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    Thread: Is it possible to roll back a digital odometer?

    1. Member 08StreetBob's Avatar
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      04-24-2006 06:39 PM #1
      There's a member on another forum i'm part of, and he has recently come across what he thinks was a car that was previously his, but was in a wreck. This car looks exactly the same; same mods, same rims, same interior bits, but the selling dealership has repaired all the front end damage, and the odometer is reading around 26K miles, but his car had around 57K or so. His was totalled, but they are saying it was never in an accident, and they even changes one letter in his VIN, from a U to a V. So, my question is, how hard is it to turn back a digital odometer? WHat does it consist of? New ecu? New gauge cluster?
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    2. 04-24-2006 06:41 PM #2
      Quote, originally posted by Soon2BeGTi »
      There's a member on another forum i'm part of, and he has recently come across what he thinks was a car that was previously his, but was in a wreck. This car looks exactly the same; same mods, same rims, same interior bits, but the selling dealership has repaired all the front end damage, and the odometer is reading around 26K miles, but his car had around 57K or so. His was totalled, but they are saying it was never in an accident, and they even changes one letter in his VIN, from a U to a V. So, my question is, how hard is it to turn back a digital odometer? WHat does it consist of? New ecu? New gauge cluster?

      have him call the gov't and report it as "odometer fraud" and VIN changes. i dunno what department off hand, but thats a HUGE issue.


    3. Member GTI 20v's Avatar
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      04-24-2006 06:44 PM #3
      On VWs with a digital odometer, the odometer is contained in the cluster. One can theoretically buy a new cluster. The mileage in a new cluster can be advanced once.

      CarFax is crap for a lot of things, but one thing it is good at is detecting odometer roll-back. I would run both VINs through CarFax and see what it says. Also check all of the VIN plates on the new car. It is tough to phony up all of them.

      Quote Originally Posted by DUBLUV401 View Post
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      04-24-2006 07:00 PM #4
      Quote, originally posted by Soon2BeGTi »
      There's a member on another forum i'm part of, and he has recently come across what he thinks was a car that was previously his, but was in a wreck. This car looks exactly the same; same mods, same rims, same interior bits, but the selling dealership has repaired all the front end damage, and the odometer is reading around 26K miles, but his car had around 57K or so. His was totalled, but they are saying it was never in an accident, and they even changes one letter in his VIN, from a U to a V. So, my question is, how hard is it to turn back a digital odometer? WHat does it consist of? New ecu? New gauge cluster?

      If only one character in the VIN does not match, the checksum will fail.

      See http://www.angelfire.com/ca/TO....html on the check digit.

      Odometer fraud with digital odometers can be done by replacing the odometer or the instrument panel, then setting the new odometer to the fraudulent mileage.


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      04-24-2006 08:06 PM #5
      Actually, When I was in Berlin, K1 Journal (A News show) had a segment about how resetting those Digital ones is a HUGE problem in Deutschland.

    6. Senior Member Metallitubby's Avatar
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      04-24-2006 08:09 PM #6
      we send out odo's all the time for reprogramming @ Honda... so yes.

    7. Member yo vanilla's Avatar
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      04-24-2006 08:16 PM #7
      Quote, originally posted by tjl »

      If only one character in the VIN does not match, the checksum will fail.

      See http://www.angelfire.com/ca/TO....html on the check digit.

      depends which digit is different though, but in this case it sounds fishy. or, possibly the previous owner has the vin wrong?

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    8. 04-24-2006 08:25 PM #8
      Quote, originally posted by Soon2BeGTi »
      So, my question is, how hard is it to turn back a digital odometer?

      I haven't seen the guts of a digital odometer, but I have no reason to believe it's impossible or even very hard.

      call it potatography

    9. 04-24-2006 11:14 PM #9
      yes, it's possible.

    10. Member WannaCorrado's Avatar
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      04-24-2006 11:23 PM #10
      of course it is possible. on any car. even on BMW's where there are multiple places the mileage is stored (including keys).

    11. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      04-24-2006 11:33 PM #11
      Replacing the instrument cluster with a new or used one is an easy change. Criminal? Only if you can prove intent. I would bet the actual dealership with the car did not do this- they make too much money from regular cars to risk this kind of crap.

      But the VIN change- that is very criminal.


      I am guessing the original car with this VIN was wrecked- and not claimed on the insurance (for some reason- maybe no insurance- maybe they were drunk and had a single car accident- maybe it was wrecked on track). The wrecked vehicle without a branded title was sold for parts- and this car had the wrecked car's instrument cluster and VIN plates installed.


      I would check on the history of that VIN. If you can find out the original owner- and how long the VIN was not registered- that should be very informative.

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    12. 04-25-2006 10:38 AM #12
      Quote, originally posted by turbo_nine »
      I haven't seen the guts of a digital odometer, but I have no reason to believe it's impossible or even very hard.

      It would not be difficult at all if you know what you're doing.. the logic and circuitry is extremely simple.. now would a dealer attempt this? no way.. they would just use a new cluster.


    13. Member Avicenna's Avatar
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      04-25-2006 11:27 AM #13
      is there a thread we can view on the other forum?
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    14. Member G-rocco's Avatar
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      04-25-2006 11:32 AM #14
      Quote, originally posted by Metallitubby »
      we send out odo's all the time for reprogramming @ Honda... so yes.

      Yup.. and a buddy of mine was WAY over his lease mile alottment on his accord. A simple trip to his buddy took care of that... We came back 45 min later and the car magically had 45k less kilometers on it (IT was in Montreal) Actually he had it done twice.. this shady 'friend' of his could also have made the car disapear fo $2500 CAD, but that's a whole 'nother story.


    15. 04-25-2006 06:42 PM #15
      There's a German company that sells a tool that allows you to reset your MKIV's odometer at will. I have one, and it works. (It's also what I use to obtain the SKC from a cluster...something that VW swears up and down is not possible for their techs to do.)

      Ironically, when they sell the tool to fellow Germans, they have to provide software which can *not*change the odometer. Only non-EU buyers get the good software.

      --Chris


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