overseas VIN codes - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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overseas VIN codes

Help! I recently imported a 84 380SL from Japan and thought I would try the VIN code. I can't find a site where it works. I quite often get the right model but wrong year of manufacture. I have tried putting a X or a - into the code in the suggested areas but still no luck. Any guidance would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 02:10 PM
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 02:20 PM
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RE: overseas VIN codes

Making Sense of Your VIN
By Liz Kim
Date Posted 12-03-2000
Don't you feel special? Not only did Mom sew your name onto your underwear when you went off to summer camp, you now have your tastefully understated monogram gracing your shirt cuff, your briefcase, your hankie, and yes, some still have it on their undies. It's a way of marking your territory, a way to let the world know that it's yours and no one else's.

Guess what? Your car also has a badge denoting that it's your very own. It's the method by which the police can identify your vehicle after it's been stripped down courtesy of your local five-finger discount consumer (so that your insurance company can cheat you out of a full reimbursement), as well as the way for Lovely Rita Meter Maid to give you a parking ticket even though you haven't received your license plates.

But it would be nice to know what those mysterious numbers mean, wouldn't it? Aside from amazing your family and friends with your car knowledge, you also need VINs to get the status report on a used car so that you can find out about its history before you buy it.

Look on the upper left side of your dash — you should see an important-looking badge with 17 numbers on it. Found it? Good. Now, you can figure out what makes your very own car unique, aside from that odd stench emanating from the backseat.

Position one represents the nation of origin, or the final point of assembly. For instance, cars made in the U.S. start with 1, Canada is 2, Mexico is 3, Japan is J, and Germany is W.
Position two tells you about the manufacturer. For example, A is for Audi, B is for BMW, L is for Lincoln and N is for Nissan.
This letter tells you about the make.
Positions four through eight tell you about the car, such as the series, body type, restraint system, and engine code.
Position nine is the check digit, a number from 0-9 or the letter X. By some magic finagling, law enforcement officials can detect if you've tampered with your VIN by this character.
This letter is the model year. The letters from B-X correspond to the model years starting with 1981, with X bringing up the rear with 2000. There are no I, O or Q. Confusing? Here's a list of the model years: B=81, C=82, D=83, E=84, F=85, G=86, H=87, J=88, K=89, L=90, M=91, N=92, P=93, R=94, S=95, T=96, V=97, W=98, X=99, W=00, Y=01, Z=02.
The letter or number here indicates where the vehicle was assembled. For instance, 9 identifies that it was made in Detroit, Mich.
The last 6 digits are the production sequence numbers.
Your car also comes with a handy-dandy sticker, usually located in the doorwell of the driver's side (your owner's manual will help you locate it), that also has other important information for the well-being of your car. As different manufacturers have various information and locations where they place the stickers, we won't label the pictures that came from our long-term Honda Odyssey. Here's a primer on what those codes mean.

Usually, the date that the car was produced is denoted. Yes, it's like the Born-on Date on your can of Bud..
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) tells you about the total weight of the vehicle including passengers and load. It is used as an indicator of how much weight can be safely loaded in your vehicle.
The Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) tells you about the total load carrying capacity of a given axle. It can be expressed as a rating at the springs or at the ground.
A certification statement, which usually says "THIS VEHICLE CONFORMS TO ALL APPLICABLE FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY AND BUMPER STANDARDS IN EFFECT ON THE DATE OF MANUFACTURE SHOWN ABOVE" tells you that your tax dollars are hard at work, and that the children of safety officials can rest easy at night knowing that their Dad saved the world and that they can get that James Van Der Beek poster for Christmas.
Another copy of your VIN is here as well.
The Vehicle Class Type will denote what sort of car you have, whether it's a passenger car or a passenger truck. No, it won't say "The Love Machine."
A number tells you the maximum number of passengers that your car can carry.
This sticker will tell you the tire size, the spare tire size, and the optimal tire pressure for your type of vehicle. Pay heed - keeping your pressure at this level will prevent undue wear and tear, avert damage to your tire, as well as yield the maximum fuel efficiency.
Labels are good things. bottle of spring water with a bottle of vodka. The labels in your car give you all sorts of information about your car, from where it was born to the maximum amount of cargo it can carry. Now, if only first dates came with such clearly labeled information.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 02:21 PM
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RE: overseas VIN codes


lots of sites that might help
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 10:11 PM
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RE: overseas VIN codes

mecedes benz stopped using a number at the front of the vin # about 25 years ago, and started using the prefix WDB as in world daimlier benz, the same time as they started using a letter check digit to ID year, only a chassis number will have a number as the first digit going back to the start of production

04 clk500 black/black
amg 18" 10 spoke rims
brembo 355mm frt. kit
bilstein pss9 coilover kit
amg deck spoiler
powerchip 93 gold series
brembo 328mm rear kit
renntech carbon fibre intake
bmc high flow air filters
H&R sway bars
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 10:32 PM
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RE: overseas VIN codes

Did you try the VIN decoder in the Model Guide? Do you have a 16 or a 17 digit VIN? If it is only 16 digits, then you probably will get the wrong year. At least that is what the note on the VIN decoder says...
"So what do all those numbers and letters mean ? Find out where your Mercedes was made, factory name and a lot more. Currently works with 17 digit US and German VIN numbers.Â* Some Euro-spec cars lack a year code making their VIN 16 digits.Â* If so, just add an "X" before the 10th digit. Note that this might give you a wrong production year."

Just for fun, here is a decode of my SLK VIN
WDB - Mfg
K - Type designation code - K=170
K -Â*Body style code - KÂ*= Cabriolet/Roadster
66 - Model designation (the last two of the 170.466)
F - Restraint System - F = Type 2 belt with ETR, Airbag, knee bolster, side impact airbag in door
6 - check digit (can be 0-9 or X)
4 - Model year code - 4 = 2004
F - Manufacturing plant - F = Bremen, Germany
nnnnnn - Chassis sequence number (6 digits)
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