Acquiring a 1995/96 Omani Model 75 Troopy - have I gone mad? (1 Viewer)

John Young

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So I live a bachelor life in Dubai and I kind of need something to keep me busy. Old land cruisers seem to be less self-distructive than other possible pastimes but I think maybe I've reached a certain limit. So far I've bought and exported to the US three, a Middle East 92 RJ77, a Middle East 93 model 80 and a 98 Model 100 that actually started life in the US. But after shipping the last one, the RJ77 'Biscuit' I've been feeling a bit bored driving around in my 2000 LX470 here, and I have a real hankering for spending more time in the desert, specifically camping in the desert. The LX is a little too nice and it is my daily driver so I've been looking for something interesting, and something I can bring back to the US when it is time, not too far in the future, for me to leave Dubai.

I started looking at Model 80s that already have winches and camping gear. And I even drove all the way from Dubai to Muscat, Oman to look at a 1993 done up with roof rack, fridge, ARB bumper and good winch, manual transmission and so on. It was very nice, but for some difficult to explain reason, it did not 'call to me to buy it'. But I did make a new friend of the guy selling it, which made it worthwhile. Plus the drive from Dubai to Oman is actually very nice. I like the Model 100 just fine, but to get a local, manual transmission 98 would mean I could not import to the US until 2023 and I don't know if I will be here that long. Plus it would be fun to try something different. From my reading in this forum while working on the RJ77 I got interested in some of the other 70 series cruisers, and then I saw Honger's thread about the beautiful renovation he's done on his 1991 troopy, and his subsequent efforts to ship and register in the US. An early 1990's troopy seemed to be tailor made for camping, and for my particular situation.

The problem is that while there are a bunch of troopys for sale in Dubai, you just don't see one from 1995 or earlier (which makes it practical to import to the US). Most all the 70 series here that I have seen are only a few years old, and pretty darned expensive too. So Honger's experience was really interesting to me. He was kind enough to put me in touch with the guy who sourced his troopy, Nabahan, and when I reached out to Nabahan he responded almost instantly with this:
2031418

As I mentioned, I have not seen many early 1990's 70 series here, so I did want to look at the truck. So last weekend I did the drive to Muscat where the truck was located and had a good look at it.

The seller, Nabahan, tells me he bought the truck last December and has been working on it since. Doing some mechanical and a lot of cosmetic. Crawling around underneath I saw a fair amount of front suspension work, but everything seemed pretty solid. The engine ran ok, not great, but it got it down the road. Seemed to run better cold than hot. The most significan problem was above about 45 kph or so there was a unhappy howling from the transmission. Sounded to me like a frozen bearing spinning around. All gears in all ranges worked. The quality of the reupholstery was not what I would like but that is something I kind of like to do myself anyway. The interior is completely stripped:
2031431


2031432


I spent about an hour and a half looking over the truck and driving it a bit. His price was high--asking above 10K USD. But a lot of the not-fun work had been done, so I thought about it all the way back to Dubai last Saturday afternoon. I was interested enough to detour to a land cruiser scrapper that I know in Sharjah (one of the sister Emirates to Dubai) to look for parts and ideas. And in fact, I did see a wrecked Aussie troopy with some good, salvageable interior trim. Plenty of bull bars and so on too, if i want to go in that direction.

I got home. Had a beer or three, and slept on it. I knew I did not want to pay what he was asking, and I'm headed to the US at the end of the week, so I offered what I thought was fair, expecting him to reject it. He did initially, but I apologetically explained that it was the best I could do, and eventually he agreed, the one unknown being the duty at the Oman/UAE border, which I would be responsible for. We reached agreement yesterday and I went off to Western Union and wired 5000 AED (about 1400 USD) to him in Oman as earnest money. I'd never used Western Union before, much less in the Middle East, but it wasn't too bad. Just a lot of waiting at the exchange place in a local mall while they did things. He got the money and the plan was to ship the truck today.

This morning he shared a snapshot of the export documentation and I sent that off to my insurance company to get a policy issued. Having liability policy is a requirement for registering a vehicle in the UAE, like most places. The insurance policy was about 325 USD for a year. It takes about 5 hours to drive from Muscat to Dubai even without export formalities, so it was with some chagrin that I received this photo from Nabahan at 3:30 pm!
2031468

BTW, this reminds me that this model 75 is the heavy duty model with leaf springs all the way around. Nabahan told me that this is an ex government vehicle. The odometer reads 91K, which seems pretty unlikely to me, but anyways...

So I was a bit annoyed that the truck was not leaving Muscat earlier. The local DMV in Dubai has offices that stay open late--until 10 pm, and I was expecting the truck to get here sometime in the afternoon. It did not even reach the border until 8:30 p.m. or so. And as luck would have it, the customs guy assigned a rather high value to the truck (just above what I actually paid) so I've ended up with an extra bill for about 1000 USD in customs duties. It is just a matter of luck. Honger tells me he had to pay a lot less, but I think the fact that this truck looks pretty good cosmetically resulted in the high valuation.

As I write this, it is 11 p.m. and the truck is probably an hour or so away. I won't be able to get the inspection or do the title transfer tonight, so I'm having it delivered to the garage I use a lot in Dubai, and they will have to flatbed it over to the testing center tomorrow. If it passes I will try to register it and then I will see if the export documentation is in order.

Wish me luck!

P.S. Special thanks to Honger for his kind counsel throughout most of the above.
 
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c2dfj45

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Wish I would have found out about Nabahan before I bought my truck :( That thing looks really nice! Congrats!
 

Honger

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So I live a bachelor life in Dubai and I kind of need something to keep me busy. Old land cruisers seem to be less self-distructive than other possible pastimes but I think maybe I've reached a certain limit. So far I've bought and exported to the US three, a Middle East 92 RJ77, a Middle East 93 model 80 and a 98 Model 100 that actually started life in the US. But after shipping the last one, the RJ77 'Biscuit' I've been feeling a bit bored driving around in my 2000 LX470 here, and I have a real hankering for spending more time in the desert, specifically camping in the desert. The LX is a little too nice and it is my daily driver so I've been looking for something interesting, and something I can bring back to the US when it is time, not too far in the future, for me to leave Dubai.

I started looking at Model 80s that already have winches and camping gear. And I even drove all the way from Dubai to Muscat, Oman to look at a 1993 done up with roof rack, fridge, ARB bumper and good winch, manual transmission and so on. It was very nice, but for some difficult to explain reason, it did not 'call to me to buy it'. But I did make a new friend of the guy selling it, which made it worthwhile. Plus the drive from Dubai to Oman is actually very nice. I like the Model 100 just fine, but to get a local, manual transmission 98 would mean I could not import to the US until 2023 and I don't know if I will be here that long. Plus it would be fun to try something different. From my reading in this forum while working on the RJ77 I got interested in some of the other 70 series cruisers, and then I saw Honger's thread about the beautiful renovation he's done on his 1991 troopy, and his subsequent efforts to ship and register in the US. An early 1990's troopy seemed to be tailor made for camping, and for my particular situation.

The problem is that while there are a bunch of troopys for sale in Dubai, you just don't see one from 1995 or earlier (which makes it practical to import to the US). Most all the 70 series here that I have seen are only a few years old, and pretty darned expensive too. So Honger's experience was really interesting to me. He was kind enough to put me in touch with the guy who sourced his troopy, Nabahan, and when I reached out to Nabahan he responded almost instantly with this:
View attachment 2031418
As I mentioned, I have not seen many early 1990's 70 series here, so I did want to look at the truck. So last weekend I did the drive to Muscat where the truck was located and had a good look at it.

The seller, Nabahan, tells me he bought the truck last December and has been working on it since. Doing some mechanical and a lot of cosmetic. Crawling around underneath I saw a fair amount of front suspension work, but everything seemed pretty solid. The engine ran ok, not great, but it got it down the road. Seemed to run better cold than hot. The most significan problem was above about 45 kph or so there was a unhappy howling from the transmission. Sounded to me like a frozen bearing spinning around. All gears in all ranges worked. The quality of the reupholstery was not what I would like but that is something I kind of like to do myself anyway. The interior is completely stripped:
View attachment 2031431

View attachment 2031432

I spent about an hour and a half looking over the truck and driving it a bit. His price was high--asking above 10K USD. But a lot of the not-fun work had been done, so I thought about it all the way back to Dubai last Saturday afternoon. I was interested enough to detour to a land cruiser scrapper that I know in Sharjah (one of the sister Emirates to Dubai) to look for parts and ideas. And in fact, I did see a wrecked Aussie troopy with some good, salvageable interior trim. Plenty of bull bars and so on too, if i want to go in that direction.

I got home. Had a beer or three, and slept on it. I knew I did not want to pay what he was asking, and I'm headed to the US at the end of the week, so I offered what I thought was fair, expecting him to reject it. He did initially, but I apologetically explained that it was the best I could do, and eventually he agreed, the one unknown being the duty at the Oman/UAE border, which I would be responsible for. We reached agreement yesterday and I went off to Western Union and wired 5000 AED (about 1400 USD) to him in Oman as earnest money. I'd never used Western Union before, much less in the Middle East, but it wasn't too bad. Just a lot of waiting at the exchange place in a local mall while they did things. He got the money and the plan was to ship the truck today.

This morning he shared a snapshot of the export documentation and I sent that off to my insurance company to get a policy issued. Having liability policy is a requirement for registering a vehicle in the UAE, like most places. The insurance policy was about 325 USD for a year. It takes about 5 hours to drive from Muscat to Dubai even without export formalities, so it was with some chagrin when Nabahan sent me this photo at 3:30 pm!
View attachment 2031468
BTW, this reminds me that this model 75 is the heavy duty model with leaf springs all the way around. Nabahan told me that this is an ex government vehicle. The odometer reads 91K, which seems pretty unlikely to me, but anyways...

So I was a bit annoyed that the truck was not leaving Muscat earlier. The local DMV in Dubai has offices that stay open late--until 10 pm, and I was expecting the truck to get here sometime in the afternoon. It did not even reach the border until 8:30 p.m. or so. And as luck would have it, the customs guy assigned a rather high value to the truck (just above what I actually paid) so I've ended up with an extra bill for about 1000 USD in customs duties. It is just a matter of luck. Honger tells me he had to pay a lot less, but I think the fact that this truck looks pretty good cosmetically resulted in the high valuation.

As I write this, it is 11 p.m. and the truck is probably an hour or so away. I won't be able to get the inspection or do the title transfer tonight, so I'm having it delivered to the garage I use a lot in Dubai, and they will have to flatbed it over to the testing center tomorrow. If it passes I will try to register it and then I will see if the export documentation is in order.

Wish me luck!

P.S. Special thanks to Honger for his kind counsel throughout most of the above.

Man, you spin a good tale... I'll have to write up my own procurement like this. I think you asked me to do so already.

Welcome to club... excited to see what you do with it. I'm glad I was able to help out. Though you may yet end up cursing my name... :rofl:
 

Honger

Joel, TLCA #21509
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Wish I would have found out about Nabahan before I bought my truck :( That thing looks really nice! Congrats!

Oh don't worry... he'll find surprises much like you have... albeit maybe different ones. There's a formula for this...

Resprayed paint job + cruiser sourced in the Middle East = SURPRISE!

But in the end, all three of us got LHD heavy duty Land Cruisers for pretty bargain prices. They are gonna need some lovin' but they are gonna net miles of enjoyment.
 

Honger

Joel, TLCA #21509
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Also, some things I'd do while it's in the UAE:
- Baseline the brakes
- Baseline all the coolant lines under the hood, new water pump
- Baseline all the vacuum hoses under the hood
- Baseline the carb and dizzy (rebuild each OR just buy new)
- Check your AC... is it R12 or R134a? If it's R12 get it converted. Use Ampex, I can share a contact.
 
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c2dfj45

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Also, some things I'd do while it's in the UAE:
- Baseline the brakes
- Baseline all the coolant lines under the hood, new water pump
- Baseline all the vacuum hoses under the hood
- Baseline the carb and dizzy (rebuild each OR just buy new)
- Check your AC... is it R12 or R134a? If it's R12 get it converted. Use Ampex, I can pass on a contact.

Good call on the r12 conversion.....we're dealing with that on mine right now. I was calling a few of the shops we do business with that specialize in older stuff(German mostly), they got a chuckle out of my R12 conversion questions. Ha. Pretty sure nobody has asked about that for a VERY long time. Ha.
 

Honger

Joel, TLCA #21509
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Good call on the r12 conversion.....we're dealing with that on mine right now. I was calling a few of the shops we do business with that specialize in older stuff(German mostly), they got a chuckle out of my R12 conversion questions. Ha. Pretty sure nobody has asked about that for a VERY long time. Ha.

There's a great thread in the 60-section on doing this yourself...
'89 FJ62 A/C in '86 FJ60 w/3FE - R134a Conversion Results
 

TonyP

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I kept the old BMW using R12. Bought some semi-legal new-old-stock R12 cans on eBay and a gauge set. Rented a vac pump from Autozone to test the system, filled up with R12, worked great. Ice cold.
 

c2dfj45

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I kept the old BMW using R12. Bought some semi-legal new-old-stock R12 cans on eBay and a gauge set. Rented a vac pump from Autozone to test the system, filled up with R12, worked great. Ice cold.

R12 is interesting stuff and why it's better than R134 at cooling. I was reading that the old German stuff had marginal systems to begin with so the R12 really did well in those. The big ol' American cars had huge capacity AC systems...so the 134 worked well in them.

My system is empty and the compressor's clutch is shot. And there is a very very tiny green wire run all over the engine compartment to some kind of rheostat to a switch on the dash. Lol. Not sure if I can use our AC machine to suck it down to see/fix the leak. Would prefer to keep R12 in the Troopy for the cool factor. Ha.
 

John Young

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Small update: From 10 pm to midnight I had an interesting 4-way conversation on whatsapp between Nabahan, myself, a friend of Nabahan who speaks English, and the driver who only spoke Arabic. A mixture of google translate, audio slug message in Arabic to the driver, and google map locations. It looked like this:
2032081

And later, this:

2032082

The driver must have been driving pretty fast and not made any stops because he beat Google Maps' estimate and I met him a bit after midnight at my Mechanic's shop, and by the light on the back of the flatbed we concluded some of the financial matters.
2032089

(I asked permission before taking the photo.)

And this was paying him back for the nasty great wacking import/customs duty from the UAE border authority.
2032090


The import documentation looks in order near as I can tell. I had hoped that I could have met the driver at a testing center and actually get the paperwork vetted before paying the remainder of the purchase price and the import duties, but that was not to be. We will just have to see.

We finished up a little after 1 a.m., and I got home about 2 a.m. The driver seemed like a really nice fellow; I gave him about 40 USD as a 'thank you' for getting the truck there safely and on the same day (more or less). I really try to leave a little money on the table in these interactions. I'm a guest in this country and this part of the world and I want to leave the people I deal with feeling positive about 'people like me' however you care to define that.

Well that's about it for now. My mechanic will flatbed the truck to the testing centre hopefully today and if it passes I will try to go get the registration sorted tonight and the new plates over to my mechanic's shop. I have a growing list of things I want to take care of, now supplemented by some suggestions by Honger above in this thread.

Wish me luck as we now enter the registration phase here in Dubai!
 
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good luck with registration.. here in kuwait I have to use middle man as I don't have visa 18 and am definitely not a citizen. still keep looking for gems though. latest RJ was a surprise find. hope a 45 pops soon. if not, relocating to Jordan later this year.
 

Honger

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R12 can be recharged, no question. However, it’s just so much easier to keep R134a maintained... and there in the UAE it is dirt cheap to get good quality AC work done.
 

Honger

Joel, TLCA #21509
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Small update: From 10 pm to midnight I had an interesting 4-way conversation on whatsapp between Nabahan, myself, a friend of Nabahan who speaks English, and the driver who only spoke Arabic. A mixture of google translate, audio slug message in Arabic to the driver, and google map locations. It looked like this:
View attachment 2032081
And later, this:

View attachment 2032082
The driver must have been driving pretty fast and not made any stops because he beat Google Maps' estimate and I met him a bit after midnight at my Mechanic's shop, and by the light on the back of the flatbed we concluded some of the financial matters.
View attachment 2032089
(I asked permission before taking the photo.)

And this was paying him back for the nasty great wacking import/customs duty from the UAE border authority.
View attachment 2032090

The import documentation looks in order near as I can tell. I had hoped that I could have met the driver at a testing center and actually get the paperwork vetted before paying the remainder of the purchase price and the import duties, but that was not to be. We will just have to see.

We finished up a little after 1 a.m., and I got home about 2 a.m. The driver seemed like a really nice fellow; I gave him about 40 USD as a 'thank you' for getting the truck there safely and on the same day (more or less). I really try to leave a little money on the table in these interactions. I'm a guest in this country and this part of the world and I want to leave the people I deal with feeling positive about 'people like me' however you care to define that.

Well that's about it for now. My mechanic will flatbed the truck to the testing centre hopefully today and if it passes I will try to go get the registration sorted tonight and the new plates over to my mechanic's shop. I have a growing list of things I want to take care of, now supplemented by some suggestions by Honger above in this thread.

Wish me luck as we now enter the registration phase here in Dubai!

WhatsApp and cash... gets you very far in the UAE. 😂
 

John Young

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Had a bit of a bad turn this morning when I looked through the export-import documentation that came with the truck. I could not see my name anywhere on the documentation as the new owner. I became concerned that I would be unable to convince Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority that I was indeed the owner of the vehicle given that my name did not seem to be on the export. Then I asked a coworker who reads Arabic and I found that my name did appear--phonetically.

Sadly, this afternoon at the inspection station the truck got bounced. The Omani paperwork left the 'FJ' off the front of the VIN so instead of 'FJ75...' it just says '75....' I got into the inspection station tomorrow to see if I have to go to the Omani border again. If so, things will have to wait a month because I will be away.
 

Honger

Joel, TLCA #21509
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Had a bit of a bad turn this morning when I looked through the export-import documentation that came with the truck. I could not see my name anywhere on the documentation as the new owner. I became concerned that I would be unable to convince Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority that I was indeed the owner of the vehicle given that my name did not seem to be on the export. Then I asked a coworker who reads Arabic and I found that my name did appear--phonetically.

Sadly, this afternoon at the inspection station the truck got bounced. The Omani paperwork left the 'FJ' off the front of the VIN so instead of 'FJ75...' it just says '75....' I got into the inspection station tomorrow to see if I have to go to the Omani border again. If so, things will have to wait a month because I will be away.

There's ALWAYS something... you just gotta work through it.
 

John Young

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Oh and just to make life just that tiny bit more interesting, the ignition key is stuck in the lock. The button at the top has no effect whatsoever. Ended up leaving it in the ignition and using the other key to lock the doors. Just super fun!

I looked closer at the VIN issue. The Omani vehicle license card itself left off the 'FZJ' too. So apparently it has been like this for some time in the Omani records. It was not just an instance of an error at the border. I leave for the US for a full month tomorrow night, so all this might have to wait for a month until I get back. It is just such an odd thing for the Omani government to do. It takes some creative effort to drop the prefix. I googled a bit and don't see this as a common error.
 

John Young

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As I write this I am sitting in Emirates Airlines business class lounge. No, I am not flying business, I just fly enough that I get to use the lounge, which is nice. I've had my fill of lox and I'm contemplating getting some ice cream and maybe some whiskey, but I thought I would post a little update.

This morning I got up and went to the testing center where the truck had been left overnight. I had a number of conversations with guys in white robes but the upshot is that the import documentation needs to be corrected. This involves a 2 hour drive to the border customs post. It also involves the UAE border post receiving corrected Omani documentation. Luckily Nahaban has gone ahead and gotten new Omani documentation that includes FJZ in the VIN. Or is it FZJ.... oh well.

I'm going to be in the US for a month with family so the intricate little ballet at the UAE-Oman border will have to take place without me. I've gotten it lined up for Sunday (a work day here) as best I can. It will be the middle of the night for me in Virginia, but I will hope for the best. The seller will take the new Omani documents across the border and give it to a very nice lady at the UAE border post. Meanwhile the driver for my mechanic will go to the border as well with the original UAE import documentation and give it to the same nice lady with the idea that she will make the correction.

Oh, and as I was checking the records at the Dubai Police website I discovered I'd gotten dinged 4 times within 10 minutes for speeding back in June. 1200 AED in fines (about 350 bucks). Normally I'd try to contest the tickets (3 of them being only a minute or two apart), but I was worried about leaving the fines sitting there and I did not have time today to research how the process works. I did confirm that on that date I was in Abu Dhabi. I had gone there to visit the camel leather tannery for another project I have. Anyways I just paid the fine rather than worry about it.

So I think I will have a bowl of ice cream, with whiskey on it. And enjoy my flight and hope for the best.
 
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at least your moving forward. here in Kuwait, I usually get a head nod, As-salāmu ʿalaykum, smile, and maybe three weeks later some movement. during which time I am wondering what kind of time warp I entered.

Edit: at least you can enjoy some whiskey.
 

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