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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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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

Step 7

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.

Step 8

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.

Step 9

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.

Step 10

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

Step 11

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.

Step 12

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.

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