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Thread: 54 Panhead Frame

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Western Australia
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    132

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    On the front cover of your Palmer book what is the overall model year span: 3764 or 3665?
    If 3764 how many bikes on the front cover: one or three? Also check inside the first few pages for publishing info.
    If 3665 then it is the latest edition and was printed very recently.

    Thanks for the photo of the date code. It does look like I 0 but if it is then it would suggest Sept 1960, given the style of mount. It seems there have been a few alterations done to that frame.


    Quote Originally Posted by sieber60 View Post
    Eric,
    The motor mount doesn't look like the example you posted... it's not beefed up. I tried to make out the number and it looked like 6L 52 maybe?

    Sounds like your front mount is 52 or earlier. Between the bolt holes does it look like this? Full forging number is 48E-621. Also notice the forging hallmark is M over F indicating the mount was produced by Modern Drop Forge in Illinois. Die number is 2 which is what you may have? Or you may have die number 3? Can you confirm yours please.





    Given whats happening with your frame, and the heads, Im wondering more and more about the cases. You mentioned the line-bore numbers match so I figure they begin with 154? But how sure are you that the SN is authentic? If youre not sure then you could post a partial photo. And are 7s stamped on top of the cases near the rear engine mounting bolts? If so, Id expect them to be a certain sans serif style.

    And what about the cylinders? Do they have date codes?
    Eric

  2. #22

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    Eric,
    Yes my mount looks like that.

    Line Bore begins with 154 and yes there are 7's stamped on the flat behind the cylinders by the mounting bolts.

    I am beginning to think this might be 52'. I contacted the guy I got this bike from and discussed the history to the best of his knowledge.. I do have a lot of paper work that came with this bike from multiple states, FL, SC and I believe PA. and KS. With that said he produced some horn blocks that I believe came off of that frame and they have square edges not rounded. I am pretty confident that the VIN is authentic but I might post a picture or send a private message.

    I will look at the cylinder date codes as well as the Palmer. I am thinking the Palmer might be a first version. I will look at the forging hallmark on the lower mount as well.

    John

  3. #23

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    F22E3891-B884-4C6D-9EDC-99476C113E60.jpg[ATTACH=CONFIG]28955

    Here is a picture on the vin on this motor.

    Cant make out any other numbers on the lower motor mount but it looks like the casting numbers in the middle match your example.

    So do you think the upper motor mount is wrong type?

    t
    The Palmer I have is 37 to 64 One bike.

    No casting numbers on the cylinders.

    John

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    North Hills, CA and Pine Grove, CA
    Posts
    5,584

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    Quote Originally Posted by sieber60 View Post
    F22E3891-B884-4C6D-9EDC-99476C113E60.jpg[ATTACH=CONFIG]28955

    Here is a picture on the vin on this motor.

    Can’t make out any other numbers on the lower motor mount but it looks like the casting numbers in the middle match your example.

    So do you think the upper motor mount is wrong type?

    t
    The Palmer I have is 37 to 64 One bike.

    No casting numbers on the cylinders.

    John
    With that engine number your frame should be a straight leg.
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  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    132

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    Not sure if this will work properly because one minute I'm logged in and the next I'm out, depending on which page of this thread I view.

    According to chapter 2 of Palmers SE (2014), downtubes were flattened for later-49early-54 but there is some confusion about when square-edge horn blocks finished and some areas of the book do not support chapter 2 in full. Anyway, it may be that the change from square edges to round edges occurred sometime during the 52 model year.

    More info about the front mount may help. If your front mount doesnt have the centre section filled in then its pre-53 as I mentioned above. But I should have asked about the outer areas as well because they had extra material added to them before the centre section was filled in. Do your outer sections look like these?





    Your top mount is the style introduced for 52 models, given its overall shape and type of opening. But the date code appears to be I 0 which on this occasion would suggest Sept 1960. Its not uncommon for a frame to be repaired and/or to have later pieces fitted so maybe thats what happened? But could you post a close-up please so I could get a better view of the characters.

    If no date codes on the cylinders they may be AM. Or 4849 if H-D. For 4849, H-D 74ci Pan front cylinders had indented casting number 120-48 while the rear cylinder had no marking. (No markings on H-D Pan 61ci cylinders for 4849 regardless of front or rear.)

    Hard to be certain about the SN but at this stage the characters appear to be consistent with factory stamping and I posted a photo below for comparison. Notice the 5s have a back that is vertical, as opposed to leaning to the right, and there is a reasonable space between the horizontal stroke and the top of the curve. There may even be a clue at the top of the curve although its hard to see in pictures sometimes. I dont know if it was a defect or abnormality in the stamp or if the stamp became damaged and the factory kept using it regardless. Ive noticed it a lot in the mid/later-50s although it may not always be present.

    F and L are sans serif as Id expect. Lower horizontal stroke of the F is almost as long as the upper stroke which is normal for 54.
    The 4s appear to have an open top? (They should for 1954.) Notice the left stroke appears slightly curved. Notice the serif across the base.
    Your 1 looks like its base serif only goes to the right of the vertical stroke but I imagine it goes to the left as well? Cant see much of the top serif but Id expect it to be at about forty-five degrees and slightly curved?

    Again hard to be certain from your photo but does the SN boss have blemishes/defects? Many, but not all, 54 Pans have them. Often there is a blemish near the left end of the boss and a longer one near the other end and youll see them in this photo.





    If your 3764 Palmer book has only one bike on the front then it sounds like a first edition but there were at least three versions. The first was printed in 94 but afterwards Palmer submitted to the publisher 600 (six hundred) pages that needed correction but apparently only 200 were fixed. This of course means that the second and third versions were printed with many hundreds of known errors. What is the price on the back cover? (Each version had a different price.)

    Second edition 3764 was published in 2014 and it has more info than earlier copies but some of the previous mistakes are still present. A revision was printed in Jan 2015.
    The 3665 edition was published recently but I do not have a copy.
    Eric

  6. #26

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    Eric,
    I am having a lot of trouble staying logged in... I sent a reply back this morning, but I don't see it now. I will try to remember what I said so I apologize if I duplicate anything... so here it is again.

    I will take another look at the lower MM to confirm, but I am pretty certain that it looks like the example above.

    As far as the VIN boss, yes it has blemishes. Where the 1 and 4 are the boss is blemished and both bottom corners. Since the line bore numbers match and the 7's are present I am going to go with the assumption that the motor is authentic.

    RE: Top MM I have already put the RH tank back on. I have a very clear picture in my phone but when the pictures are transferred to this forum they seem to get distorted some. If you would like I would be willing to send you a picture from my phone. Your call, you can PM me if you choose to. I am feeling pretty comfortable that this frame in legit just not 54' Probably more like 52'

    The Palmer I have has a U.S. price on the back of $29.00 and some change. Has to be first.

    Chris and Robbie thank you for your input. I am satisfied that my motor should be in a straight leg frame to be correct.





    Thank you Chris and Robbie for your input. I am satisfied that my motor should be in a straight leg frame to be correct.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    132

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    Re Palmers first edition: first version $26.95; second version $29.95; third version $39.95. Yours sounds like the second version which means it contains over 400 known errors.

    Re the front mount, the extra material was first added to the outer sections for 52 (maybe even late-51?).
    Is your toolbox bracket original to the frame? If so it may help indicate the rear of the frame is 52 because that was the first year for a new style of bracket which was only attached to the lower tube.

    Getting back to the axle clips, R-H die number 9 and left die number 14 can both apply to a 52 model according to Palmer.

    I sent you a PM re the top mount pictures. Thanks.
    Eric

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    132

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    Thanks for the photo. As I mentioned in my email, first character still looks like the letter I. It still appears to be sans serif which is what Id expect and all my examples look the same as yours.

    Second character still looks like the number 0. Sometimes there seems to be a bit of variation in overall width, with some looking like yours while others appear a bit wider. Anyway, all my examples are rounded and obviously yours is too.

    At this stage Id say your frame is mostly 52 but with a top mount that appears to be from Sept 1960.
    Eric



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Menomonie, WI
    Posts
    1,372

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    Frame sounds a lot like a few of the frames I have repaired. There are probably 20 frames out there that I repaired using other frames for parts. The apparently factory did the same thing. Approximately 40 years ago at Davenport swap meet a guy brought a frame to sell still in the crate that had been factory repaired. It was basically a mid year knucklehead frame with a 52 and up toolbox mount and the front motor mount was the late panhead one so... Jerry

  10. #30

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    Eric
    Just an FYI ... yes the tool box is only attached to the bottom rail of the frame.

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