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Old 12-11-2020, 01:19 PM   #1
richbob
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Default is Bruces book accurate

I had a conversation today regarding the accuracy of dating my frame
seems like a lot of info is very vague or incorrect in Palmers book?
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Old 12-11-2020, 04:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

he is it in the what and what - sure consider the opinion in his book and re search it with the AMCA - possibly even one of its judges - its what we do in the shop as its almost all of what comes to us is correct restorations jobs and or correcting restorations that all but destroyed original pieces

some people should not be allowed to own a lunch box of china wrenches

a dozen others have added help in his books from shops to judges and collectors with untouched original pieces -

i will admit the read in his book is not easy and the blending of big twin and other models with small print and comer's, can be exhausting when trying to come up with - well what way does the nut and bolt actually go in - like the last one i needed a early 1941 knuckle muffler bracket bolt and nut the only year they did this its the nut that is the visual and not the bolt - no body pays me to spend 3 hours of reading and book marking it in the no that is wrong by a judge
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Old 12-11-2020, 04:30 PM   #3
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Well something came up on YouTube regarding a 39 frame for sale
So I looked in palmers book and looked at my own bike and got a whole load of new info from an expert who has owned thousands and thousands of harleys
Dating my frame as a 41 42 when palmers has it as 39
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Old 12-11-2020, 06:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

Bruce is a great guy. I have spoke with him several times. I run into a number of bikes and parts where the sellers tell you one thing and then as soon as you get home Bruce's book tells a different story....

I usually go to a secondary guru / judge guy and 9 times out of 10 Bruce is correct!

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Old 12-12-2020, 03:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

if that was Todd's video why not ask him, he's never been backward in coming forward to point out conflict between Palmer's , AMCA Judges and his own first hand knowledge.
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Old 12-12-2020, 07:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

I have Palmer's first edition and the xerox quality pictures do not help. Also I find it written to find acceptance from his parts hoarder peers. So many times there are references to things not pictured. So if you own all 4 variations of a part yes he will tell you what it is. If you are a swapmeet trying to identify a part you a sol.
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Old 12-12-2020, 09:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

I'll give my take on this, mostly because I woke up and have a cup of coffee and haven't had much to say as of late.

I think the book is incomplete. As a matter of fact, I'm sure it's incomplete. I posted something on the AMCA board with regard to early dashes relative to what was shown in the book. (PM me if you care and I'll send you a link to what I found.) There were many more subtypes not listed in the present manual at that time (2nd ed.)

I also think the factory was not as set or rigid in their use of parts as the book might have you believe; this wasn't GM in 1970, for instance. After the '37 models rolled out, for example, do you think they just threw away all the '36 parts? No. They did not. Many times, they simply used them up. And I doubt there was FIFO in terms of inventory; I'm sure a new load of castings was dumped into a box right on top of the old castings. There may have also been some weirdness with the suppliers... for instance, I've read of jugs being left outdoors for some period of time to "season." Fairly obviously, that would affect what date codes and forging marks would be on a machine of a given year.

By way of another example, when I first started playing this game, I was given to understand a welded-up brake stay was a '37-only signature. However, I believe the current third edition of Palmer's manual says it's also seen on late '37 all the way through mid-'39, which actually makes perfect sense to me... if there was a closed casting at the bottom of the box before the new shipment came in, it was probably used and welded up. Or look at '49s wearing a springer. We "know" that '48 was the last year for springers, but enough '49 springers (including those weird '49 bars) exist it seems like they were using up excess inventory.

There were also dealer and rider modifications being made very early in a machine's life, and there were also employees who probably didn't do everything the same every day.

All of these things affect how "standard" a given example of a motorcycle may be. I think the factory strived for continuity, but let's be honest: these were each hand-built machines. Variation is inevitable.

Now having said all this, I think when people complain about that book they're failing to take into account how time-consuming and expensive it is to compile the findings. I think Mr. Palmer is fully aware that new information comes to light each day, and that's why the books keep growing and changing. (I've got all three editions, and often open them all up to see what information is where, and it has definitely changed as he's acquired new info.) I also think that as imperfect as it may be, it's still A) damned good and B) the only thing we have that's close to a bible or compendium for this little distraction of ours.

When I flip through old motorcycle mags, I read things the authors wrote that show a lack of understanding of the various model year changes. That's not at all a knock—that's an author who didn't have access to a Palmer manual or any of the myriad of internet resources we have now. The high level of education and literacy many AMCA/chopper people display in all walks of life right now is staggeringly high in my estimation, and I think we have Bruce in part to thank for that.

So for my money, it's incomplete but still a wonderful resource. (Herbert Wagner's books are also incredibly valuable resources for understanding not just the company, but the general environment the company operated in at various points in time.)

We can do what the historians do... read, compare photos, examine bikes when you're around them, and see what you can learn. Just because it's in a book doesn't make it right. Similarly, just because something wrong in a book doesn't invalidate the whole thing, in my estimation.
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Old 12-12-2020, 06:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderbird View Post
if that was Todd's video why not ask him, he's never been backward in coming forward to point out conflict between Palmer's , AMCA Judges and his own first hand knowledge.
Made me chuckle! He is very obstinate for sure
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Old 12-14-2020, 06:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

johnjzjz,

another slant on your signature...

AMCA - a kind of motorcycle club plutocracy where the least capable of riding are elected by the least capable of restoring, and where the members least likely to understand the old ways are rewarded with 100% gold leaf fetishes for having wrecked the graal.

Patrick
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Old 12-14-2020, 06:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

To follow on what's been said by Liam and others here.

This is 1930's thru 1940's. Things were not as organised or micro managed as per modern day through digitial stock taking etc. These were all hand made machines by hard working men. There will no doubt be inconsistencies found for the next 20/30 years.

I have no doubt they had a catalogue of tracking castings and following through as per stock allowed. But, Liam makes a great point. They would have clearly taken necessity over conformity every time.

Picture the scene ' Boss I can't get this frame finished, I don't have X neck casting' There would be pieces laying about which would be used to fulfil the need.

TDLR, there may be flaws in his books, but I'll be damned if there's anything that comes near in terms of depth or information.
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Old 12-14-2020, 05:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

I agree with Liam. I have all the editions of the books and the latest edition doesn't always agree with the first edition. They are nice for reference but if you are committed to a 100% restoration you need to check multiple sources.
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Old 12-15-2020, 04:39 AM   #12
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

I have the 1st addition how much more info is there in the latest edition.
What year did it get published?
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Old 12-15-2020, 07:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

There is a second and a third edition. To give you a frame of reference, those are both two volumes. Twice as much reading as your first edition, literally two books.

Second edition was a few years back; mine shipped in 2014. Third shipped this year.
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Old 12-15-2020, 07:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefrenchowl View Post
johnjzjz,

another slant on your signature...

AMCA - a kind of motorcycle club plutocracy where the least capable of riding are elected by the least capable of restoring, and where the members least likely to understand the old ways are rewarded with 100% gold leaf fetishes for having wrecked the graal.

Patrick
----- and i will agree but a group of insiders see it more like they buy what your describing then when they find out they were had

we are standing by to correct the pile - we actually make more money doing it the second time after its been effed by morons

its all good because they are splashing around cash and taking 1/2 correct then making them right - in the end we all win
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Old 12-16-2020, 10:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

That's a big part of why I'm into preserving stuff as-found. It's A) cheaper and B) unable to be argued by anyone. If it's exactly as it was found... then it's completely correct for that.
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Old 12-18-2020, 06:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

richbob, which version of the FE do you have? Initial version has $26.95US on the back. After its 1994 release Palmer approached the publisher with 600 pages for correction, according to Chris Haynes in 2008. But it was never made clear if that meant 600 errors in total or if some pages had more than one mistake. Also according to Chris, the publisher only corrected 200 pages, meaning the second version ($29.95US) and third version ($39.95US) each contain 400 pages that need correcting. BTW, my opinion is that the count will be way higher than 400.

Sometimes when Palmer is given info it does not go in the next edition although I do not know why. This even includes some occasions when he has agreed with said info and I speak from personal experience, not only re the 37Ė64 book but also the 32Ė52 military book. I still receive enquiries from people about certain things in his books and some of those errors should have been corrected years ago using info I supplied. And Iím not the only contributor with this type of complaint.

Anyway, I have the third version of the FE. And I have the first version of the SE (2014) which contains charts with die numbers. As indicated above, there can be some overlap with frame forgings but what die numbers are on yours? And is the underside of the backbone flattened for about 2-1/2Ē where the rear frame tubes are connected to it? According to Palmer it wasnít flattened until 1940 models.
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Old 12-19-2020, 07:52 AM   #17
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Good morning Eric
I have the 1994 version
Thanks for your interest
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Old 12-19-2020, 08:51 PM   #18
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

In full the forging number on the left side of the steering head is probably XE-35 which was used for a long time.
In full the forging hallmark on the R-H side of the steering head is probably DIF representing Interstate Drop Forge. Die number looks like 5? Is it? If so then the steering head could be 1940 according to Palmerís 37Ė64 SE.

I canít see any markings on your rear engine mount. You should find forging number XE-624, hallmark DIF and a die number. Whatís the die number?






Left axle clip probably has forging number XE 7 but itís partly hidden in your photo. Next is probably hallmark DIF. Then thereís a die number but I canít tell what it is. Can you read it?





R-H axle clip should have forging number XE 6 but sometimes itís upside down. Also hallmark DIF and a die number. Whatís the die number?


Did you check the underside of the backbone to see if it was flattened?

Left side-car loop may have forging number YE-762E and R-H loop may have YE-761E. Any die numbers on the loops?
Eric
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Old 12-19-2020, 10:24 PM   #19
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Default Re: is Bruces book accurate

[Side question: The marks say DIF, rather than I(ndependent)D(rop)F(orge)? Odd.]
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Old 12-20-2020, 01:51 AM   #20
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Hereís one of the clearest examples I have of forging hallmark DIF.
Eric



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