Feelers for selling my 54KH

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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby wb56 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:34 pm

It probably doesn't mean much after all the issues you guys brought up but I'm curious myself, from a original standpoint, didn't polished heads only come on the KHK's?
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby starcain » Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:09 pm

Polish on the K Models started out with the center rib on the primary cover, cam cover and sprocket cover being polished for the K in 1952 and the K and KK for 1953. Everything else was a sand cast finish. Then in 1954 they polished completely the primary cover, cam cover and sprocket cover but the heads stayed sand cast finish. This was done on the KH and KHK. In 1955 they polished everything, primary cover, cam cover, sprocket cover and heads on both the KH and KHK. It was the same then in 1956 as in 1955. The KH's and KHK's were done the same way with no difference between models.
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby hd54kh » Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:31 pm

Tough crowd here!

So assuming there is no way for the factory to mess up production orders and back date any motors or mistakenly release a pre-production unit, these cases by the brain trust here are replacement cases done up by an authorized dealer.

In my Porsche world the factory has done the very issues I just bought up. Production number to VIN mismatches, double production numbers stamped, over stamped mistakes to correct errors. Stamping errors on Mondays, after lunch or trainies inexperience. Just for interest has Harley Davidson ever had factory stamping issues or early parts on newer bikes and newer parts on end of year runs. Is there any reference or documentation from the factory of these type of changes.

If that is the case what is the devalued value of my bike percentage wise I mean. It will all depend on the remaining correctness for sure but what kind of hit would it take.

I have had the bike since the early nineties, rode it a few years and started the resto which was the norm of the day. Most of the newspapers I used to wrap some parts are all around 1997. So this had sat since than. I had started to loos my eyesight at that time and why it has sat idle for 25 years. The motor had sat on a stand on one of my work benches and I routinely dripped oil and Marvel Mystery Oil down the plug holes and turned it over. When the cams were checked the were coated with assembly oil.

The heads I polished my self it was just my preference at the time,

Meanwhile I am still photographing and listing a full inventory all the parts so far 24 boxes and maybe 6-8 to go.

Terry
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby starcain » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:11 pm

Terry, In my personal opinion it doesn't devalue your motorcycle at all. In fact I may even believe it increases the value. If I was looking for a 1954 KH or KHK and I have considered it, having a trap door would be a huge plus for me. I'm guessing the vin # is probably the original number. The belly numbers were obviously changed. Since the cases were replaced very early on in 1955 or extremely late 1954 the dealer may have just decided to keep all the numbers original. The number difference between the vin number and the belly numbers is quite believable to be correct. No wild variation. Hell, they may have just wanted to keep the same numbers that were on the factory build sheet. Do you have a title with the correct vin # on it? If so, I would prefer a 1954 with a title and a trap door over not.

Again, this is my personal opinion. Others may disagree. It's a pretty cool early 1954 motor.

Stan
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby Ferrous_Head » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:36 pm

I know that the process for replacing cases involved dealers stamping the original number into any replacement cases supplied.

But I believe the cases were supplied with a blank pad. I have several sets of cases that have never had numbers stamped into them

But I have to wonder about why anyone would go to the trouble to re stamp the belly numbers which aren't recorded anywhere as far as I know.

It's one thing when you stamp a number on to a blank pad. But it's something different to obliterate a number stamped in by the factory and replacing it with another number.

It is the type of thing people do when trying to hide some information.

When the factory needed to change a VIN number they "struck through" the existing number and stamped a new one. Right there for everyone to see.

It was not unusual to break cases early on. And the cases were replaced on more than one bike I am sure. But why would a dealer change a belly number ? What motive for doing this work ?

I have absolutely no problem with blank number pads. Or obviously "Fake" numbers. One set of cases I have are stamped 57XL777.
And the numbers on this engine would not bother me at all. I would also consider the trap door as a major selling point. I would always shy away from what HD saw as a design flaw so early on. And rightly so.

There are still a few people out there who will decry your bike as "worthless" as you have replaced so many original parts. Light bulbs come to mind. The air in the tires. Hell, some people even replace tires and oils etc. The list is endless as to why your bike is not as good as mine which by the way, Has never been ridden.

You know the judges will mark down a Corvette that has the wrong color yellow crayon mark found on some chassis as a "done" tick by an assembly line worker ?

Seriously ?

You will never please the purists (you can't) but the guy who buys this will be very happy with it.
"I know only too well the evil that I propose, but my inclinations get the better of me."
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby hayleyl » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:10 pm

Hello all - 100% re-stamped belly numbers - why? who knows? Yes, ferrous is right, if the factory changed them, they are struck through and left for all to see and to indicated that they are matched or mated cases through the line boring process. While the re-stamped numbers do cast a slight shadow on that process, belly numbers don't matter when you're doing 70mph and having fun. Cheers Hayley.
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby wb56 » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:06 am

Does anyone else but me think these belly #'s were re-stamped because they "didn't" match. If I bought this bike I would definitely have it line-bored. Or at least checked.
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby hennesse » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:44 am

hd54kh wrote:If that is the case what is the devalued value of my bike percentage wise I mean. It will all depend on the remaining correctness for sure but what kind of hit would it take.


If I could choose between (a) an early 1954 KH with original cases, (b) an early 1954 KH with replacement cases, and (c) an early 1954 KH with replacement cases and ugly belly numbers, I'd pick (a). But how many complete and correct 1954 KHs are there in the world? And how many are for sale right now? So if I were in the market for one, I wouldn't really have a choice, I would have a Hobson's Choice.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Are you an absolute stickler for 100% correctness? Are you going to invite your friends and neighbors to stick their heads down in the dirt to look at your belly numbers? Do you want an easy-to-maintain transmission?

My 1954 KH has KR heads and KR double-valve spring covers, which are OBVIOUSLY INCORRECT. Does it devalue the bike? YES, from the stickler point of view, NO from the "it's a pretty darn peppy KH" point of view. I tried to restore it 99% except I left those KR parts on it. So I wouldn't worry too much about those belly numbers. Just disclose it to potential buyers, and let the market determine the value.

Dave
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby JerrryR » Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:29 pm

7 or 8 years ago an acquaintance sold a 55 KH he had restored for $15 K or $16 K. It had dealer replacement K cases. I agree with Dave, good luck finding an early K with original matching cases.
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Re: Feelers for selling my 54KH

Postby wb56 » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:38 pm

I could care less if a bike is original. They're only original once and most have pasted that time. I have 3, none original. I just care about spending 17k for a bike that may have the issues described in this thread. Terry asked for input and that's mine. Some will blow it off and the rest don't care. I do agree, tell potential buyers the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.
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