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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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Vin number issue

Hello everyone, I recently bought a 2001 rancher 350 through a private sale for 800 bucks. I've been totally satisfied with the machine, it's been performing very well. I do need to do some maintenance so I'll need to know I have the right parts and the correct specs so I tried looking up the vin but it turns out that is not a valid number. I have tried to find the vin on the machine but no luck there either. The number on the bill of sale is more than 17 characters and does not have an H designating that it's a honda. What else can I do here. Any advice would be helpful.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 07:38 AM
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I watch the Northeast Law show on TV a lot , seems up there in Maine you guys need a registration tag , so this no vin number could be a bad thing , sometimes bikes that have a winch , the winch will cover the vin numbers , I bike without a vin number to me is worthless ----sometimes there is a whote plastic sticker on the front frame tube or by the battery box , and it will have a model number like TRX350FM 1 , the one would be a 2001 , thevin is 12 digits , that 17 digit number they put on the bill of sale might be the engine serial number as it is a longer number , never did count them
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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It doesn't have a winch, so I'm going to clean that spot and maybe it will show up. The tag on the front tube is blank (of course) and yes we do have reg tags and I registered it with that number not knowing it wasn't valid. The only thing right now I'm certain of is that it is a rancher cause it says so on it. Going to dig deeper see what I come up with. Thanks for responding. I'll update if I find out any more. I too have watched some of north woods law.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Update; I found the vin, but it's only a few digits different from the one I already have, and still comes up as invalid. The number indicates a 250 not a 350, but since the number seems to not be valid I'm going to stick with it as a 350. I want to do some maintenance like an oil change and want to get the right parts.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Dale 60 View Post
Hello everyone, I recently bought a 2001 rancher 350 through a private sale for 800 bucks. I've been totally satisfied with the machine, it's been performing very well. I do need to do some maintenance so I'll need to know I have the right parts and the correct specs so I tried looking up the vin but it turns out that is not a valid number. I have tried to find the vin on the machine but no luck there either. The number on the bill of sale is more than 17 characters and does not have an H designating that it's a honda. What else can I do here. Any advice would be helpful.
It won’t have an H
It should start out as a 478TE
478TE2...can be a 250 or 350

Use my Rocky Mountain parts link–maybe you bought a 250

What is first 6 of the engine serial?

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https://www.partzilla.com/catalog/honda
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Last edited by Goober; 07-12-2019 at 04:34 PM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 07:06 PM
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there is also always the chance someone altered the VIN< atv's are rather common stolen items and then sold to unsuspecting buyers!
if it was me, I'd be digging into making sure the atv isn;t stolen and get the right VIV< if not for a state registration deal, or insurance, just peace of mind
as if it ends up being stolen and your caught with a ALTERED VIN< that alone is a crime!
take this as you wish, but I mean it in a good way!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 07:13 PM
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Top tip..!

If you can get hold of hydrochloric acid follow these steps.

Disconnect the battery.
Get a good high AH battery and a set of jumper leads.
Connect earth to frame.
Connect live to a swab. (Use a steel rod or wire with cotton wool around one end)
Dio swab in the acid and run it across the vin number, if it's been re stamped it will show up the original below the re stamped numbers ;-)
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Dale 60 View Post
Update; I found the vin, but it's only a few digits different from the one I already have, and still comes up as invalid. The number indicates a 250 not a 350, but since the number seems to not be valid I'm going to stick with it as a 350. I want to do some maintenance like an oil change and want to get the right parts.
When you say invalid who are you checking with? My project quad was never titled—if your VIN was never titled then it won’t be in the registry. But you’re right you need to know what it is so you csn get the right parts.
What’s the number you have, without the last 6?

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale 60 View Post
Update; I found the vin, but it's only a few digits different from the one I already have, and still comes up as invalid. The number indicates a 250 not a 350, but since the number seems to not be valid I'm going to stick with it as a 350. I want to do some maintenance like an oil change and want to get the right parts.
When you say invalid who are you checking with? My project quad was never titled–if your VIN was never titled then it won’t be in the registry. But you’re right you need to know what it is so you csn get the right parts.
What’s the number you have, without the last 6?
Glad you asked that question, Goober. I think he means he's running the number through a site like rockymountain to match up their part list.

Dale, when you say the VIN is a "few digits different" do you mean the digits at the end of the number are different (too long) or some of the numbers/letters within the 17 digit VIN are different?

You said you located the VIN on the _front cross member_ of your bike. Correct? If you were able to read it with absolutely no problem then you're lucky. Generally, on an older ATV, you'll need to use a very bright light, wet the VIN number with water or oil and shine the light from different angles to see each and every letter/number. Those numbers/letters are soooo close together it's hard tell what some of them are. A 'L" can look like a l or I, a "8" can look like a B, etc....... Go with what's on the ATV, not what's on the paper the seller gave you.

If the VIN is wrong, the engine number is removed or altered and the label of the frame is blank I think you have a pretty good change it's stolen. From what I've read, most thieves alter the VIN to the VIN of a scraped or other bike, therefore the VIN may appear legit. As @SamUK said, there are ways to "unveil" the original VIN stamped on the bike.

On the Bill of Sale did the seller use his real name and address??? Did you know him??

I would never take the chance on having a stolen ATV in my possession.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 07:12 PM
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^^^^^^^^ Above^^^^^^^^^^

Sorry, bad example of the letter I. I, O and Q are never used in a Honda ATV VIN to avoid confusion in reading the number. If you see the digit 0 it represents a zero.

A well known source of VIN info is atvstyle.com. Unfortunately, the info is misleading. It shows a chart noting the World Manufacturer Identifier for ATV's made in USA and Japan. It leads one to believe the VIN number should start with the letters JH3 (Japan) or 478 (USA). Another page on this site shows Honda Model Codes. It includes ATV and Motorcycle codes. However, the list is incomplete and has not been updated. It does not include code for the TRX420 (TE40).

Dale, are you aware that your VIN number is different from other descriptions of your Rancher? For 2001:
TRX350FM1 Rancher S (four wheel drive, manual shift)
TRX350TE1 Rancher (two wheel drive, electric start)
TRX350TM1 Rancher S (two wheel drive, manual shift)
TRX350FE1 Rancher (four wheel drive, electric start)
TRxxxFA is a Rancher with automatic transmission. I’m not sure what year that first became available.

Perhaps the seller included some of these model identifiers.

The VIN number of my 2014 Rancher 420FM is:
1HFTE400XXXXXXXXX

Honda notes my Rancher as a TRX 420FM1E (F= 4x4, M= manual transmission, 1= no power steering; E =2014)

When I order parts my Rancher it is listed as a TRX420FM1 AC.

I get a headache when I talk about this stuff.

Last edited by GirlsRideToo; 07-13-2019 at 07:15 PM.
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