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Case #'s

Moderators: Curt!, Pa

Post Mon Jun 26, 2000 8:18 pm

Posts: 2
Location: Lake in the Hills, Ill. U.S.A
Just bought a inexpensive project bike, with a confusing combination of serial #'s The bike was titled as a '47, the engine serial # is 44E1646 HUMMMMM? A H-D dealer stated that was possible if the bike wasn't titled until '47? I know production #'s for '44 OHV engines were 535, which would immediately throw up a red flag, right? Or did Harley combine production #'s with the 45ci It has a replacement Lt. case # 45-1405 and Rt. case# 47-6688. Can somebody make sense of this? The bike's title is clean! Thanks

Post Tue Jun 27, 2000 3:27 am
don User avatar

Posts: 571
Location: Spokane WA USA
It is possible that both case sides are replacement, and done through a dealership.

Post Tue Jun 27, 2000 5:12 am

Posts: 382
Location: Hill City,Kansas
I wouldn't recomend ridding through colorado without every kind of verification imaginable .Actually I wouldn't do it even with that they might take it anyway.

Post Tue Jun 27, 2000 2:12 pm

Posts: 3010
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Not very much is known about "late issues". Apparently many VL's were put together from parts for civilian use during the rationed war years, yet not considered 'production'. I suspect that there was a bit of a knuckle surplus after the war, and many were not assigned to 'open' titles until after the model year had expired. (I similarly wonder where all of the '65's have suddenly come from.) At any rate, if your state is like Illinois where I am state-licensed, you should be able to get a licensed shop or dealership to walk your paperwork through the authorities for a correction to your motor vin, and recieve an "original" title. I have corrected a super-glide titled as a goldwing and knuckles titled by California jibberish in this manner. Your stamps MUST be un-altered, however, or you're screwed. The factory number counts on VINs included all big twins, both OHV and U's, so I would assume yours was the 646th big twin off of the line. Your '47 right case would be legal as a replacement, since the numbers ARE there. (ANY number removed felonizes the hardware.)

Post Fri Jun 30, 2000 12:56 am

Posts: 14
Location: Oslo, Norway

The serial numbers are not combined for the Flatheads (U-series) and OHVs (E and F-series). Refer the "Big Wise Book" by Bruce Palmer III, pg. 6 & 7. The first letter after the year digits makes up an serie. So there are a separate sequence of serial numbers for the W (45), U(74/80), E (61 OHV) and F (74 OHV) series. According to "The Legend Begins" the were made 296 E-models (E and EL). Thus, the highest serial number for the E-series in 1944 should be 44E(L)1295.

Post Fri Jun 30, 2000 8:43 pm

Posts: 582
Location: meridian, id. usa
So Cotten are you saying vl's where titled with later then 36 year sn's? or just built up and titled as later year models with pre 36 cases ?

Post Sat Jul 01, 2000 3:35 am

Posts: 3010
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Doh! I stand corrected by RedKnuck that the SV's and OHV's were numbered separately (but Palmer says the 74's and 61's were not in separated groups.)
The possibility of "late issues" remains. These were constructed of NOS parts by dealers, and then stamped by dealers to fill open titles regularly issued back then. (Now they are prohibited to the best of my knowledge, although I am certain that open titles remain in dealer's files and occasionally get used. Technically it requires an un-stamped NOS left case to be even almost legal.

Post Tue Jul 04, 2000 10:12 pm

Posts: 14
Location: Oslo, Norway

You are right Cotten, the 61E and 74F are the same group. With the E and F combined, the production still is only 535, the last motor in the group being 44(E/F)1534.
The line bore numbers show that HD36EL61's engine was not machined until 1945 which is puzzling if the VIN is factory-made.

Post Tue Jul 04, 2000 11:17 pm

Posts: 2
Location: Lake in the Hills, Ill. U.S.A
The mystery is partially solved! The section of case( between two ribs) that contains the vin boss was welded into a replacement case. The exterior case welds were undetectable to a layperson, but very obvious when cases are split. That's why the boss appeared unmolested but didn't match bore #'s. This was detected by a seasoned knucklehead engine builder, who say's while not common, he has seen several cases with this procedure done. So now that leaves the #, original or not? Seems like alot of work and cost for it it be a fake! Late issue? who knows? Although the engine is in great shape, and was bought to be a rider, it could never be used in a proper restoration, or ever be expected to clear an AMCA judge.
Moral of the story is BUYER BEWARE!

Post Wed Jul 05, 2000 12:19 am

Posts: 2677
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Red Knuck says,
<Snip>The Legend Begins" the were made 296 E-models (E and EL). Thus, the highest serial number for the E-series in 1944 should be 44E(L)1295.

Red Knuck,
My copy of the book says 180 ES, 116 EL, 67 FS and 172 FL for a total of 535 Knucks. Remember too these are Calendar year figures and not year model figures.
Also remember the first serial number is 1001, not 1000. so the total Knucks built in 1944 are 1,535 1944's and 1945's


[This message has been edited by Chris Haynes (edited 05 July 2000).]

Post Wed Jul 05, 2000 2:13 am

Posts: 382
Location: Hill City,Kansas
reminds me;Here a couple of months ago some dead brain cells must of reconstituted them selves when I was out for a ride .I was about a hundred miles from here and recognized an area where I had run into an old guy 20 yrs before that had a knuck #1001 for 38 .He said he was never going to sell it and I was pretty convinced in my attempts to buy other things off him .He also had a 38 flatty and 46 model basket case which I had no avail in purchasing ,I got an iner dash with guages but practically cost me my left one..... Any way I found him and he had sold all of them together for a lump sum of 10,000 cash to a guy that kept him up all night.I guess you snooze you loose. Wish those cells had regurgitated earlier.

Post Wed Jul 05, 2000 2:41 am

Posts: 3010
Location: Central Illinois, USA
The cut'n'paste resolution of this mystery presents the same M.O. as an evil deed done unto some '65 cases I lost to a felonious repair a decade an a half ago. The perpetrator was the self-proclaimed thief Mr. Dragon himself. I have never been able to replace the cases. (In other words, such cases are not legal and subject to confiscation.)

[This message has been edited by Cotten (edited 05 July 2000).]

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