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How to Decode a Dodge Van VIN

by David Curtis

The Dodge minivan was first introduced by Chrysler Corp. in 1983 when Chrysler dominated the full-size van market. The minivan has evolved over the years and is a very popular family vehicle. Since 1980, Vehicle Identification Numbers, often referred to as VIN, are in a standard 17-character format. The VIN is a unique number that provides information directly related to the vehicle.

Find the Vehicle Identification Number. It is on the driver's side of the windshield molding attached to the dash panel and is also on the title.

Decode the first character. The digit 1 designates the country of origin where the vehicle was manufactured. A 1 is for USA, 2 for Canada and 3 for Mexico.

Decode the second character. This designates the manufacturer of the vehicle. The letter D is for a Dodge vehicle.

Decode the third character. This indicates the vehicle type. The number 4 is for a multipurpose passenger vehicle without airbags and 8 for a multipurpose vehicle with side airbags.

Decode the fourth character. This indicates the gross vehicle weight of the vehicle. The letter D is for a vehicle up to 3,000 pounds, E for 3,001 to 4,000, F for 4,001 to 5,000, G for 5,001 to 6,000, H for 6,001 to 7,000, J for 7,001 to 8,000, K for 8,001 to 9,000 and L for 9,001 to 10,000 pounds.

Decode the fifth character. This letter indicates the vehicle type. The letter P is used for a Caravan and a Grand Caravan.

Decode the sixth character. This number indicates the price class. The number 2 is for L or low line, 3 is for M or medium line, 4 is for H or high line, 5 is for P or premium, 6 is for S or sport and 7 is for X or special vehicle.

Decode the seventh character. This indicates the body style. The number 1 is used for a Caravan, 3 for an extended van or Caravan C/V, 4 is for an extended wagon or Grand Caravan and 5 for a wagon or Voyager.

Decode the eighth character. This is the engine type. The letter B is for a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, T for a 2.7-liter six cylinder, R for a 3.3-liter six cylinder, V for a 3.5-liter six cylinder, L for a 3.8-liter six cylinder, N for a 4.7-liter eight cylinder and J for a high-output 4.7-liter eight-cylinder engine.

Ignore the ninth character; it is used as a check digit to verify the VIN.

Decode the tenth character. This is for the model year. The letter A is for 1980, B for 1981, C for 1982, D for 1983, E for 1984, F for 1985, G for 1986, H for 1987, J for 1988, L for 1990, M for 1991, N for 1992, P for 1993, R for 1994, S for 1995, T for 1996, V for 1997, W for 1998, and X for 1999. The number 1 indicates a 2001 vehicle, 2 for 2002, 3 for 2003, 4 for 2004, 5 for 2005, 6 for 2006, 7 for 2007, 8 for 2008 and 9 for 2009.

Decode the eleventh character. This is the manufacturing plant where the vehicle was assembled. The letter G is for the Saltillo, Mexico plant; B for St. Louis, Missouri South; J for St. Louis, Missouri North; R for Windsor, Ontario; F for Newark, Delaware; H for Brampton, Ontario, and S for Warren, Michigan.

Decode the remaining six characters. The last six digits designate the build sequence and the serial number of the vehicle.

About the Author

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