VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame - The Jockey Journal Board

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Old 08-10-2014, 10:27 AM   #1
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Default VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

Hello all,

I'm working on my 49 Panhead and wanted to put a VL springer on. I know it can be done. It's seen quite often. One thing is that I WILL NOT BE CHOPPING UP THE SPRINGER. That is I won't be swapping out the 1 1/8" neck stem for a 1". I've read that one could take a set of VL neck cups and turn them down in a lathe to fit the Pan frame or to open up a set of Pan cups to accept the VL? Another one was to open up the inner race of a set of Timken bearings to accept the VL?

So, who has done any of this and what was the process used? I have access to the machinery to perform such a task / challenge.

I only have the VL springer, and need to track down the neck internals and top tree clamp once I figure out / decide how this is going to work with my '49 pan frame

The fella I got the VL from ran it on his Knuckle for awhile and said to just install VL neck cups in and go. I think the Panhead frame neck is a different dimension and won't work as easily.

Any thoughts, ideas, facts, dimensional numbers, websites, personal experiences (good and bad)? I don't mind going the extra mile because in the end, this thing is gonna be way kool!!!!

Thanx all,
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

Panhead and Knucklehead frame neck dimensions are identical. The turned down cup deal works fine if you use all VL races, top nuts, etc. Just be aware that turning the cups can weaken them a bit and rough treatment may cause a fractured cup.
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

New poster "Enjoyyourexistance" is doing the same exact thing. Hes accumulated almost all the OEM parts to do so, I bet he can chime in on some tips
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

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Originally Posted by Kaaos82 View Post
New poster "Enjoyyourexistance" is doing the same exact thing. Hes accumulated almost all the OEM parts to do so, I bet he can chime in on some tips
Yes!!!! Please do!!

Also, out of curiosity, what is the process for changing out the neck stem to a 1"? Just in case as a last resort

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Old 08-10-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

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Originally Posted by -Pod- View Post
Yes!!!! Please do!!

Also, out of curiosity, what is the process for changing out the neck stem to a 1"? Just in case as a last resort

The neck is available from Paughco, here is a post that mentions it:

https://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/s...39&postcount=4
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

I have just put a VL springer on my Panhead (or rather, Sumo at VintageChop did). The springer is untouched and stock, with the original stem.

Sumo made up a set of cups and found a local bearing shop (who specialise in making custom bearings for race cars) to adapt some bearings so their ID matches that of the VL stem (sorry, don't have specs/measurements to hand). Sumo also made a fork stop that sits underneath the bottom cup. All works fine.

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Old 08-10-2014, 02:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

Oh kaaos! If only I was closer to mounting this vl springer up......maby this thread will give me the inspiration needed to make them mate up. There is one thing that happened to my sporty that may show some light on the subject. I currently have a 1 inch neck on my led sled springer that is stuffed into a stock sporty neck. the standard 1 inch big twin timkin style neck cups were shaved down to slide into my sporty neck.........this made the material thinner between the bearing seat area and the part press fitted into the sporty neck. Due to my general haste and secondhand dog buying kinda lifestyle, I may have not properly tightened the springer. This caused a small wobble. I suspect the bottom cup is cracked in between the race area and press fit area. Of course i just kept on riding the thing since I noticed. Yes I know everyone is going to string me from the highest tree for being a reckless fool. Good thing my rear disk brake pads need replacing as well......they dont call them death machines for nothing. Enjoy!
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

I suspect the method that rubone described is the way to go....unless you want to butcher your pan neck and bore the id to except stock vl cups......pretty hardcore.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

So I got in contact with the fella that sold me the springer. He confirmed that the cups had to be turned down to fit in his knuckle. He had another set of cups he's going to send my way. When I get them I'll be able to actually see the dif in size. I do have the means to do it, but don't think I'm gonna mess with boreing the neck but am down with turning the cups but again, I'll have the cups soon and can then phathom the cautious warnings you all speak of when turning the cups.

Anymore thoughts, ideas, conces, and/or comments are greatly appreciated. And of course when I do pic a "solution". I'll document and post (success or epic failure) here for future reference.

Thanx again all!!!!
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

just a thought because I don't know from experience...

why not start with aftermarket Pan-Timken cups? maybe you could change the bearings to some with 1 1/8 id that drop right into the same races... or remove the races and open up the cups... pretty sure the material would be softer than the OEM and therefore easier to cut.

I think a bearing catalog could be your friend here!

turning originals I would include a small fillet up under the base because this is where they would tend to crack first
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

thats a sexy smooth springer. mines rusty! real rusty?

Last edited by HD48FL; 08-10-2014 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:34 AM   #12
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

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Originally Posted by LandShark View Post
just a thought because I don't know from experience...

why not start with aftermarket Pan-Timken cups? maybe you could change the bearings to some with 1 1/8 id that drop right into the same races... or remove the races and open up the cups... pretty sure the material would be softer than the OEM and therefore easier to cut.

I think a bearing catalog could be your friend here!

turning originals I would include a small fillet up under the base because this is where they would tend to crack first
Good idea! I'll look into that option as well. Thanx!
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:43 PM   #13
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

What Guy said. Sumo took the correct Timken 1" dia. bearings for a stock 1" neck and had the bearing shop bore out the bearings to 1 1/8" dia.

problem solved.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

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Originally Posted by Flatironmike View Post
What Guy said. Sumo took the correct Timken 1" dia. bearings for a stock 1" neck and had the bearing shop bore out the bearings to 1 1/8" dia.

problem solved.
NICE!!!! Well think I may try that route first. I did find a couple bearing places that might help but they need the bearing info or numbers rather. Does anyone have this info handy? I guess I just need the identification number and then tell'em what size the bore should be and it's quite possible they can help!

I did get my hands on some VL cups as well. Think I'll save these and try the stock Pan cup thing first and bore the ID of bearing (or have it custom made). Thanx all!!!

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Ps- this would be for the Timken style of neck bearings. The book only gives the HD part number which I'm sure means noting to the bearing co.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

I would try sending an email to Sumo, who Guy mentioned in his post. Here is Sumo's info:

https://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/member.php?u=1745
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:01 AM   #16
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

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Originally Posted by HD48FL View Post
I would try sending an email to Sumo, who Guy mentioned in his post. Here is Sumo's info:

https://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/member.php?u=1745
So rad! Thanx!
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

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Originally Posted by Flatironmike View Post
What Guy said. Sumo took the correct Timken 1" dia. bearings for a stock 1" neck and had the bearing shop bore out the bearings to 1 1/8" dia.

problem solved.
yup. then just took standard cups. but machined a little off the bottoms to make them sit closer to each other so there's room for the nut on the stock stem.

nice simple engineering. no point going overboard wrecking old parts in the process in the name of doing something fancy.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

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Originally Posted by sumo View Post
yup. then just took standard cups. but machined a little off the bottoms to make them sit closer to each other so there's room for the nut on the stock stem.

nice simple engineering. no point going overboard wrecking old parts in the process in the name of doing something fancy.

Kool! Well I've got both sets of cups now and yes I'd have to agree and modify the (new) correct 1" cups and save the original VL cups. Now gonna look into a machine shop that uses the magnetic chuck for the bore. Time is a little scarce right now but will update as I can.

Thanx!!!
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:42 PM   #19
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

The standard Harley Timken bearing for the 1" stem is #L44643. Since you want to bore out the center I suggest you get the L44649 Timken bearing which uses the same bearing race as the L44643 but is already 1-1/16" centerbore. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-13-2014, 05:54 PM   #20
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Default Re: VL Springer on a 49 Panhead frame

Good info here, as I have had this VL springer forever, and need to rebuild it and fit it to a '59 drop seat swingarm frame....
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