OK so you are hitting your PM limit and are afraid of losing that valuable info shared to you by your fellow members. Well I have a solution, OK... I don't technically have a solution but the good folks at VCL Developers does! They make a tiny download friendly application called "vBulletin PM Reader" This lets you download an XML file to your computer and then import it into the reader. Sure it is not as handy as outlook or gmail BUT it does offer you a good bit of functionality. It will allow you to search by sender or key word in the title as well as sort by several different fields including recieved time or alphabetically by sender. It will also seperate your incoming and outgoing PM's into different folder automagically! The only gripe I have is that I can't search by keyword within the message body itself.

So to do this you will need to go to http://vcldeveloper.com/2009/03/13/vbulletin-pm-reader/ and download the FREE application "vbulleitn PM Reader"
Once downloaded go ahead and install it

Now head over to your PM inbox and on the bottom of the page you will see a title Download all Private Messages as: under that you will find several options. Choose "XML" this will download the file and you can SAVE it to a location on your computer that you will remember. I made a file called AOD PM's ahead of time just for this application.
Ok now that you have downloaded this fancy new XML file it will show up as something like "privatemessages-yourname-xx-xx-20xx" where the X's would be todays date.

Now open the "vBulletin PM Reader" and click on "import" this will open a browse window and you will need to navigat to the new XML file you saved in the previous step. Select the file then click "Open" and you are done! Your files have been imported and will populate the database.

***Note the first time you open the PM Reader it will tell you that no Databases have been built, then it will prompt you to build on, this is OK! just follow the prompts and it will make it for you no problem.

****Final note... Downloading your folder does not delete them from here you will still need to do that. You will however now have a complete searchable backup of your current PM's save to your computer. You will need to repeat this (starting at Download all private messages) the next time you decide to empty your box as it doesn't do it for you. Last thing is when you delete your PM's they are no longer stored on our server SO if you log onto a different PC and hope to look up an old PM they will not be there! In order to access them you will need to go back to the computer you archived them on!

Clear as mud? Let me know if anyone tries this and how well the instructions here work!!