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  • VIN Issue

    Hi guys/girls! As you can see this is my first post so a brief intro is due I suppose.

    I just 'caught the bug' so to speak this summer. I've pretty much wanted a jeep since the late 80's when I dated a girl that had an 81CJ7 but never actually took the plunge. (I was a Mustang guy) With the kids growing, they didn't exactly fit in the back seat of the Cobra anymore, so I sold it and went what I consider the completely opposite direction and bought a 79 CJ7 in August which needed some work and an 85 CJ in October.

    On to my problem...

    The 79 still has some issues I am working out, but the one with the VIN seems to be a real issue. I transferred a title, registered it, and then called my insurance company. I recieved the title, the reg. card, and some distressing news from the insurance company. Apparently the VIN on the Jeep and the title are both for a 79 Wagoneer.

    My question here is what do I do now three months and change later as well as about $1500 on top of the $1800 I originally spent? Did AMC ever make mistakes VIN'ing a vehicle? Is this a real issue? I did a search through the forums and found other interesting VIN problems--like the cop in SoCal... maybe someone here or even he could speak to the issues I may be facing? It'd be a real shame to toss this thing into an impound yard as it doesn't have most of the common rust issues I've been reading about...

  • #2
    The real test should be what the title states and not the insurance company. If the VIN on the state issued title and registration card matches the vehicle and both say CJ, then odds are it is the insurance company's screwup and not yours.

    On a related note, I have 2 '92 s-10 blazers the titles all say blazer as do the registrations, but according to the insurance company one is a 1/2 truck. I have tried for the last 2 years to get them to figure it out, but they are just too dense to listen.


    • #3
      Unfortunately in Pennsylvania, the title refers to Make--Jeep, and body style which can be Coupe, Sedan, Truck or Station Wagon. My 79's title states Jeep, SW.

      I ran the VIN through a decoder and came up with the same result--a 79 Wagoneer with a V8.


      • #4
        OK, so now I have another state on my list of never going to live there... JK

        In ID you have a spot for make, model and body style, I'd have to check I think my 7 is listed as a coupe.

        How are your VIN plates attached to the jeep?

        They should be riveted in place (and not with cheap aluminum pop rivets, but something much more substantial) and the ones under the hood should be painted over in the same color as the rest of the jeep. If your plates are held on by screws, or different colors than the rest of the jeep, I would make an appointment with your title inspector to sort things out. (or at least talk with an inspector over the phone , anonymously if they are really anal where you live).

        This may even be worth the $20 for a carfax report.
        Last edited by tracraym; 12-14-2006, 10:59 PM.


        • #5

          JUst a suggestion but I would find out if you would be covered in case of theft, etc. Maybe a notarized, certified letter and picture stating the question to the insurance company - if you are covered - great!
          My brother had a similar experience after an accident and this is what he did. Good Luck.


          • #6
            Hello guys&girls! This is a common used Jeep problem. Trust me the VIN is not factory if its for the waggy. If I'm correct the 1979's did'nt have the little plate on the wiper motor plate. The factroy used a special ss steel clover rivet that is not available anywhere. I've seen people be crafty and reuse rivets on resto cars, so anything is possible. Two problems here. No way to know what the orig Jeep VIN was to verify and that one is wrong. Only choice in Pa. is to try to register as reassembled vehicle, but they may want proof of real VIN# so you may be in a corner. Buy a rust bucket and transfer good parts and get reassembled title may be best choice. Caution do not try to sell what you have or you'll be the bad guy.


            • #7
              Kind of sort of the same thing, When I built my cj The #'s were a mess so I ground out the frame #'s (I did a complete frame off and took pictures of the entire process) Removed all vin #'s and bought a destroyed cj from a private party with a clean title. I took the title, and vin plate to the anti theft unit of state police/ DMV, had it inspected and cleared, showed them the pictures of the rebuild, and they issued me a new vin tag and stuck it on the inside of the tub. 50$ and it's done. I think they're used to jeeps being torn to pieces and rebuilt like frankenstien.


              • #8
                i think there is a bigger issue we maybe missing. do you want this mess? if not you should contact the person who sold the jeep to you and require them to buy it back, including all that you have invested so far. if they refuse, talk to your local attroney general's office to see what your rights are. you should be protected under fraud. if nothing else it is a small claims issue. if you don't want to go through all the hassle of finding another vin number, just take the jeep back and start from scratch.


                • #9
                  i've heard that a lot of people will go to a state like georgia where they'll issue a title on a bill of sale. then get the title transfered from georgia to pa. when i lived in georgia this was a common place for thieves to register their stolen vehicles because it was easy.


                  • #10
                    I would try and find another title and set of VIN plates, er, I mean, "buy another jeep" that the state doesnt know that all you bought was the title and vin plates. I wouldnt be too worried about finding a factory rivet, nobody is going to be wise enough to look for it, unless that is the cops specialty, finding clover rivets on Jeep VIN tags. And even then, they are only going to find out after they pull you over for some dumb reason.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the responses gentlemen!

                      It seems I have quite a bit to think about--buying another CJ is certainly easy enough when you don't care what you're buying... but aren't I just covering up one broken law with another that I'm actually doing the breaking of?

                      Selling this thing to the first sucker that comes down the pike seems like a great solution, except I do have knowledge of the problem, and would most definately be held liable for that--although I could probably sell it for parts without a title. How much would I lose on that deal though...

                      Going back to the guy I purchased it from is not actually an option--He moved to Germany with his company and probably won't be coming back any time soon.

                      And then there is the "go to the police" option which just scares me--if this thing turns up stolen am I going to be charged with recieving stolen property? Or nearly as bad, just be out all of the money I've spent?

                      Guess I talk this over with the wife--there's that guy in Md. selling his 85, and this is a great donor...

                      Thanks again!


                      • #12
                        this problem is not insurmountable. Work with your DMV, they can and will help you. If they aren't helpful find someone who is. A street DOT guy may be less of a bureaucrat than an office dweeb. Stop by a weigh station and ask to talk to one of them, they know all this stuff inside and out. What do the VIN tags look like to you, do you think they've been altered? If you feel that they are original and intact then chances are it's just a clerical error. The big problem I foresee is it may take time to wade through the red tape, but don't be afraid of the police, you haven't done anything wrong. You can't be convicted of receiving stolen property as long as you didn't know it was stolen or have reason to suspect it. Now if it was a $20,000 show Jeep and you bought it for $100, that might look bad, but you are all set with yours. Don't give up, it can be fixed. I wouldn't necessarily buy a junk just to get the title and VINs, you can't switch VIN plates without breaking the law. A "reassembled" new VIN would be better.


                        • #13
                          before you go any further, go to the dmv and have them do a title search for you. it may cost a few bucks but will be worth it. they should be able to trace the title back to the original title. this will show if a clericle error was made or if another state listed it differently on the title. this may be a simple solution.

                          i bought a 79 cj7 several years ago and the guy said it was and 82. i looked underneath it and said it was not an 82 and advised him to look into it before i bought it. he did not look into it (this was a dealership) and i paid a great price for the jeep. when i got the title i went straight to the dmv and did a title search. turned out that a title transfer in wisconsin was done incorrectly, registering the jeep as an 82 insted of a 79. i started the correction and went back to the dealership. let's just say i got one hell of a deal on a 79!


                          • #14
                            my 85 CJ-7 is registered as a station wagon as well...its great for keeping the insurance down...although they dont have it listed as a wagoneer, but hey..who's asking?...what i mean is who exactly cares that your vehicle is listed as a wagoneer that you would have such troubles?
                            Last edited by the Captain; 12-30-2006, 01:40 AM.