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Thread: 1955 frame help

  1. #1

    1955 frame help

    I am doing a powder coating job for a customer on his 55 Harley. There are a number of frame fixes I need to accomplish first. It seems the PO of this frame removed the thicker bar under the tank and replaced it with a 1/2" bar instead. I need to replace it with the correct size that came there, no biggie. The PO removed the original seat/FatBob tank mounts and replaced them with a single hole mount for the tanks. This mod was poorly done at best, they are not square to each other and the "butterfly" on top. I need to go back to the original type mounts for seat and tanks. Does anyone make replacement mounting tabs or is this something I am going to have to fab up myself. The tank mounts are narrower than the seat mount. If I have to make them myself I will need some help with dimensions of the tabs. The 3rd fix is there is a hole through the brake pedal shaft tube. Don't know if it was intentionally ground through for some reason or if it is chain damage or something. I can't find any VIN numbers anywhere on this frame and it has been hacked up and looks like all sorts of stuff has been added or deleted by all the nasty welds all over it. Can anyone help with the tabs issue or how to fix the brake shaft hole?







    Last edited by o1marc; 07-03-2013 at 06:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Southern California
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    588

    Re: 1955 frame help

    Google "Race Frame Engineering".

  3. #3
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    Mar 2008
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    Beautiful Northern NM
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    Re: 1955 frame help

    To start with, that is not a '55 frame. '55 used a straightleg frame. That frame is pre '52 with that top motor mount and with the horn blocks which ended in early '54.
    Top mounting tabs for the tank and seat are readily available form many sources. The crossover is not "chain" damage, the chain is on the other side. Besides having a chunk missing out of it it is also screwed up on the outside end.
    The gusset on the front is nasty and could be hiding a bigger issue as it appears the top of the legs have been re-welded where they join the head casting.
    I wouldn't doubt that it isn't straight either..
    Robbie

  4. #4

    Re: 1955 frame help

    This frame is so hacked up I don't know what it is. This pic of the 55 frame my customer sent shows the late 54-57 top motor mount and the large bracket in the rear yet has a "wishbone" leg. His has the pre late 54 top mount but could have been welded on to this frame as there are weld marks all over this frame that don't look factory unless they had 5 year olds doing the welding. I need to tank/seat tabs like in this pic:


    You say the mounts are available from many sources, can you name one? I don't see the mounts offered from Raceframe in Aus.
    Last edited by o1marc; 07-03-2013 at 07:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Puget Sound, America
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    15,170

    Re: 1955 frame help

    Aside from what Robbie sees, there are a few other things--- the front dash mount hole has a bolt welded in it, there's a nut welded on the backbone behind the tank mounts, and the toolbox bracket is missing.
    More alarmingly, there also appears to big weld around the circumference of the backbone, right where the stiffener tube connects. (This is what you recognize as the 1/2" bar.) Given these things, and the added gusset in the front of the steering head, make me suspect that the steering head has been replaced, and poorly. And as Robbie points out, it's unlikely the frame is straight with critical points all in proper alignment.

    While RaceFrame does offer quality replacement parts, the shipping from Australia can be cost prohibitive. Dick at Wasco Frame carries all the parts you need for the repairs, but how will you be certain you locate them in the correct position?

    What does your customer want? Does he want the frame restored to original? If his motor is a '55, the frame is wrong for a '55. Does your customer just want to fix this frame to make it functional? How deep does he want to go with it?

    I work with Dick at Wasco Frame, and we do this kind of thing all the time. He has fixtures and devices for correct location of all tabs, brackets, castings, ect etc etc when repairing and/or restoring frames of all years. He has a table that the frame goes on for checking alignment and for straightening. And he's the most amazing Tig welder I've ever seen.

    You can get the parts you need from him (he has orders going out every day), and nothing against you or your welding ability (not knowing anything about you, I'm making assumptions, sorry) but it's important to get it right the first time.

    I'd suggest giving Dick a call--- at the very least, you can get your parts from him, but you can ask him questions, too.

    http://www.wascoframe.com/
    52 HydraGlide
    59 Pan/Knuck Chopper
    77 Stroker Shovel FLH
    94 Evo Secret Components

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    15,170

    Re: 1955 frame help

    Factory welds are actually pretty ugly most of the time, so they are usually an indication of being original. After you see a bunch of different frames, you get so you can recognize factory welds pretty easily.

    Also, the top motor mount in the last photo you posted was introduced in 1952.
    52 HydraGlide
    59 Pan/Knuck Chopper
    77 Stroker Shovel FLH
    94 Evo Secret Components

  7. #7

    Re: 1955 frame help

    Bigincher, I found the correct seat tank mount after doing a search at Wasco for $23 before you posted, Thank you.It won't let me check out though so I have an email into them. My search shows Panheads from 48-65 so I assume if the customer has pan it will fit this frame. His first bike was a 55 and he is just building what he had. It is not a high dollar exact replication so I think it will all work out. The nut welded to the backbone behind the tank mount I assume is a seat mount nut from the PO. I will remove it and replace both that and the tabs with the correct ones from Wasco. They will be easy to locate after bolting the front of the tanks on. All I need are the dimensions for width of the rear tabs to make sleeves to bolt them together with the tank before tacking them to the frame backbone. Can any one help with those measurements. There is a ton of work I would do to this frame before coating it and I will make those recommendations to the customer, but it's his wallet dictating things right now. Why someone cut out the thicker bar under the backbone and replaced it with the 1/2" one I don't know but replacing it with the correct width one is the least of my worries.
    Below pic shows tank and fenders he has given me to coat.


  8. #8

    Re: 1955 frame help

    So what year frame is the black one I posted? I can post more close up pics of the frame I have here if anyone wants to see more.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2007
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    Re: 1955 frame help

    Quote Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
    So what year frame is the black one I posted? I can post more close up pics of the frame I have here if anyone wants to see more.
    It's a 1952- early '54. The early-'54 front downtubes were flattened for the horn blocks, but had no horn blocks installed. Those could have been added later, however. If the frame is stock and unadulterated (which it isn't, given the axle plates have the rear stand mounts cleaved off), it would be 1952-53. A photo of the front motor mount will identify which year.
    52 HydraGlide
    59 Pan/Knuck Chopper
    77 Stroker Shovel FLH
    94 Evo Secret Components

  10. #10

    Re: 1955 frame help

    Isn't the big bracket on the left rear and the top motor mount post 55 on the black frame? It looks just like the frame that Raceframe Eng shows as a late 55-57, but raceframe shows it as a straight leg and not a wishbone.
    I guess RFE's info cannot be trusted. I am assuming now that RFE is making custom frames in different configurations as they show straightleg from54-57 but mounts on them that are pre 54
    Last edited by o1marc; 07-03-2013 at 09:06 PM.

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