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Thread: 1939 EL Knucklehead gas tank info

  1. #1
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    Default 1939 EL Knucklehead gas tank info

    Hi, I have a 39 which I started to rebuild from a basket in 1982. Did all the work myself. Since then I have heard conflicting information on my gas tank, it has what appears to be a 1940 with the shut off on top. But the original owners son I bought it from claims that was the way his dad bought it new in 39. He had bought a 1938 also after the war for a parts bike and by the time I got the bike they only saved the best parts in boxes around mid 60's. And some of them where in bad shape. This was the tank that they had, it had no holes in the side for badges or anything on it when I repainted it. My engine Number is 39EL3528 which is a high number and I was hoping some one might have a number higher then mine and let me know if their tank is the same as Willie G once told me at a show they sometimes ran out of parts towards the end or a run back then, and would use what they had available. Any comments?
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  2. #2
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    About 10 years ago I restored 39EL50xx for the nephew of the original owner and it had the accepted tanks for 1939. The odd thing about this bike is that it had a 40 and up oil tank and one wheel hub was of the 40 to 43 variety. The only evidence that this bike had ever been apart was that the sheet metal had been painted metal flake red in the 60's by the guys dad - original owners brother. The motor and tranny had never been apart or out of the chassis. I am almost convinced that it could have come that way.

    Jerry

  3. #3
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    Do you think that the MoCo waited until the last moment of a production year to make changes in parts that were not new features? Oil tanks and hub modifications are not new features.
    Note that the factory photos of the 1938 are prototype photos of a bike that is actually an older 1938, 38EL3072 to be exact. Most all of the 1939's used the seamed oil tank.
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  4. #4

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    I have seen, 4 late year 39s in the last 15 years,
    with the 1940 and up oil tank, and a vented transmission case
    with the non vented kicker cover. I believe, these were late year changes
    they were barn type, unrestored bikes, they all had the correct tanks.
    Regards Lee

  5. #5
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    Chris I understand that as well as anybody but if that bike had showed up to be judged you'd have been the first guy to gig it. I remember a very original high numbered 1936 EL 20 years ago that was restored by Jim McClean that had the later (early 37) type frame - you and others were absolutely adament that those frames never came in 1936 so he found an early frame and restored the bike with it instead. That bike had karma and was so original (except for paint) you could taste it. However recently I see you have almost admitted that such a bike could exist - especially since a couple more like it have since been discovered. I thought that you did the guy and the bike a disservice then and I still think that today.

    If anybody has an overly rigid concept of what a given bike should be it is you and not me - so no lectures.

    Jerry

  6. #6
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    Lee

    I agree on the transmission vent. I've believed for years that it moved in mid to late 1939 production. The first cases that you see with the vent actually have no casting boss like later. They machined a recess and tapped it. I'll post a picture of it later.

    We've actually seen one 39 UL with a vent in the tranny and also one in the cover. Must have been right at the change.

    Jerry

  7. #7

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    Not butting in here,

    But Jerry Wieland,

    No response from you here nor at the other boards that we both frequent concerning my questions.

    Respectfully George
    George Greer
    AMCA # 3370

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Jerry Wieland;84639]Chris I understand that as well as anybody but if that bike had showed up to be judged you'd have been the first guy to gig it. I remember a very original high numbered 1936 EL 20 years ago that was restored by Jim McClean that had the later (early 37) type frame - you and others were absolutely adament that those frames never came in 1936 so he found an early frame and restored the bike with it instead.

    Well Jerry,
    I have to differ with you on that one. First of all I never judged anything twenty years ago. I also know that the "Lightning" frame,along with a lot of other '36EL parts, did not last thru production. So don't be spouting things telling me what I would or would not do. When it comes to what I would or would not do you do not know what you are talking about.
    Be sure to visit;
    http://www.vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/main.php
    Be sure to register at the site so you can see large images.
    Also be sure to visit http://www.caimag.com/forum/

  9. #9
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    Default 1939 EL Knucklehead gas tank info

    I am sorry. Everyone so far has used my Gas Tank question to talk about their problems. Guess this was not the place to ask my question, and will refrain in doing so in the future. Thanks to Jerry for the first reply about not having all "1939" parts on the bike he restored. I would still like to hear from some one who has a 1939 with a higher serial number as to the type of GAS TANK he or she has. I would never think about having my bike judged as I know it has a few 1938 parts on it and and a couple of reproduction parts that would not meet the muster of this club. I did the best I could with what I had and that's what counts for me. Will try not to ask anymore questions. Thanks
    Last edited by Rod E; 09-13-2009 at 10:16 AM. Reason: additional info

  10. #10
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    Don't do that Rod. I've spent my whole life asking inflammatory questions. . . Especially here. People are passionalte about this hobby and I think that is a good thing because we increase our knowledge about this stuff. I remember when I first got into this hobby and the shallow puddle of knowledge that existed in rags like Easyrider. I would venture to say that today, more is known than ever before about the broad spectrum of American motorcycles and it's because there is this passionate thirst for knowledge and facts. Remarkable information has been exposed here on the AMCA forum.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

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