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  1. #1
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    Default Panhead motor assembly cost

    Just seeing if I can get an idea what the labor cost would be for a motor disassembly and assembly only.
    Not the machine work or parts for an average 74 motor build.
    Its a perfect world, all the pieces are laid out for you , ready to go. You can add the labor cost of splitting the flywheels and truing them.

  2. #2

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    With how old these motors are and how many issues there can be Id imagine anyone building them correctly is charging straight time by the hour. Mine needed new exhaust spigots and the race in the left side case came loose in the casting. My buddy had to cut the race out and make a new insert on the lathe to put in there. Id imagine if we werent close friends it would cost a fortune to have that done if you can even find someone to do it. He had hours and hours into it. Find someone reputable and give them whatever they want if you want it done right.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveLaughDestroy View Post
    With how old these motors are and how many issues there can be Id imagine anyone building them correctly is charging straight time by the hour. Mine needed new exhaust spigots and the race in the left side case came loose in the casting. My buddy had to cut the race out and make a new insert on the lathe to put in there. Id imagine if we werent close friends it would cost a fortune to have that done if you can even find someone to do it. He had hours and hours into it. Find someone reputable and give them whatever they want if you want it done right.

    I understand all that.
    In a perfect world, everything is all ready to go , repairs went under a separate charge already

  4. #4

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    You are asking a question that can't be answered. Anything as old as a pan, time plus materials and expect some $urpri$e$. The things will break your heart. Something you test assemble three times will crack or break on final, and you are back a few steps. Happens all the time. (I've been doing generator shovels and panheads exclusively for the last year so the experience is very fresh.) You just can't price any of it, and the mechanic ends up eating some hours every time.

    Jim

  5. #5

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    And the other thing is "parts ready to run." I don't know how many sets of pan or shovel heads have been brought to me "ready to go" that needed a grand or so of work to be truly ready. And that includes heads out of nationally known shops that were just junk, no two ways about it. I'm sorry, the premise of your question is faulty.

    Jim

  6. #6

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    Between the age of these motors and the amount of tweakers who have probably been inside of it before there is no telling. Every pan and shovel I have helped my buddy or watched him build was a disaster once we opened them up. Some of them even came in running and I have no idea how.

    My first case had a hair line crack in it we didnt find until it was in the bike running. We spent hours trying to weld it and it cracked in a new spot every time. My second case the insert for the bearings came loose in the casting while we were knocking the new races in. Both cases i had polished before finding these problems out. Id say if money is an issue get a second or third job now. Its totally worth it. It took me two years to build my pan, countless hours and dollars but it was worth it. It runs like a bat out of hell and doesn't leak a drop. Its my most prized material object. Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by LiveLaughDestroy; 08-24-2021 at 8:48 PM.

  7. #7

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    Man, that bike looks similar to my first H-D. Except mine had drag bars and no sissy bar. Otherwise the components are the same. Mine was a '50 FL.

    Jim

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    And the other thing is "parts ready to run." I don't know how many sets of pan or shovel heads have been brought to me "ready to go" that needed a grand or so of work to be truly ready. And that includes heads out of nationally known shops that were just junk, no two ways about it. I'm sorry, the premise of your question is faulty.

    Jim
    Alot of the brand new parts from reputable companies Jim's S&S etc I have seen come into my buddies shop needed to be machined in some way to fit correctly. If my best friend wasn't a master machinest and antique harley specialist I probably couldn't afford to build my motor with the amount of time we put into it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    Man, that bike looks similar to my first H-D. Except mine had drag bars and no sissy bar. Otherwise the components are the same. Mine was a '50 FL.

    Jim
    This thing was a complete basket case. The frame is half pan half shovel i welded together to de chopperize and make look original. I put all the castings back on. Its titled as a 53. My goal was to make it look like a 60's tough guy bike. I used as much orginal stuff as I could find/ afford. Its got shaved down flywheels, ported heads and a cam. It hauls ass and its reliable. I got about 1500 miles on it since winter and only had to pull over once to tighten the points plate.
    Last edited by LiveLaughDestroy; 08-24-2021 at 9:06 PM.

  10. #10

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    That is inspirational. I need to replicate my pan before I get too old to ride (or kick) it.

    Very nice, and I'm sure it rides good.

    Jim

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    The reason I asked is I just got the bill for a Pan build. Without going into detail I got a labor charge for the machine work and parts. and a separate one for assembly which seems astronomically high. Especially since the builder did everything, there shouldn’t be any surprises for assembly at that point. That was already fixed and ready to go in advance , and paid for in the other labor cost.

  12. #12

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    Theres a lot involved in assembly. Its way more in depth than just bolting it all together. Clearances need to be double triple checked. Truing flywheels, checking valve height, crank end play. All of that stuff takes a lot of time and care to be done right. When you fire it up and go for a ride you will know if you over paid immediately.

  13. #13

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    These old motors are such a niche thing if you can find someone to do it right they can pretty much charge whatever they want.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Aaaaaaaaaa ......

    What was the question .... ??


  15. #15
    Sugarcubes
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    My buddy owns a bike shop and constantly gets asked about set prices for jobs when he charges hourly rates. He says the same thing as most in this thread. He has had guys bring in old bikes just for an exhaust swap which theoretically should be less than an hours labour. However, if the bike has sat for years in the rain and the nuts are stripped, seized etc and manifold studs broken upon further inspection etc the time and labour involved increases rapidly. Also the biggest lie ever told in chopper land is "bolt-on replacement part".

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 47str8leg View Post
    The reason I asked is I just got the bill for a Pan build. Without going into detail I got a labor charge for the machine work and parts. and a separate one for assembly which seems astronomically high. Especially since the builder did everything, there shouldn’t be any surprises for assembly at that point. That was already fixed and ready to go in advance , and paid for in the other labor cost.
    Well, what was the "astronomically high" price you were charged, we need to no that if you want to get someone to tell you a price, seems fair to me?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by 47str8leg View Post
    The reason I asked is I just got the bill for a Pan build. Without going into detail I got a labor charge for the machine work and parts. and a separate one for assembly which seems astronomically high. Especially since the builder did everything, there shouldn’t be any surprises for assembly at that point. That was already fixed and ready to go in advance , and paid for in the other labor cost.
    I would put assembly time at 15 - 20 hours, if that helps to answer your question. If it's an early pan with strapped down generator, did the builder shim the generator for correct gear clearance?

    Jim

  18. #18
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    Drags and Jim ( Jim , sent you a P.M. but I don’t think it went through ),

    Some things just can’t be discussed in public and no , nobody on any motorcycle board is involved.
    Is there any other way I can send you a copy of the invoice with background ?
    Certainly don’t want to short change anyone but a lot of money is involved and my motor is in the middle of it.
    Just trying to get a rough idea of where I stand.

  19. #19

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    My PMs may work, eventually. I can respond, but I cannot initiate a PM, despite Lisa's repeated attempts to fix the glitch.

    Jim

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    My PMs may work, eventually. I can respond, but I cannot initiate a PM, despite Lisa's repeated attempts to fix the glitch.

    Jim
    I tried so check your messages when you get a chance

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