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Body swap and DMV?*edited due to alcoholic stupification*

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by MaxCrack, Jul 26, 2002.

  1. MaxCrack

    MaxCrack 1/2 ton status

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    OK...here's a hypothetical (two part) question.
    I recently saw a '73 Blazer being parted out nearby. Now the first part of my question is...
    How hard is it to swap bodies, say a '73 onto my '75 frame, engine, suspension, etc.?
    And second...
    What would the DMV consider the truck to be... a '73? or a '75?
     
  2. Batchman

    Batchman Registered Member

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    What the DMV will do in most cases (Not real sure about CA you guys got some real tough vehicle laws) they will take all vins and title's, bill of sale, ect and combine them on one title. Does CA have VIN inspection when you register the vehicle? Oklahoma has a special registration for vehicles like that and will give it an Oklahoma assinged number no longer needing a VIN
     
  3. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Here's my take on it.....

    If both trucks are located in CA (which it sounds like they are) and the '73 has a current DMV registration (as in NOT expired)...you are in good shape.

    If you buy a vehicle that is already in California, you don't have to bring it to DMV for a visual inspection. Just bring the bill of sale and original registration info to DMV, pay your fees and get your new registration....

    At that point you legally own both the '73 and the '75, and the state won't know what happens after that....if you choose to move the '73 body onto the '75 frame, you can.

    So long smog checks......!!!!! /forums/images/icons/cool.gif
     
  4. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Here in Kans-Ass, the DMV goes by the body year, not the frame.

    But when a body has been switched over to a different frame, the DMV will remove the original VIN tag and issue a new one, which they rivet to the side of the door instead of the dash behind the windshield.

    DMV's here will call such a swapped body, "reconstructed vehicle." /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif They give you a new title with a new VIN.

    To make your swap easier, why not remove the VIN tag off one of the body's and rivet it to the good body? This way you can use the frame and good body without going thru the hassle of the DMV.
    I know it may sound risky, but its not like every DMV is gonna go around checking for plates that have been riveted, etc.

    I have heard of guys, shops, and businesses selling VIN plates with titles for cheap. Don't think thats exactly legal, but people do it every day. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     
  5. MaxCrack

    MaxCrack 1/2 ton status

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    OK, that's what I thought, but I wasn't sure. The DMV will go by the body year. And if I do this, they will not know anything about the body swap, I will just say I bought a '73 from somebody. I don't think I will do it though, it seems like a lot of work to avoid one more (WOOHOO!) smog check. I had one this year, then my next one is 2004. Then it's not tested any more (30 years old) unless they change the law.
     
  6. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    A lot of it will vary by state, thats for sure, and by whats happening with the vehicle. If both VIN's can be registered, you could swap the body and go with the new VIN. If it ever came down to it, the government *could* check the frame VIN against the body, but they'd somehow have to prove you were the one that did it, and not some PO since the time the vehicle was new.

    That was done to me here, and to make it a short story, because the VIN on the frame didn't match the VIN on the bill of sale I made up for it, I got a note to take to the DMV (from state patrol, they do our inspections) that said "frame ownership in question, do not issue title" so I could register it, but not re-sell it basically.

    Unless you know there is a law that prohibits you swapping bodies without re-registering it (not sure if our state *requires* it or not, as long as you aren't removing the VIN plate) I don't see how they could nail you if you have the title for the body you want to put on it.

    You are right, a lot of work though just to get out of one more emissions test. Usually this is done after an accident or due to rust, etc.
     
  7. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    I know someone that got bit from that.
    restored a 65 SS Malibu using a donor frame.
    years later an idiot T boned him.
    they charged him with insurance fraud as the frame #s didnt jive with body.
    not sure how it turned out but they were trying to screw him on the value of a mint 4 speed SS.
     
  8. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yes, rather ridiculous, since the title goes with the VIN tag, and the VIN tag is on the body...but yet the frame is somehow accountable as well.

    The government is trying to keep people from stealing vehicles, or making it profitable to do so, but in the case of the car accident, unless either the frame vin or body vin came back as stolen, there is no law against replacing vehicle parts, but the ins. co. obviously was trying to use that swap as an excuse to get off as cheaply as possible. So what if the original frame rotted out, you don't scrap a good car just because of that.

    Unless there is some requirement in your state (wherever the questions exist) that prohibits you from changing parts without being re-inspected, although it would be a hassle, they legally have no leg to stand on IMO. Not that they don't have more money than you and would try and wear you down, but thats another story.

    The engine (and tranny) is VIN'd as well, and they could just as easily try to get you for rebuilding the engine and having the head surface decked (thus wiping off the ID markings) as they could for swapping out a rusty frame.

    The simple truth is, if none of the parts are stolen, it should not be illegal to change *any* parts (other than the VIN tag, which is illegal period) without having to be re-inspected, and I'd bet thats the case in most, if not all, states.
     

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