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Old 05-04-2009, 11:48 PM   #1
54 pan
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Default 1954 panhead

i am the proud owner of a 1954 panhead. i bought it last spring and it had trans trouble. i rebuilt the 4 speed and it ran great, since then i have experienced minor engine trouble-- hard starting, and missing on the front cylinder. i have narrowed things down to the carb and i am wondering if anyone out there can recommend a carb that will end my 54 blues. thank the bike gods i stumbled across this awsome site i hope to hear some news soon. my email is fiftyfourpanhead@hotmail.com

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Last edited by 54 pan; 05-15-2009 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Welcome aboard! Get some pics of that thing posted. There are a ton of panhead gurus on here!
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

yes, welcome and post some pics.
you have found the right place.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Can't go wrong with an S&S Super E. Have one on my '54.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

The original M74-B's are really good carburetors. If you have one, rebuild it and it will work fine. One thing to do before you start changing carbs and spending a lot of money, is to check for and fix all the intake air leaks. 54 was the last year for the plumber style heads which are notorious for leaking. Until you have ALL the air leaks fixed you will never get it to run right.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Quote:
Originally Posted by 62panhead View Post
The original M74-B's are really good carburetors. If you have one, rebuild it and it will work fine. One thing to do before you start changing carbs and spending a lot of money, is to check for and fix all the intake air leaks. 54 was the last year for the plumber style heads which are notorious for leaking. Until you have ALL the air leaks fixed you will never get it to run right.
Couldn't agree more. For details on checking intake leaks, read this:

http://virtualindian.org/11techleaktest.html

-Kuda
'49 panchop
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

I am definitely no Pan guru but I have owned my 48 for 5 years and I will second what everyone is saying about intake leaks. Unless you are 100% sure you dont have any there is no way to single out carb issues.
That said I run a Super E with good luck, gotta be easy on that throttle and no enrichner when starting. Usually 2 squirts, a primer kick, hit the ign and she usually fires right up. Add 1 to 2 kicks for every person watching you try to start her!
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Stay with the original carb that it came with if the motor is mostly stock, if its old get it rebuilt or do it yourself theres really nothing to those carbs at all
we used a Super E on my dads 65 pan for a few years and it really didnt work out that well
went back with the original carb after giving it a fresh rebuild and the bike has run the best it ever has

first go over the possible intake leaks like mentioned above though
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

first i would like to thank all the feedback it is much appreciated- i will get on a leak test asap. we have just started to put the crop in and sadly the old pan will have to wait a little while till i can give her my undivided attention- its too bad that dirty thing called making a living gets in the way of some quality shop time.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

BUY A REBUILT LINKERT M-74B FROM THE 45'S UNLIMITED GUYS!! They are awesome. More about them in a second. I have a 57 Pan and it came with a Mikuni VM on it. It ran but it would randomly be a real hard starter, numerous fuel problems, no low end power, sputtering, etc. etc. I have a nearly complete Linkert M-74B for it that came with the bike when I bought it. After ordering a few screws, gaskets, float and a couple other parts I was at about $140 just in parts. I planned on rebuilding the carb myself and running it but after talking to Pat from 45's Unlimited at the Long Beach swapmeet last weekend I realized what a great deal they sell their completely rebuilt, ready to bolt on and run Linkert's for. They sell the M74B's for $375. I'll attach a couple pictures so you can see them but they literally look brand new. Also, they do their best to use NOS parts that are really hard to come by. They test their floats for 2 months to make sure they're good, he said they send back about half of the floats they test because they're bad. My buddy and I drove out to their place in Anza, CA and we each picked up a M74B. We both put our carbs on Sunday and literally just bolted them on and both bikes fired right up and ran flawlessly. My Pan absolutely loves that carb, when its cold I give it two easy prime kicks and then one hard kick (at 1/4 throttle) and it starts first kick every time, when its warm just one kick and its started. I adjusted the idle a little bit and it idles perfectly, has great responsive power through the entire rpm range and of course not to mention it looks awesome. My friend's Knuckle is the same way, runs perfectly, solved some fuel issues he was having with his bike. Those motors seem to really love a well built, properly tuned Linkert and I cant recommend the 45's Unlimited guys enough. They have been building those carbs (among everything else) for 40 years, they're definitely not in it for the money they just have a passion for what they do, take tremendous pride in their work, and they completely stand behind their products. If you do end up buying one from them make sure you tell him what type of fuel line you're running and if you need an OEM Harley Linkert manifold (rubber band type) for a Pan PM me and I'll put one in the mail to you no charge.
Here's their info:
45's Unlimited
58645 Ramsey Rd.
Anza, CA 92539
951.763.0407
951.654.7903
Their names are Pat and Terry

If you have any other questions feel free to PM, call, or email me at claytonrecord@gmail.com
714.475.4603
Good Luck,
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:18 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Here's the pics, If you're interested in one of those air cleaner's let me know and I can put you in touch with the guy that makes them. They're cast aluminum.
-Clayton
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

thanks for the info, i think that sounds like the plan for me.
one other thing i am wondering about is what the engine compression should be at or around
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Quote:
Originally Posted by 54 pan View Post
thanks for the info, i think that sounds like the plan for me.
one other thing i am wondering about is what the engine compression should be at or around
Depends on what's in the cases, actually. Most pans these days have higher compression pistons installed. A decent 74" pan with high compression pistons should run 110-120psi after a few vigorous kicks. That's of course with plugs out and throttle wide open. But it's less about the total compression, and more about differences front to rear cylinder. If you're got 110 both front and rear, that's better than 65 front and 120 rear...

-Kuda (like I had a little while ago...)
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Be sure to properly check the intake tract for leaks. A new carburator will run just as shitty as an old one if there's a leak. 1954 was the last year for the compliance fitting intake nipples (plumber nut) and the nipples are notorious for coming loose. The brass compression washers are also known for leaks.

Last edited by Bigincher; 05-07-2009 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:15 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

thank you for all the great feedback- this site is deadly!!!
i will start with an intake air test as soon as i can-too much work going on
i just want my old pan running like it could be- im not going to be happy until it is
its like i am living a bad dream- a beautiful bike sitting in my garage that i cant ride cause i have no time to fix
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:43 PM   #16
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it rained in saskatchewan today and the farming finally gave way to the old panhead!!
my old man and i had a day of bonding in the shop working on my bike, leave it to the old fucker to relate everything he knows about old tractors and apply it to a harley. with some hardcore trouble-shooting and kickin the old bitch over about 10,000 times we got into the points and ignition coil. no need to loose faith in my hawg- the old girl is back to being a two kick starter. no intake leaks, and no carb trouble- i learned a little more today and would like to thank everyone on here who gave some insight.
just happy to be back on the road!!!!
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:22 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

Quote:
Originally Posted by 54 pan View Post
it rained in saskatchewan today and the farming finally gave way to the old panhead!!
my old man and i had a day of bonding in the shop working on my bike, leave it to the old fucker to relate everything he knows about old tractors and apply it to a harley. with some hardcore trouble-shooting and kickin the old bitch over about 10,000 times we got into the points and ignition coil. no need to loose faith in my hawg- the old girl is back to being a two kick starter. no intake leaks, and no carb trouble- i learned a little more today and would like to thank everyone on here who gave some insight.
just happy to be back on the road!!!!



this reminded me of my dad, made me smile. thank you, little d bbnbn b
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1954 panhead

spray some carb cleaner around the plumber nuts when you first start the bike. if it starts to die, you have a leak. simple test to do.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:14 AM   #19
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Congrats on the purchase! I don't know how original the bike it, but you realize, of course, that 1954 is the Golden Anniversary model. Does it have the special medalion on the front fender?
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:42 PM   #20
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it is a bit of a custom job and i dont have the original front fender but she's a 54 engine and trans, and as far as i know- wishbone frame. are you saying that it might be special to someone other than me?
i am building a custom rear fender and i just finished my seat i just need to find the right springs for a little comfort

Last edited by 54 pan; 05-14-2009 at 11:44 PM.
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