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Old 09-20-2012, 09:51 PM   #1
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Beach-Craft questions

Wife and I just obtained our first motorhome - a 1978 or 1979 Beach-Craft (27'?) on a Dodge chassis. Beach-Craft went out of business in the late 80's, and we have a few questions...

1. No title can be found. We have been looking for the "VIN #" the Montana MVD requires to obtain a title. Have talked to the MVD until I am exhausted - not much help. We did get two policeman (the MVD inspectors) to look but they couldn't find anything - and didn't seem too familiar with motorhomes. Anyone know the location of the "VIN #" on this model? {I thought I found both the Body ID# 27CBMM8Exxxxxx stamped into a brace above the radiator support and the Chassis ID# M50DA7Jxxxxxx on the frame rail in front of the passenger side front axle, but the "inspectors" said those are not correct}.

2. Anyone have information on how we can tell if it's a '78 or '79 or other? I'll post some pictures as soon as I can get them, but it has the single round headlamp located above a single round amber turn signal lamp on each side. From what I can tell from the limited info available on the internet, the potential Body ID# and a tape measure, it appears to be a 27' center bathroom (27CB) model.

It seems to be in good clean condition overall, with newer carpet and 81k miles. Dodge 440-3 engine and Torqueflite 727 automatic (believe it to be a M50 chassis). Single rear axle, with dual wheels & drum brakes, large front disc brakes, & 19.5 tires. Onan 5.0 generator and all the other fixtures seem to be in place, except the fridge is missing. Won't know what needs fixing until we get it running (taking it slow)... the motor turns over nicely but we have not tried to start it yet. We did get some of the factory books with the mh, but they cover all their models. Will be helpful once we get into it more.

Any hints, tips or help are much appreciated... Thank you!
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:46 AM   #2
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My question to you is how was it registered before by the previous owner? If the previous owner had the title and lost it he should be able to get a copy for his DMV. A copy of his registration showing he in fact owned it would have been nice.. My question is why would you purchase something without a title. In some states over 10 years old require only a notarized bill of sale. Some require a copy of the previous owners registration, Or both. Good luck. Hope it works out without to much trouble.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:42 AM   #3
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First of all, a 1978-1979 vehicle will not have the same VIN as is used today - the VIN was not yet standardized in those years. In fact, some classes of vehicles did not yet require any ID number at all.

In those years Dodge trucks used 7 characters to identify things like model and engine, plus a 6 digit serial number at the end, for a total of 13 characters. [Some Chrysler Corp cars only had a 10 digit ID number back then].

Odds are the 13 digit chassis ID that you found is the right number. This web site may help decode some of it:
1978 - 1980 LT Truck VIN System - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums

One of the best sources for info on old Dodge motorhome chassis is the Travco Yahoo Group. All owners of old Dodge-based motorhomes are welcome and the owners share their information gladly. See travco : Travco and Dodge Motor Home

You will probably need to find a senior supervisor at the DMV who is familiar with older vehicles - some of which do not have a VIN at all. They must have a procedure for vintage vehicles that have no standard 17 digit VIN. It appears the two inspectors you talked to do not know about older vehicle or truck chassis.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce C View Post
My question to you is how was it registered before by the previous owner? If the previous owner had the title and lost it he should be able to get a copy for his DMV. A copy of his registration showing he in fact owned it would have been nice.. My question is why would you purchase something without a title. In some states over 10 years old require only a notarized bill of sale. Some require a copy of the previous owners registration, Or both. Good luck. Hope it works out without to much trouble.
Hi Bruce;

Appreciate your thoughts. We bought it for $880 at an auction figuring that if we could not get it titled and/or working we would part it out and not be out much/any money. Would like to use it - retro look and am intimately familiar with Dodge drivetriains. The DMV shows no registration in the past 7 years and apparently they don't go back any further. It was used as a sometimes 'guest house' for the past several years; ergo, the lack of recent registration. We have all the sale paperwork, but no previous title/registration info, and are just struggling with our "employees" - the MVD - knowing what they are doing.
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:02 AM   #5
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Agree with Gary in that the M50DA7Jxxxxxx number is prolly it.

Question though: How did the MVD determine that there is no registration history if they cant even agree on what number is the VIN???

Sounds like you really need to find someone who can actually help and not just punch crap into a computer.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:58 PM   #6
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Is there a license plate on the vehicle?

The local police or a detective agency and possibly your insurance agent can run that plate, even if it has expiered,. Or the DMV can do it depending (There may be a fee) and the registration should include the vehicle identification number.. I have run THOUSANDS of license plates and every registration record inciuded a VIN or equivalent.

If the plates are long expiered the DMV that issued them will still have records, there will be a fee though.

AS others have said the vin will not fit the current standard. I do not recall how Chrysler did truck vins before 1981 The current vin format was not put in place till, as I recall 1981, and as I said, I've run thousands of registrations. In fact for a while I was running 1,000 every night.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
First of all, a 1978-1979 vehicle will not have the same VIN as is used today - the VIN was not yet standardized in those years. In fact, some classes of vehicles did not yet require any ID number at all.

In those years Dodge trucks used 7 characters to identify things like model and engine, plus a 6 digit serial number at the end, for a total of 13 characters. [Some Chrysler Corp cars only had a 10 digit ID number back then].

Odds are the 13 digit chassis ID that you found is the right number. This web site may help decode some of it:

One of the best sources for info on old Dodge motorhome chassis is the Travco Yahoo Group. All owners of old Dodge-based motorhomes are welcome and the owners share their information gladly. See travco : Travco and Dodge Motor Home

You will probably need to find a senior supervisor at the DMV who is familiar with older vehicles - some of which do not have a VIN at all. They must have a procedure for vintage vehicles that have no standard 17 digit VIN. It appears the two inspectors you talked to do not know about older vehicle or truck chassis.
Thanks Gary!
Great info. Have now been able to determine that the chassis is a 1977 year by using the decoder at VINwiz Decoder Although it doesn't recognize the M5 designation, the rest decoded wonderfully (we know it's a M500 chassis). Did get in touch with the MVD and finally got someone who gave me the name & phone # of the state VIN inspector... he asked another guy and it is agreed that the chassis # is one thing, but the body # is what it will be titled under. He gave me the name of a person in the local MVD office to talk to when I go in to register it and request a title. Now, just have to get the 'inspectors' (police) to sign off on the paperwork and take it to the MVD. Thanks to everyone for all the help!

Now... if anyone has any helpful info on the body, most likely a 1978 Beach-Craft 27' model, please let me know...
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Old 09-22-2012, 04:39 AM   #8
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It sounds like your about to be able to do something. That's great and we wish you luck. Would love to see pictures as you use it as well as the work you do to it. Good luck and safe travels. Enjoy it.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:40 PM   #9
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Thanks again for everyone's help and input... it took pleasant persistence with the MVD and a lot of internet time finding out some details of this apparently somewhat low-production Beach-Craftand the Dodge chassis.
Had another "VIN Inspector" (local sherrif's dept deputy) come out today... the printed research, the body and chassis ID #'s cleaned up and rubbed with chalk to show them very clearly, and some pleasant conversation about pre-'81 VIN #'s got the job done - the officer signed off on all the paperwork. Monday I will go to the MVD to submit all the paperwork.

Snapped a few pictures of the beast today while there - as soon as I can figure out how to get them posted I will do so.

- Walt
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:10 PM   #10
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Got the pics posted in the "Photos" area today. Anyone else have a Beach-Craft?
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