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Old 06-27-2013, 01:49 AM   #1
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*** VIN LOCATION *** 2003 Forest River Cardinal

Hello everyone,

I am new to RV so please help me get started. I recently purchased a 2003 Forest River 5th wheel, 34 foot, 3 slideout from an auction. I am having problem registering it because i am unable to verify the Vin. I have found the sticker inside the cabinet that states the weights, tanks, and vin, however, DMV wants to see the vin on the outside. The tongue at the front has been painted a few times so I was unable to see a plate with the Vin. I removed the paint but still dont see a vin stamped into the tongue.

Can anyone please tell me exactly where to look. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. If I am unable to find it or it has been removed, how would I go about getting a duplicate vin?

Thank you

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Old 06-27-2013, 02:03 AM   #2
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Hi Mike. It might help if we knew which state you are trying to register your RV in, so someone who is familiar with the laws there can chime in.

Here in Louisiana, the DMV has never wanted to see, or even asked to see any trailer I have titled/registered. They just want the paperwork, which I would assume you would have gotten something from the auction company showing the VIN number..................but you may have not, which may be the problem.

Was this a private auction or a public one (like a police forfeiture type)?

I know here in LA, if you build your own trailer (which I did once), you can take it to the State Police troop headquarters for your district and they will stamp a number onto the trailer for you, then give you the paperwork to take to the Department of Motor Vehicles so you can obtain your title/registration on it. Maybe your State Police can also help you in your situation. It wouldn't hurt to call them and explain the situation.

If you cannot locate the VIN on the pin box somewhere, you might can also look on the left /driver side of the trailer for a label/placard.

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Old 06-27-2013, 02:21 AM   #3
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I purchased the trailer online from Massachusetts through a private dealer auction. I am trying to register it in California. I have the title as well as a receipt to prove where I purchased it from and proof of payment. The auction had announced that the vin is missing but I didn't think it would be a problem to register it. I took it to local DMV today and they told me that I need to take it to CHP for verification because they were not able to match the trailer to the title. CHP is really backed up and they gave me an appointment 2 weeks later.

Sorry if this question sounds stupid, but what and where is the pin box? If it is the piece at the front that connects to my truck, I have removed the paint and still cant find a stamp. There was a sticker that was painted over but obviously that was no longer visible and came off when I removed the paint to look closer at the bare metal.

Does the 2003 Forest River Cardinal have a VIN sticker, or stamped plate, or is it actually chiseled in somewhere?
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:16 AM   #4
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The pin box is part of the "hitch" my VIN is on the passenger side just below the frame on the side. (Not on the part of the part of the hitch that you can remove) Just above the bolts.....Mine is stamped into the steel frame The sticker on the drivers side front side of the trailer has probably faded out....... If you have a near by dealer for your make ask them if it is anywhere else I know on cars it can be in several places beside the main location.

Don't know about yours but the only way to remove my vin would be to grind it out

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Old 06-27-2013, 08:03 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Oaklevel View Post

Don't know about yours but the only way to remove my vin would be to grind it out
Which may have been done if it was stollen.

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Old 06-27-2013, 08:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Barney1 View Post
Which may have been done if it was stollen.
That is why the California DMV is taking precautions. Without a VIN, there is no way to tell that that trailer matches the trailer on the title.

Here in VA., I have never had the DMV ask to see a VIN. But, if I am ever stopped, and the police compare the registration with my VIN and they don't match, then I am in trouble. Also, if I have an accident and the VIN does not have what my insurance company has on file, big time problems.

Since the cabinet information is still intact with the VIN number, you should check to see if that is proof of the VIN ?? Of course, the cabinets (or just the sticker) could have been replaced from the trailer on the title to a "non titled" trailer that you may have.

Several years ago, I was walking on the road near my house, and kicked a piece of metal out of the road. On further investigation, it had a long number on it, so I thought it might be VIN plate. I stuck it in my pocket, and when I got home checked my Trailmanor VIN for comparison. The VIN plate was gone !! The rivets had pulled out. I checked my title to make sure it was indeed my VIN plate, and reattached the plate, with a couple of cable ties around the tongue frame as a precaution.

What are the chances that I would find my own VIN plate laying in the road. I had taken a 70 mile trip that morning to get some work done on the Trailmanor in Harrisonburg, and that puppy could have dropped off anywhere on that trip. I guess that was the luckiest part of my day, as my lottery ticket didn't come up that night.


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