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Thread: Engine VIN mystery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86

    Engine VIN mystery

    Was working on a 1987 250es for a friend today, and I noticed something about the engine VIN number. Rather than after the Dash having a 81 for 1987 it had the 87 250sx Vin. However this engine isn't the right color for an SX it's your standard gray color that you find on the big red. Anyone have an idea of what may have happened here it is the correct color for a big red motor but the VIN number is not correct for a big red.
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Edmond, KS
    --
    1,763
    Maybe somebody painted it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86
    It could be that or another thing I think it might be is maybe someone replace just the one side case for some reason and painted it. One thing that I was told it might be it's the engine is factory replacement motor that got put in
    Last edited by Homeless Dave; 12-09-2019 at 12:31 AM.
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    MI, USA
    --
    3,771
    Yea that's interesting, I double checked my documents and the 87 250sx engine serial would start with TE04E-7005001 and the 87 250es should start at TE04E-8100001. Looking at 85 and 86, both of those years overlapped for the engine serial number, so maybe you're onto something with the factory replacement. Maybe the replacements were all standardized in the 250sx serial number style, but made for both machines while the actual production models were separated. Here's my source of the info, data was pulled from the Honda Identification Manual. The search box is super useful to filter the table down =).

    http://atvmanual.com/honda/frame-vin...serial-numbers

    Does the engine serial have a number higher than 7005001? Maybe under that value is special case? Maybe early 87 it was the 70 number like the 85/86 standard and later they separated them out? Kind of makes sense since the sx number has an odd offset while the es starts at 1 like normal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86
    Ill have to check to check the numbers again when i get home tonight. I know that the frame was built in 4/86, so was another one i have access to, so ill reference that one and see what it has for an engine number. I wish i could track down some of the previous owners, but being that its over 30 years old had has probably had multiple owners before its current one, i doubt i could. I like to know the history of the stuff i work on, it helps me have an idea of what i might be up against.
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86
    Here are the numbers off of 2 different 87s. The one in the first picture is in a machine built in 4/86. The other is also an 87 engine that I had around and it came from a machine built 4/86. If machines have the 7 0 in code for an SX but neither machine has more than a 5001 code at the end both are below so I don't know maybe they did change their way of denoting them.
    Last edited by Homeless Dave; 12-10-2019 at 10:46 PM.
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86
    Here are the pictures of the wngine numbers.Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    The 87 BR I fixed up this summer has the original engine, so I'll ask about the numbers on it as well, I'm pretty sure it was built in 3/86.
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    MI, USA
    --
    3,771
    Interesting, they are very early build dates for the 87 model year. They both are under the magic 5000 number so I suspect there's a correlation there with the super early build dates + pre 5000 serial numbers. I'm defo interesting to learn more about this situation, maybe there's similar cases for other machines/vins etc that aren't documented.

    Just my guess but TE04E-7000001 to TE04E-7005000 is early 250es & sx while over is sx only and es got it's own dedicated prefix to the serial. It would be great to find someone with an 87 sx with a very low 5000 engine serial to check the build date, guessing it will be around the "normal" time they would build the next year's model like 6th-9th month of the year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86
    As I mentioned, I have another 87 BE I can check, if it is below 5000, I will be at a loss for words. The website you recommended had both come up as 87 250sx, but I think that site might only use the first 2 numbers to determine that.
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    MI, USA
    --
    3,771
    That website is my site =).

    Yes, the engine serial decoder does a prefix match currently (the engine code + first two numbers of the serial). I have an updated version that will use the actual serial number as well that I've been working on. End goal is to cover all atv's or a very large % of them with the tool. Might even add like motorcycles and such to it. No one else makes the engine serials easy to decode, so that was a huge feature I wanted to have working.

    I'm not a fan of storing VINs or Serials, but I might see about making a check box option to allow storage of the info or not so I can try to make it as accurate as possible. I need to make a thing where it's like, not what you expected? Send us what your machine is to help make this tool more accurate. Maybe add an option for an image upload or something too so I can physically see the machine and attempt to identify the year.

    Ironically, the VIN decoder is the most popular page on my site, second most is the tri zinger specs page.... didn't think that machine was that popular.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86
    So today I got a hold of the guy who traded me back for that 250es I fixed up this summer, and he let me look at the engine serial number on that one too. It was also the same way t e 04 e - 700 xxxx. So it also an early one, I couldn't quite make out the date on the build date, but it looked to be 3/ 86. This is really leaving me to believe that our suspicions are correct very early 1987 models use the more standardized serial number system that was used in previous years. Now I'm curious to find out why they changed it. I called Honda Powersports of America, and they didn't seem to be of any help, they had no way of looking it up and verifying that these are real. This is really quite a mystery now, I kind of want to look at some more 87's if I ever find more to see what they'd maybe have. I'm going to reach out to some people who have ones and see what there is. I just want to know about how many are out there cuz this could maybe be somewhat of a breakthrough in the three wheeler world, one of the first ones in quite a while
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    MI, USA
    --
    3,771
    Yea it's really interesting. I don't have my Honda book here, I'm getting it digitized so it's easier to find data from it etc or else I'd post the page up with what that book says which came from Honda. Ideally the book should be quite accurate and I think just about every VIN decoding site and software would be based on the details contained in that book. I can't recall if it had international details, or USA market only, I'm thinking it was international though.

    So far the highest we've seen under 5000 is the image above 4170, so that would suggest there's atleast that many machines using the "old" standard.

    I know the 88's were for a different target market, but I don't think I have any VIN details on them, I wonder what standard their VINs use.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Dakota
    --
    86
    Scrolling through ebay and what do i find? another engine with the weird vin!
    Very early one too, number 311.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/87-Honda-AT...ion=4&LH_BIN=1
    Currently owned:
    1987 250es
    1987 250es (running, but needs more work to ride)
    1985 250es (parts)- sold!
    1985 250es (parts)
    1983 200e (parts)
    1980 CT70
    1995 Foreman 400
    1971 AT1 125- Sold!
    196? Suzuki B100p- Sold!
    1976 KZ400D (it is coming together)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    MI, USA
    --
    3,771
    Interesting. My VIN book is back at home, looked it up real quick, and yep, none of the 250es models shows an engine serial starting with 70.

    For the ATC250ES, here's the starting numbers for the engine:
    85 - 50
    86 - 60
    87 - 81

    Also, here's the ATC250SX since it's more or less the same engine.
    85 - 50
    86 - 60
    87 - 7005001

    Kind of seems to suggest the numbers before the 7005001 for the sx is likely 250es engines. Maybe the number difference is from two different factories. Happen to have the frame numbers to reference with the engine numbers?


    Here's some info from my book.

    11th digit of the vin is the plant, and here's a list of the plant codes below. The book goes up to 2000, so newer models might have more plant codes.

    A = Ohio, USA
    B = Aalst, Belgium
    C = Saitama, Japan
    D = Guadalajara, Mexico
    E = Montesa, Spain
    F = Atessa, Italy
    K = Kumamoto, Japan
    M = Hamamatsu, Japan
    R = Manaus, Brazil
    S = Suzuka, Japan
    T = Tochigi, Japan
    4 = South Carolina, USA

    For reference, the engine serial at the link above is TE04E-7000311 and is an 87 250es engine.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Ontario
    --
    759
    Hey


    Reading some posts I came across a big red motor number starting with a 8. Unsure if I actually have a 88 engine or the serial number has been dinked with.

    Let you decide but I thought it was worth posting.

    Click image for larger version. 

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