Import JDM Diesel cruiser from canada to US?

Discussion in 'Diesel Tech and 24 volts Systems' started by apocalypsegrrrl, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. apocalypsegrrrl

    apocalypsegrrrl

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Washington State
    OK, I just read "everything I know about importing." But I know there's a way around this, because I've seen a couple of 85-89 year diesels on craig's list, and they're RHD, so they came from Japan. And they're registered here in Washington State. I called a US importer, and he casually said it wasn't a problem, he could get one legally imported for me for $450. Anybody know the whole truth? And why does NAFTA let 8 fingered 6 year olds in Tiajuana make our Dockers, but we can't buy a car from a guy 50 miles away? :confused:
  2. crushers

    crushers post ho SILVER Star

    Messages:
    22,147
    Location:
    Tara Ontario
    so pay the $450 and document the whole proceedure and post it up...

    the only ones i have seen are the ones where the country of origin was falsified to read Canada instead of the actual country of origin which is Japan.

    but there is a legal way of getting them into the states by registering them (questionable) in one state then moving them from that state to another using that title.

    my take on the situation is this: if you can afford to loose the investment then do it, if not then don't go down that road...
  3. bagh33ra

    bagh33ra

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Current common wisdom is that DOT won't let you bring in a RHD that is under 25 years old. Currently you could bring in an 82 RHD cruiser to the states - but then you'd also have to be in a state that doesn't have a different year cut off.

    There may be something here that your importer is seeing that we aren't though.

    Best of luck. Getting them into the states from Canada is far easier than getting them from other locations. Rust of course is the downside.

    Also, depending on the state you are in, they may have different cut off years than DOT (Like California - which completely ignores DOT and EPA dates and makes up their own.)
  4. Tofudebeest

    Tofudebeest

    Messages:
    2,841
    What about the infamous "Toyota letter"?
  5. brownbear

    brownbear Mod in Hibernation Moderator

    Messages:
    6,627
    Location:
    True North Strong and Free
    The main benefit of importing from Canada is between the USA and Canada we are allowed to buy and sell vehicles designed for our markets... The JDMS allowed into Canada were not part of this deal.

    The ones(JDM RHD) that are making into the states are lost in the confusion of normal vehicle trades between the countries. While not allowed some slip through. Especially ones that are registered in BC prior to coming over.
  6. 40Flipper

    40Flipper The Bar Whisperer SILVER Star

    Messages:
    4,802
    Location:
    Millis Beach
    The DOT has a site of approved vehicles that are less than 25 years old. These are vehicles that US residents have already gone thru the torture of getting them approved by the DOT for importation. They are select models and years and the list is very short. You can search and find it online.

    If it is less than 25 years old and not on that list it is most likely a gray market vehicle. Some less than reputable importers will take the VIN tag off a 1982 or older cruiser and put it on the newer vehicle. You register and title it as the old vehicle and everything is fine till you go to sell it. Then you have to explain the sketchyness to the new buyer and good luck selling it.

    The only true way to import a 25 year or younger car legally is to have a US DOT licensed and bonded importer get it into the country (they usually charge 3 or 4 times the actual cost), swap the steering to LHD (big bucks), then upgrade the seat belts, brakes, bumpers etc to get them to code. I would safely say it would cost you $12-15K to have this done as opposed to a fraction of that cost for an 82 or older.

    Buy an 82 or older truck legally and save the trouble and $$$ or just wait a few years.

    Phew....
  7. bagh33ra

    bagh33ra

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Vaporware.

    One of the importing stickies has a Toyota phone number that I found and called a couple times, talked to a couple different folks each time, all with the same answer.

    Toyota of America can't (read won't) provide information about vehicles not designed for the North American market.

    Supposedly someone got a "letter" of emissions conformance from a Toyota dealership once, and used that to slip through a crack. But that was for emissions not DOT safety regs, and I think they were showing it to a state authority, not customs.
  8. Jan-78FJ40

    Jan-78FJ40

    Messages:
    3,216
    as with all these importing threads, they morph into fiction pretty quickly, driven by rumor and ignorance.
    Just some points:
    RHD is perfectly legal in the US.
    TLC Seat Belts in Japan and the US are identical.
    So are TLC brakes.
    Importers are not the ones making trucks comply.
    If you want a Canadian 83 or newer, an importer can legally get it into the US for ~700$.
    There are many newer TLCs here that are NOT gray, and did NOT have tags swapped.

    anyway, all these points have been rehashed numerous times, and it gets really old.
  9. freeway

    freeway

    Messages:
    57
    Get ahold of Washington Technical Compliance Section. Your local DMV will have #.Speak only to a supervisor. Tell them what you have and make sure they know it's diesel.RHD is perfectly legal in States and a none issue as far as import.
    Regi guy named Tom helped with mine. Lives in Montana and deals with these Cruiser's all the time 403-752-4359
  10. apocalypsegrrrl

    apocalypsegrrrl

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks for the info. I also have a cousin in Delta BC who has dual citizenship. What if he drove it down and sold it to me? Would it be stuck in Limbo forever, or could I apply for legal status while it sits in my garage?
  11. freeway

    freeway

    Messages:
    57
    Doesn't matter.You're still going to have to jump through DMV hoops to register it in the states because it's going in you're name with your address.

  12. peterdouglas

    peterdouglas

    Messages:
    441
    Location:
    Montréal, Canada
    I read on someone's blog or website that he bought a vehicle on eBay (I think it was a Canadian spec Land Cruiser, don't recall which model). He lived in California, IIRC, and the Canadian seller offered to drive the vehicle to him. That's when the trouble started. Amongst other things, he had to bring the vehicle back up to the Canada/US border and had a bunch of hassles.

    I once got a smoking deal on a really good 1994 Kia Sephia. Some lady from Arizona moved to Quebec, where I was living at the time. She couldn't register the car in Canada, so sold it as a parts car to some guy who thought he could register it. Of course, he couldn't. It was less than 15 years old and Kia didn't sell that model in Canada until about 1999. So the 1994 didn't meet Canadian standards. The guy sold me the Kia dirt cheap.

    The only way I got to drive it was to get a friend in Mississippi to plate it for me. I sent him the registration and he was able to put in in his name without the car being there (not sure how he managed that, I guess MS is easier than other states or he sweet talked the lady at the DMV into overlooking something). He sent me the registration and plate. I drove the car in Quebec and Ontario with a Mississippi registration for about 6 months until my buddy flew up for a visit and bought the car off me and drove it back to Mississippi. Kind of sketchy and gray market... I could never have sold it in Canada. Maybe on eBay if I took it into New York state for an American to buy, but luckily my buddy needed a car and wanted to buy it from me. It was already in his name too!
  13. Martin White

    Martin White

    Messages:
    1,102
    Location:
    Abbotsford, B.C.
    Even if it's possible, there are going to be problems with support for such a vehicle in the US. Just something to think about. Might be better off converting an FJ80 to diesel with a US supported engine (cummins etc).
  14. Bayou_Flyer

    Bayou_Flyer

    Messages:
    158
    Location:
    Ocean Springs, MS
    While the 25 year rule makes things easy, I believe 81-96 non-conforming Cruisers are approved for import (read the dockets about required modifications). And as I was browsing the EPA site, I came across this little tidbit of information:

    "All 1988-1995 Canadian automobiles (gasoline or diesel fueled), light-duty trucks (gasoline or diesel fueled) and heavy-duty gasoline fueled engines are considered by EPA to conform with U.S. emission requirements."

    Since RHD is perfectly legal in the US, and Canada sold diesel LC's, maybe this statement is also applicable to JDM Cruisers legally imported to Canada?
  15. crushers

    crushers post ho SILVER Star

    Messages:
    22,147
    Location:
    Tara Ontario
    nope, built in Japan and not Canada plus they must have the 17 digit vin hence why you see the JDM in the states from BC originally. that province was the only one to force a new vin to be installed.
    so 17 digit vin + a fradulant filled out importation paper and you were good to go...as long as you didn't get caught...
    sorry
  16. madams557

    madams557

    Messages:
    1,073
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Hey, $450 isn't that bad. Why not go through a RI and get one in the U.S. My understanding of the RI process is that the RI carries full responsibility to insure the truck is legitimate and must bond with the Federal gov't.

    So $450 sounds like a nice insurance policy to insure that the truck won't be conficated and crushed somewhere down the road.

    Then once you get the truck, you can let us all know how things went.
  17. crushers

    crushers post ho SILVER Star

    Messages:
    22,147
    Location:
    Tara Ontario
    agreed, if you can do it for $450 then go for it...
    i would love to see more JDM on US highways...
  18. apocalypsegrrrl

    apocalypsegrrrl

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Washington State
    The problem with the guy who told me $450 is that then he wouldn't call me back. I wrestled with this problem for a few weeks, then got frustrated. So I'm importing an '82 from Au.

    I also looked at buying an gas engine LC and putting in a cummings. We already have a dodge pickup with one, and it's great. But neither of us is a mechanic, we both work full time and have a couple of rug rats demanding our available attention. So I checked out how much it would cost a mechanic to do it. That put it way out of our ball park.
  19. apocalypsegrrrl

    apocalypsegrrrl

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Washington State
    The thing is, if there was a really reliable legal way to get them from CA to US, I think there'd be a bunch of guys doing it as a full time business. Because I can't be the only nutter out there who's willing to pay an inflated price for one.
  20. dogboy2

    dogboy2

    Messages:
    987
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    No, you're not....you are in good company there ;)

    One nutter, coming up...

    -dogboy- '87 FJ60

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