Registration Dilemma - No engine serial # on receipt

#1
I'm starting to explore the whole registration process here in Louisiana and ran into a bump so wanted to ask the forum if anyone has any suggestions.

- LA requires MSO # to match # on the frame. Easy enough, I'll rivet a stamped plate before they do initial inspection since there is nothing there now.
- transaxle receipt needs to show serial number. RCR added it to my receipt, easy and done.
- engine receipt needs to show serial number. I purchased my engine from Pace Performance. They do not put serial numbers on their invoice, nor they will not add serial numbers to the invoice either. Not sure how they even track engines they have. They told me I was suppose to ask them to do this up front, I explained I told the rep what I was using it for and he never offered. I was also told that they don't even open the crates prior to shipping them to customers, which is confusing in itself for other reasons.

So, that's where I'm at. Pace is apparently old school where they print the invoice, scan it in and email it to you. I know I could easily hand write the serial number on the invoice, scan it back in and use it. Or I could Photoshop it on there as well. I'd like to get this done the legit way, especially considering everything I purchased was legit...but I'm out of ideas other than I guess I could sell the engine to my brother and then buy it back from him with a notarized bill of sale? Anyone else have any suggestions?
 

Scott

Member
Lifetime Supporter
#2
Del,

MA has a rigorous salvage inspection process. It's done at a special State Trooper facility and the inspector is in uniform wearing handcuffs and a 9mm. When I had my cobra inspected they called the manufacturer to validate that the chassis number was located where I told him it was. Fortunately, ERA puts the chassis number in the same place on every car and a quick call was all it took to confirm what I told him. I'm not sure what happens if the inspector calls Superlite and is told that they don't put any unique identifiers on the chassis or body. IMO Superlite should have a standard location for the chassis/serial number. I had the following aluminum plates made for the chassis and body. I may need to replace the the "VIN" label with "Serial No", but I'll deal with that later.
IMG_5405.jpg

IMG_5406.jpg

With respect to your engine, I would draft a letter with all of the particulars (purchase date, serial number, invoice number, etc.) and indicate that the inspector should call them with any questions or concerns (I must look shady, because my inspector placed several calls to validate my paperwork). They should print the letter on their letterhead and have it notarized. Make sure the Pace employee's title is on the letter and that it's either someone in the finance department or an executive (i.e., they have the authority to sign the letter).

I would also make sure that you have proof of payment (e.g., credit card statement, canceled check or wire transfer). Invoice + certified letter + proof of payment should cover it.
 

PeteB

Member
GT40s Supporter
#3
GM doesn't put serial numbers on their crate engines, so there isn't a number to put on the receipt. Ohio has the same requirement, but when I got my car inspected, I told them that and they passed me without a serial number on the receipt.
 
#4
That's a good call Scott, didn't consider that what if they call Superlite and ask. I definitely need to consider that.

Pete, I think the sticker on the head of the engine is the serial number he will be looking for, least that is what I've always assumed is the serial number. If it is, I do think it's dumb to even require it because it is just a sticker. The trooper I'm talking with is experienced in dealing with this, so not sure I can pass anything by him. The positive is other than this issue, he should make my registration process go easier. Just don't want to call attention to myself with him if I can help it.

I may just hand write it on the receipt and initial it. If he asks, I can just tell him I had to get it added afterwards?
 
#5
GM doesn't put serial numbers on their crate engines, so there isn't a number to put on the receipt. Ohio has the same requirement, but when I got my car inspected, I told them that and they passed me without a serial number on the receipt.
yes they do - it's on the head as well as a little tag somewhere lower down on the engine (forget where now)
 
#6
yes they do - it's on the head as well as a little tag somewhere lower down on the engine (forget where now)
There's a normal place for it on the block, I did a bunch of searches online - here's an example:
https://ls1tech.com/forums/lt1-lt4-modifications/915611-vin-numbers.html

This may only apply to engines originally mated to full up vehicles.

I scanned my entire block and found zero etched numbers/letters anywhere that resembled a VIN or serial number. I also purchased my crate motor from Pace. The officer doing my inspection wasn't too hard up on the serial number and grabbed what was on the sticker - I think he had to run it through a database. It all came back clean so I got my sticker, but I was in the same predicament and told him the truth. "Pace told me it's supposed to be on a sticker stuck to the head" - which incidentally is what I was told. No serial numbers on my receipt as well.

Scott - that's a super sweet ID plate! I don't know how things work in MA but in CA when we go through the process of registration a state-assigned VIN is given to the vehicle. My assigned VIN is only 8 characters long!

Good luck Del!
 
#9
There's a normal place for it on the block, I did a bunch of searches online - here's an example:
https://ls1tech.com/forums/lt1-lt4-modifications/915611-vin-numbers.html

This may only apply to engines originally mated to full up vehicles.

I scanned my entire block and found zero etched numbers/letters anywhere that resembled a VIN or serial number. I also purchased my crate motor from Pace. The officer doing my inspection wasn't too hard up on the serial number and grabbed what was on the sticker - I think he had to run it through a database. It all came back clean so I got my sticker, but I was in the same predicament and told him the truth. "Pace told me it's supposed to be on a sticker stuck to the head" - which incidentally is what I was told. No serial numbers on my receipt as well.

Scott - that's a super sweet ID plate! I don't know how things work in MA but in CA when we go through the process of registration a state-assigned VIN is given to the vehicle. My assigned VIN is only 8 characters long!

Good luck Del!
no - i've bought 3 GMPP stand-alone crate engines between 2010 and 2019, all 3 had serial number stickers on the head as well as a VIN tag on the block. Something seems funny about your engine...*shrug*
 
#10
no - i've bought 3 GMPP stand-alone crate engines between 2010 and 2019, all 3 had serial number stickers on the head as well as a VIN tag on the block. Something seems funny about your engine...*shrug*
Could be - I bought the “Pace Peformance” LS376/525. When I asked, I was told they start out with the 430hp crate motor and swap the cams out to the 525 version. It was ~$1k cheaper than the 525 crate from GM at the time I bought it.

https://paceperformance.com/i-23846641-gmp-19256529-pace-performance-ls3-525hp-crate-engine.html

It’s currently a ~$500 delta to the GMPP crate.
 
#11
Thanks for scanning it Cam. I think the serial number on the sticker will be fine for state police, may have to if we don't have it on our blocks.

To add to the confusion of a Pace engine, I was also originally told they start out with the 430hp engine and swap out the cam. When I spoke with them the other day and they said they don't keep track of serial numbers I inquired exactly how do they perform warranty work and without serial numbers how do they know if I actually send them my engine or someone else's and he told me GM does all the warranty work. Confused I told him I was told they swap out the cams and he said "oh yeah we do that to some". No clear answer and believe all I got was BS as it was obvious he wanted to get me off the phone.

As far as my issue, I think hand writing it on the receipt and scanning it in should work fine as long as he doesn't ask too many questions. Even if he calls Pace, I think they've proven they won't be of any help to him to verify. I guess worse case I could always register in Montana, save a ton of money and never worry about it. But I really would rather do it right and have a LA plate on the car.
 

PeteB

Member
GT40s Supporter
#12
My GMPP crate 376/480 I bought from Jegs did not have a serial number or a tag. I called Jegs about it and they told me GM doesn't put serial numbers on them. There was a serial number on the crate, which I cut off and saved.
 
#13
Is it possible the stock versions of the crate engines have Vins like the LT4 and 430HP LS3, but not the hopped up ones like the 376/480? Just a guess.
 
#14
Mine did have the serial number sticker on the head, believe on the front of the engine.

I plan to log the whole Louisiana registration process and make a new thread listing it so if anyone else in Louisiana buys one, it'll make their process a little easier.
 
#15
Is it possible the stock versions of the crate engines have Vins like the LT4 and 430HP LS3, but not the hopped up ones like the 376/480? Just a guess.
i bought 3 ls3525s directly through GM dealerships... all had serial numbers. Can't explain the variations out there

they have to have serial numbers otherwise as said above, if you make a warranty claim how could they know.

The only thing I can think of is if you buy it through somebody like pace or jegs they remove the serial numbers, but I couldn't begin to fathom why
 
#16
Wow. What mess. Trying to get a car on the road. I might just follow Allan’s and Joel advice. Register it in Montana. Not sure what the state of Texas will put me threw. Once the car is ordered and completed.
 
#17
I actually thought Louisiana's process would be one of the easier ones, but while it's not horrible it will be some hoops to jump through and a couple trips 3hrs away to get it done, plus the worse part.... paying taxes.

I wouldn't mind registering in Montana, then transferring it to Louisiana but I believe I still would have to pay taxes here.
 

Howard Jones

Member
GT40s Supporter
#18
I went through "Involuntary title surrender program" on my GT40 several years ago in California. That was where the state recalled, under threat of criminal prosecution, my title, license plates, and vehicle ownership documents and made me go through the complete process again.

I had registered my car in Alabama and then transferred to California for some of the same reasons you mention. Much like starting in Montana and transferring to state X, I would presume. This recall included 1000s of cars/owners and went on for many years and still is ongoing far as I know.

So, my advice is find out how your state wants it done, pay your taxes, and do it that way. I have never heard of a home built car that couldn't be registered but the difficulty does vary by state. The alternatives may seam attractive but the result can be very painful.

Oh and various state tax office officials have been known to check out Club Cobra, Cobra Country, GT40s.com and other kit car orientated Forums for just this reason from time to time. Be careful what you put into print.
 
#19
Oh and various state tax office officials have been known to check out Club Cobra, Cobra Country, GT40s.com and other kit car orientated Forums for just this reason from time to time. Be careful what you put into print.
Howard and I discussed this topic before I went through the registration process; got me paranoid so when I went for registration I produced literally every receipt I had down to the last nut/bolt I ordered from McMaster. It made the pinch at payment time a little more painful but since my build is so heavily documented here I didn't want to run into the off chance that someone reviewing my application would be aware of my car specifically. I actually found having an OVER abundance of receipts handy as everyone was fully convinced I'd built the car myself and didn't make me jump through hoops proving it - seemed like something my inspectors tended to do. I also had mid-build photos printed out with my receipt stack which helped - one reviewer wanted to see evidence that I had personally installed my engine or produce a receipt from a shop stating that they had done it.

In California there's the local rep who does the physical presence review but there's an additional "board" in Sacramento that oversees all approvals state-wide, so they can see how much every registered SLC cost to build and get an idea for whether you're low balling your build. The board gets final say on whether your car passes and it was these guys that wanted to see documentation of engine install. The communication with my local inspector happened real-time while I was there, sometimes it happens over a few days and you have to re-submit info they're looking for if it's not in the initial packet.

It can be hit or miss but having your car registered and plated in your state makes it that much more valuable at resale, if it eventually comes to that, especially for a California car.
 
#20
I agree, I really want to register through my own state mainly so I should have nothing to worry about down the road in case the whole Montana loop hole closes and I would have to do it anyways. I don't recall exactly what they called it on a VINwiki video, but he did state that Louisiana is one of the few states that actually doesn't mind if you register it in Montana.

I really don't want to write that check for taxes, but more importantly I really want a LA plate on my SLC than anything....personalized of course. :)
 
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