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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a Honda CB360t in Wisconsin and I got the title re-registered in my name where I live (Chicago). I was looking at it once it arrived at my house, and I realized that the VIN number matches the number on the engine, not the VIN up by the forks on the frame. My question is is this a big deal? I have done some reading and the general consensus is that the frame is preferable, since if your engine blows you still maintain title over the frame. Should I return to the DMV and ask for the number to be switched to match the frame? My only concern at this point is that the original title from the guy I bought the bike from was from the VIN number on the engine. Help.
 

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Some states originally titled by engine serial number....Your state should know that ....
I would attempt to at least have the state police/DMV verify that the frame number is correct (and clean)...
Get the title with the frame number IF possible.....JMHO
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I went do the DMV with the original title and they issued me a new one off the engine VIN no questions asked. I noticed it after I received it. When you say get the DMV/Police to verify the frame number, does that mean that they would be able to tell me it matched the engine?
 

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In Illinois, your title needs to match the VIN on the frame. Right now, you have a title, and you have a motorcycle, but you don't have a titled motorcycle.

I bought a truck once from a friend. He had bought it in California for the sole purpose of hauling a motorcycle back to Illinois. He had the title and I transferred it to my name. Later I discovered that the VIN didn't match the truck. I had to have the police run a check to see if the truck was stolen (like Steve already mentioned). Then I had to check with the California DMV on the bad number on the title. They told me that back when the title was originally issued (1949 Chevy Truck), the engine S/N was used. The engine had been changed since then. I had to go through some shenanigans with the Illinois DMV to get a corrected title.

It's worth your effort to try to get it right. Don't spend any money on the bike till you find out for sure it isn't stolen. If it is, it will simply be confiscated and you won't get anything for parts or labor that you have expended.

Ray
 

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To the best of my knowledge, Wisconsin was indeed one of the states that titled on the engine number.
I got this info from Dan Bauer, a Wisconsin resident and one time member here.
I'm not sure of the situation if the bike ever needs to get titled in another state, but you should be golden if you stay in Wisconsin........
 

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As long as the title came from the state that goes by Engine numbers it shouldn't be a problem.. There should be records that prove it came from there. I wouldn't worry about it, Just ride it and enjoy it. The only way I could see it being bad is if the frame number was reported stolen. Otherwise if anyone ever ran it, it wouldn't come back as anything and they would move on.
 

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As long as the title came from the state that goes by Engine numbers it shouldn't be a problem.. There should be records that prove it came from there. I wouldn't worry about it, Just ride it and enjoy it. The only way I could see it being bad is if the frame number was reported stolen. Otherwise if anyone ever ran it, it wouldn't come back as anything and they would move on.
That's true unless you try to sell it to somebody else in Illinois who cares about a matching title. If Wisconsin does go by engine number, that makes a rational explanation for the Illinois DMV and they should correct your title. The wrinkle there is that the words "rational" and "Illinois Secretary of State" are not often used in the same sentence.

Ray
 
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I put a CL350 engine in my CB350 frame after the CB's engine dropped a valve which embedded in the piston head. It was cheaper to pick up a used CL bike on craigslist than buy the parts I needed to repair the CB engine. Especially when you consider that I could part out the rest of the bike.

For a minute or two I panicked when I realized I wanted to transfer the bike from Michigan to Arizona where I plan on retiring. Then I remembered to look for the VIN number on the frame. Thankfully the VIN on the frame matched the VIN on my Michigan title and so the transfer was smooth. I think it would be worth the effort to get the bike titled with the frame number.
 

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While having a proper title is important for all the reasons listed above, there is one more nobody has touched on and it hs the potential to cause you more problems than merely trying to sell the bike.

Consider that ALL your DMV info now carries that VIN. Not just the title but registration as well. Should you ever be stopped or otherwise checked by the cops and they check the VIN, you wont be riding home no matter what the history is. They don't have time for the type (legitimate) explanations discussed above. Further, few working today will have even been alive when engines and frames were recorded separately and are likely to view such an explanation as reason to be suspicious of you in and of itself. :roll:

Get the title corrected and as mentioned previously, don't put a penny into the bike until you at least make sure it's not stolen. Engines are swapped all the time. Could have been a wrecked (properly titled) bike's engine put into a hot frame and sold as a titled bike. :eek:
 

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Thread revival? I have the same situation. My bike originally came from Wisconsin. My frame is bare where the frame serial number plate should be. I have a stamped serial number on the engine with the letters "WIS", that has a different/larger font than the Honda stamped engine serial number. When I first bought the bike, the Seller's title VIN matched the stamped number and letter combination on the engine. The Illinois DMV transferred my title right away no questions asked. I looked up a few articles about this and found this out:

In Wisconsin up to 1979 all motor cycles were titled by the engine number.
In 1980 and 1981 motor cycles were titled by the engine number or frame number. 1982 and after motor cycles were title by the frame number.
After 1982 if a 1981 or earlier motor cycle previously titled by an engine number had an engine swap we would then title by the frame number. If a pre 1982 motor cycle came from another state we would title it by the frame number. If for some reason we had a request to switch the title to the frame number and we had verification of both the engine number and frame number we would make the change.

xxx(insert officials' name here) xxxx, WI DOT Research and Information Unit
 
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