Technical: Headlamp
Stan Diener, Jim Garrett, Simon Bedogni, Dave Hennessey

1952 – 1958 Headlamp Body

There are three different headlights used on 1952–1956 K-models and 1957–1958 Sportster.

67704-52 head lamp (chrome) [Version 1]

This headlamp was used on 1952 through early 1953 K. The OIL and GEN indicator lights are quite near the rim, as are the rivets for the indicator lamp bracket.

67704-52 head lamp (chrome) [Version 2] (no change in part number)

This headlamp was used on the late-1953 K and KK, 1954 – 1956 KH and KHK, and 1957 – 1958 Sportster. The OIL and GEN indicator lights are midway between the rim and the pointy end of the body, as are the rivets for the indicator lamp bracket.

67704-53 head lamp (black)

This headlamp was painted black, as part of the unpopular Standard Solo Group offered only during 1953. There may not be any Standard Solos extant, so it is not known if these were all Version 1, or a mixture of Versions 1 and 2.

Date of change from Version 1 to Version 2

The date the Version 2 headlamp appeared is unknown, but is thought to be before May 1953. A photo of 53 KK 2360 taken in May 1953 shows the new style headlamp. 53 KK 2650 also exhibits the new style.

Indicator Lamps

The OIL and GEN indicator lamps are Harley #68462-49, or trade number 55.

Indicator Lamp Lenses

The 67763-52 Headlamp generator and oil indicator lens are pretty hard to find. A General Electric Artistry kitchen range has a “hot” indicator lamp that uses a very similar lens. The dome of the Harley is about .40 wide, but only .36 wide on the GE. The color is probably a shade lighter. Once installed, they look very good. You can get them directly from General Electric or from someplace like Trible's for a couple dollars each.

Harley used heat to melt the rear of the lens and swage them. Today we have a better alternative - silicone sealer. You can put a large bead of clear silicone around the barrel of the lens on the inside of the headlight body. This is easier than melting, and it will avoid any cracking problems the heating method might cause.

Indicator Lamp Bracket

The bracket for the indicator lamp is riveted to the headlamp body. The bracket is not shown in the part catalogs, as it was not sold separately from the headlamp body. The steel bracket has a bakelite insulator strip on one side, and the bulb sockets are inserted from the bakelite side. These sockets must NOT ground to the steel bracket or a severe short-circuit will occur.

The bracket is installed differently on the early and late headlamps. On the early (1952 – early-1953) headlamps, the bakelite strip points toward the wire entrance hole. On the late (late-1953 – 1958) headlamp, the bakelite strip points away from the wire entrance hole, and the indicator wires make a U-turn.

Cracked Bodies

The headlamp bodies are made of brass, and then chrome plated. The brass bodies often exhibit cracks starting at the lamp flange, and progressing towards the pointy end. These cracks may not be apparent, and may appear when the headlight body is re-chromed.