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Old 13 Aug 2012
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Engine numbers on bike titles?

i am in the early stages of planning to ship my motorcycle to BuenosAires. I have a DR650 that i put a newer motor in after having to sell the old one to an inmate her. My california bike title has both the engine and VIN numbers on it. The DMV says that they cannot change the title to reflect the new motor number (or do not want to bother with it).

Will this mismatch between the engine numbers cause a problem with customs in Argentina or elsewhere? I know that the VIN number is what they most often look for, but i remember that while crossing Honduras a few years ago, the lady at the customs crosschecked my engine number as well (on a different bike).

Ideas? remedies? Most states do not have the engine number on their titles...
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Old 14 Aug 2012
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Long ago I replaced a damaged frame on an old BMW airhead and in order to avoid problems south of the border bought a set of steel number/letter stamping tools at Harbor Freight (I think) and stamped my old frame number into an aluminum plate and riveted it to the headstock over the vin # of the replacement frame and spray painted it black to match the frame and rubbed dirt in. Is this legal? I doubt it. Did it work for all the years I owned the bike? Most definitely. Many Latin American borders like to take a rubbing of the vin# to put with their paperwork. The stamped vin# plate worked for them fine and made nice rubbings for their needs.

In your case you have replaced the motor instead of the frame. While I don't recall ever having my engine # checked, it isn't on my title so doesn't matter. In your case it probably does. I believe the modern DR650 engine number is stamped on the crankcase below the gearshift lever. No reason you couldn't epoxy a stamped number plate with your old engine # that matches your title on your new motor. Color match the motor with some chain lube and dirt. (Oh wait, that's the color of my motor) Might as well stamp a couple while you're at it in case the first one falls off.

At least that's what I would probably do to avoid potential hassles with corresponding bribes.

Just a thought.

John Downs
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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Old 15 Aug 2012
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If both the engine and VIN numbers are on your California bike title and number doesn’t match with the reality, forget to bring it (like this) here. Isn’t only a potential hassles with corresponding bribes solution. If engine number doesn’t appear in papers isn’t a problem but if does, custom officers will check it... and isn’t the right way to begin a trip...
DMV should change it or transfer your ownership to where they do or at least don’t appear any engine number in title or registration.
Ahhh!! also forget to make it look like the one in papers... they maybe don’t speak English but be sure that if they realize you will understand them...
Hope you can solve it and see you soon, Saludos.
Dakar Motos

“El mejor remedio para la Boludez, es la Inteligencia…”
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Old 16 Aug 2012
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I know when they checked the import in Cartegena, after arriving on boat from Panama, they checked everything and pointed to the numbers on the paper, then asked me to point where it is on the bike, then between two of them they double checked.

Get the paperwork sorted, if it has engine number of old bike, don't bother imho

Cheers and good luck with DMV
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Old 21 Aug 2012
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thanks a lot for the advise. After reading your advise, i went back to the DMV and found out that yes, there is a way to update the engine numbers. I got started on that process, but am now stalled with getting the local police verification and the re-iissuance of a new title. The whole process looks like could take upwards of a month.

But considering the realities that you guys pointed out, i would rather take care of the problem here rather than bring a headache to every border crossing.

Thanks guys and i will keep you posted.
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