Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Knuckles 42 Knuckle purchase.

42 Knuckle purchase.

Post Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:05 pm

Posts: 8
I am going to be looking at a coworkers 42 Knuckle basket soon. The visit is going to be set up by a mutual coworker. The guy is willing to sell, however I will probably only get to make one "reasonable offer". What I know: 42's are somewhat rare due to the war effort ramping up at that time. Bike has been ridden by current owner, however apart and some parts are now gone. What I think: Motor is together and I think it is a 61" I will only buy if it is matching cases good VIN. Frame is the original but neck has been cut at one time. Wheels are not original. I believe it has a newer narrow glide front end.No clue about tranny or primary.. I also have the benefit of knowing what he thinks will be a reasonable offer. What I would like to know is opinions on value if it is factory cases with good VIN, matching belly numbers, stock heads, and a '42 tranny and '42 modified frame? Thanks.

Post Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:43 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5837
Location: Ohio USA

IMO 8 grand as is, without seeing it. Pa

Post Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:46 pm

Posts: 8
That is more than I am told he wil take for it, so I'll have to wait and see what it looks like. My main concern is just the engine itself. I would love it if it was a 74" but pretty sure a few years back he said it was a 61".

Post Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:49 pm

Posts: 2688
Location: Los Angeles, CA
The only difference between the two is the cylinders and flywheels which are both easily changed.

Post Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:23 am

Posts: 8
I know but I would like to have a 42F instead of a 42E in the VIN number :D

Post Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:03 pm

Posts: 391
Don't know what your reasons are for wanting specifically an F or FL but the El will be a sweeter running engine!

Post Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:25 pm

Posts: 8
Why is that?

Post Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:34 pm

Posts: 1654
I had a 61" EL panhead at one time and it was a very nice motor indeed. Didn't have the same torque as the 74" FL, but smoother and quieter and little real difference in the performance.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm

Posts: 8
I talked to the actual owner today at work and it's looking worse all the time. He bought the bike in 1983 from another guy who still works at the same place we both work, and I will try to get ahold of him for more info. The motor is a '41 not a '42. It is a 74" not a 61". He has no clue if cases match or not. He said he has had some welding done on the cases, but didn't elaborate as to where.He said the heads are knuckle with unleaded conversion but the jugs are pan? He got the bike with a narrow glide front end of some type but put on a springer. He hit a curb with the bike in 1986 which bent the front fork, but he still has it. He tore the whole bike apart, traded or gave the frame away as it was already raked, then de-raked, and he felt it still wasn't right. When he last rode it, it had a Linkert carb, belt drive primary, don't know if open or closed. He said it has a factory H-D 4 speed, assumes original but not sure. He told me gears 1thru 3 are Andrews but 4th is stock. I'm guessing the likelyhood of the tranny being original to the bike is very unlikely.Speedo is aftermarket, but he bought a harley speedo at a swap meet (year unknown). No wheels. IF the VIN is good and unaltered, and the belly numbers match, best case I would be looking at getting a motor and tranny that would need to be gone entirely through to be of any use and probably swap meet or Ebay nearly everything else. I need to talk to the prior owner to get more info on the pan jugs and find out what was modified to run them and how it was done.

Post Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:21 am

Posts: 607
Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin, USA
If it is a 41 then I can almost guarantee you that the welding on the cases is forward of the serial number on the left side. Very few 1940 or 41 knucklehead cases have not cracked here. Here is a typical example on ebay 260566079590.

Not the end of the world but it depends on how it was first welded and who gonna do it now.


Post Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:32 am

Last edited by panic on Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:36 am

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Sounds bad, Whats his number?

Post Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:53 am

Posts: 8
There is no doubt in my mind the current owner has no idea wether the belly numbers match. Probably doesn't even know they stamp them for the line boring process, I see him daily at work and he would not have me to his house to look if he already knew. He doesn't even really care if he sells it. His buddy is trying to get him to sell it to use the money towards a sawmill they can both use.

Post Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:40 pm

Posts: 732
Location: nekoosa,wisconsin,usa

Work the man for all you feel to be fair. If it doesn't work, so be it.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.

Post Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:27 pm

Posts: 8
I talked to the previous owner today at work for quite awhile. He said the case has been welded in exactly the same place as described earlier in this post but the VIN number was undisturbed by the repair. He had the bike for around 8 years and thought they were quite rare as he never saw another 41 FL being ridden when he was around the New England area. He said the jugs were badly scored from some previous damage and he could not find any 74" knuckle jugs so he put the pan ones one but he believes the rest of the motor was stock except pistons.He said he ran it with a "3 bolt" carb when he had it. He raked it out to some ungodly degree and put a 5" stretch and 20 over springer on it then later deraked it back to around 5 degrees over and removed the stretch also, then installed the narrow glide front end. He says the cases should match as far as he remembers and the motor should be good other than having a ton of miles on it. He confirmed the 4 speed should be original but did have 1-3 Andrews gears and at that time Andrews did not make a 4th gear that fit? He said it was belt drive with the narrow belt inside the primary, not an open setup.

If I bought this I would want to completely disassemble motor and have it re-done correctly. Can welded cases be cleaned up and shot blasted to make the welded areas look close to normal? Is there any disadvantage to running the pan jugs?

Post Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:31 pm

Posts: 607
Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin, USA
The right man can make the cases almost appear to be unmolested. The only disadvantage of pan cylinders is originality. Take your time on finding that right man and do not be afraid to ask for references.


Post Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:12 am

Posts: 732
Location: nekoosa,wisconsin,usa

1941 FL's are far from being rare !
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.

Post Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:28 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
Refitting this motor with the correct jugs is easy. To put the pan jugs on, a head bolt hole was moved. Plug up this new whole and reopen the old plugged hole and you are good to go. I used to do it with a head bolt screwed into hole, cut off with a hacksaw and milled flush. Pan jugs jump out to anyone who knows these motors. Totally different look.
I do most of my own simple case repair with TIG, but I send my complex stuff to Creekside Welding with excellent results.
Check out the before and after pics for yourself.
Any knuckle is worth having. I've had my 42 FL for near 40 years, along with a 42 UL hack. I've let lots of other HDs go but these will stay with me till the end and get passed to my kids.

Post Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:17 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
In this eBay auction there's a good picture of the head bolt hole overlap that occurs when you change to pan barrels on a knuck. ... K:MEWAX:IT

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