I have been looking at purchasing a rebuilt panhead motor with an out of state title. The price is in the area of $6500. I understand that pre-1969 Harleys are titled off the motor. My questions are the following:
1. do I have to find pan frame for this motor or will a generator shovel work? (or other Harley frame options)
2. will I have a problem registering this motor with a non-titled frame?
3. is the asking price too much? (keeping in mind that I ride by myself and I do not know anyone with the know-how to point me in the right direction)
4. what should I consider for transmission options?
If I make the purchase then I will be sitting on this motor for a least one year until I will have the resources for the frame and trans.
Thanks in advance, Mario
hey mars i'll try and answer all you questions in order ,
1) any big twin frame 1948 and up you can fit this motor in including aftermarket frames , knuckle motors have a slightly different motor mount spacing and are slightly shorter in the seat post tube
2) registration laws vary state by state but as all pre 70 hd's are titled by motor only you should have no problem , check with a local notary to be sure or im sure your state has a website you can check
3)given the info you provided a little hard to answer but id say that number is a little on the high side for just a motor but more info is needed (year , stock -modified , original parts - repop etc)
4) transmission options are what you want to spend - 4 speed , 5 speed , baker 6 into 4 , whats your budget afford is what you get
if you do have to sit on the motor theres ways to preserve its condition untill you can install it
1) Find a pre '70 oem frame, these do not have serial numbers on them. Rigid frames for Pans ran from '48 to '57, swingarm frames from '58 to '65. You could also use an early Shovel frame, '66 to '69. The idea is to use a non-numbered frame because the motor numbers are what gets titled. Depends if you want rigid or swingarm.
2) No, Panhead frames didn't have numbers. The only thing you might have to be concerned about is if your state wants to do a vin verification or visual inspection. They do that sometimes with out of state titles. It may throw them off if you only have a motor.
3) Price is on the high side, unless it's a matching cases motor that has been rebuilt and has receipts. Make sure the vin is unaltered, lots of numbers jobs out there. Better if the belly numbers match.
4) Depends on what you're building. A stock 4 speed would be the easiest choice.
Belly numbers are the numbers stamped into the bottom of the cases when they were initially machined in the factory. If they match it means the two cases stayed together through the years, if they don't it likely means one broke and had to be replaced at some point.
The first two digits should be the year they were machined if I remember right (which is often a year earlier than the Serial number on the side)
also pan motors changed bottom end bearing styles in 55 so 55 and up have opposing timkin bearings and can be updated to shovelhead flywheels or larger , while 54 and earlier use flat roller bearings like a torrington and are harder to get larger flywheels for but it can be done , the belly numbers should be the year of production or 1 year earlier otherwise your looking at a number job , and they should match like themaninblack said
For belly numbers (line bore numbers) Panheads will have a number like this: 151-3276. This particular number would denote a 74" Panhead, 1951. Each case half would have this number. These don't match the vin. The "1" denotes 74", while a 2 would denote 61", note that 61" motors ran from '48 to '52 only. So a 249-2279 would denote a 61", 1949 engine. The last four or sometimes five digits are the sequential code of the cases. For FL engines, each case half will have a "7" stamped on each case, where the rear bolts go. For FLH engines, there is an "H" stamped on each case.
Look at Chris Haynes website, he has some really good case pictures. You need to know what good numbers vs. bad numbers look like: http://vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/v/Numbers/
Who is the seller of the motor?
Rob's seem expensive but I felt my lack of experience leads me to buying an already built pan and just deal with the frame modifications locally. The only thing that concerns me with Rob's website is that he sells post '69 shovel motors with a title, and that does not mean anything without the matching frame. So, I am a little reluctant to buy from him for that reason. I do not know if I am going in the wrong direction, but I am tired of putting off my dream for fear of making a mistake. At this point, Fuck it. If I make a mistake I will correct it... I just want to get started.
All the help from your posts have been beyond my expectation. Thanks....
Keep asking questions.