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Old 03-03-2022, 02:40 PM   #1
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PSA: That 'paper' VIN plate... read before removing!

We just had to go through a level 2 inspection @ the AZ DMV to verify our VIN and (thankfully!) receive a duplicate VIN plate. Apparently there wasn't any other VIN plate on the vehicle other than the 'paper sticker' VIN, which on our bus was mounted on the front cap above the driver's head. We always figured there was no way that paper sticker was the 'official' VIN, and there had to be another one (made of metal, right?) somewhere. Nope. Wrong. It was apparently the only one on our bus (that anyone could find), and we had removed it.

Officer at the DMV told us it was literally a felony to remove that tag, which means removing the entire front cap upon which it was mounted - like we had done long ago - was likewise potentially criminal. He also verified there was no other VIN plate on the vehicle he could find. And he warned us that we should make sure we never lose that paper VIN, which by this time, was almost illegible (we had left it out in the elements for months. d'oh!).

We got lucky, really. He was able to verify the vehicle by matching the engine serial, our paper VIN (I brought the whole front cap along), and a couple other identifiers to the point he felt satisfied the VIN matched the bus. But we were nervous as heck not knowing what to expect. It was an auction bus - we literally picked it up at the school district bus barn - so I knew it was legit. But we still feared some legal SNAFU that in our nightmares could have been really, really bad.

So I guess my advice would be: If you have a 'paper' VIN plate, don't remove it or remove the structures it's adhered to without talking to the DMV first. Don't leave it out in the wind and rain. And don't assume there's another VIN plate on your bus until you've laid eyes on it first.

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Old 03-03-2022, 03:35 PM   #2
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Interesting as on all of my conventional busses there is a metal VIN plate under the hood on the firewall. That’s where we had to find it on my superior as the number inside didn’t fit into a VIN pattern. On my red bus the Texas heat had baked off the paper label above the driver seat long ago. In both cases we used the firewall tag.. (so those painting your busses be sure to mask off those plates ).
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Old 03-03-2022, 03:52 PM   #3
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That's the location I remember you mentioning in other threads (I researched pretty much every thread here VIN related, & specifically remember your input). It was also the location the officer referenced when he first started inspecting... on the firewall just to the side of the steering column. His words & yours matched 100%. But nothing there, and no holes to indicate there ever had been anything there that was screwed or riveted. And it was an auction bus as previously mentioned, which I picked up in person. And with one exception (a shop I trust) has never been our of our sight or surveillance (can't get near this bus w/o us knowing, we've got security on lock). So I'm dumbfounded. Fortunately they found whatever proof they needed. We kept every shred of paperwork even remotely related & brought it all along. I'm sure that helped.

Was your vin tag riveted? I'm wondering if maybe they just used adhesive and somewhere along the line it came off? I can't believe they would, but I can't believe the paper vin thing either, and apparently it's the thing.
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Old 03-03-2022, 04:17 PM   #4
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Scary to think IH forgot the tag but then again it could’ve been some “cost saving “ measure as right around the time your bus was made they were going through some pains and switching to IC bus from just a chassis. It may also be that on IC bus the firewall tag never got placed since the chassis technically never left the manufacturer before it became a bus. Whereas mine the bus body manufacture is different than the chassis.

I also figured it’s stamped on the frame someplace but I’ve never looked to see if that’s actually the case..

Definitely something to pay attention to for those who are raising roof and gutting down to the bones inside. Wonder if there is a way to have that tag relocated legally.
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Old 03-03-2022, 04:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Wonder if there is a way to have that tag relocated legally.
Pretty much the first thing out of the officer's mouth was "If you hadn't removed that panel this never would have been any issue". So I'm guessing that means they would have created a duplicate vin tag and allowed you to mount it at an alternate location w/o issue. That's ultimately exactly what happened with us - but first everything had to be verified. So yeah, if I was doing anything that required removal I'd schedule a VIN inspection first. Think that's how that would work. At least here.

If I had known there wasn't another VIN tag I would have gone to the DMV first thing before deconstruction & done just that. The first emmissions test is what messed us up, I think. They saw the paper VIN, told me they needed to see the one in the engine compartment, and while I sat in the driver's seat they did just that (popped the hood, looked around). Then without saying another word they started me through the testing process & then took my $$ / handed me the results. Think I was so stoked we passed w/ flying colors I never even bothered to look myself. Then we go back for the same thing a year later, now w/ the header removed, and they can't find any VIN. So either there was one and it fell off/got removed somewhere, or (more likely) they just got lazy looking the first time around and ran me through w/o saying anything just to keep the line moving.

The second year when I was told we needed to get a level 2 was tense lol. The guy's pissed off at me for wasting his time bringing a vehicle in with no VIN, and I'm pissed off at him for not being able to find it... Him (yelling) "You don't know where your own vehicle's VIN is?" Me (yelling): "You're the same people that found it the last time!"
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Old 03-03-2022, 05:34 PM   #6
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ok.
i know its a pain in the butt.
but every vehicle should have the VIN stamped on the chassis frame somewhere but only the chassis manufacturer can tell you where or google maybe.
i know that isnt much help but even in the 70s the chassis was stamped you just had to know where to look and do some cleaning to find it even maybe hand stamp numbers.
have built and sold many trailers with hand stamp number ID in the location as designated and provided by the state it was being verified by.
for trailers they never give the same location in NC.
but that is to keep a thief or whoever to just grind it off cause they know where its at.
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Old 03-03-2022, 05:57 PM   #7
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I appreciate that Jolly, but I've looked. Oh, how I've looked
I have no doubt it's on there somewhere. Maybe someday while fixing something somewhere I'll happen upon it. But no luck yet.
For all I know the inspecting officer might have used that very mark for proof. I didn't watch him the whole time, and he was looking at multiple places on the vehicle. Might be he just didn't want to reveal it for the reasons you mention.
But for now our legal obligations are met, and we've got a VIN plate, so I'm happy.
Just don't want anyone else to end up not-so-happy, which until today was a worrisome possibility.
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Old 03-03-2022, 09:23 PM   #8
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Agreed.. but

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
ok.
i know its a pain in the butt.
but every vehicle should have the VIN stamped on the chassis frame somewhere but only the chassis manufacturer can tell you where or google maybe.
i know that isnt much help but even in the 70s the chassis was stamped you just had to know where to look and do some cleaning to find it even maybe hand stamp numbers.
have built and sold many trailers with hand stamp number ID in the location as designated and provided by the state it was being verified by.
for trailers they never give the same location in NC.
but that is to keep a thief or whoever to just grind it off cause they know where its at.

(the other half of MrBeefyBus)
The people at DOT had the same expectation, had the specs,.. could not find the vin stamp next to the steering column to the left on the firewall. Could not find it on the drivers side frame... trust us, we and others have searched.. We cannot find the stamping anywhere else on the bus. Even the DOT guy was surprised.. "typically International is pretty good about this"... so, although we agree... Obviously our situation was hopefully an exception to the norm but.. don't remove that silly paper tag..
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Old 03-03-2022, 10:56 PM   #9
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I have yet to come across a state where DMV employees are "officers"....and I've had vehicles in quite a few states...... they're low level bureaucrats at most. And with most bureaucrats, they think they're intestinal waste doesn't stink.

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I also figured itís stamped on the frame someplace but Iíve never looked to see if thatís actually the case..
It is. There are a number of locations throughout any vehicle built or assembled in the U.S. that contain the VIN. The VIN plate is the most obvious but there are numerous others. My father was a career Calif Highway Patrolman...... he once had a "suspected" (he KNEW but had to prove) stolen..... the VIN came back to a wrecked car but all the easily accessible tags looked like they'd been tampered with. They had to remove a large piece of bolted on structure to find a hidden VIN inside the frame....and prove the car was stolen. Every manufacturer has hidden VINs because crooks are really good at exchanging VIN's.

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Definitely something to pay attention to for those who are raising roof and gutting down to the bones inside. Wonder if there is a way to have that tag relocated legally.
Our bus is such a case. the metal VIN tag was (still is) riveted to the front interior cap which came down long ago. We will be drilling out the rivets and remounting the tag, with rivets, to some permanent portion of the metal in the cab.....once we figure out what that might be since we're still doing demo.
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Old 03-04-2022, 02:33 AM   #10
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I have yet to come across a state where DMV employees are "officers"....and I've had vehicles in quite a few states...... they're low level bureaucrats at most. And with most bureaucrats, they think they're intestinal waste doesn't stink.
The men who conducted our inspection were sworn law enforcement officers. They're not the same people who snap your DL photo.
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Old 03-04-2022, 07:24 AM   #11
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The men who conducted our inspection were sworn law enforcement officers. They're not the same people who snap your DL photo.
Interesting. I've never seen a state with actual police working at a DMV.

One state required me to get the VIN verified by a police officer but I was on my own to find one.
Usually, it's just been the DMV employee I got at the counter. Here in Oregon it's the same guy doing your paperwork at the counter and they charge you something like $5 to verify and has to be done for any rig with out of state title.
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Old 03-04-2022, 08:29 AM   #12
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Ham, to my knowledge there are 3 levels of inspections pertaining to VIN verification, lost/stolen vehicles, missing title/registration, salave restorations, and similar associated matters here in AZ. Level 2 & 3 have to be performed by LE officers, and only at a subset of ADOT locations. They also have to be sheduled far in advance at the time of this writing (we waited over a month). Level 1 is a walk-in performed by non-LE employees of ADOT. What level is needed for what I'm not sure, except that in our circumstance we needed level 2.

I'm guessing (and that's it, a guess) that if they didn't find adequate proof our vehicle matched the titled VIN during the level 2, they might then require a level 3. Maybe that's where they go hunting for those hidden VINs? Not sure.
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Old 03-04-2022, 09:40 AM   #13
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in ohio we have different types of inspections like hubbard mentions.. interestingly enough if I buy a vehicle in-state, registered in ohio and I want to simply retitle it in my name from a signed-over ohio title, theres no inspection, I pay the $25(and any sales tax) wait a few minutes and then take the title over to the Tag office (different place) to get plates..



if I bring a vehicle from out of state with same intention the nthe only inspection is they look for the VIN plate wherever it is and make sure it matches the VIN on the title.. pay the $25 and any sales tax then go plate it. the person doing that inspection is the rep behind the counter who is not a police officer, im not sure if they are a swarn civil servant? or just a state employee..



if I have a VIN issue.. ie missing VIN tag then the State patrol gets involved and will look for alternative locations.. same with salvage rebuild, an actual state police officer does an active inspection.. test lights, defrost, brakes, etc...
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Old 03-04-2022, 09:55 AM   #14
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if I bring a vehicle from out of state with same intention the nthe only inspection is they look for the VIN plate wherever it is and make sure it matches the VIN on the title.. pay the $25 and any sales tax then go plate it. the person doing that inspection is the rep behind the counter who is not a police officer, im not sure if they are a swarn civil servant? or just a state employee..

If they had done that here it might have saved us frustration from the start. We transferred title from TX to here just the same as you would for an in-state vehicle. They never even saw the bus, so they certainly didn't check the VIN. Then again, maybe they were supposed to and whoever we drew that day didn't understand the procedure. Here it's common knowledge: if you don't like the answer you get from a DMV rep, just go stand in another line or go to another location until you find one willing to work with you.
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Old 03-04-2022, 10:03 AM   #15
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If they had done that here it might have saved us frustration from the start. We transferred title from TX to here just the same as you would for an in-state vehicle. They never even saw the bus, so they certainly didn't check the VIN. Then again, maybe they were supposed to and whoever we drew that day didn't understand the procedure. Here it's common knowledge: if you don't like the answer you get from a DMV rep, just go stand in another line or go to another location until you find one willing to work with you.



yep!!! same!.. Ive seen all kinds of stories about registering busses in ohio being 100% opposite experiences.. dont like monday on high street's answer? go on tuesday to broad street!
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Old 03-04-2022, 11:51 AM   #16
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lol. I like that.
Must be a universal rule. Death, taxes, and the DMV experience.
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Old 03-10-2022, 07:22 PM   #17
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vin

My 97 international had only a paper vin sticker on the firewall which had several illegible numbers and nothing anywhere else that I could find. I went to the local Int/Navistar dealer with a copy of my title and filled out a form and got a new sticker in the mail from Int/Navistar. I mounted it in the cab. passed inspection in New Mexico no questions asked.
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Old 03-10-2022, 07:42 PM   #18
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My 97 international had only a paper vin sticker on the firewall which had several illegible numbers and nothing anywhere else that I could find. I went to the local Int/Navistar dealer with a copy of my title and filled out a form and got a new sticker in the mail from Int/Navistar. I mounted it in the cab. passed inspection in New Mexico no questions asked.

Thanks so much for this info!
Any idea what the form was called, or if it had some kind of form ID?
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Old 03-10-2022, 08:35 PM   #19
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I didn't record the form number but it was a standard form from Int/Nav. However, when I went to the dealer here (Las Cruces) I was told there was nothing they could do. I called the dealer in El Paso (50 mi away, same owner) and they told me about the form. When I told them what happened here they said "give me 10 mins". 10 mins later the local guy called and said "Come ON Down". They just didn't know about the form. It is not a state specific form but a company form.
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Old 03-10-2022, 10:17 PM   #20
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Sounds about right (2 entirely different experiences depending on who you talk to). Again - HUGE THANKS. We know it's possible now, which I never even considered before. I'll just keep talking to whoever's necessary to make it happen. Our local dealership, RWC, has been very helpful during our build. We'll hit them up and see what they have to say.

Since we got our duplicate, this isn't a pressing issue, but I still really want the OG in good shape & properly displayed. We ever meet I owe you a beverage or 12 of your choosing.
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