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Old 12-04-2012, 11:47 AM   #1
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MH vin - which number for DMV

Sometime next year I plan on licensing and titling my Argosy motorhome in Kentucky. Currently it has an Arkansas title which I obtained back in 2009 prior to transporting the MH to Kentucky. The motorhome is not road worthy as yet.

The Argosy was purchased from a gentleman in Eastern Tennessee although he had never put the motorhome in his name. I didn't pay any attention when I titled it in Arkansas and today when I glanced at the title I noticed that the title had the Airstream VIN on it and not the GM VIN. Is this normal? I would have thought the GM VIN would be the one to use for obtaining license plates.

Am I missing something?

Brad
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:01 PM   #2
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My Interestate is titled using the Sprinter VIN. I think this is how it's normally done.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneskid View Post
My Interestate is titled using the Sprinter VIN. I think this is how it's normally done.
I went through this almost a year ago. My Interstate is registered using the Mercedes VIN, but it's still listed as an Airstream Interstate. I had two Manufacturer's Statements of Origin, one for the Sprinter Van, and one for the Airstream conversion. But a converted Mercedes is still a Mercedes, as far as registration and VINs are concerned.

bkahler, you already have a title that uses the Airstream VIN, and most DMVs will put the same VIN on the registration as on the title.

But the definitive answer probably is, use the one that's on the dashboard data plate. For any legal issue (like if it's stolen or broken into), that's the VIN the police will use, so that's the one that needs to be on the registration.

When you register the vehicle is the perfect opporunity to get the title VIN changed, if need be, because when you register in a new state, you'll have to surrender the old title, and you'll get a new title from the State.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:42 PM   #4
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My biggest concern is the hassle I am expecting when I try to register the motorhome in Kentucky. For motorhomes it's a two step process. The first step is to get a Fire Marshall to inspect the vehicle and provide a signed form indicating the motorhome passes his inspection. I believe that form has a VIN location on it. I'm not sure which VIN he needs to put on the form. I would guess they would want the GM VIN. Once I have that form signed I then have to go to the sheriffs department and they do a vehicle number inspection to insure that it matches what is on the existing title from Arkansas.

What I really need to do is call the Kentucky DMV and ask them which VIN they expect to use and if it is the GM VIN then I will need to proceed from there.

Duh, it just occurred to me that when I get home tonight I can look at the title for our 310 motorhome and see which VIN it registered under

That will at least answer one of my questions.

Brad
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:44 PM   #5
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I can bet the sheriff's VIN inspection will straighten it out. The VIN is a standard 17 character number used pretty much worldwide. The Airstream number will not show in anybodies data base. As long as the sheriff can find both numbers and verify one of them matches your old title he can indicate that on his paper work and see that the correct number is on the new title.

On old vehicles, like back in the 50's and older, especially foreign vehicles they had all kinds of weird numbering systems and you can have some real fun at the DMV. It pays to bring some factory and restoration manuals with you to try to instruct the inspector as to what a proper number is supposed to look like.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:24 PM   #6
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iirc, the 17 character VIN was adopted here in North America in 1980 for 1981 model year vehicles, so don't let anyone get hung up on that little technicality.

fwiw, Brad, we titled and registered registered our coach with the GM VIN, the same as the previous title.

also, we still have not located the Argosy plate, so we don't even know what that number is!
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:39 PM   #7
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iirc, the 17 character VIN was adopted here in North America in 1980 for 1981 model year vehicles, so don't let anyone get hung up on that little technicality.
Out of the 10 or 12 odd vehicles that we own I doubt if more than more than 4 of them have 17 character vin numbers Personally I like older vehicles.

Quote:
fwiw, Brad, we titled and registered registered our coach with the GM VIN, the same as the previous title.
Which makes sense.

Quote:
also, we still have not located the Argosy plate, so we don't even know what that number is!
On my 74 Argosy the Argosy plate is on the left vertical upright about midway in the opening when you're looking in. I don't know if they 77 models had the same construction. By 1984 Airstream had definitely changed the structural configuration of the supporting frame work. The GM VIN plate is the square plate in the upper center area.

In the following pictures you can see where each is located.

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Old 12-04-2012, 07:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
I can bet the sheriff's VIN inspection will straighten it out. The VIN is a standard 17 character number used pretty much worldwide. The Airstream number will not show in anybodies data base. As long as the sheriff can find both numbers and verify one of them matches your old title he can indicate that on his paper work and see that the correct number is on the new title.

On old vehicles, like back in the 50's and older, especially foreign vehicles they had all kinds of weird numbering systems and you can have some real fun at the DMV. It pays to bring some factory and restoration manuals with you to try to instruct the inspector as to what a proper number is supposed to look like.

Cheers, Dan
Dan, good points! I'm going to call the sheriff tomorrow and see if they agree with what you're suggesting.

My TR4 has been titled by the body number and not the vehicle commission number which from a Purist point of view is a no-no. To me its not worth trying to correct the issue. As long as I can drive it I'm happy

Brad
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:37 PM   #9
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Well I just had a refreshing conversation with the Kentucky DMV clerk. I described to her the problem with the motorhome having two VIN numbers and that Arkansas had used the Airstream coach VIN instead of the GM VIN.

She said I had a couple of options. The first was to go back to Arkansas and get them to change the title to show the GM number instead of the Airstream number, OR I could bring the motorhome, title and proof of fire marshall inspection to the Sheriffs office and have the Sheriff look at the Airstream number.

She politely said sometimes a person can provide too much information and in this case the less said the better. She then said, politely I might add, that I should just keep my mouth shut and hand the Sheriff the paperwork and point to where the Airstream VIN number was located.

I think I can do that

Hopefully this issue will just be a big worry that amounts to nothing.

Thanks for the replies,

Brad
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
Well I just had a refreshing conversation with the Kentucky DMV clerk. I described to her the problem with the motorhome having two VIN numbers and that Arkansas had used the Airstream coach VIN instead of the GM VIN.

She said I had a couple of options. The first was to go back to Arkansas and get them to change the title to show the GM number instead of the Airstream number, OR I could bring the motorhome, title and proof of fire marshall inspection to the Sheriffs office and have the Sheriff look at the Airstream number.

She politely said sometimes a person can provide too much information and in this case the less said the better. She then said, politely I might add, that I should just keep my mouth shut and hand the Sheriff the paperwork and point to where the Airstream VIN number was located.

I think I can do that

Hopefully this issue will just be a big worry that amounts to nothing.

Thanks for the replies,

Brad
Motorhomes from Airstream do not have 2 serial numbers, so to speak.

One number, is a chassis number.

The second number, which is on the vertical bar under the hood, is Airstreams serial number.

Why 2 numbers ??

A company such as Airstream, might buy say, 100 chassis.

However, they might have only used a part of them, for that production year.

Then, the following year, they used some more of them, etc.

Accordingly then, the "true" serial number which contains the year model, is what should be used.

The chassis number, which also contains the year, could be used the following year and quite well the year after that as well. That would not be a good way to state the year of the coach.

As an example, a chassis dated 2000, could be used in 2000, 2001 and even 2002 or later.

Andy
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:09 PM   #11
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The GM forward control chassis that our Moho use are incomplete vehicles. They can not be used as a vehicle with out the part that Airstream made. So you should title the Airstream vin. My 1991 350 LE has a 1990 chassis vin. As usual, Andy is correct. Steve
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:17 PM   #12
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Steve, what I'm finding is it seems to be a mixed bag as too how they are titled. Some are using the chassis vin and others the Airstream vin.

When I'm ready I'lljust going to present the vehicle for inspection and if they don't like what's on the title it will get sorted it out at that time.

Thanks!

brad
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:24 PM   #13
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There's been enough ambiguity added here, but what the heck, I'll add more. I bought my moho in PA and brought it to OH, so I had the lovely inspection to go through, too. I will say though, OH is really lax when it comes to vehicle stuff. The BMV does the "inspection" which is really just one of the clerks coming out to the parking lot with a notepad and writing down the VIN. They really have no legal authority or training. In my case, she said, "where's the VIN on this thing?" and I showed her the chassis VIN under the hood. Why? Because I thought that a metal plate riveted to the the body/frame was a better choice than a typewriter-written sticker on the dash. I verified against my title that this is indeed the VIN that it was titled under (chassis VIN). Apparently this is what the PA title had on it as well because the title office didn't question me on a VIN miss-match.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:08 PM   #14
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Brad,
It wasn't till I came across this website that I realized I had two VINs for my Argosy. I simply handed DMV the signed title with my money to register it here in Jersey. My title shows the GM # but I'm sure they only care about the registration money.
Matt
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