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How to Read the VIN Number on an International Truck

by David Curtis

International Harvester Corporation (now referred to as Navistar International Corporation) manufactures large heavy-duty trucks, tractors, pickups and the Scout SUV. Information about a specific international truck is easily interpreted using a VIN decoder, commonly found on the Internet. It wasn't until 1980 that the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NTSA) created a standard 17-character format to help eliminate ongoing VIN confusion; therefore very limited information is available from International VINs prior to that time.

Locate the VIN. Look for it on the left side of the windshield attached to the dash, the door frame or pillar and on the firewall. It can also be found on the vehicle title.

The first character indicates the country where the truck was manufactured. The number 1 is for USA; 2 is for Canada. All Canadian vehicles were manufactured at the plant in Chatham, Ontario.

The second character indicates the manufacturer of the vehicle. H is for International Harvester.

The third and fourth characters indicate the type of vehicle and weight rating. Many different models were manufactured. For example, FC was used for the International Scout and FW for the DCO-405 trucks.

The fifth, sixth and seventh characters are for vehicle type and body style.

The eighth character is used for engine configuration information. There were many sizes and types of engines used for International truck applications. The ninth digit is used as a check digit for VIN verification and authenticity.

The 10th character gives the model year information. Meanings for the tenth character are A =1980, B=1981, C=1982, D=1983, E=1984, F=1985, G=1986, H=1987, J=1988, K=1989, L=1990, M=1991, N=1992, P=1993, R=1994, S=1995, T=1996, V=1997, W=1998, X=1999. Y=2000, 1 = 2001, 2=2002, 3=2003, 4=2004, 5=2005, 6=2006, 7=2007, 8=2008, and 9=2009.

The 11th digit indicates the plant location. International trucks were built at several different locations. Some of the 11th digit codes are G for Fort Wayne, Indiana; H for Springfield, Illinois; C for Chatham, Ontario; Y for San Leandro, California; and L for Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The last six digits designate the serial number and production sequence of the vehicle.

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