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Thread: 1948 Panhead oil filter

  1. #1
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    Default 1948 Panhead oil filter

    Can anyone out there tell me when the oil filter that mounts directly to the oil tank first came out. I just finished restoring a 1948 Panhead back to original. I have an old photo of the bike from late 1948, early 1949, that shows it with the oil filter. I have had other people say that it is impossible, since the external oil filters didn't come out until mid to late 1949. Would it be correct for AMCA judging with the tank mounted oil filter?
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  2. #2

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    I'm sorry I don't have that information available here at the house, but if you look at the picture you will see there is no acorn nut and bracket on the top of the canister. I believe there were a few years they were offered as an option in the accessory manual, before they were put on as standard equipment. These first few had no support bracket at the top of the canister, and are thus rather rare and hard to come by. That may be the case with the '48. Again I'm not sure....but something to research....which is the fun part. jeff I'll check my accessory manuals and get back with you...

  3. #3
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    Knucklehead..... Thanks for answering my questions about the filter on the other forum.
    My parts book ( 1954 parts book ) lists the part # 63800-48 oil filter , 40 to 54 big twins
    This is pictured as the one with the stud in the top of the filter head. I'm sure it was meant to be retro fitted to the earlier machines. I believe the direct tank mount filter precedes this one. It was only made for 1 1/2 or 2 years.They could have given the new
    filter the old part #. This is what I've been told, I have no documentation....sooo I could
    be all wet. It seems to make sense to me. Rod

  4. #4
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    The real mystery is how it was supposed to be sealed against the oiltank nipple.

    ...Cotten

  5. #5
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    Looking at factory parts books and accessory catalogs the oil filter first appears in '49. The accessory catalog lists it as the NEW CHROME PLATED OIL FILTER, a first for Harley-Davidson. It also appears for the first time in the '49 parts book(With -48 part #s), listed as fitting '38 to '49 twins. The '50 parts book and '50 accessory catalog list the conversion kit to adapt earlier filters to the latest style. All the conversion parts have -50 part #s but the assembly is still the old -48#. There is by that time another kit listed to fit '38 to '47 twins and the original fits '48 to '50. In the '51 parts book the filter returns to one number for all applications so I believe that the kit came with both mounts, the '47 and earlier and the '48 and later to make inventory easier. From what I have seen and spoken to old dealers about is that the early style mounting on the oil tank broke the fitting on the tank and was quickly changed to the later style. I am sure sealing was a problem as Cotten pointed out. I have seen the old style with cork washers fitted between the tank and filter housing. There are no numbers I find for any kind of gasket or sealing ring! No indication is shown in accessory catalogs or parts books, or in any accessory group, sales literature, etc.that the oil filter existed in the '48 model year. Remember, Harley-Davidson often used part numbers that were assigned the previous year. Everything indicates '49 as the beginning and all earlier applications were a retro fit. Robbie
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  6. #6
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    Thanks Robbie,
    I did a little research also and was told that the oil filter first appeared in the 1949 accessory catalog, part #63800-48, which came out in August of 1948. The parts were probably available before the catalog was distributed and my motor number is relatively high, so it is possible that towards the end of the model year the dealer could have offered the filter. Regardless, I was told that since this is a period correct accessory it is not subject to judging. Is that correct?

    ps. Cotten, I don't want to jinx myself, but it doesn't leak a drop.
    Last edited by theknucklehead; 05-14-2008 at 05:32 PM.

  7. #7
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    Knuck, The filter was 48/early 49. I’m also stuck here because I have to find a return line to fit it. Got a source? The filter housing I got my hands on is mint but at its worst I will use a copper o-ring to seal it. Also in the refrigeration business we use a product called Leak Lock. On flares this stuff is the bomb. Did you finally solve your rear fender acquisition problem? Bob L
    Last edited by Robert Luland; 05-15-2008 at 05:28 AM.

  8. #8
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    Knucklehead, I agree with you on both counts. The '48 production numbers are high and there is a good chance that some late '48s had that accessory on them. If dealers had them they put them on! I seem to recall the production line shut down in July to change over and the new model run started in August, at least it did when I worked for dealers in the '70s. I tend to run toward period modified bikes, not bobbers or choppers , but non-standard paint jobs and period accessories, like they REALLY were at the time. Sort of like rubber mounted springer bars, never offered as stock on Knuckles and big Flatheads but ended up on lots of them. Flanders bars and risers, Hellings, Acme , Comiskey, Buco, Beck, Superior, on and on. I say add what you like and most of all RIDE it! Good luck on your project, Regards, Robbie
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  9. #9
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    Just a side-note:

    It has been published widely that parts number suffixes were the "blueprint" year and not the production year, although obviously it was often the same.

    ...Cotten

  10. #10
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    Hummelstown, PA
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    Shop dope # 305, dated 4\4\50 is in regards to converting ealy style oil filters from tank mounted to frame mounted. It lists kit 63799-50 for 48-50 and kit63799-47 for all 47 and earlier models.The second part # is curious, but I don't think it implies the filter was available prior to 48. 6300-48 is the only filter I can find in any book I have. Had always been told they were introduced for the 48 model year, but have no proof. I would check a 1948 order blank and see if it's listed on there.

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