Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions 45 Flatties Mil Spec Harley?

Mil Spec Harley?

Post Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:59 pm

Posts: 14
Being that everything made for the military is of a higher quality, more rugged build, can we assume that Harleys made for the military were more rugged than the civilian ones?

Post Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:20 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5837
Location: Ohio USA

That assumption would be in error. Although the mil spec bikes had different or additional accessories, the majority of parts were interchangable or exactly the same between several models. I luv opening up military packaged parts and clearing away the cosmoline preservative. There usually is a really nice part hidden underneath. But........I have opened military packged 45 engine pinion gear shafts that were totally beautiful, except for the fact that they were missing the tapered end which attaches it to the flywheel. Found a few bolts in a multipack which were not threaded also. It does not happen often but it does happen. During the war years, much of the parts in the factory inventory, which were originally meant for civilian bikes, were installed onto military bikes as well. Dimension wise....I've not come across an inaccurate nos oem one yet. Hope I didn't confuse you with my take on your question. Pa

Post Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:57 am

Posts: 14
Well, maybe it means that Harleys were so ruggedly built as to be good enough for mil spec as they were... :D

Post Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:00 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5837
Location: Ohio USA

Just a reliable and versatile machine for the signs of the times, I'd say.

Post Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:32 pm

Posts: 426
Location: Tucson Arizona

motogunner wrote:
Well, maybe it means that Harleys were so ruggedly built as to be good enough for mil spec as they were... :D

LOL.......try lowest bidder.....

Post Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:46 am

Posts: 1654
my experience of the great clear-outs of WW2 and Korean War surplus in the 1960s and early 1970s was that there was a lot of rubbish hidden away; military buying was so profligate of spares that an awful lot of stuff was never used, and the military system of the day made it very difficult indeed to condemn, destroy or discard an unusable item. I also strongly suspect that defective items were habitually included to make up quotas.

The WL and its British counterpart, the M20, were both machines built for a buying public who were generally pretty ignorant about mechanical things. They were also children of the Depression, things were habitually used and re-used until totally worn out and beyond all use. Look at the regular "tips" in the press of the day for last-ditch "fixes" such as knurling pistons or valve stems, things that are done to get the last bit of use out of tired components.

The M20's 13bhp was running through a transmission which would take 40bhp-plus from a Goldie or A10. Its proverbially cranky exhaust valve would actually bring it to a halt before any REAL damage could be done, and restart itself again when the bike had cooled off a bit.

That's pretty much my experience of the WL, too. Its low power and massive construction meant it didn't have the potential for anything serious to go wrong, provided it had oil in the tank.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:41 am

Posts: 377
Location: madison wisconsin usa

the basic bike is the same. however, the additional parts that make it a WLA are heavy duty and made of substantial amounts of steel. the skid plate, luggage rack, ammo box and mg carrier probably add 30 pounds + to the bike.

the mil spec lighting is all guide "truck" grade stuff, and built quite ruggedly too.

i heard second hand from a veteran that the skid plate would deflect a 8mm round at an angle but not straight on.

don't know if that is true.

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Post Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:54 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5837
Location: Ohio USA

It is amazing how the additional hardware, such as the skid plate, actually strengthened the framing. The ammo box and scabbard brackets stiffened up the front mud guard as well. Tanks on two wheels...Heh ? :D

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