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  1. #1

    Default Buying engine and/or frame : title?

    I tried aearchin the forum for answers but having a hard time finding an answer.

    Found two engines recently. One shovel engine/trans but no title. If i were to buy that engine and then buy a SEPARATE titled frame, would that fly at the DMV? Seeing as the numbers would be mismatched….

    Other shovel i found is a deal: matching frame and engine but no title at all and no bill of sale from when he bought it from PO… thisnone seems like even more of a headache.

    Do people generally NOT sell engines with titles and people generally DO sell frames with titles? And either way, whichever way it goes, dont yall run into issues at the DMV when you have a mismatched frame and engine? Im confused haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clawhammercycle View Post
    I tried aearchin the forum for answers but having a hard time finding an answer.

    Found two engines recently. One shovel engine/trans but no title. If i were to buy that engine and then buy a SEPARATE titled frame, would that fly at the DMV? Seeing as the numbers would be mismatched….

    Other shovel i found is a deal: matching frame and engine but no title at all and no bill of sale from when he bought it from PO… thisnone seems like even more of a headache.

    Do people generally NOT sell engines with titles and people generally DO sell frames with titles? And either way, whichever way it goes, dont yall run into issues at the DMV when you have a mismatched frame and engine? Im confused haha.
    After about 1970, the Title goes with the Frame and the VIN is stamped there and on the engine. Prior to that, the Title goes with the engine and the VIN is stamped there. There is no VIN on the frame.

    Generally speaking, or at least in my state, the cops are going to come and do a search on the VIN and it has to match the appropriate part of the bike (Frame or Engine) and not be stolen.

    An alternative in states like mine is an MVIN.. Sometimes known as a "Blue Tag" But, that is a process that generally involves documentation for a bike built from parts (And I have a set of cases and some other junk titled exactly that way) and not a bike with a missing title.

    Title trouble is big trouble in states like this one, because you can sink a fortune in a bike you cannot ride. Additionally, since it is a Harley, it might come back stolen and then you lose your investment or possibly get charged with theft or receiving stolen property.

    There are creative ways around this, but they're more trouble than they're worth for a mutt bike/chopper project.

    You are always better off to begin with a titled bike, a titled engine (if it is a 70 (I think?) or earlier, or at least a titled frame from 70 (I think?) on up..

    One shovel engine/trans but no title. If i were to buy that engine and then buy a SEPARATE titled frame, would that fly at the DMV?
    In my state? Yes.. It would fly.

    You may want to ask for clarification where you live.

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    Not a lawyer here, but I was under the impression that pre 70 title was bound to motor only, post 70 it was tied to the frame AND the motor. Could be wrong, also you need to think about the laws in the worst state you will ride in. California has (had) some very strict rules on vins.

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    The post 70 motors are stamped with an incomplete version of the frame VIN. It matches the VIN, but only part of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman96 View Post
    The post 70 motors are stamped with an incomplete version of the frame VIN. It matches the VIN, but only part of it.
    For H-D, from '70 to '80, the motor carried the complete VIN, matching the frame exactly.

    In '81, H-D adopted the federally mandated VIN number system, and the frame has the complete 17 digit (I think) number, and the motor carries a partial number.

    As noted above, titles are handled in different ways by the various states, but the feds are working hard to make the process uniform across the entire country.

    For the OP, you need to ask someone in your state how the mix-and-match vehicle is handled. It's usually a local or regional Dept. of Motor Vehicles or Highway Patrol office. And as usual, the individual person you are dealing with is an important consideration. Your local bike shop may be able to steer you toward an official who is motorcycle friendly. But for 'most any project, starting with a complete motorcycle with a title is the easiest path, and may be worth far more than any difference in initial price, just to avoid the hassles.

    Jim

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    It really does make a difference where you live..

    Here? Nobody cares about engine swaps. After market cases.. None of that is a consideration at all.

    As long as the frame has a VIN that matches the title and that VIN is in the standard location on the neck of the frame? You're golden.

    That's all they check. Nothing else matters. Many states are the same way.

    If you have ever had a police check done, it is pretty obvious what they're looking for and how hard.

    If a VIN check comes back stolen, they'll grab your bike.

    What are you wanting to build or do? Are you handy with the tools? How much time and money do you want to invest?

    If you're awesome with the wrenches and you want a project.. Have a good shop.. No rush.. Maybe you can go the MVIN route and get exactly what you want, rebuilt like new, the first time around?

    If you aren't so good with these things, maybe the best course of action is a rebuilt bike that runs and has a title and is 100% from day one?

    I can tell you for sure that all the old engines and stuff you find here and there will need work now or very shortly. They're 40 years old or more. I bought junk and have about as much in special tools to do the rebuild as I have in the initial purchase price. Hiring it done in my location would have cost even more.

    So, any cost savings between a good running bike and a pile of parts that all need reworked evaporates quicker than you might think.


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by confab View Post
    It really does make a difference where you live..

    Here? Nobody cares about engine swaps. After market cases.. None of that is a consideration at all.

    As long as the frame has a VIN that matches the title and that VIN is in the standard location on the neck of the frame? You're golden.

    That's all they check. Nothing else matters. Many states are the same way.

    If you have ever had a police check done, it is pretty obvious what they're looking for and how hard.

    If a VIN check comes back stolen, they'll grab your bike.

    What are you wanting to build or do? Are you handy with the tools? How much time and money do you want to invest?

    If you're awesome with the wrenches and you want a project.. Have a good shop.. No rush.. Maybe you can go the MVIN route and get exactly what you want, rebuilt like new, the first time around?

    If you aren't so good with these things, maybe the best course of action is a rebuilt bike that runs and has a title and is 100% from day one?

    I can tell you for sure that all the old engines and stuff you find here and there will need work now or very shortly. They're 40 years old or more. I bought junk and have about as much in special tools to do the rebuild as I have in the initial purchase price. Hiring it done in my location would have cost even more.

    So, any cost savings between a good running bike and a pile of parts that all need reworked evaporates quicker than you might think.

    thanks. ive got buddies who have all the tools and im handy myself.

    not worried about motor work or fab, just concerned with dealing with the black hole that is the DMV.

    sounds like its a pain in the ass to mismatched engines and frames so ill prob just try to find a beat up conplete bike or at least matching frame and engine and go feom there.

    only reason i was looking for drivetrain only was because im gonna chop it so seemed like might as well build from scratch then tear down a. perfectly good shovel. but i guess thats the way its gonna go.

    thanks to everyone for replies

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clawhammercycle View Post
    thanks. ive got buddies who have all the tools and im handy myself.

    not worried about motor work or fab, just concerned with dealing with the black hole that is the DMV.

    sounds like its a pain in the ass to mismatched engines and frames so ill prob just try to find a beat up conplete bike or at least matching frame and engine and go feom there.

    only reason i was looking for drivetrain only was because im gonna chop it so seemed like might as well build from scratch then tear down a. perfectly good shovel. but i guess thats the way its gonna go.

    thanks to everyone for replies
    Sorry, but I beleive you are asking the wrong site and people. Ever hear of the term shithouse lawyer?

    You need to ask your local DMV, PERIOD. No matter how much you might hate red tape, thats the folks you will eventually need to deal with anyways. Suck it up, be friendly, and become a familiar and freindly face.

    GO IN PERSON: You will get MUCH further than with just phone calls: Record names and dates of the folks you talk to: Keep all hard receipts and contacts in a folder, in order: That will really move things along

    Most of all, you need to realize and accept that there has been, and there is now, a NATIONAL database (Not just by state) that tracks down VINs to see if they are legit or has been copied or duplicated, in ALL states: GET THAT DONE FIRST, because when you finally go to apply for title and registration, the DMV in ALL states WILL check this database before processing

    YOU ARE THE PERSON that will suffer loss or possible prosecution should things turn out sour. Contact the people that do it for a living, called the DMV

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    If you look this over you will be able to ask them intelligent questions..

    https://www.dot.state.wy.us/home/tit...istration.html

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    Honestly neither of your potential buys would frighten me as long as the juice is worth the squeeze and you do your homework. My current shovel build had a wonky title issue but at the end of the day I knew even if the title for the frame didn’t work out I still had a fuckin steal of a deal on the engine/trans combo and would just have to find a titled frame, fortunately it was an easy $200 cleanup job. As stated above, the DMV doesn’t give a shit if you put a hot engine in a clean frame after 1970, they just want the frame to be legit and clean, so your option numero uno is fine. Buy the heart and find a clean titled frame. Option dos, if it’s a home run price for the matching frame/engine grab it. You can run the numbers and if it’s fucked it fucked, but you still have a cheap engine sitting around. Frames with clean titles are abundant and people are always moving shit, well priced engines not so much. This also gives you a strong leverage point in haggling, use it to your advantage and go for the kill cash in hand and ready to walk.

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    They're companies that do title checks and registrations for a price. Do a local search and see what you can come up with...I'm not suggesting AAA.

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    The NCIB (An insurance database) has a VIN checker.. Probably not as comprehensive as a federal or state database. But if it fails there? It's sure to fail a more comprehensive look see.

    https://www.nicb.org/vincheck

    This is from the DOJ website... Provided the Attorney General is done with trying on Melania Trump's clothing and has returned to his official duties, this SHOULD BE a very comprehensive search.. But I think you have to pay for it.

    https://vehiclehistory.bja.ojp.gov/nmvtis_consumers

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    Motorcycles are toys so best to choose the path of least hassle. That's why I buy titled runners or titled frames/rollers.

    I don't tolerate headaches for a toy since the world is full of them. Too bad about all the orphan hardware out there but it's not my problem so I don't make it my problem. It's not important to save junk. It's important to have a legal functional motorbike at the end of the day. There are tons of non-stock Shovels out there that would be improved by a new owner.

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