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Discussion Starter #1
This is a last minute post but I just discovered this forum.

I am going to look at a 1991 500 EX tommorrow about an hour from where I live. I found it for sale on a local classified site. I called to ask about it as it had a ridiculously low price. The man told me that the title had been last by the previous owner and he had sent off for a new title and had never yet recieved anything back from the state. He is trying to sell it as is without title. I of course will run the VIN number by the highway patrol to verify that it isn't stolen, and I do not expect that it is foul play, just one of those cases. I wasn't even really in the market for a bike but I work around bike engines and after seeing the price I figured I would check it out.
The facts:
I do not know the mileage, I forgot to ask over the phone.
The bike doesn't want to idle, it dies, but will run fine when given throttle. I work with people who are wizards with bike engine tuning so that doesn't really bother me, some gunky carb tuning I figure, bad idle jets maybe.
Owner says bike will need new tires soon.
Picture (1 pic) looked great, good paint, no scratches on the side I saw, seat was brand new looking. 1500$ bike it looked to me.
The guy said he bought it from a kid that lived about 5 miles away from him and he drove it home with the idle problem, just keeping it revved over 3K he said kept it running.
Also one of the turn signals needs a new mount. So possible laydown there.


He paid $500 for it with no title and the carb problems, he wants $300. I figure the bike parted out is worth that much on the net, so it seems like a good deal, just someone who doesn't want to mess with it anymore. The title thing scares me, so I guess I am looking for some advise about that. I know it is possible to apply for lost titles, I have heard of it being done in this state (Missouri) many times. I do also know that it can take a long time to get back and therefore do not know how long the guy has waited.

I am driving tomorrow to look at it, get the mileage and VIN and make a phone call, presumable to the Highway Patrol HQ to ask about the VIN number and if it was ever reported stolen.

Any last minute advice? Am I wasting my money? I am not planning on riding this bike, just storing it until summer. I don't even have a bike license (allthough I have rode bikes before), and this bike wouldn't be getting plates or anything till May or so. So I am NOT buying it to ride now, just fix and store for fun later....

Thanks for any advice you all have...
 

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If it's all there is worth that just for parts. The Idle adjustment is under the carbs in the center, a black knob. But you will need to clean the pilot jets and adjust the pilot screws. Go for it if it's not stolen.
Stick around here, all the problems you may encounter have been solved here.

FOG
 
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Do a quick board search for buying advice specific to this model, but it sounds like you know your way around an engine! Like Fog and Lucky said, the bike is worth it even if you're forced to part it out. But if htat engine is running, it can't be a total write off yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK I drove with a friend to look at it / possibly pick it up tonight...

The guy couldn't get it started. He said he had just had it running the night before for some other people looking at it and said it had been running for a good 45 minutes. Tonight it just sounded like it was flooding out. It would try to fire every now and then, but then just go back to cranking. Starter sounded ok, but the battery was dead so he was jumping it the entire time while trying to start it. The plugs sounded pretty fouled, and he said the gas in the tank was never drained an is about 2 years old (!).

I called the state highway patrol and asked if I could run the VIN to see if it was stolen. They can't run VIN numbers. They can't give out that info. I was like WTF??? They said only the owned can do that and it has to be done in person at he HQ... that didn't make sense.


The officer told me it was illegal to sell a vehicle without a title and that if I bought it I could never get issued a title for it since I would have no proof of ownership. I asked if a signed contract by both parties and a witness could get a change of ownership but he said that that would not work and that would be nothing stopping the guy from recieving a new title 4 months from now and saying I stole the bike. That didn't make sense to me if I wrote a contractual agreement and both parties signed it.....


Any help? I have only bought one other car ever before and it had a clean title. This bike has no title, allthough the guy did show me the registration card from Illinois from the previous owner. He had no title and said he had sent in forms for change of ownership and an application for replacemnt of lost title and never got anything back.

After speaking with the man in person and seeing his place and other vehicles, I have no reason to believe he is trying to con anyone..

I have no idea what to do, I gave him my number. He said he would try and talk to the previous owner and some friends he has in the highway patrol to try to figure out what to do. He said he would call and let me know when he gets it straightened out.

I am just afraid someone might come along with 300$ and say they will take it without the title, no questions asked...
 

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Might be a good deal... maybe not.
My vote is on the side of caution & taking more time to look for "better" good deal.
You have a couple months before Spring hits... unless you're in the warm country. : ]
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Like I said this is a first bike for me, it's something cheap because I would like to learn more about working on them. Like I said I looked at it and it seemed to me like a good deal, and I have the cash laying around. It would sit until summer, as I am NOT in the warm country... Rolla Missouri here people :)!

I just hope he contacts theDMV and gets it worked out. Problem is he bought it without a title so according to MO laws as I found on their site, the origial owner (from IL) needs to get a title. The guy who has it now doesn't even technically own it. He says he still knows the guy, works with him or something, so I might get lucky. I hope he resolves the problem.... I'd love to get this thing back and start working on it.
 

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Ask around for a titled frame. Or someone with a blown engine. try E bay. ask the guy's selling all that EX stuff. You can't buy a new frame with out sending in the Steering Head and the title of the old one.

Fog
 

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Two pieces of advice I'd give if you really want to follow through and end up with a ridable bike.
1) Cops are busy and can't know everything about titles and VINs. Find your info for that from the DMV and/or Carfax. Sounds more to me like the officer you talked to was trying to fill in the blanks as he went or was just stating the bits he remembered. I could be wrong, sorry if I am.
2) Get contact info for the actual title holder and start chatting him up. It sounds like the bike owner can get you the info, but it'll work out easier if you can just cut out the middle-man. Look into just having the title signed from the title holder to you, trying to get it transferred twice just doubles the chances you'll never see it.

Even if you can't get a title, though, I'd buy the bike anyway. Even if you can't sell the parts (yeah, right, you'll get your $300 back easy if you clean them up and pass them on), you could make a great little 500 cc go cart :p. And as said above, nothing makes it easier to fix up a 2nd bike than having a running parts bike in your garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You mentioned go-kart, that is funny..

You see that is similar to my original intention. I work on Formula racing cars for a living as a carbon fiber composites guy.. I live racecars. I have been at work in my free time designed a little summer project and I saw this bike originally thinking it was going to be to crappy to return to life on the street. Then I saw it in person and noticed it would not take any time or money at all to make it an everyday bike, if not for me, for someone. I do not have a bike license and have only ridden a few times. I like 4 wheels and 2.5G formula car cornering... but something about this bike when I saw it just made me really want it.

I am currently awaiting call from the guy within the next few weeks to see if he worked out any details. If he doesn't call in about 3 weeks I will ring him up and ask again, if he says he can't contact the old owner or whatever I will offer him 250 cash or something like that. Clean the engine up and get it running and sell it to a good home in a titled chassis. As you can imagine, being a mechanical engineer, things like that just get me all jollied up anyways.

But this waiting game is such a nail biter! I want that bike!

-Mike
 

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Just buy the thing, I've sold engines from things like that for $500 or more, without any guarantee of any sort than it's all there.

FOG
 
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If they are unwilling/unable to get the title information in a reasonable time, you can always attempt to register it as an "abandoned vehicle". It sounds like it might fit those criteria...
 

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Dude get it! Be gangster ;D

Seriously though - thats all carbs out of synch-ish sounding stuff - carbs are really sensitive and probably dirty as all hell from the chewy gas that has been in there since 1958 or whenever. pLus it obviously hasn't been ridden in forever.
 
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If you buy it (and you should) just make sure to get a receipt from the guy you buy it from, and be willing to work with law enforcement should anyone try to con you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well I don't know about your states but I have read all over the MO DMV websites and I have not seen jack about the whole abandoned vehicle thing. MO is kinda ghey. If you told the state of Missouri you have an abandoned vehicle, they would probably just say you stole it and arrest you.

I am going to give they guy a week or so to get back to me and then I'll call and offer him 250$ cash without the title. Then I just gotta find a place to store it (I park on the street, no garage, apartments, you get the idea.)
 
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