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Thread: Engine VIN mystery

  1. #16
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    Super interesting, starting with 80 doesn't match anything I posted above. I've never seen an 88 vin/engine number so no clue what they would be, but logic would suggest it should start with 82 or a higher number. Being 80, I'd guess it would be between the low number 70 and the Honda stated 81 for 1987. Can you post/pm the frame vin the engine came from by chance?

    Being a non-US based machine, my book likely won't be a perfect match, maybe 81 was US, while 80 was Canada. Generally speaking, it's the start of the vin that changed, the character after the TE04 in the VIN. Like the 250es in the US was TE040 and the 250sx was TE042. I've been talking a guy down in South Africa and he also has VINs on his machines that don't match the book exactly, same type of thing. I don't recall of the frame number/engine numbers matched up to the expected range or not, I'm thinking they didn't, so might be a region related thing.

  2. #17
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    I have one frame vin right now, the others ill have to get later.
    Here it is- JH3TE0403HM303258. The engine that was in it (i had to put a different one in) has been posted already, but it reads te040-700312.

    ill check the other 2 87s i have access to with the weird numbers.
    Currently : trx400fw, ct70, 250es,200x, xl80s, 350x, 350x, 225DX, trx300

  3. #18
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    That vin suggests it was manufactured in M = Hamamatsu, Japan

    Should be interesting to see what the other machines come up as. The TE040 is normal for the 250es. There must be some sort of pattern we can find with this.

  4. #19
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    Scrolling eBay for a few parts and found yet another one. And assuming Iím reading it right, that serial number is over 10,00.



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    Currently : trx400fw, ct70, 250es,200x, xl80s, 350x, 350x, 225DX, trx300

  5. #20
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  6. #21
    Footy's Avatar
    Footy is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
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    I wonder if some of these engines came from the TRX250 fourtrax or maybe even the trx300?
    Put your butt on the inside fender or end up on the ground!

    TRX450ER
    ATC250SX
    ATC350X
    ATC110
    ATC185S
    XR100R
    CRF230F
    Raptor 125
    Breeze 125
    Grizzly700

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Footy View Post
    I wonder if some of these engines came from the TRX250 fourtrax or maybe even the trx300?

    TRX250 engines start with TE06
    TRX250X engines start with TE13
    TRX300 engines start with TE14
    TRX300EX engines start with TE19
    TRX300FW engines start with TE15

    At least that's all based on the Honda Identification Guide book that Honda produced. I have the data posted here:

    https://atvmanual.com/honda/frame-vi...serial-numbers

    Always possible there's mistakes in the book, or mistakes in the factory.

  8. #23
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    Well as we know the book isnít always correct, according to it none of these exist. But every one of them thatís surfaces is an 87 250 engine. Honda must have changed something about the way they denoted them. I mean a 7 for 1987 makes sense, but the 81 for 1987 doesnít seem logical.

    Regardless, they are 35 years old and the answer might not ever surface. But itís still an interesting thought about why they did it.


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    Currently : trx400fw, ct70, 250es,200x, xl80s, 350x, 350x, 225DX, trx300

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeless Dave View Post
    Well as we know the book isn’t always correct, according to it none of these exist. But every one of them that’s surfaces is an 87 250 engine. Honda must have changed something about the way they denoted them. I mean a 7 for 1987 makes sense, but the 81 for 1987 doesn’t seem logical.

    Regardless, they are 35 years old and the answer might not ever surface. But it’s still an interesting thought about why they did it.


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    The book isn't bad, for the normal engines it seems accurate, it's the edge cases, or the exceptions that it doesn't cover. Maybe the engine was simply intended to go to another country, the book is USA based, so if it's for the EU, CAN, etc locations, it shouldn't be in the book. 1988 ATC250ES engines would be interesting to look into as well since they aren't intended for the US market.

    Also there's special models that aren't in the books but did show up around the world, 84 ATC200E, 85 ATC200ES, 88 ATC250ES, early 90's TRX200X (86-87 ATC200X engine, I think I got the model right). I'm sure there's more just the few I remember off the top of my head. The engines in those machines might not follow the same standards as the US model engines, possible a different factory built some, etc.

    I suspect we won't ever know the why it was done, but maybe eventually we can work out a pattern of some sort. Even just getting more of the serial numbers posted could give a rough production number figure to see how rare they really are.

    The actual prefix on the engine codes generally don't like up well with the years, but they like to use prefixes to reset the counter per year effectively. Like check these figures, none of the prefixes line up to the years at all:

    TE06E-5000001 1985 TRX250 Fourtrax 250
    TE06E-5100001 1986 TRX250 Fourtrax 250
    TE06E-8200001 1987 TRX250 Fourtrax 250

    Sometimes special case models get their own dedicated prefix even if only like 200 were produced, so I suspect there's something special about those engines, or their intended application.

    Anyway, took a quick peek back at my past replies, so 87 ATC250SX was TE04E-7005001, the older engine numbers posted were under the 5001 and the new one posted is just above 10000. Assuming they knew about the conflicting numbers, I suspect they go all the way up to 5000, then probably skip to 10001. If my idea/theory is correct, then the last engine number posted TE04E-7010195 should be the 5195th one made with that prefix/pattern for the 250es. It seems like clearly they were changing their system/standards around that time since it seems like a lot of models jumped to the 80 range pretty fast, like the example above went from 50's to 80's didn't even touch 70's according to the book.

    It would be neat to find one of these engines on a machine still ideally orig to it so we can see vin number, mfg date, and also that should tell us which country it was intended to be sold to and such as well.

    There's a very real possibility we know more about these engines than Honda even does lol. That could be why the book doesn't have these listed like if they were a special case that wasn't documented internally very well.

    I'd have to look at production numbers again, but another possible reason could be if they ran out of the number range for their standard and needed something to overflow into since changing that prefix number would indicate it's for the next year model. I doubt this is the reason but if I remember right the ATC200ES did outsell the range for the prefix number so not sure what the excess ones were numbered like, maybe there's 70 range ones for those engines as well? I'm pretty sure the 84 ATC200ES sold more than 100k units. Maybe they just rolled into the 61 number range since they already knew they were changing to the ATC250ES, but then the 1985 ATC200ES in other countries should have a real interesting engine number too. Not sure how the conflict was made possible, only thing I can think of is the shaft drive vs chain drive are clear physical differences for the engines, so model + engine serial is still unique.

    TB05E-6000001 - 84 ATC200ES
    TB05E-6000034 - 83 ATC200X (yes there's a conflict there, pretty sure it's the only conflict like that I'm aware of for this era)
    TB05E-6100001 - 84 ATC200X

    Also another interesting find, I searched my engine serial number table for any other machines that are prefixed with 7 and the ATC250SX is the only one, so it seems like the 7x range was reserved for some sort of special cases. It would be interesting to go to a Honda dealer and find a clerk willing to work with you and have them show what they can pull up on these ATC250ES engines in their system if they even have a engine serial number based search at all.

  10. #25
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    The initial engines I posted were all from machines built in March of 1986. And Iíve actually seen a few that arenít posted, and again weíre all very early builds from march of 86. So I think the ď7Ē engine numbers have a direct correlation with when it was built. Iíve tried to get answers from Honda, but they canít get those numbers to show up, as if they never existed.


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    Currently : trx400fw, ct70, 250es,200x, xl80s, 350x, 350x, 225DX, trx300

  11. #26
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    I see, would be super interesting to see what the mfg date is for any of the ones over 10k serial number, I suspect it will be a different month but probably early production year for 87 then.

    I had a feeling those numbers wouldn't exist in Honda's system, makes sense since the book is likely built from what they have in their computer system.

  12. #27
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    I feel like itís fair to say that all 87s we might see in the USA will be early build dates.


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    Currently : trx400fw, ct70, 250es,200x, xl80s, 350x, 350x, 225DX, trx300

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