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Bignerd0100100

DRZ400E With Cali plates street legal?

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Hey all, 

I'm looking at buying a 2004 Suzuki DRZ400EK or at least I think it's an EK according to Vin lookup websites, but it does not appear to have a kickstarter. I was told the bike was owned by a motorcycle dealer and that it has a current green sticker, and a California license plate but has not been registered for the streets since 2011. I want this as a dual sport but am not clear if the fact that it already has a plate means I am good to register it or if maybe they took away the ability to register it after it was plated, California loves to do that kind of stuff. Since the bike was owned by a dealer I would think they were up on the latest regulations in California, but who knows. Can anyone add any insight as to what I should look for on the bike itself like the carburetor, model numbers etc? Or do I just try my luck at the DMV?

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Does it have a license plate or a green sticker?

It can't have both

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So it has a current green sticker right now, but it had a license plate and was registered up until 2011 as street legal. The person who we are buying it from apparently had to pay a lot of money to get it green stickered. What we were able to get from the DMV over the phone was that it was registered as "RT" in in 2011 with the plate and is now registered only as "T" with a green sticker. They could not however tell us if we would have any problems registering it again as street legal or "RT." It seems like I might just have to spend a day waiting at the DMV to find anything out for sure because everything I am reading says you cannot register an E model as street legal, but this one clearly has been in the past. 

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You won't be able to get a CA plate for that bike today even if it had one at some point. You will need to plate it in another state.

And you have a DR-Z400E. No such thing as an "EK." The "k" is part of the year designation, not model. Your '04 is a DR-Z400Ek4.

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Whoever let the registration lapse on the plate probably screwed up.  If the seller thinks the street legal plate can be re-acquired, let the seller do it then buy the bike and transfer the title to yourself.  Only DRZ400 that came with a kick starter was the kick start only model "DRZ400" Year code Y, K1, K2, K3. May have already been doped from the model line by 2004.

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Thanks a lot for the help, the seller is a friend so we were able to stipulate that if we couldn't get it registered for the street no deal. On a side note, does anyone know if it is specifically the carburetor that makes it not street legal. The manual actually has stickers over the carburetor area with an update that says it is a California carburetor. 

Edited by Bignerd0100100

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The carb has a lot to do with passing emissions testing but no just the carb alone will not make a motorcycle street legal.

There is more then 1 variation of "street legal".  For a vehicle to be built or imported and sold in the US as street legal it has to pass all federal compliance requirements in many areas of concern.  Emissions is only 1 of them.  Once past federal requirements, state requirement come into play.  Calif is hung up on emissions compliance.  If it didn't pass federal compliance it will not pass Calif state requirements.  CA wants to see the federal emissions compliance before even thinking about passing state.  A DRZ400E of any year never had evap compliance let alone exhaust compliance.  Even the plastic gas tank emits too much emissions right thru the plastic.  Many vehicles have plastic tanks but the plastic has been upgraded and made thicker.  Most "E"s were red sticker and perhaps the BSR36 on the CA E allows it to be green sticker but it is never going to be CA emissions compliant for street legal.

Other states have different requirements for "street legal".  All WA cares about is safety equipment compliance. Lights, horn, mirrors, brakes, signals, tires, etc.  Nothing at all about emissions.  You can buy a new KTM SXF (4 stroke) or SX (2 stroke) and get a WA plate on it if you want.

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All the drz400 motorcycles have carbs....

You are screwed on getting it plated again for the street

Someone cheaped out by making it a green sticker, and ruined it having street legal plates

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The reference to carburetor was to the brand of carb. E models originally came with a Keihin FCR and the street legal S/SM came with a BSR36 Mikuni. Later California E models came with the same BSR36 as the street legal models.  But the Carb alone did not make the CA E street legal or emissions compliant.  It possibly could have passed emissions testing but was not tested or certified compliant.

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Thanks again for the helpful insight. The bike was a personal bike of a custom motosports shop owner and it does have a different exhaust, no idea about the gas tank. Looks like a move out of California is the best option 😂 We are eyeballing a move to WA in the next couple of years so we might just go through with the deal anyway. It's a beautiful bike at a good price. Any recommendations for a good place to buy in WA Noble? 😀 We are heading to the dreaded DMV today to see what happens.

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If you're planning to move to WA you might as well stay in CA. The loonies are taking over there, too.

Regarding the bike, sounds like it is a CA neutered E model, in which case its nothing more than a stripped-down S model (same engine, carb, exhaust). If street legal is a priority you'd be better off buying an S model over that E model.

  • Haha 1

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WA is like CA in regards to economics and politics.  In CA it is North vs South.  In WA it is East of the Cascades vs West of the Cascades. (ag vs industry)  Seattle is fast growing and high priced.  You will have to look around and see what suits you.

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It took a while to get it all together but the answer is YES! We got the plates on the bike today, its E model status seemed to have nothing to do with it. All we had to tell the person at the window of the DMV was that the body type was being changed, it was inspected, and they handed us the plates. 

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You do not need to post the licensing agency if you prefer not to, but what city did this take place in? Obviously laws are the same all over Calif but interpretations and degree of enforcement can vary by location.  Sometimes it is best to nod and say yes when you hear the right answer.  So much for the theory there is a digit in the VIN that will kick it out.

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When it was registered as off road only, the body type on the registration was "T" I think this stands for trail but I am not 100% sure on that. It is now registered as "EN" for Enduro I'm guessing. During the inspection they looked at everything the VIN the motor, checked for a speedometer, looked at the brake and light inspection. the person at the window in the DMV seemed to be confused by the "T" on the title that they could not register it as street legal but there was an expert there who told us we could get it inspected to make sure that the bike had everything street legal and then change the body type to "EN" after.  

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15 minutes ago, Noble said:

You do not need to post the licensing agency if you prefer not to, but what city did this take place in? Obviously laws are the same all over Calif but interpretations and degree of enforcement can vary by location.  Sometimes it is best to nod and say yes when you hear the right answer.  So much for the theory there is a digit in the VIN that will kick it out.

I don't really want to post where, but I will say that AAA would not touch it with a 10 food pole, I went there first and they immediately turned me away. Honestly this trip to the DMV was an hour long and the least bothersome trip so far. I will re-iterate though that the original owner had a motorcycle shop and probably put the parts on or special ordered the bike to CA compliance. It has stickers on the frame saying is CA compliant with emissions and everything so this might not be the case for everyone but glad I took the risk and bought the bike.

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From what I've gathered, the first thing DMV personnel do is look at the VIN, and if there is a "3" or "C" in the 8th position they shut you down. This seems to be their policy at this time, whether it is compliant with the regulations or not, because its easy for any employee to do (no special knowledge required). There may be a way to get around that, but most DMVs don't seem to know or don't want to deal with it or have been told by their superiors to not go any further. If no "3" or "C", they'll start the process. Model year 2004 and earlier bikes seem to not have those digits in the VIN, so maybe that's what helped get your bike through. Regardless, glad it worked out for you. Enjoy that bike!

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1 hour ago, Bignerd0100100 said:

It took a while to get it all together but the answer is YES! We got the plates on the bike today, its E model status seemed to have nothing to do with it. All we had to tell the person at the window of the DMV was that the body type was being changed, it was inspected, and they handed us the plates. 

congratulations

 

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2 hours ago, ptgarcia said:

From what I've gathered, the first thing DMV personnel do is look at the VIN, and if there is a "3" or "C" in the 8th position they shut you down. This seems to be their policy at this time, whether it is compliant with the regulations or not, because its easy for any employee to do (no special knowledge required). There may be a way to get around that, but most DMVs don't seem to know or don't want to deal with it or have been told by their superiors to not go any further. If no "3" or "C", they'll start the process. Model year 2004 and earlier bikes seem to not have those digits in the VIN, so maybe that's what helped get your bike through. Regardless, glad it worked out for you. Enjoy that bike!

I do not have a 3 or C in the 8th position so you may be right. I will definitely be enjoying this bike 😎 thanks.  

1 hour ago, Barry Ries said:

congratulations

 

Feels like I won the lottery haha. Thanks.

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