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I live in Mexico. I have a USA made 1995 Spirit legally imported in 1995 at a cost of eight hundred dollars. Things are different down here - vehicle I.D. is crucial. Regular highway checkpoints called "puestos de controles" have the PFP or SSP federal cops auditing car registration papers and verifying ID with VIN numbers on the car.

A month ago, I had the car in to replace a badly cracked windshield. When the old one had been removed some idiot tipped over a jug of lacquer thinner and it splashed onto the dashboard and VIN plate. I could have lived with that, but the VIN plate melted sort of. It is now impossible to read.

Early this morning a cop told me "You're lucky we know you and the car and you have the "dical" on the door otherwise there would be big problems for you:.

I know where there is another Sprint. It's motor and tranny are missing, but the owner has the correct paperwork for the car. I am considering buying the junker., stripping out the dash, with VIN placard underneath, and then replacing the whole ball of wax. Labor is a lot cheaper down here.

But the cops know about the door sticker and if you know the Spirit you know the dashboard VIN plate is impossible to read unless the overhead sun is just right. I convince them to just use the door decal.

But if I "hit it wrong" and the door decal is missing or does not agree with the dash plate then I am in a heap of trouble.

My car is young mileage wise and a V-6 which is not available in Mexico and gets 30 mpg and has KILLER air conditioning. Used Mexican cars are misused junk and overpriced like stupid. It uses 1/4 qt of 5W-30 oil in 4,000 miles between changes.

Two questions:

The dash VIN placard is hidden pretty well. They're going to have to pull the dash to get at it. Is the placard itself hard to get at or some kind of a trick to change?

Is there some "secret way" to steam off or use some chemical to safely soak off the door VIN decal? Then another trick to get it back on the door and make it look convincing.

I am living on social security so a 2013 is out of the question as is trading my car for a Mexican junker. The model is so plain-jane any self respecting criminal would shoot themselves in the foot before attempting to hijack or steal it.

my email is

mexbungalows[at]gmail.com

I live in Las Peñas, Michoacan

Authorities would laugh at notarized letters and there is no mechanism in place to issue documents that would satisfy suspicious roadside checkers, and Mexican aduana (customs people). I wish to remain deaf over the morals issue here. I own both cars, I have the legal paperwork for both cars, all fees would be paid in full and only one car ever returns to the road. The other car goes to Las Truchas steel mill as chatarro, scrap. If a moralist has issues about the possibility of me trying to run a chop shop operation on an 18 year old car, here is my direct dial-from-the-USA Mexico cellular telephone number (011) 52-615-104-0402

Thanks!
 

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It's not even a moral issue, but a serious legal one if you get caught.

As in your other post, I suggest matching up the other VIN locations on your original car, such as the underhood sticker, and any other glass or metal panels that might contain the VIN. I know that there are other locations, but for your particular car, not sure where to look for them.
 

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A few years ago i replaced a sun damaged/cracked dashboard in my 91 Spirit. I found a dash from a 1994 model that was identical in every way to my 91 dash (except the VIN plate). Since this was a pick and pull yard, I took the good dash off the 94 in the yard and before I was allowed to pay for it, the yard cashier made me break off the VIN plate and give it him. When I took out the bad one, I just drilled the back of the rivets holding the plate on from the bottom, punched them out, and transferred the plate to the good 94 dash. I J&B welded (epoxyed) the bottom of the old rivets to hold the plate on permanently and all worked out fine. It never looks like it was tampered with.

Since the VIN plate is metal, I have my doubts that yours is really destroyed, but I suspect the laquer thinner melted some of the dash plastic over the top of it. You could probably remove the dash and clean it up. It is one heck of of a job removing the dash, but people do it all the time to change out heater cores and AC evaporators. Plan on a full day or 2 day job if this is your first time doing this. There are a lot of electrical plugs and a few vacuum lines that you don't want to forget to hook up.

Unless you can find a special type-setting/metal working shop to make you an identical plate, I would try to clean the one you have first. Is there any provision in the vehicle registration organization in your area to make a note of "obscurred VIN on dash" and a notation that the valid ID is on the door?
 

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It'll be easier to remove the windshield to get to the VIN plate. Basically, you've got a problem. I happen to have a "79" Dodge B300 with a 91 dash and doors and an eleven foot flatbed, dual rear axle from a 73 CB350, rear of van body cut and pasted to the rear of the cab. It still registers as a 79 here, but is obviously a Frankentruck.
 

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[sub]There has to be a correct way to replace a vin tag.[/sub]
[sub]how does a dealer do if its damaged?[/sub]
 

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I think an earlier suggestion is correct - that the VIN plate is metal, and the solvent simply allowed plastic to flow over it. See if you can gently scrape the plastic off, or dissolve it off.
 

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What I would do if it were me is pick a sunny day and lay a magnifying glass up on the windshield on the outside, and look carefully at the VIN plate.
Lacquer won't have destroyed it -- it's a metal plate -- but may have stained or obscured it. You may be able to fix this with a soft rag, cleanser or baking soda,
and a lot of elbow grease applied *very* carefully so as not to scuff the plastic around the VIN tag too much.

There is no "ethical" replacement for a VIN tag.
 
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I tend to agree, too. The VIN is metal, what happened most likely is the plastic or paint itself softened and melted then dried so it is impossible to read, the paint simply "smoothed out" or crinkled and makes it difficult to read. It would be easier to remove the windshield again and fix the existing VIN than to replace everything. Since you are talking dismantling a car to fix a VIN, windshield removal and VIN repair is easier and cheaper, and if you don't want to remove the windshield, drop the steering column and a couple bolts for the dash to lower it back to get to the VIN plate would still be cheaper and easier than a full component swap.
 
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