honda engine serial numbers - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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honda engine serial numbers

Does anyone out there know how to tell the year a Honda motorcycle engine was made? I can easily find what the first 5 characters are for with a quick Google search. Example: SC48E-XXXXX seems to be for the 919's. I've seen a few places say the last digit is the year it was made, but I've seen a 919 engine with a "9" for the last digit. I've already called my local dealer and they had no idea. The reason I'm asking is that I'm shopping around for engines and some people out there have no idea what year bike it came out of.

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post #2 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by runaway919 View Post
Does anyone out there know how to tell the year a Honda motorcycle engine was made? I can easily find what the first 5 characters are for with a quick Google search. Example: SC48E-XXXXX seems to be for the 919's. I've seen a few places say the last digit is the year it was made, but I've seen a 919 engine with a "9" for the last digit. I've already called my local dealer and they had no idea. The reason I'm asking is that I'm shopping around for engines and some people out there have no idea what year bike it came out of.
I do, but I'm mobile at the moment and don't have my books or manual with me.

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post #3 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by runaway919 View Post
Does anyone out there know how to tell the year a Honda motorcycle engine was made? I can easily find what the first 5 characters are for with a quick Google search. Example: SC48E-XXXXX seems to be for the 919's. I've seen a few places say the last digit is the year it was made, but I've seen a 919 engine with a "9" for the last digit. I've already called my local dealer and they had no idea. The reason I'm asking is that I'm shopping around for engines and some people out there have no idea what year bike it came out of.
Since your in there, can you tell me where the engine# is on a 919? CA DMV was freaking out when they couldnt find it (long story). Also I mean the engine# not the VIN in case you were referring to the VIN.

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post #4 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 02:28 PM
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Also to answer your question, you can call Honda in LA and they will look it up. I do that for VINs sometimes and they have it all in their compooters.

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post #5 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 07:52 PM
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Since your in there, can you tell me where the engine# is on a 919? CA DMV was freaking out when they couldnt find it (long story). Also I mean the engine# not the VIN in case you were referring to the VIN.
The engine number is stamped in a flat on the top of the crankcase, next to the right side cover. If you click this picture to get the max resolution size, you can see part of this 919 engine's serial number in the lower left, running along the bottom half of the left edge of the picture.



Towards the top is the clutch arm, where you attach the lower part of the clutch cable. You can also see the oil fill hole next to it.

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Also to answer your question, you can call Honda in LA and they will look it up. I do that for VINs sometimes and they have it all in their compooters.
Yes, but they may not be open at the time you are enquiring.

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post #6 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by runaway919 View Post
Does anyone out there know how to tell the year a Honda motorcycle engine was made? I can easily find what the first 5 characters are for with a quick Google search. Example: SC48E-XXXXX seems to be for the 919's. I've seen a few places say the last digit is the year it was made, but I've seen a 919 engine with a "9" for the last digit. I've already called my local dealer and they had no idea. The reason I'm asking is that I'm shopping around for engines and some people out there have no idea what year bike it came out of.

Whoever it was that told you the last digit was the year needs to be beaten with a club studded with nails. They're an idiot. Honda has never done it that way.

The serial number of the engine on Hondas made after the CB model prefix appeared in the 1960s works as follows:

Assuming SC48E-XYYYYYY for a serial:
SC48 = model code, can be as little as two or three characters
E = this serial number is for an engine, there are other parts with unrelated serial numbers on your bike
X = what year or variation of engine, where 1 = first year of bike, 2 = second year, 3 = third year, etc., etc. On some Hondas with a *really* long production run, this may be two or more digits, or it may even have letters (rare).
YYYYYYY = the actual serial number of the engine, what number it was in the production run. This does NOT always match the serial number part of the VIN number or chassis number on a Honda even on brand new showroom bikes.

Honda used to have an identification book they published every so often to help figure out this sort of thing. Each model would be sorted by year, have some basic notes to distinguish the model and list the chassis and engine number ranges. The last full edition that I'm aware of was produced in 2000; even today copies of it go for stupid money. There was a 2001-2005 model supplemental, but there hasn't been anything since then. Here are some samples for illumination, using our bike's cousin, the last Nighthawk 750. All pictures clickable for higher resolution versions.









As you can see, every year has its own chassis and serial number range. Sometimes there was early production or overlap, so you can have one 'year spec' that actually has a production date that's out of range but the serial numbers will tell the real story. Sometimes there are engine number overruns (but extremely rarely) where the number series runs over to two year specs of bikes. There have also been recalls - there are a bunch of 1984 Nighthawk 700S running around with numbers that are technically out of range for the 84 but aren't in range for the 85 either and that was because the engines were recalled and replaced with bugfix versions or had the cases replaced (defective machining) necessitating a number change in some cases. Some just got 85-spec engines at the Honda dealer, though.

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post #7 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 08:31 PM
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Now, from the general to the specific. I only have the 1959-2000 guide for now, so I can't just look at the entry in the supplemental for the 02-05 919's numbers. I do, however, possess the 919 parts microfiche sheet and have converted it to digital format. From that, we get these useful pieces of information. As always, click for full resolution:





Area code "A" is for Federal emissions bikes and probably stands for "America". "AC" is the code used for California emissions bikes and probably means "America California." Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if it was "America's (Hippie Dumbass) Commune."

Why yes, I do have a lot of technical documentation for the 919 (and other Hondas) and continue to accumulate more. Why do you ask?

Seriously, I learned early on (even as a kid) that if you want to play with anything vintage, you *need* all the documentation you can get. There is no such thing as too much technical documentation for a vehicle you own. Ideally if you can get the original blueprints and the dimensional drawings of every part on the vehicle, that's a great thing to have and if you have anything less you need to keep going. As some of you may have noticed, I've approached 919 ownership as if it were already a vintage bike and done things that I've said I would have done if only my other vintage vehicles had been newly produced when I bought them. On top of that, I've seen the entire lifecycle path of a motorcycle from new to vintage to classic to antique and learned how it all goes - so I try to keep ahead of the curve; purchasing information, aftermarket bits and parts while they're still available and not after they're out of production and needing long and patient searches to turn up. Trust me, I've been there far too many times.
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post #8 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 09:01 PM
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You sound like Mcromo44. He has more documentation on the 919 and cb750 than Honda does I think.

Spoiler:

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post #9 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 10:00 PM
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Sounds like he's been there too.

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post #10 of 24 Old 12-15-2015, 10:27 PM
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Cb, that is just seriously awesome!

Do you think the 919 will fade completely from public view for a while and make a comeback as a sought after bike, or will it become a classic slowly but surely? Thoughts?

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post #11 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 08:59 AM
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The arc of popularity the 919 seems to be on is one a lot of Honda bikes have traversed. Here's some key indicators.

1. More popular after it went out of production than when it was in. Was vastly underappreciated when new and only now that it's 'gone' has it slowly started to sink in.
2. Still has a reputation despite being gone eight years now.
3. People are already wondering why they didn't buy one when they had the chance or keep the one they had.


I doubt that it will ever become one of the legendary Honda classics, like the Goldwing, the Hurricanes or the original CB750. But it's *already* well on its way to being a cult classic and will certainly be remembered at least on par with some of the more iconic and unusual Hondas like my Nighthawk 700S or the Pacific Coast or the ST1100. It probably will be better remembered than those, but less well remembered than say the Blackbird or the Valkyrie.

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post #12 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 10:43 AM
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I think your assessment is pretty accurate. I could see the 919 becoming a cult classic. However, it's going to be hard to beat something like the blackbirds because Honda keeps dropping the ball on newer bikes. I don't see Honda having any contenders for the blackbird any time soon.

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post #13 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 10:45 AM
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One thing I find sad, is that at my local honda dealer the guy who is running service (who appears to have years of experience), didnt even know what a 919 was. I look around the showroom while Im waiting and I see not a single bike I like.
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post #14 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 11:04 AM
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One thing I find sad, is that at my local honda dealer the guy who is running service (who appears to have years of experience), didnt even know what a 919 was. I look around the showroom while Im waiting and I see not a single bike I like.
Where do you live? It doesn't seem to be a problem around here.

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post #15 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 11:13 AM
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Where do you live? It doesn't seem to be a problem around here.
california

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post #16 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 11:22 AM
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california
And there's your explanation. Californians in general have the memory of a gnat. See the recent gubernatorial elections out there. See the drought the state is still in, and yet the idiots are tearing down dams and draining reservoirs and dumping ag and potential drinking water into the ocean to protect a trash invasive species of fish that isn't really endangered and has no value. The examples go on and on. The 919's been gone more than five model years so of course the idiots there would have forgotten it.

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post #17 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 11:29 AM
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Yeah thats why we generate the majority of the GNP for the united states. Bad memories.

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post #18 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 11:40 AM
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Yeah thats why we generate the majority of the GNP for the united states. Bad memories.
Yup, you have bad memories, because CA does NOT generate the majority of the US's GNP. Texas and New York alone combined generate significantly more than California does.



And Texas by itself is projected to eclipse California's GSP by 2020 or 2025 (depending on who you ask). Did I mention we have lots of water because we're not idiots and we built reservoirs and desalination plants? You might have noticed that Toyota has fled California and moved just up the road from me over in Plano, Texas. There's reasons for that; Honda is apparently thinking of doing the same. Nissan's also left.

And I say that as an ex-Californian who saw how things were going after the 1992 LA Riots and pulled the eject handle.

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post #19 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 11:47 AM
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It should also be pointed out that your DMV, the people who are supposed to be the professionals at vehicle identification numbers, couldn't find the engine serial number despite it being in the same general location since 1968 on Honda I4 motorcycle engines.

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Since your in there, can you tell me where the engine# is on a 919? CA DMV was freaking out when they couldnt find it (long story). Also I mean the engine# not the VIN in case you were referring to the VIN.

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post #20 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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So..... It sounds like in the case of 919's, where SC48E-XYZZZZZ


the Y is the year of engine, not the X. ("0" being the first year of production) That X variable seems the same on all year bikes. This is beginning to make sense now. Thanks for your input CB700S...very helpful!

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post #21 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 02:41 PM
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And I say that as an ex-Californian who saw how things were going after the 1992 LA Riots and pulled the eject handle.
Damn, that explains a lot about your background. Thank you for sharing. What was it like after the LA riots? History books are pretty much mum on the subject other than highlighting how racial tensions improved immensely. I know there is a lot more to it than that. We saw a mass influx of Californians moving to the northwest after that time. That's how Oregon started to really shift to a blue state.

joke: Are you still a recovering ex-Californian or are you already recovered?

On paper, California seems to do pretty good in terms of GDP, but people fail to realize that by far and large, the biggest contribution to California's GDP is the tech industry. Namely processor research and software development. Not exactly a stable market if you look at the history. Second largest contribution is the porn industry according to several sources. But the one thing Californians keep forgetting is that even though they are in the top 5 states in terms of GDP, they are also one of the only states to have issued IOUs for 6 months or longer...

I was offered a significantly higher wage job in California and I immediately turned it down. I will never trust a state that is readily ok with issuing IOUs to all date state employees for 6 months or more. Not to mention crime rate, cost of living, property costs, state taxes, and severely limited liberties.

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post #22 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by runaway919 View Post
So..... It sounds like in the case of 919's, where SC48E-XYZZZZZ


the Y is the year of engine, not the X. ("0" being the first year of production) That X variable seems the same on all year bikes. This is beginning to make sense now. Thanks for your input CB700S...very helpful!
Not quite. There are a few Honda Hornet motors floating around in the US. They are mechanically compatible but their serial numbers' X value is 1 in your XYZZZZZ format.

A better assumption (so as not to get confused if you need the info for another Honda) is that the format is SC48E-XXYYYYY where XX is a value between 20 and 24.

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post #23 of 24 Old 12-16-2015, 09:16 PM
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Damn, that explains a lot about your background. Thank you for sharing. What was it like after the LA riots?
-Edit- Conversation moved to PM.

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post #24 of 24 Old 11-22-2016, 10:53 AM
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Bringing this one back from the dead, but is the engine serial number listed anywhere else on the block that allows the entire number to be read? The location indicated above has the last few digits basically covered by what I think is the airbox. Short of removing that, I can't make out the entire serial number.

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