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Thread: Letter E in belly number

  1. Letter E in belly number

    Hi there, name is Joe. I am new to this site and would like to thank Chris for his great input in the classic cycling world. In fact, I have a question for him regarding my newly acquired knuckle. Well, all written sources I checked depict belly numbers with two Or three digit production date, hyphen and the production number. Mine has a letter E instead of hyphen. Goes like this VIN 40EL394X and bellys 40E395X. What does this mean? One of the pictures on vintageamericancycles posted by Chris has an identical numbering pattern. Can you please shed some light on this subject? Thank you.

  2. #2

    Re: Letter E in belly number

    Welcome to the forum, Joe! You found the place for questions like yours.

    Conjecture is, that the "E" was stamped in the line-bore numbers of 1940 cases intended to become 61 inch "E" motors. That was apparently intended to differentiate them in the production line from the NEW 1941 74 F models, also ramping up at about the same time. The 61s and the 74s have different diameter flywheels, meaning the "oil scraper" ledges inside the flywheel chambers are different sizes, is all I have ever been able to attribute it to. 1940 is the only year that was done.
    Sarge, Gerry Lyons, Fla.
    AGENT ORRNGE Survivor. So far.
    The Friendly Fire that Keeps on Burnin'.
    F.O.G. member: http://flatheadownersgroup.com/
    www.37UL.com
    "It's a 1937, and the downside is, it's out of warranty"

  3. Re: Letter E in belly number

    That makes perfect sense. Thank you for the info, is this information published anywhere? I would like to have a written source for future reference if there is one.

  4. #4
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    Re: Letter E in belly number

    If i might butt in at this time , The flywheels on the 61 and 74's from 1940 on had the same part number and the same diameter, 8.5 inches. So the e on the bottom of the case would indicate the 61 inch motor. The 74 inch motors had a 7 on the top of the rear motor mount. also the 74 inch FW had a 7 stamped on top of the OD. The smaller FW 8.125 dia., were used from 36 to 39 61CI. only.

  5. Re: Letter E in belly number

    Quote Originally Posted by knuckleworks View Post
    If i might butt in at this time , The flywheels on the 61 and 74's from 1940 on had the same part number and the same diameter, 8.5 inches. So the e on the bottom of the case would indicate the 61 inch motor. The 74 inch motors had a 7 on the top of the rear motor mount. also the 74 inch FW had a 7 stamped on top of the OD. The smaller FW 8.125 dia., were used from 36 to 39 61CI. only.


    1940 knucklehead still used the small diameter flywheel. The larger diameter flywheels show up in 1941. Jerry
    Last edited by Jerry Wieland; 12-08-2012 at 04:30 PM.

  6. #6

    Re: Letter E in belly number

    Thanx for the back-up, Jerry! I should have included more details in my February post. 'Makes all the parts of the puzzle fall into place. Bruce Palmer touches on the changeover, and the differences in the flywheels at that time, on page 145 of his How to Restore... titled: "1936-1940 61 OHV Flywheels.".

    Though the 74 FL was not introduced until 1941, apparently their similarity in size to even U-model wheels was thought significant enough a consideration in the motor assembly room, that to avoid confusion during that period with many different flywheels floating around, that they stamped the "E" on the line bore number of the cases destined to use the "last-year-in-use" 1940 61-inch OHV flywheels. We may never learn the exact details.
    Last edited by Sarge; 12-09-2012 at 04:12 AM. Reason: spelung: "theie" to 'their'
    Sarge, Gerry Lyons, Fla.
    AGENT ORRNGE Survivor. So far.
    The Friendly Fire that Keeps on Burnin'.
    F.O.G. member: http://flatheadownersgroup.com/
    www.37UL.com
    "It's a 1937, and the downside is, it's out of warranty"

  7. #7

    Re: Letter E in belly number

    Quote Originally Posted by knuckleworks View Post
    If i might butt in at this time , The flywheels on the 61 and 74's from 1940 on had the same part number and the same diameter, 8.5 inches. So the e on the bottom of the case would indicate the 61 inch motor. The 74 inch motors had a 7 on the top of the rear motor mount. also the 74 inch FW had a 7 stamped on top of the OD. The smaller FW 8.125 dia., were used from 36 to 39 61CI. only.
    Phil,
    There was no 74" OHV in 1940.
    Chris Haynes
    A.M.C.A. Member
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  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Re: Letter E in belly number

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Haynes View Post
    Phil,
    There was no 74" OHV in 1940.
    Yes Chris, I know.
    With all due respect. What i should have wrote was that all FW from 1940 on, both 61 and in 1941 74ci, had the same dia. 8.5 inches . I have matched quite a few 1940 el cases up and they had scrapers for the large FW. Also the large FW have the -40 part number. But I'm sure I'm probably wrong.

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