be 'deep' between the two motor mount bosses.

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#12

Post by 2Hacks » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:18 pm

Bigincher wrote:2Hacks, I also have a '52 frame. Sadly, the top motor mount has been defiled, and since replaced as part of it's restoration, so no comparison on the stamps. 1952 panhead frames are a one-year item--- the next year the deep V was filled in between the motor mounts as well. Your '52 frame should have the 'filled V' only on the outboard portion of the crossover casting, between the motor mount boss and the frame leg only. The V should still be 'deep' between the two motor mount bosses.
Thanks. That's the way it is, just filled between the legs and the boss.

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#13

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:31 am

Lloyd, my photo collection shows that sometimes the number is first and sometimes the letter is. Examples I have include the following from 1954 through August 1970 and they are stamped on the right-hand side of the frame:

4A, 4D, 4F, 4I, 4J, 5B, 5F, 5J, 6D, 6F, 6I, 6K, 7K, 8C, 8H, L8, 0B, C0, G0, 4A, 4I, J4, 5B, C5, 5G, 5J, 6D, L6, E7, H7, L7 and H0.

The two photos below are of frames made in 1965:
1965March1.jpg
1965July1.jpg
Obviously both those frames are outside Palmer's book span of 37-64 but I posted them because they are clear photos and I also have photos showing those two frames in full.

Other photos I have show date codes stamped on the LEFT-hand side of frames: C7 (March 1977) and E0 (May 1980).

About a year ago I contacted Palmer regarding the BT frame code mentioned in his book. Bruce told me his notes re the date code were archived but he recalled his source was one of two people, both of whom I"ll leave unnamed. Bruce continued: "it may be a situation of mid year intro, late year intro, or early 1953s having a 1952 frame date which led to this conclusion."

So it seems not all 1952 model frames may have a date code.

The earliest example I have appears to show 3B (1953 February) but the photo isn't great so could you please post a clear photo of your 2H and a photo showing your frame in full. And regarding 2H, for a rigid that would indicate 1952 August manufacture but that wouldn't be a 1952 model frame would it? Under normal circumstances wouldn't a frame made in August 52 be for a 53 or later model bike?

Also, you mentioned different size date codes. How much different? Can you post photos showing the difference.

And regarding the guy who told you your frame should have H2, not 2H, please ask him to explain EXACTLY what his opinion is based on. And also please send him a link to this thread if possible. Eric
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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#14

Post by 2Hacks » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:43 pm

Eric, Thanks for the very thorough answer and comments. I plan to disassemble the '52 later this summer if my health allows and I will post pictures then. When I do, I plan to have the frame painted, so I will remove all the paint over the number for clear pics. When I looked at it last year with the tanks removed, I was pretty sure it looked like 2H but I also wondered if it could be 2B as the letter wasn't stamped very deep and there was a lot of paint covering the top and bottom of it. You're right, August would probably put it into '53, so it just could be a B. Now I'm really curious and wish I were able to check it out soon.

Thanks again. Lloyd

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Re: Frame Production Number Sequence Question

#15

Post by 1950Panhead » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:35 pm

Eric,
August is the last month of production so a 2H frame could be found on a late 52 or early 53.
I have seen frames stamped both ways but from your 32 examples 69% are year first and even higher for rigid frames, perhaps 90%.
Many have not seen month first so the first time they see one they are suspicious.

Jerry

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