Hey CA ppl, I got a title question (engine number on title)

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Mattbastard, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,911
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    Long story short I'm in the process of buying an out of state titled Harley with a blown motor. The bike used to be titled in CA (year 2000). Currently titled Washington. My concern is with that damn engine number on the title. I want to put a non-emissions compliant S&S motor in it and I only want to deal with the DMV once. If they have no record of an engine number than they won't know the new S&S motor isn't the original. If they do, I'm not necessarily porked since I could tell them the motor swap happened in WA. Just in case, I'd like to know before sinking $8000 into this damn project.

    What I want to know is did CA use the engine number on motorcycles from the year 2000? I'll assume if you've got a 2005, could you please check your title to see?

    Thanks much inmates!
    #1
  2. tag3

    tag3 Doofus

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    5,563
    Location:
    Little inland now from the coast of Santa Cruz.
    I have 3 registrations sitting here and 2001 KDX shows engine #
    2002 Ninja shows engine#
    2000 DRZ shows engine#
    Hope that helps.
    #2
    Mattbastard likes this.
  3. desertdaves

    desertdaves DesertDave

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    268
    Location:
    Palm Springs
    I just transfered a bike that was previously registered in CA, and changed to another state. I brought the bike back to CA, and I had to have the engine number checked, and the VIN#. Any bike coming in to the state has to have the engine # checked. Now, the real question is, will they note the change in engine numbers. And the answer is yes, I specifically asked when they checked mine. If the engine is changed, they make you do another inspection to verify all CA smog equipment is installed. The referee also told me that it is at their discretion if they require the additional inspection.
    #3
    Mattbastard likes this.
  4. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,911
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    SHIT!!! Well, thanks for the replies fellas, I believe I have my answer.

    Chances are good the engine number is in the system. If I have the bike inspected at time of registration it'll be on a trailer. No biggie tho. Then i've got all the time I need to make the engine swap the (relatively) legal way. There is a 96" motor S&S makes that's CARB, but I want that 111" of power!

    The bike was registered by the current owner in CA back in 2000. He changed it to WA in 2015.
    #4
  5. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,559
    Location:
    Somewhere in the desert
    Call the CA DMV and see if the vehicle is still in the system. After 17 years I really doubt that it is.
    #5
  6. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,911
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    Call the DMV?? No disrespect, but if you've got a number I'd be happy to try. That bullshit 800 number you get when you google is all automated BS with no Q&A option.
    #6
  7. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,559
    Location:
    Somewhere in the desert
    You call... use the automated call back... and they call back. Got to be the easiest system any Gov agency has ever provided anywhere.
    #7
    Sfcootz likes this.
  8. quint7

    quint7 "I drove a boat thru the desert"

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,488
    Location:
    Gerundegut
    What I know:
    When my wallet was stolen in 1993 I had to get a new CA driver's license (had until 1995). When I came back here and switched back in 2015 they had me, a much thinner me still in my Marine Corps cammies, in the system. I have the same number they assigned me in 1989 when I dropped my NY license to get a bike license. The lady even let me take a pic of her monitor with that old pic on it and the State still says I have brown instead of hazel eyes because we weren't gonna dick around with that. This was the DMV out in 29 Palms which I purposefully chose because they deal with military guys daily and (hopefully) would be nicer. Obviously they were and a remote DMV might serve you well.
    So, whats my point? That engine may likely be in the system.

    When you take a bike to get inspected it has to be off of the trailer from everything I've read, even saw one post somewhere online about a guy with a rolling chassis who was made to unload it because the inspection lane is for the inspected vehicles only. I rode mine there and through the line (Torrance) without plates cause it was close by. The inspector was some lady who knew very little about bikes it seemed but the form walked her through her checkpoints (it was a 2012 Victory, non-CA complient). There was no questioning of emissions equipment or anything, it was chatting and looking for the numbers the forms required, including engine number, about it but it also had a matching engine number so who knows how she would've reacted if it was a swapped one.

    From back in the late 80's, I think engine numbers were on the title, my first bike in 89 had it IIRC. My experience with friends from the South LA area while in the Marines showed me a reason: when they dumped a bike they cruised around in a pickup until they found one like it to steal and part out as needed. These were obviously crotch rockets and not Harley's, but there is a reason why we carry locks for our bikes out here and people in other places think I'm nuts for busting out a 3 foot long lock at hotels.

    Maybe ask around in the local HD/custom community about a DMV to go to with custom build friendly inspectors? IIRC AAA doesn't do out of state checks for bikes, but certain ones do for cars so it's a DMV only. Check or cash only at mine.
    #8
  9. CA Stu

    CA Stu Master of air potatofication Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    54,153
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Talk to your local CHP office. They are the ones that do the inspection.
    I replaced the frame on a bike and had to get the registration fixed to reflect the new frame and engine number.
    The inspection involved lights and a visual check of the frame and engine numbers, along with a receipt for the purchase of a used frame.
    There was no emissions check. Not familiar with the VIN# protocol of a S&S motor... Do the non-CARB ones have a non CA-registerable VIN?

    Make sure you have loud enough pipes and you should be golden. :thumb
    #9
    Sfcootz and quint7 like this.
  10. quint7

    quint7 "I drove a boat thru the desert"

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,488
    Location:
    Gerundegut
    Yup. Stu is probably right.... he's CA Stu FFS.

    (I know NY required receipts, etc. for 'customs' and a friend lost a HD engine and tranny when he did his with Ebay parts because they showed as stolen in the Trooper database. They confiscated them and told him too bad. He lost about $6000 and learned: he buys new and keeps receipts!)

    Anyway, if you could get the non-running bike with the stock engine to the DMV and didn't have to start the bike for them (I didn't, that rolling chassis story online couldn't if he wanted to) you could then get the CA title back in effect for the 'stock' bike as a 'non-operational'. Then do the engine swap after that. It wasn't a safety inspection, just numbers, make, model, etc. (Victory never even made the official DMV form before they folded. Sigh.)

    But, that would then lead to the question "what, if anything, is 'required' of an owner when they swap an different engine into a CA titled motorcycle?" A CHP could stop you for a Nothingburger and decide to check the numbers because it's Tuesday and that's how he rolls on Tuesdays...... DMV shows you have the 'stock' engine, so what's this down here? "Click". (I just flash back to seeing biker guys getting their bars measured on the side of the freeway when I first came out here yet helmets were optional.)

    I decided titling non-running and even 'non-operational' bikes here isn't worth the process and priced bikes in the Flea Market to reflect the potential hassles Out of State and engine swaps may mean (Seriously, see the Flea Market. Not the only reason, but definitely a part of the equation in my mind).

    Oh, if you went the stock/re-title route you might have to have the stock CA emissions parts all in place as designed for inspection because it would be 'expected' to be there by DMV, but they never asked, because it was obviously not a CA bike, whereas your 'was' and to them 'is'.
    #10
  11. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,559
    Location:
    Somewhere in the desert
    Inactive vehicles are eventually dropped from the system in ca. 7 or 10 years kinda thing. DL data is forever.
    #11
    quint7 likes this.
  12. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,911
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    Thanks everybody, good feedback all around.

    This bike I'm interested in is a 1994 that the owner bought in 2000 and kept active registration in CA up til 2015. Since it was cheaper in WA he transferred all his toys over to WA titles and registration. Currently the title is WA and says "previously titled in CA" with an SAE ass-load of miles and a busted OG motor. I could buy the bike, trailer it to the DMV, go thru the rig-a-ma-role of titling an out of state bike, but I'm worried the smog canister is gone and they'll go searching for it since it's previously CA. When I came here in 2015 my WI Honda had to be inspected, but since it was never CA they didn't look for emissions stickers, or a charcoal canister. They just wanted to confirm VIN and Engine numbers and I was in.

    Assuming that all flies and I have the bike legally in my possession I can go down the engine swap route. I know of the CHP inspection and engine number change on the title, but what bugs me is that damn CARB requirement. S&S only makes one engine that's CARB, a 96". I don't want the damn 96", I want the 111". It's more powerful, and cheaper. My luck the damn CHP would check the CARB database and see my new engine, which I would have the MSO and paid $6000 for, isn't CARB and not all me to legally register it. IF the CHP checks the emissions that is. I'd like to confirm this with someone who's actually swapped HD engines out for an S&S.

    Too many rabbit-holes. Fuck it! I'll just buy a Twinkie HD with high miles that's already in CA and bore/stroke the shit out of it. Fuck CARB.
    #12
  13. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,559
    Location:
    Somewhere in the desert
    That one statement kills it for me. It's still in the system.
    #13
    quint7 likes this.
  14. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    853
    Location:
    Arizona, Alaska, Kalifornia
    "
    But, that would then lead to the question "what, if anything, is 'required' of an owner when they swap an different engine into a CA titled motorcycle?" A CHP could stop you for a Nothingburger and decide to check the numbers because it's Tuesday and that's how he rolls on Tuesdays...... DMV shows you have the 'stock' engine, so what's this down here? "Click". (I just flash back to seeing biker guys getting their bars measured on the side of the freeway when I first came out here yet helmets were optional.)
    "

    The last time I checked in Kalifornia you had 10 days to report and engine change. Oh by the way I just got it in the bike and this is my first test ride. He He He !!!

    Don
    #14
    quint7 likes this.
  15. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,911
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    I'm still in the "fuck CARB" camp but I think I have a solution. S&S also makes CARB cases that come ready to accept the standard bore 3.5" pistons. Since this bike already comes with the stroker crank (4 5/8"), I can use that, some Axtell 3 13/16" cast iron cylinders, and have that CARB case bored out to fit them big cylinders and have a 106" Evo that's "CARB Certified"... :kat

    I'm also going to call S&S today to see if they have anything larger than 96" that's CARB. Never know, maybe there's something in the works.

    I keep getting drawn to this project. WTF is wrong with me?
    #15
  16. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,559
    Location:
    Somewhere in the desert
    Forget the DMV.... you just need one of these ! :lol3

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    15,266
    Location:
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    Ive done it,it works just like that,they call back with info.
    #17
    Jeff aka BOLT likes this.
  18. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    18,563
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    If it were me, I would keep the blown motor in it until after you go to DMV. Once it's in your name, no more worry about engine numbers.

    You may also want to do everything at a rural DMV. When I did a 3-wheeler, they said technically the vehicle has to be on the ground for them to check numbers. Seeing what a pain it would have been to unload out of my pickup, she just climbed up there and checked the numbers. Rural folks are less worried about carbon canister and all that nonsense, too. If you have AAA, they might be able to do everything.
    #18
  19. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,911
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    I gotta eat my words here. I did exactly that, and what happened is exactly what you said. about 2 hrs later my phone rings, it's a message asking if I am who I said I was, then a really short hold while I'm connected directly to an operator who definitely knew her shit. I wanted to know if a previously titled in CA motorcycle would have to be inspected (yes, since they need to reconfirm the VIN on frame and engine), and I asked her to confirm the frame and engine numbers (which she did, and are accurate). Then while I had her I ran my plan past her and she said that's exactly what you need to do to properly change a motor in a vehicle. Color me impressed something at the DMV worked out swimmingly.
    #19
    Jeff aka BOLT and Foot dragger like this.
  20. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,911
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    That's exactly what I'm going to do, but I am going to have the new engine number on the title. I'm too gun shy about them impounding my $6000 motor because of a technicality during a routine traffic stop or DUI checkpoint. Constitutional rights be damned, I just don't want to get fucked with in that regard.

    I'm actually going to try fixing the motor crack anyhow. I'll give me an excuse to buy an AC Tig welder. :D

    Good idea, but the lady today already confirmed for me the bike on a trailer isn't a big deal. Besides, it's an ez-load U-Haul motorcycle trailer. If they get pissy I'll just off load it right there in the parking lot.

    I'm gonna head over to the bike tomorrow evening to talk about this with the owner, then I'll confirm the emissions sticker and charcoal canister.

    AAA don't do out of state vehicle inspections, only title transfer simple shit.
    #20