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Thread: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

  1. #1
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    Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    To be honest, I don't believe that I have ever looked/checked to see if belly numbers matched on a set of 70's cases (in or out of a bike).
    When I bought my '76 FLH, I knew it's history, past two PO's and that it was original.
    I have not looked for a cone shovel until now, there is one that I may be interested in and I wondered about belly numbers...the bike is FLHish.
    It's a '77 FLH (by the VIN,and motor/frame are the same) but it has both electric and kick start (people who liked the kick added them to electric bike), but, it looks like there may have been other work done to it.
    The current owner bought the bike and is just flipping it for a few bucks and does not know much about it.

    So, it's been some time since I bought my '76 and being that this '77 may have been a "runner", I need to do some investigative work...
    - check for leans/loans on the bike.
    - bring my compression tester.
    - check motor / frame stamping.
    - check date code castings on heads.
    - check cylinder casting at bases (still have to figure out what they should be, I will look at my '76)
    - check fasteners, see how many acorn nuts are used.
    - check for cracks and repairs.
    - check clutch and gear shifting.

    Any other tips / things to looks...

    I am thinnking about buying this bike to be able to do the things I did not want to do to my '76 (as it's original)...still keeping the FLH theme, but just different paint, acc. and chrome.

    wow, now that's a post, sorry for the long read.
    Thanks,
    Dee

  2. #2
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    Belly numbers for 1970–74 Shovelheads are formatted as per the following example: 170-1234. But the format changed for 1975 models—for example, 175 123 012. So the 77 belly numbers should be similar to 75. Near the belly numbers or somewhere near the rear of each case half you may also find another set of characters consisting of a letter and three numbers—for example, A123. But I don’t yet know what they indicate.

    Not much difference between a 76 FLH frame and a 77 FLH frame except the 77 has two-hole blocks at the rear of the lower rear castings to accommodate passenger footpeg brackets. The frame date code may be on the left side of the top engine mount near the slot for the bolt.

    On the lower triple clamp check for stamped-on ID and you may find an A or B plus one other letter and a few numbers. On the forward face of the trans case you may find a similar, but not identical, set of characters to what you find on the triple clamp. If you find anything just let us know what the letters are. We don’t need to know the numbers.
    Eric

  3. #3
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    On the lower triple clamp check for stamped-on ID and you may find an A or B plus one other letter and a few numbers. On the forward face of the trans case you may find a similar, but not identical, set of characters to what you find on the triple clamp. If you find anything just let us know what the letters are. We don’t need to know the numbers.
    Eric


    Where abouts:
    ...on the lower triple clamp....difficult with nacelle on the bike???
    ...On the forward face of the trans case...will this be difficult with it being in the bike?

    Can you see belly numbers with the motor in the bike, typically not...

    sorry but, would you have pic's to show the locations.

    what is the significance of these? Does it match the parts on the bike? ie. if the tranny or triple trees were replaced?
    I will check for these on my '76 (tranny and my nacelle is currently off so I have access to the trees)
    I'm going to look at the '77 this weekend.

    Thanks, once again, SBT

    EDIT--- OK, I looked at my '76 and seen on:
    - the tranny front, a vertical stamping "S9xxx"
    - on the lower triple tree, on bracket with the lock hole: "AL7xxx" ...its hard to make out not sure of the "L"
    ...on the left side of the stem, a casting 4570 (then under 4570) a "48"
    ...on the right side of the stem a "circle" with a "P" in it (not sure about the "P") and under the circle "17"
    Last edited by Derek43WLC; 10-31-2012 at 02:11 PM.

  4. #4

    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    I have observed W on a January 77 assembled FLH, and X on a July 77 FXS. A friend has a 77 FXE with U on the trans. I think the trans numbers stopped with the new style transmission case introduced in mid 79.
    VPH-D

  5. #5
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    Thanks for the additional info VPH-D.

    Curious to hear from Eric on my letters on my '76, and what they may tell us.

    Looking at the first two digits of the VIN tells me what model the motor is from, the last two the year. My 1976 is a 2A.....H6, therefore a FLH 1200.

    Dee

  6. #6
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    The characters on the lower triple clamp and trans case are additional original component identifying numbers and for Big Twins they were first used on 1962 models. On the lower clamp for 62–68 it seems they were on the outside of the left fork stop and then when the padlock plate appeared for 1969 they moved there. I’ve seen them on the top of the plate and I assume yours are also on the top of the plate? But at some stage that changed because on my 99 FXST they are underneath the left fork stop and I bought the bike new from the dealer so I know that is original positioning for 99.

    If your 76 lower clamp has A as its first letter then that is consistent with 1976 models according to Connecticut police info I received from a member of HTT last year. (Other Connecticut police info surfaced on H-G in 2009.) A was also used as the first of two letters for 1975 and 77 but don’t be surprised if B is the first of the two letters on the 77 model because letters overlap at times. The second letter could apparently be anything from A through Z, except for I, O and Q, all three of which are not used, so L as your second letter could be okay.

    The casting number has one character hidden from view and in full it will probably be 45705 48. I don’t think there’s a P in the circle; instead it may be an M above an F and I think that’s a casting hallmark. I think 17 has something to do with manufacturing and markings like that on one part or another have been mentioned before on the forum but I can’t remember exactly what they meant.

    On the BT trans the additional ID was on the forward face for a long time but some cases from around 1980 have it stamped in a low position on the rear face and one photo I have shows ID on the top of the trans ear that the inner primary attaches to.

    Beginning with 65 models, the trans case casting number was 34703 65 and AFAIK it didn’t change until the 77 models when it became 34703 77 so I don’t think your trans casting number will help us but just to be sure can you tell us what it is.

    Significance of the ID: It’s an extra way to identify parts and that is probably why Harley uses the five-word term I employed at the start of this post. They are also sometimes called anti-theft numbers but they’re not going to stop theft occurring. H-D does have a certain amount of this info on record though and if people contact Customer Service and supply their additional ID, along with their VIN and belly numbers, factory records can be checked to see if the pieces are all original to the one machine. The sets of extra ID do not usually and perhaps never originally match each other on the one bike.

    The first photo below shows belly number 176 0++ 1++ on a 1976 left case:



    Next picture shows U2++ at the rear of a pair of 1976 cases. The characters aren’t very clear but it’s a good example of where they are located. If you find nothing at the rear of your cases then these sets of four characters may be next to the belly numbers. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t but I don’t have enough examples yet to tell if there’s a pattern regarding placement.
    Eric

    Last edited by Speeding Big Twin; 11-01-2012 at 11:49 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    S on your 76 trans is a mystery at this stage. Are you sure its an S? The other thing is that I would expect two letters, not just one, on a 1976 trans. S with no second letter may have been used for 1972 but that doesnt fit with the history of the bike. How sure are you about the history of the trans case?

    The trans stamping is pretty clear, I will double check tonight.
    The lower triple tree 45705 48 is then correct...did the upper tree casting number change in '60, cause I have seen xxxxx-60....

    Thanks again for the continous excellent info Eric.

  8. #8
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    Dee, in my last post I deleted what I said about the S on your trans after I realised I was working straight off the Connecticut info and not paying attention to my notes regarding photos I have of trans cases. Some of the Connecticut info contradicts itself at times so I'm trying to work it all out.

    I was thinking the S was a mystery for a 1976 trans and that it may have been used for 1972. But judging by photos I have of other letters on trans cases the S may turn out to be okay for 76. Some of the Connecticut info is said to relate specifically to forks (lower triple clamps) and some of it relates to other parts so I’m trying to confirm what is what.

    Yes, the casting number for the top clamp changed for 1960.
    Eric

  9. #9
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    I read your un-editted post response from my personal e-mail (I get notification)...ah, good to know, seems the first post always sticks even after edits when viewed through normal e-mail.

    ok so, on a 1960+, the lower triple tree is 45705 48 and the upper tree casting number is xxxxx 60....

    Dee

  10. #10
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    Re: Late 70's FLH Belly Numbers...

    Top clamp casting number I think is 56120 60. There were some minor changes to that top clamp over the years but I haven't had time to investigate them all.
    Eric

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