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  #1  
Old 8th September 2012
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Default Early Sportster Engine Identification 1969 & earlier

I would like to take a shot at starting a thread and possibly making it a sticky for Ironhead Engine I.D.
A simple thread w/ all the info needed to check the numbers or things to look for on these engines.
Im guessing we will have to pile all the info in a thread and go through it and weed out the stuff that applies.

This is probably the #1 thing to be concerned w/ when buying a pre 70 sportster, as the Title goes w/ the engine on 69 and earlier.

Not sure if there should be another thread started w/ info for 1970 and up?

Please add whatever info or links you believe to be fact.
Photos of engine vin #'s would be great also.

I and others alike Im sure would like to know specifics such as the strait back six/nine stuff, when did these become used and can they be mixed w/ rounded backs?

The belly numbers are in fact, the model(7 for sportster), the year(68), and then the set manufactured(150th)? 768-150

If you sent your broken cases back to Harley, say 69XLCH1234 in the 70's would they VIN mark your replacement case identically (same stamps) as the old one?

Other things to look for?
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  #3  
Old 9th September 2012
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I'll post a couple of pics of the same motor:

VIN:



and Belly Numbers:



this bike is registered in my name and is my daily rider (mind the dirt) since 1990. It was registered to the PO and I had no trouble changing the ownership.

However. I am posting this because if I knew then what I know now...I would have hesitated on buying. As you can see the numbers don't jive and it is a good example of what a buyer should watch for.

s
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  #4  
Old 9th September 2012
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My '69 CH has the straight back # that, when I first laid eyes on 'em, appeared so crude I thought it had to be a numbers job. But that's the factory norm. I've heard about the early 60's curved back 6s, but man, those "1" look really fishy, Scottfisher. Are they legit ?
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Old 9th September 2012
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Found theses on the web:














Last edited by IronMick; 9th September 2012 at 02:49.. Reason: sorted the images
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Old 9th September 2012
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sound's like a great idea,chevelle. i,see what snow,is saying. those 1's,look like the letter,I
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Old 9th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucstoudt View Post
sound's like a great idea,chevelle. i,see what snow,is saying. those 1's,look like the letter,I
and the date stamp on the bottom of the case is 68
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Old 9th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottfisher View Post
and the date stamp on the bottom of the case is 68
Great example of what to look for.
Actually all the fonts on the pad between the cyls are wrong.
They all have serifs on them and the factory ones are very plain hence Sans Serif.
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Old 9th September 2012
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I have an original 69 XLCH that was purchased new off the dealer's floor in 1970. The belly numbers are for 768, the VIN numbers contain straight back 6's and 9's. Then I have a 70 case that has the curved back 6's on the VIN with matching belly numbers.

Chevelle, I think you are looking at a situation of replacement cases.
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Old 11th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simeli View Post
I have an original 69 XLCH that was purchased new off the dealer's floor in 1970. The belly numbers are for 768, the VIN numbers contain straight back 6's and 9's. Then I have a 70 case that has the curved back 6's on the VIN with matching belly numbers.

Chevelle, I think you are looking at a situation of replacement cases.
Not sure what your referring to w/ the replacement cases?
Are you talking about Scott's cases? Why wouldn't the factory use the proper stamps?

I can see a possibility of your 69 having 68 belly numbers.

These are purely retrospective speculative scenarios:
I obviously wasn't there but who knows what may have happened back in the day?

Possibly they had left over cases in 68 that were already built and stamped, and since there were no changes (that I'm aware of) they used them into the 69 model year until the old cases were used up?

Another possibility is they were destined for use in a 68, then a problem arose w/ this particular engine, and it took until the next model year to straiten out the problem?

Or let's even say the year is 69, HD knows of the changes coming w/ the 1970 case changes. So they scrounge up any left over engines (who knows why they are left over) from the last couple years and finish up the tin cover XLCH's using up what they had?

Again all pure speculaion, who knows?

I was hoping the experienced guys would be weighing in on the stampings and numbers....
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