Alternate VIN Locations?

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Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by sportster_restorer on Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:39 am

My 74 Laguna was originally titled in California. I live in Texas and need to get the CA title transferred. Texas requires what's called a green sheet to be filled out by an inspection station. The green sheet verifies the VIN.

Well, it looks like my windshield has been leaking for a while as there's so much rust on the VIN tag to make it unreadable. Does anyone know of an alternate VIN location on a 74? Even if the full VIN isn't there, if the last digits of the VIN are I can probably get by. I've heard there might be a VIN stamped into the frame behind one of the rear wheels, but we're back into perma-rain in Texas and I haven't been able to check. Guess I shouldn't bitch about the perma-rain after the last few years drought, but it sure stops progress on my cars.

I did check the body tag and sure enough, there's no VIN info there.

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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by 77mali on Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:00 pm

On some of the body panels there are numbers.  The only ones I've noticed so far that match the later part of the VIN are under the A/C-Heater box in the engine bay.


VIN# 1D37U7B(xxxxx)
1= CHEVROLET
D= MALIBU CLASSIC/ EL CAMINO CLASSIC
37= 2 DOOR SPORT COUPE
U= 305 CI V-8, 2 BBL CARB (this letter will vary depending on engine)
7= 1977
B= BALTIMORE MD PLANT
xxxxx= PLANT PRODUCTION SEQUENCE#


Last edited by 77mali on Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:28 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by Joe73 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:01 pm

I know on my 73 theres a vin on the rear most crossmember on the frame. Meaning the piece that goes from left to right where the rear bumper bolts on. On my 73, that crossmember is a "C" channel facing rearward. The number is on the gas tank side / drivers side of it.
Basically its stamped on the vertical part of the "C" on the gas tank side on the drivers side.

If you need a pic, let me know.
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by Mcarlo77 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:29 pm

Driver door tag should have it if it's intact and legible. That's how I recently pulled a VIN off a '74 H/O with a rusty windshield/dash tag. Could you get to that windshield tag using some sort of flat device with sandpaper attached (maybe even a nail file taped to a stick) and lightly sand across the top of it? Might be able to expose enough of the numbers to decipher.
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by Keith Seymore on Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:30 pm

sportster_restorer wrote:My 74 Laguna was originally titled in California. I live in Texas and need to get the CA title transferred. Texas requires what's called a green sheet to be filled out by an inspection station. The green sheet verifies the VIN.

Well, it looks like my windshield has been leaking for a while as there's so much rust on the VIN tag to make it unreadable. Does anyone know of an alternate VIN location on a 74? Even if the full VIN isn't there, if the last digits of the VIN are I can probably get by. I've heard there might be a VIN stamped into the frame behind one of the rear wheels, but we're back into perma-rain in Texas and I haven't been able to check. Guess I shouldn't bitch about the perma-rain after the last few years drought, but it sure stops progress on my cars.

I did check the body tag and sure enough, there's no VIN info there.

I'm surprised the windshield tag could have gotten that bad.

Can you lightly sand the surface, hitting just the high spots?  or do a pencil tracing?  A lot of times these will highlight the image or at least give the inspector some confidence that he's seeing the same numbers.

Edit: Ha! Great minds think alike.

K
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by sportster_restorer on Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:49 pm

I've thought about trying to get some sandpaper down on the windshield VIN tag, but I'm thinking that windshield was replaced at some time, and they let the glass slide down on the tag a bit. You can't really get a good look at the tag. I did get a bunch of paperwork with the car so I'm not worried (at this time) that it might be stolen.

My research showed that the last digits of the VIN are usually stamped below the heater box on the firewall. The theory is that the firewall would probably be the last thing to survive a total wreck so police or authorities would have something to go on to ID the car. But getting the heater/AC box off isn't something I'm looking forward to.

The perma-rain looks to have stopped for a few days, so I may slide under and see what I might be able to see on the rear of the frame.

I do need to remove and re-seal that windshield, and ultimately that may be the solution. Get in there and clean the windshield VIN tag as best as possible, reinstall the window and tell the glass guy the VIN tag has got to be clear.

Thanks for all the input, btw.

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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by Roadcaptain S3 on Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:24 am

Your local Sheriff or clerk should have info on vin tag and number locations for cars going back to the thirties.
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by sportster_restorer on Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:30 am

is there anyone doing a frame off or has a pretty much stripped car that could post a few pics of where the other VINs might be? I looked on the rear crossmember on my 1974 and couldn't see any numbers. Haven't tried looking under the AC/heater box and it might not be possible with the AC in the car. I thought perhaps someone doing a frame off, or with the bod on a rotisserie might have a good view of those other VIN locations.

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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by Joe73 on Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:16 am

Like you said, seeing the firewall vin with a/c in the car would be difficult.  But this is what it would look like.



And this is where I have a stamping on the rear of my 73 frame.  73 is a one year only frame.  I googled the number I have stamped and found out this it is the frame part number, not the vin.  After sandblasting I shot 4 coats of epoxy on my frame and did not see any stamped vin on it.  

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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by Keith Seymore on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:11 pm

Joe73 wrote:
And this is where I have a stamping on the rear of my 73 frame.  73 is a one year only frame.  I googled the number I have stamped and found out this it is the frame part number, not the vin.  After sandblasting I shot 4 coats of epoxy on my frame and did not see any stamped vin on it.  

For most GM vehicles the VIN stamp is on the top of the horizontal flange of the frame side rail.  This is just due to the nature of the stamping machine and the fact that is is hanging from an overhead tool rail, on a weight compensating "balancer", for better maneuverability.  The frame is already partially assembled with brake lines, rear axle and front suspension and such at the time the VIN is stamped.

Frame source information, part number and date codes are usually on the vertical surfaces of the frame and are often mistaken for VIN information.

I have had the body off my '74 but sadly I do not recall seeing or looking for a VIN at the time.

K


Last edited by Keith Seymore on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by chevellelaguna on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:14 pm

I'm doing a frame off on my 76 Laguna. There are body specific stamping which include the first part if the VIN... 1E37 which designates Laguna body style. Those stamping are located under the heater box on the firewall, under the body on the rear seat pan section and on the right inner rear frame rail, the gas tank would obscure vision of the frame stamping. Plus they stamped it upside down. Those stampings only designate the body type. There aren't any other full VIN numbers other than the one on the tag by the windshield. There are also body specific stampings on the door shell.
And like Joe said, they are easily buried and covered with paint.
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by sportster_restorer on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:35 pm

its looking pretty bad for my 74 Laguna...

The windshield VIN is pretty much gone from rust. I've spoken with TExas DMV and they can do an assigned VIN, but they only do the inspections like once in a blue moon, I think the next available inspection (that the police must do) is like a couple of months away. Worse than waiting for a driver's license renewal.

I've also heard an assigned VIN willl pretty much destroy any value in the car. If I want to sell it, any buyer will naturally come to the immediate conclusion that it was stolen and recovered from a chop shop. No amount of argument (unless the guy actually works for the DMV or police and understands they whole procedure) will change that.

So I'm down to three options:
1. Part the car out. Cut the body and frame into pieces that I can slowly over time take to a scrap yard.
2. Wait months for an appointment with the police, get the assigned VIN, and just plan to drive the car forever, 'cause I won't probably be able to ever sell it
2. Return the car and sell it in California, where it won't have to do through all the VIN bullsh*t as the current title is in Cal.
3. Speak with some folks who do under-the-table VIN tag reproduction. Which from my research is highly illegal,,,,but done a lot on much older cars.

I'm a pretty experienced car guy, but I never thought I get screwed on a car quite like this one. I've bought out of state cars and motorcycles before, but never knew about not walking away, but running away from any vehicle that had a windshield VIN tag that didn't look like it just came out of the factory.

Thought I'd post some of this so no one has a repeat of this experience.


Last edited by sportster_restorer on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:36 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correction)

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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by Joe73 on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:46 pm

Dont do option #3.  

I'd go with option #2.  It will take time.  But I would document your rusty vin with a couple pics.  And I'd take a pic of the drivers door federal sticker EVEN if its not there.  Then at least you will have something to show a prospective buyer in the future.  

And drive it and have fun.  Worry about the sale when the time comes.  

BTW,  I've done the procedure here in NY and I've even purchased a couple of "assigned VIN" cars here in NY.   All were theft recoveries.  Here they put the NEW vin sticker on the body, engine, trans and sometimes the rear if the car has one.  No sticker or number in place of the original one on the dash.  
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by 77mali on Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:05 pm

@ Sportster Restorer

Hey- you gotta do what you gotta do.  If you're reproducing the SAME vin- what's the problem?  If let's say you were reproducing a "138" code for a 1st gen Chevelle from a car that wasn't an "SS" and misrepresenting it, then that's a problem.  IMHO it's like restoring any other rusted out piece of metal on the car.
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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by sportster_restorer on Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:56 pm

Actually, Item 3 (or actually its supposed to be 4) may not be that bad. Super Chevy did a video on replacing a windshield VIN tag. For example if you're replacing a rusted out cowl assembly. The law is apparently somewhat clear on that......somewhat.

http://www.superchevy.com/videos/vin-plate-removal-and-replacement-12932/12932/

it isn't clear, and I've not been able to find much info on it, is what if you're replacing a cowl, you legally remove the windshield VIN as part of the restoration, but the VIN tag falls apart either in storage, or as you're trying to reattach it? The vid didn't address that. And I'm sure there have been more than one VIN tag that looked solid and came apart as it was removed.

What still isn't clear is my case, where I just need to replace one that is rusted out.

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Re: Alternate VIN Locations?

Post by sportster_restorer on Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:05 pm

Follow up to my VIN dilemma.

I finally found a state inspection guy who wasn't anal retentive, or had his head up his lower GI tract and inspected my Laguna today. So I could legally apply for a Texas title and start driving the car. I still have the challenge of what to do as far as that disintegrated VIN tag, but at least I can drive it now.

I found a guy in a small shop who understood old cars. The moral to all this is unless you're getting an inspection on a 2010 Civic, stay away from the Jiffy Lubes and big shops. I think if these tech school grads can't find an OBD II port, they'll basically flunk anything.

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