PDA

View Full Version : 45 Flathead Belly Numbers



Ohio-Rider
09-08-2009, 05:18 PM
Iíve been researching information about belly numbers on the flatheads and havenít found much useful information, so I figured I ask you guys. Here are my top three questions Iíve been trying to find info on.:confused:

Do the belly numbers on a flathead tell us more than just the year they where assembled together?

What can the five digit number following the year the cases where stamped tell me?

Is there any relationship between the belly numbers and the VIN number stamp on the left pad?

Thanks in advance. -Steve

bmh
09-08-2009, 08:22 PM
The numbers you refer to only tell us the year in which the case halves were mated and machined as a set and what their place in the machining order was. They were marked to insure they remained a set during production and also to help the police in the event of theft to verify the VIN. The Factory kept records of which motor # was built with which set of cases, but those files are long since gone. there is no real relationship between the serial number and the case numbers, it was a matter of which parts got grabbed from stock at what time to build a machine. The only real thing I can think of is that if your belly numbers are older than the casting date codes inside, something is amiss.

Paps
09-08-2009, 11:58 PM
Something is a miss if your vin number is older than your belly numbers also. Low vin numbers would indicate low belly numbers, provided the vin numbers are original. Especially on type III and earlier wla's. IMHO Paps

Steve Slocombe
09-09-2009, 05:53 AM
On the VLs the belly numbers are within a few hundred of the VIN numbers, showing the level of engine cases held in intermediate stocks. The exception is 1930, where the first 2000 cases were recalled and replaced (we think) with new cases with the same engine numbers. The case numbers therefore run a couple of thousand ahead of the engine numbers (plus or minus a couple of hundred as above) for this season only.

For the 42WLAs, these were built until 1944, so you can find them with 1942, 1943 and 1944 belly numbers but still with 42WLA engine numbers going up over 70,000. Not all will have five digit belly numbers, as the first 9000 each year presumably have belly numbers in the 1000-9999 range.

It would be nice to think the factory records survive linking the engine and belly numbers, so we can retrieve the original engine number from a good belly number. I've never had any luck finding these. It's possible the military bikes are better documented, with records in Army possession even if cleared out of the Harley archive. Keep asking.

Ohio-Rider
09-09-2009, 06:35 AM
Now Iím a little more confused than normal. :confused: How could an engine have a five digit belly number with a four digit VIN number? -Steve

cdndewey
09-09-2009, 09:25 AM
Now Iím a little more confused than normal. :confused: How could an engine have a five digit belly number with a four digit VIN number? -Steve

I don't see where you read that...can you point me in that direction.

Ohio-Rider
09-09-2009, 09:39 AM
Sorry for the confusion. Its not something I read, rather it is something I own. I have a 1945WL with matching five digit belly numbers and a four digit VIN number.

BEK
09-09-2009, 03:32 PM
Steve (Ohio-Rider),

I believe that in 1945 they made a lot of 45 motors that never got VIN's, that were used as replacement motors. I used to own such a motor that had 5 digit belly numbers, from '45, and no VIN.

Paps
09-09-2009, 05:37 PM
Steve, This particular case half is from one of my 42wla case sets. All my case sets have matching belly numbers. The vin for this particular engine is a low un altered 5 digit 42 early type III wla. Earlier 42 wla's only had a 4 place vin after the year designation. Note the 5 place belly number. It is still a 42 machining job though. IMHO....since your vin is a 45 and your belly numbers are 45*****, then you have a pretty perfect match. I don't believ your cases to be replacement cases. Paps

http://img76.imageshack.us/img76/8195/my42wlabellynumbers.jpg (http://img76.imageshack.us/i/my42wlabellynumbers.jpg/)

Ohio-Rider
09-09-2009, 06:37 PM
Great picture Paps, That looks just about where I found mine.

OkÖ. I get it. Itís an apple and orangeís thing.

To bad that list, matching belly numbers to VIN numbers has been lost. -Steve

Paps
09-10-2009, 12:26 AM
Their are folks still pursuing that list Bro. I really believe the list will become public one day. If not via the MoCo...via the military.

Chris Haynes
09-10-2009, 07:54 AM
Great picture Paps, That looks just about where I found mine.

OkÖ. I get it. Itís an apple and orangeís thing.

To bad that list, matching belly numbers to VIN numbers has been lost. -Steve

It is not lost. It is in the H-D Service department. It is only available the H-D dealers and law enforcement. It is a numerical list of line bore numbers with the serial number applied to that case next to it.

cdndewey
09-10-2009, 09:46 AM
Sorry for the confusion. Its not something I read, rather it is something I own. I have a 1945WL with matching five digit belly numbers and a four digit VIN number.

That's interesting Steve. I just went and checked my 42 and 43 WLC's and the 43 also has a 5 digit belly number and a 4 digit VIN, and the 42 has 5 digits on both numbers.

Paps
09-10-2009, 12:05 PM
It is not lost. It is in the H-D Service department. It is only available the H-D dealers and law enforcement. It is a numerical list of line bore numbers with the serial number applied to that case next to it.

I can unstand that Chris but those records should be available to the public now, just like automotive vin numbers are now. Carfax for example. I would think the MoCo has not got all of the military vin data though. I doubt very much the military contacted the MoCo, everytime they changed out an engine, especially on the field of battle. The military noted the mil spec registration from one engine to another, the original mil spec registration denoted to the original factory produced machine would have been reassigned to the replacement engine. I sincerely doubt the MoCo received that information. It is that data...the military data...which is really lost and yet found. Paps

Chris Haynes
09-11-2009, 12:10 AM
So Paps,
Consider if an unscrupulous person knows both line bore numbers and the serial number that went with it. And he also has a set of stamps. Number jobs would rise to new heights.

Ohio-Rider
09-11-2009, 06:59 AM
It is not lost. It is in the H-D Service department. It is only available the H-D dealers and law enforcement. It is a numerical list of line bore numbers with the serial number applied to that case next to it.

Isn't that a bit like the fox's watching the chicken coupe? Great! Another example of Big Brother watching our backs for us. :rolleyes:

What good is information if it isn't shared equally across the board?

flat-happy
09-11-2009, 08:35 AM
i think all it would really mean is all the motorcycles that were originally built would still exist. they didn't build that many anyway. most of the truly original bike are well documented already. i think anyone who would really object to releasing the number info would only do so because they were not one of the new owners. greed is a horrible thing.

VPH-D
09-11-2009, 10:25 AM
I think Chris is right in his comment about an increase in thefts if the cards were made public. Exactly what value would an individual gain by seeing his VIN'S card?
VPH-D

Paps
09-11-2009, 10:52 AM
Excellent points about the releasing of the vin verses belly numbers but....newly stamped vins and numbers are identifiable. A fresh stamping leaves a fingerprint of newness. Any legit fresh stampings would be documented. Old original unusable cases would be confinscated before the stamping of replacement would be legalized. The paper trail would be up to date as well.

Ohio-Rider
09-11-2009, 10:54 AM
I think Chris is right in his comment about an increase in thefts if the cards were made public. Exactly what value would an individual gain by seeing his VIN'S card?
VPH-D

I agree that the list should probably not be made public but, there is a middle of the road solution. Why not expand the people allowed to look at this list to include anyone with a legitamate title in hand? The value would be in the peace of mind of knowing you own an original engine and if you decide to sell it at some point it would surely be an asset to assure a buyer that the engine has been verified as the real Mccoy. -Steve

hdrl1935
09-11-2009, 12:27 PM
I would like it made public, or at least have access to it.

When I had my '69 Chevy C-20, I called up GM, and talked to the 'restoration' dept, or something like it. Based on my VIN number they sent me a packet of info telling me exactly how my truck left the factory and with what options.

Would I be interested in this for my Harley? You bet your ass I would. And I don't understand how it would increase 'number jobs' anymore than a car or truck.

Chris Haynes
09-11-2009, 06:43 PM
This list has absolutely no information about the machine . Simply the line bore number followed by the serial number stamped on the case. Some recorde of bike color and accessories along with the name of the dealer it was shipped to is available. I have never requested this. I understand is is available for mid sixties and later machines.

Jerry Wieland
09-11-2009, 07:02 PM
It wasn't available in the late 80's when I purchased a new replacement set of HD shovelhead cases for a 1976 FX that I had bought with a destroyed motor. I sold the bike in Colorado and for some reason it set off an alarm with their DMV and the FBI came to my door wanting to know where I had acquired the cases from. He showed me a statement from HD stating that these replacement cases were never acquired thru them. It took about 100 phone calls and my receipt of purchase from my local HD dealer to make the FBI and Colorado DMV happy. HD never admit that they could possibly have screwed up. To the very end they maintained that the cases did not come from them.

I do not believe that the list exists if it ever did.

Jerry

Chris Haynes
09-11-2009, 07:19 PM
Jerry,
Have you ever heard the expression that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing? That goes on at H-D.
If you know a friendly person at an H-D dealership or a friendly LEO give them a Line Bore number and the Serial Number attached to it and have them contact the H-D SERVICE DEPARTMENT at 3700 Juneau Ave. to see if the two go together. Or if you just have a right case with no left give them that line bore number and see what pops up. Carefull doing the latter as it could possibly be stolen. Like most right cases laying around without a mate.

bmh
09-12-2009, 06:27 AM
Jerry,
Have you ever heard the expression that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing? That goes on at H-D.
If you know a friendly person at an H-D dealership or a friendly LEO give them a Line Bore number and the Serial Number attached to it and have them contact the H-D SERVICE DEPARTMENT at 3700 Juneau Ave. to see if the two go together. Or if you just have a right case with no left give them that line bore number and see what pops up. Carefull doing the latter as it could possibly be stolen. Like most right cases laying around without a mate.

Chris, have you ever actually done this? Lately? Good friends of mine who recently retired from H-D as product auditors in quality control had informed me years ago that these records no longer exist, at least in the case of civilian machines. I did not ask about military bikes. The records only go back to the mid 60's at best, and they are not very complete at all before the new ID number was added inside the gearcase in the late 70's or so. These newer records include info on the tranny, the forks and much else. All of which is numbered on later machines. The only thing my brother in-law the State Trooper could tell me was that my numbers were not listed as being reported stolen anywhere in the U.S. in the past seven years. He told me they really don't keep records of vehicle theft after about that time frame as the statute of limitations for the crime has expired and there is no point in clogging the system with useless info on crimes that can't be prosecuted.

All the service dept is these days is an engine re-manufacturing facility where they throw away 75% of your motor and replace with new production parts ( this often includes cases). And they wont touch anything pre-84. In fact pre-92 motors are often scrapped on arrival and a fresh replacement motor of latest spec and design is numbered and sent out. Another old friend is the sales manager at the local dealer and he could not get verification one way or the other of my pan cases having a matched set of numbers either just a few years ago. He said all he can do is check with the police to find out if a VIN is on the hot sheet or not, and he's worked there for 30+ years (through three different owners). I hear people talk of this mysterious LEO list of numbers, but I can't find anyone with access to it, and I've really tried.

Chris Haynes
09-12-2009, 07:45 AM
Brian,
The Service Department does no mechanical work. Their offices are in the Juneau Ave building. They coordinate warranty work, ETC. If you have any friends still working at the MoCo ask them if they knew Al Builder who worked there. Al showed me these lists back in the '90's. I asked him how far back the information went and he said back to the first line bore number. Al was a retired LEO and knew the importance of this information. Yes, I have seen this information with my own eyes.

Jerry Wieland
09-12-2009, 12:54 PM
Chris, I actually have a friend in the archives and one of my riding buddys' sons is an engineer in the Service Department and both claim that nothing of the sort exists anymore as any kind referenceable data base - if it ever did. Whenever I have asked for such information that is basically the answer that I get.

Jerry

rwm
09-12-2009, 01:07 PM
it's time i ask. what is a leo ?

Perry Ruiter
09-12-2009, 01:23 PM
it's time i ask. what is a leo ?

LEO is a TLA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-letter_acronym) meaning Law Enforcement Official aka cop (oh wait cop is a TLA too (as is aka. Argh I give up!)) ... Perry

Chris Haynes
09-12-2009, 06:45 PM
Chris, I actually have a friend in the archives and one of my riding buddys' sons is an engineer in the Service Department and both claim that nothing of the sort exists anymore as any kind referenceable data base - if it ever did. Whenever I have asked for such information that is basically the answer that I get.

Jerry

Ask them to contact the now retired Al Builder. He knows where it is
Now stop and think about this for a minute. Joe Blow has 1957 Panhead with real bad tattoos on it. But the man manages to find out the original serial number. How do they do this when the number boss has been tampered with so much that the original number can't be brought out? Because in most cases the line bore numbers have not been altered. The man cross references the line bore number to the serial number and determine wether they have a stolen motorcycle or not. Many times numbers were altered by dealers who did an engine swap.

Tommo
09-12-2009, 07:07 PM
I actually viewed those records when I was at the factory in 1998 and from them was able to identify one of my bikes as being an actual HD factory prototype. That got them going I can tell you.
When I tried to access them via a contact at a later date someone had made sure that Joe Blow would no longer have access and that the person who showed me them in the first place was way out of line.
The records I saw contained a limited ammount of info but what was there was of great interest.

exeric
09-12-2009, 09:02 PM
This is very interesting stuff. Just to get the opinions of the members; do you think it would be a good idea if this information was more accessable or should it be top secret. I can see the potential for criminal mischief but also the tremendous benefit it would be to restoration. Just curious.

Paps
09-12-2009, 10:53 PM
I say release the information. Altering numbers without judicial authorization isn't legal anyway, so why not make altering line bore numbers as un legal ? Those too could be documented in sink with vin numbers. If one has cases replaced.....document the new stamping and the new line bore numbers as one unit. What is the big deal about not doing this ?

Chris Haynes
09-13-2009, 02:54 AM
This is very interesting stuff. Just to get the opinions of the members; do you think it would be a good idea if this information was more accessable or should it be top secret. I can see the potential for criminal mischief but also the tremendous benefit it would be to restoration. Just curious.

How can the relationship between line bore numbers and serial numbers be of benefit to a restoration?

exeric
09-13-2009, 04:55 AM
Maybe not a benefit as much as a revelation.

bmh
09-13-2009, 07:14 AM
How can the relationship between line bore numbers and serial numbers be of benefit to a restoration?

One word, Authentication.

From the handbook:
All motorcycles that are 35 years old or older
that are mass produced with their own
manufacture drive train (reproduction
motors are not allowed) are eligible for
judging at AMCA national meets. A
motorcycle registered in the proper class is
judged with other motorcycles in the same
class. All motorcycles are given 100 points
at the start of judging. Judges deduct points
according to accepted AMCA standards.

So what is the definition of a "reproduction motor"? would anything not originally produced by the factory for actual production be a re-production? I think so. Of course I agree that unlimited access to this list by any and all would also result in much better forgeries. I tried several times to simply get verification that my motors were authentic matching number units and did not have altered serials. This only requires a simply yes or no answer as I have already provided the number set in question. This would also clear up those funny looking numbers that were legit dealer replacements, would it not? So why all the top secret, eyes only BS?

Chris Haynes
09-13-2009, 12:53 PM
So why all the top secret, eyes only BS?[/QUOTE]

If you can't understand by reading the previous posts I will never be able to explain it to you.

Ohio-Rider
09-13-2009, 01:48 PM
Chris, I resepect your knowledge on alot of things man, but this one just doesn't seem to be going your way. Last week a detective from my local police department contacted the service depatrment as you said was needed, and was told that no such records exsisted. If any members have a friend in law enforcement I would ask that you do the same and report back.

And I do agree that "IF" such a list exsists, that our club would benifit greatly from it. Without absolute proof how can any of us know we own the real McCoy. These machines can cost a boo coo amount of money and time to put tohether. It would be nice to know from the begining that we aren't wasting our money and time on a fraudulent machine. -Steve

rwm
09-13-2009, 02:09 PM
in my humble opion when it becomes profitable the list will be released.curently there is no benefit to the moco.a few more years of bad sales and you may see a list

Paps
09-13-2009, 04:56 PM
A title is a vehicular name for a deed. Deeds are public record.

rwm
09-13-2009, 07:47 PM
deeds are public record after you pay to see them

Tommo
09-13-2009, 08:43 PM
I think some perspective needs to be put on this issue,
I know the records existed in 1998 because I saw them but how did I see them, I saw them because somebody employed by HD was researching a bike for me and had found the data required in these books and he decided to show me the evidence in the flesh.
For this he got in a certain ammount of trouble at a later date when I tried to access the records again and said that so in so had shown them to me in 1998.
These records are the property of the HD Motor Co and surely how they use them is their business. If I was to tell you how you were going to use your motorcycle or how you were going to restore it or whatever else you could think of you would rightly tell me to go take a running jump as it is none of my business. I don't know why HD is reluctant to allow access to these records but they must have a reason and thats their business

bmh
09-14-2009, 09:16 PM
If you can't understand by reading the previous posts I will never be able to explain it to you.

Please try, as I said it is a question that requires a simple yes or no answer. Either yes the case half numbers and the VIN are a match or no they are not. No one outside the Company ever need see the list. If you can't provide both of these numbers then there should be no question that the parts you are holding are not legit. Sorry guys but not every bike can be a survivor. While I have no doubt that you and Tommo have seen this info I also absolutely know neither dealers nor State police have access to get that simple yes or no answer, let alone little old me. If it's a money thing, I'd pay a fee. I'm sure lots of other enthusiasts would too. I doubt the GM historical division researches your vehicle and sends out all that info for free. I don't get the problem, though I have a suspicion that perhaps the factory's record keeping wasn't what it should've been. From what I hear their restoration dept. sure isn't.

Chris Haynes
09-14-2009, 09:41 PM
I have never seen a case where the line bore number matched the serial number.

Tommo
09-14-2009, 11:06 PM
I go with Chris on that one as I have never seen an engine number that goes anywhere near matching a belly number

flat-happy
09-14-2009, 11:47 PM
that isn't what he meant----he meant do the numbers on record match his cases not each other. everyone knows they don't match each other. i'd like to see them for this reason and i've talked this over with bruce palmer. i knew and old guy years ago who was an engine builder at the factory during wwII. he said that every engine builder had an employee number. he also said that except for the war production years harley never had more than 125 employees building engines. the number side cases were stamped with a vin number first then when the case was matched to a right side case the employee added his badge number to the vin number and that was how the belly numbers were chosen. he also said the it was a secret code the factory had and if the belly number was not within 125 of the vin the case was usually a restamp by a dealer or whoever. in all the years i have tried to apply that formula to cases i knew for a fact had never been apart-----usually a lot of grease grime and oil and still standard bore with no marks on the screw heads etc-----i've only found 2 engines that didn't make sense. after telling bruce that he said he had never heard that before so we went into his house and his computer where he has stored photos of every set of cases he has ever come into contact with with their vin numbers and corresponding belly numbers and for the most part the war years didn't fit the formula. there were several sets that did though. nearly all the photos he had were nice clean glass beaded cases. it was a very impressive collection of photos. the guy i knew also told me that some employees would subtract their number instead of adding it just to screw with the company and who doesn't do that once in a while. i have never had anyone else tell me how the belly numbers were arrived at and believe me over the years i have asked some very important people who should have known. 25-35 years ago the factory was much more helpful than they are now----hell i guess everyone was. anyone have any information on how the belly numbers were chosen?

Tommo
09-15-2009, 12:50 AM
I've just looked at some of my spare engines, all of which have matching belly numbers, and will quote them here but will omit the last numeral of the engine numbers in the name of security. This shouldn't effect things too much.
First will be the belly number followed by the engine number.
I9 181 19A 811?
D0 256 20T 277?
E8 694 23F 604?
25 3233 25JE 460?
25 6708 25JE 537?
25 15681 25JE 1487?
26 2345 26J 146?
27 6849 27JE 101??
28 3601 28J 463?

Do any of these fit your pattern? They are all factory numbers.

flat-happy
09-15-2009, 12:54 AM
tommo i'm not sure if the sequence was always or ever like that. i am mostly a knucklehead era guy and i don't know squat about the earlier stuff. i wish i did. the guy i talked to started about 1940 to about 1966

Tommo
09-15-2009, 01:43 AM
After a soak in the bath and a period of contemplation I feel the belly numbers were put on first and the engine numbers later.
My reasoning is thus, I have a nos set of 1930 VL cases that have belly numbers but no year, model code or numbers stamped on them. 30 679?
I presume these cases were sent to a dealer as part of the update that happened due to the problems that beset the early VLs and were never used.
Now before everybody jumps in and says the VL situation was an exception I also have a set of 1937 UL cases that have belly numbers, 37 284? and nothing else as well as the crankcase set used in the rebuild of my 1944 WLC. 44 1016?
To this day I haven't stamped the pad on the WLC and the authorities here were quite happy to use the belly numbers as the engine/vin numbers.
When I thought about it I'm pretty sure thats what was told to me by guys at the factory, the crankcase set was allocated a job sheet number, line setting number, line bore number, call it what you will and this followed it through the system.
I don't remember asking anybody as to at what stage the engine/vin numbers were put on. I do know that my time at the factory was way too short and it was only Trev Deeleys influence that got me where I did get to go.
Trev was a fantastic man and friend God Rest His Soul.

Ohio-Rider
09-15-2009, 07:02 AM
he said that every engine builder had an employee number. he also said that except for the war production years harley never had more than 125 employees building engines. the number side cases were stamped with a vin number first then when the case was matched to a right side case the employee added his badge number to the vin number and that was how the belly numbers were chosen.

This would help explain why some belly numbers are five digits long and others are four digits long. Depending upon the builders assigned number. Assuming that the builders numbers where assigned to them sequentially by seniority, then we could also assume that engines with a four digit number where assembled by the more experienced builders. This topic just keeps getting more interesting by the day.

Thanks to the AMCA for providing this place for a discussion like this to take place and to all you knowledgeable guys who share what you have learned over the years. And better yet is the fact that we have gone 5 pages without a pissing contest. -Steve

Paps
09-15-2009, 08:53 AM
No matter what machine I manufactured [ industrial manufacturing ] which called for a serial number, Each employee who machined on it, had to place his mark upon it. Every entry upon it was put in sink with the first, thus creating a manufacturers code. This code provided the company will a fall guy, just in case something was machined incorrectly. The vin number was put on last. The vin identified each individual machine for both ownership identification and machinining specs. Knowing what the machining specs oringinally were, helped with producing needed replacement parts, further on down through time and use. Paps

flat-happy
09-15-2009, 05:32 PM
After a soak in the bath and a period of contemplation I feel the belly numbers were put on first and the engine numbers later.
My reasoning is thus, I have a nos set of 1930 VL cases that have belly numbers but no year, model code or numbers stamped on them. 30 679?
I presume these cases were sent to a dealer as part of the update that happened due to the problems that beset the early VLs and were never used.
Now before everybody jumps in and says the VL situation was an exception I also have a set of 1937 UL cases that have belly numbers, 37 284? and nothing else as well as the crankcase set used in the rebuild of my 1944 WLC. 44 1016?
To this day I haven't stamped the pad on the WLC and the authorities here were quite happy to use the belly numbers as the engine/vin numbers.
When I thought about it I'm pretty sure thats what was told to me by guys at the factory, the crankcase set was allocated a job sheet number, line setting number, line bore number, call it what you will and this followed it through the system.
I don't remember asking anybody as to at what stage the engine/vin numbers were put on. I do know that my time at the factory was way too short and it was only Trev Deeleys influence that got me where I did get to go.
Trev was a fantastic man and friend God Rest His Soul.

hi tommo---that is just the way it should be. as mentioned before the factory seldom built bikes on speculation and usually only built when ordered by dealers. after all the bikes were built the remaining cases were sometimes machined as a pair and sometimes sent out individually to dealers as replacement parts sans the vin number. the system was only used when complete engines were built. i have a nos left knuckle case that has not been mated yet and has no belly number or vin number

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/flat-happy/131_4095.jpg

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/flat-happy/131_4099.jpg

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/flat-happy/131_4100.jpg

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/flat-happy/131_4101.jpg

rwm
09-15-2009, 06:12 PM
i have nos wla cases that have no vin# but they have belly # from 1945 belly # match left and right. why would a worker but his stamp on a unfinished motor?

Rubone
09-15-2009, 07:06 PM
I have an NOS '53 casting number Pan left case with no VIN and the belly number factory removed, looks like it is belt sanded off.
Robbie

bmh
09-15-2009, 07:42 PM
I have an NOS '53 casting number Pan left case with no VIN and the belly number factory removed, looks like it is belt sanded off.
Robbie

How do you know who sanded it off and when? Just cause the serial boss is blank doesn't mean it wasn't stolen. Could also be a quality control reject, race size could be outta spec or a center distance missed by a few thousandths.

Rubone
09-15-2009, 08:23 PM
Brian,
It came out of an old dealership that ran from '35 to '65 and then was independent until the '80s. When I got it 30 years ago it still had the part number tag on it. Looks just like Flat Happy's case. The guy had a stack of them. Along with tons of other parts. I got several pair of NOS big flathead cases, 45 cases, and knuckle cases from him as well. I don't doubt it could be a factory second of some sort. Perhaps the mating case was bad and was found out after it was stamped but before the vin. Who knows? I have never tried to mate it to anything. All I am saying is that it is another type of original case out there that does not fit the norm.
Robbie

Chris Haynes
09-15-2009, 08:34 PM
i have nos wla cases that have no vin# but they have belly # from 1945 belly # match left and right. why would a worker but his stamp on a unfinished motor?

The belly number are line bore numbers. When the two case halves are matched they are stamped to prevent mixup.

Paps
09-15-2009, 11:34 PM
Are they not cam bore numbers as well Chris, since the main bore would be the zero point for all other case bores ? I mean.....what is the sense of putting a line bore in, and not the rest of the holes, when the cases are already setup for such machining ?

Ohio-Rider
09-16-2009, 07:52 AM
Maybe a rush job came thru and machinist needed to tear down his setup. I always hated when that happened, and it happened way to often. :mad:

Paps
09-16-2009, 02:05 PM
Maybe a rush job came thru and machinist needed to tear down his setup. I always hated when that happened, and it happened way to often. :mad:

Know those rush job issues way to well also Steve. But the MoCo ? It is unlikely someone was down and was willing to stop a production line there...heh ? Job shops are bit different. Especially when you got downed steel mills, BOC, GMC, Delphi, etc., etc.. Oh yeah...I remember many of those times well. 'THE BOSSES" Ok boys !!!! Tear those machines down now !!! We are on 24's until we get this new downtime job completed ! Ah yes !! The company raked in the doe then ! And us ? We got overtime. LOL

bmh
09-16-2009, 07:26 PM
Rub, still think somethings a little fishy, crankcases were only available as sets according to the 54 parts book. Were they available separately in years prior?

bselph
09-17-2009, 10:02 AM
Since we are talking about belly #'s, my 33VC has the following: 112-30F right side and 112-30H left side. What does the F & H mean?

Rubone
09-17-2009, 05:24 PM
Brian,
Yes, they were. And I am not sure where you are getting your information as my original '54 parts book lists the crankcases individually available by side!
Robbie

Rubone
09-17-2009, 05:25 PM
bselph,
Why does your '33 have '30 cases? Are your numbers original?
Robbie

bmh
09-17-2009, 07:46 PM
Sorry Rub, I had the wrong parts book open on my desk the other night, you are correct, my mistake. I didn't look at the part numbers , only saw that no single cases were listed.

Perry Ruiter
09-17-2009, 10:41 PM
Since we are talking about belly #'s, my 33VC has the following: 112-30F right side and 112-30H left side. What does the F & H mean?
Those aren't your motor's belly numbers. Those are the mold casting numbers ... Perry

bselph
09-18-2009, 11:01 AM
I will check for other numbers tonight. My vin appears to be original stamping.
Thanks for the help.

Chuck#1848
09-18-2009, 12:10 PM
I will check for other numbers tonight. My vin appears to be original stamping.
Thanks for the help.

You will most likely need a drop light and a mirror to see the numbers but the should start with the year of the bike followed by the mating numbers

bselph
09-18-2009, 03:50 PM
Thanks guys. Matching belly #'s 33-3460 and serial # 33VC33_ _. Looks like I have a correct engine and the numbers fall within flat-happy's 125 employee theory.

flat-happy
09-18-2009, 06:04 PM
Thanks guys. Matching belly #'s 33-3460 and serial # 33VC33_ _. Looks like I have a correct engine and the numbers fall within flat-happy's 125 employee theory.

please don't take my theory as fact though as i have no way of proving it. i was just going by what a guy told me who used to build engines for the factory. i doubt there is anyone working at the moco now who could back up that information but i haven't seen anyone tell me any other theory of the correlation between the vin and machining numbers either. we may never know now

knuckleheadtim
09-18-2009, 07:20 PM
I don't think it's likely the belly numbers were attained by adding or subtracting the employee number from the VIN for several reasons:

1) It would allow for duplicate belly numbers; IE

4487 + 150 = 4637
4517 + 120 = 4637

2) Many early engines I've seen have a belly number lower than the VIN. I have a very early '38 motor with a high '37 belly number. As the year progressed, the belly numbers are closer to the VIN because replacement cases were sold without VIN numbers stamped. By the end of the year, the belly number is much higher (over 1000 in '47). At some point, they would have crossed, but not necessarily matched, since the motors weren't likely taken off the rack in numerical order to build bikes.

3) Three different stamp sets were used on each motor; the year on the belly, the 4 or 5 digit belly number, and the VIN number. This suggests the belly number was put on the matching cases and the VIN added after the bike was completed. The belly numbers were indeed stamped to identify a machined set. but they wouldn't assign a VIN to replacement cases.

bmh
09-18-2009, 07:48 PM
I've seen at least one 49 motor where the belly numbers were higher than the serial. These things weren't kept in any order on the shelves any more than anything else. I highly doubt that any part of the VIN was placed on the case until the motor was ready to be married to a frame at the production line. If the VIN was present what was the purpose of the "7"'s stamped at the rear mount on FL motors? You'd be able to tell if it was a 74" or a 61" motor by the VIN.