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All Things Associated With The Vin, Help A Newb


2mAn

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Hey guys (and gals) I tried to search for the answer but Im new to this forums search function so I got back a ton of weird threads.

 

My question is in regards to VINs on our cars.

 

#1 How many places is the VIN stamped on the car?

#2 How do you decode a VIN and what info will it tell you?

#3 What are some signs that a VIN has been tampered with?

 

Also, feel free to post any links or anything else that may be helpful to other NEWBs such as myself.

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Congrats on the 2002 and welcome!

 

1- I know of two: Under hood passenger side fender(at lease for USA market), atop steering colum cover(although, the cover could be easily removed and replaced from a donor car without transfering over the VIN placker).

2- www.realoem.com can do that for you.

3- Mismatched VINs on vehicle, stamp-overs,  ???

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Congrats on the 2002 and welcome!

 

1- I know of two: Under hood passenger side fender(at lease for USA market), atop steering colum cover(although, the cover could be easily removed and replaced from a donor car without transfering over the VIN placker).

2- www.realoem.com can do that for you.

3- Mismatched VINs on vehicle, stamp-overs,  ???

Additionally, the serial number plate is attached near the fender stamping and the engine (if original) will have the same serial number stamped into it near the starter.  Realoem is actually not helpful for our serial numbers because the same last 7 numbers were used for later BMWs.

 

The serial numbers don't encode details like a modern VIN often does other than the series they belonged to (i.e. 276xxxx is US tii's for model years 1972 and 73).

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Send an email with your car's VIN to BMW archives:

info.grouparchiv@bmwgroup.com

Ask for their records. You'll get the model, market, type of transmission, date of manufacture, date title passed to a dealer (or, for the U.S., the importer), and the original body color. There is no charge and they generally reply within a day.

Less information is available at the VIN decoder of the 2002 Club of Columbia: it's the most reliable of the VIN decoders out there:

http://www.bmwclasicos.com/vin.php

Some '76 cars do not have a metal VIN plate on the right side inner fender; we don't know why. Most U.S. cars also have, or at least originally had, a paper VIN label on the trailing edge of the left door, just below the latch mechanism. Later cars had both a manufacturing month/year and the VIN punched into this label with tiny round perforations. Early cars had at least the VIN here, but it was printed in a fugitive ink that gradually faded away, so may not be visible today.

Use the search function, but you must either use Google search or search on "Forums" or you will come up with nada!

Although others here may disagree, I believe there is virtually always an explanation for VIN discrepancies that is based on actual repairs and not on something nefarious. These have never been particularly valuable cars, and they have never been a particular target of theft rings.

Shown below is the paper label from my '76, one of those cars that never received a metal VIN plate! What appear to be tiny ink dots constituting the numbers are actually tiny holes. The stock on which these paper labels is printed is of the self-destructing variety, to discourage tampering. The second photo is of one these paper VIN labels -- this one on an October '72 tii -- that got no respect!

Good luck!

Regards,

Steve

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Yes, 3 places

 

1)  Stamped on frame just adjacent to right fender (close to wheel well)

2)  ID plate riveted beside stamped # (or "paper" tag as '76 above)

3)  Stamped on engine block - flat portion just above starter

 

Of course, it depends if original motor and frame piece still original on car.

 

We have had cars where modifications had occurred

 

VIN is just serial # of car, doesn't have all letters & #'s that newer cars have -

easy to remember your vin, not all crazy like later autos !!!

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Don't know when they started to use the door stickers, but my '69 (Feb '69 production) never had one. However an all original Mar 70 1600 has one. My '73 didn't have a door sticker, but that's because the driver's door was replaced before the car was delivered to the dealer due to shipping damage.

cheers

mike

And my '70, manufactured in September '69, had the sticker so perhaps the '70 model year was the cutoff for the driver's door sticker: it's clearly a DOT-mandated item. I don't recall my '67 having one (so it probably didn't), and I'm still trying to figure out its VIN!

So, let's summarize the VIN locations for U.S. cars:

A. Pre-'70-ish (4 locations)

(1.) stamped into chassis on outer edge of right side inner fender

(2.) stamped into metal VIN plate riveted to right side inner fender

(3.) stamped into small metal VIN tag on top steering column shroud

(4.) stamped onto boss at aft end of engine block

B. '70-ish through end of U.S. production, save for group C. below (5 locations):

(1.) stamped into chassis on outer edge of right side inner fender

(2.) stamped into metal VIN plate riveted to right side inner fender

(3.) stamped into small metal VIN tag on top steering column shroud

(4.) stamped onto boss at aft end of engine block

(5.) printed, in fugitive ink, on paper label affixed to trailing edge of left door (at some date during the "square taillight era", the printing was replaced by stamping using tiny round holes)

C. Some '76 models -- Les02 on this forum has summarized the affected examples (4 locations):

(1.) stamped into chassis on outer edge of right side inner fender

(2.) stamped into small metal VIN tag on top steering column shroud

(3.) stamped onto boss at aft end of engine block

(4.) stamped into paper label affixed to trailing edge of left door

Regards,

Steve

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...Realoem is actually not helpful for our serial numbers because the same last 7 numbers were used for later BMWs.

True, but if you select the "Archive" rather than the "Current" option on RealOEM, you sometimes (maybe with later '02s) get a correct answer! Just go to the Columbian website in my post #4 above.

Steve

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