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Thread: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

  1. #1

    introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    yhi,
    I am new to this forum and already have been spending hours of reading about all kind of interesting subjects.Great!

    Although not new to Harley ,having had ( and riding) old Harley's since the late sixties, it's amazing to find out how much you can still learn!
    All that time I was actually never concerned about originality as long I could get parts to keep the bikes I owed running.Mostly left over war stuff ,wla wlc ul.
    Things changed in the nineties, I had my knucklehead , bought in 1990 , and Bruce Palmers book came out.., kept running to the garage ..

    Now I have his new book(s)..Great work again!
    However ...:

    I have always had the idea my VIN number was ok ,also had matching belly numbers.
    ( Dutch authorities are not interested in VIN numbers by the way)

    The idea I am having right now ,reading about fours with " open tops" , "open backs" serifs or not , is that my 1941 knuckle has ( factory?) restamped cases.
    Both belly,s and left case have the same kind of four, and following "the book" it should be a closed four in the 41 vin number.
    There has been no doctoring with those numbers and I am wondering: if Harley replaced those cases ( maybe they were cracked at some time?) would they bother to put in two different fours, or just take the same 4 that they used for stamping the belly numbers also for the VIN like it is now?


    Have added some pics.

    Any expert info welcome!

    Rein






    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...HBaMng2MEg0S3c
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...lAtQUVlakVIdG8
    Last edited by nukkel; 08-22-2016 at 11:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Beautiful Northern NM
    Posts
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    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    Welcome Rein.

    The Belly and VIN numbers were almost always different fonts due to being put on the cases at different times and different departments in the factory. Your cases are likely replacements due to the long fin construction and a VIN previous to the time period when they came into use. And cases sent to dealers as replacements were not usually stamped by the factory on the VIN boss but instead stamped by the dealer.
    Hope this helps
    Robbie
    Friends help friends move,
    Real friends help friends move bodies!

  3. #3

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    hi Robbie,
    thanks!


    I am aware of the procedure that Harley had in their factory when putting in line bore numbers and finally after engine assembling or installing the VIN number ( hence the difference in numbers)
    But would they go through that very same procedure when an engine was sent in with cracked cases ( guarantee case maybe), would they put in a different number four stamping for the Vin and the belly?

    I assume however you mean it's a dealer's job done..

    The numbers and letters used for the belly and VIN are the same ( as far as I can see and I am no expert) as what harley used ( apart from that not-used 4 in this case).
    Did those dealers have the same numbers / letters?
    Would it be registered somewhere ,that replacement ,and could it still be looked up( silly question probably)

    Rein

  4. #4

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    Your cases have factory stamped belly numbers, your vin stamp is not factory.
    If an engine needed cases dealer would order cases from factory which would have belly numbers.
    Some dealers had factory vin stamps some did not.
    Dealer could also order left or right case which did not have a factory belly stamp.

  5. #5

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    hi 1950panhead,
    that makes sense

    here is a simular situation ( using belly type stamps)with a 1940 vin number and a later type crankcase

    http://www.caimag.com/forum/showthre...1UL-VIN-Number

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...jBsaEVJNjJ1UTA
    Last edited by nukkel; 08-21-2016 at 03:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    1,331

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    Rein, welcome to the forum. I agree with other members in that your VIN was not stamped at the factory.

    As for the belly numbers, none of the sequence characters (5, 4, 3 and 7) in the left belly number appear consistent with factory stamping for 1941. And the same may also apply to the sequence characters in the R-H belly number. But can you please post a better photo of the R-H numbers.

    And can you post a very clear close-up of the '41' at the start of both belly numbers.

    Also look on top of each case half near the rear engine mounting bolts. Are 7s stamped there? From your photo it's hard to be sure if there's anything on top of the left case. If you find 7s on either case can you post a clear photo of them. If no 7s, is there any sign of removal?
    Eric

  7. #7

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    Hi Eric

    there are no signs of sevens, but on a closer look especially on the left side you can see marks of shaving/ grinding, which could have been done when the engine was rebuilt some 20 years ago

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...ThpbEI2cWtpem8
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...lVfTk1neWNsSTA

    I only can make a picture of the left hand side of the belly because of the skid pkate.:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...V9vMFRSZDVMQ0E
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...VhhVzF5cnBSOFk

    concerning the right hand case I found a D stamp on the generator support bracket that drew my attention:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3...XhDWWJWdjBqV1k



    Rein
    Last edited by nukkel; 08-22-2016 at 04:54 PM.

  8. #8

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    I have to draw the conclusion:
    based on the comments of Rubone, 1950 Panhead and Speeding Big Twin,plus what I see on closer inspection of the belly picture: a difference in the used nummer 7 in the belly numbers confirms that the original" fourth type left case " (before 41xx5800 -page 259 how to..) once blew up (?) and was replaced by a dealer with the stronger long fin one ( when?)
    The original right hand belly number ( with the typical 7 in it) was stamped into the left side case ( using his own number 7 stamp) , adding the original Vin number with his own stamps to the blank number boss.

  9. #9

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by nukkel View Post
    I have to draw the conclusion:
    based on the comments of Rubone, 1950 Panhead and Speeding Big Twin,plus what I see on closer inspection of the belly picture: a difference in the used nummer 7 in the belly numbers confirms that the original" fourth type left case " (before 41xx5800 -page 259 how to..) once blew up (?) and was replaced by a dealer with the stronger long fin one ( when?)
    The original right hand belly number ( with the typical 7 in it) was stamped into the left side case ( using his own number 7 stamp) , adding the original Vin number with his own stamps to the blank number boss.
    Why would they stamp a belly number ?

    Adam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    1,331

    Re: introduction plus VIN belly numbers

    Rein, if the marks on top of the left case are the result of someone removing a 7 then that would be a strange thing to do because a 7, for Knuckleheads, indicated a 74ci engine (F, FL). And your VIN, although non-authentic, is stamped FL.

    I do not know what the D indicates but we see a lot of different letters and/or numbers stamped on Harley engines and trans cases. I think at least some may have been done by inspectors.

    NB: Nothing has been ‘confirmed’. It sounds like you think your R-H belly number was stamped at the factory? Here is part of what I said earlier: ‘As for the belly numbers, none of the sequence characters (5, 4, 3 and 7) in the left belly number appear consistent with factory stamping for 1941. And the same may also apply to the sequence characters in the R-H belly number.’
    I repeat: ‘And the same may also apply to the sequence characters in the R-H belly number.’

    Look at the sequence 4 in your R-H belly number. I see no serif across its base. And that 4 looks like it has an open back.
    In the sequence portion for 1941, in a belly number such as 5437, I would expect to see a closed-top 4 with a horizontal serif across the base. Then either very late in 41 or very early in 42 the sequence 4 changed to an open-top style. Your sequence 4 does not look consistent with factory stamping for 1941.

    The 7 in the R-H belly number doesn’t look like the ‘typical’ 7 used at the factory for 1941 and that is part of the reason I asked for a better photo. If you remove the skid plate and post a clear picture then perhaps we can form an opinion about what happened.
    Eric

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