California Tdi registration saga - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 31st, 2011, 07:16 PM
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Neill Thornton
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California Tdi registration saga

I figured rather than continuing to pile on to the "for sale" thread from my truck, I would just start a new one here.

The backstory:
I recently purchased a 1984 90 with a 300 Tdi in it. The truck had been previously imported from the UK, and the import paperwork including a copy of the V5 were included with the sale. VIN matches on all of the documentation, and the owner in Arizona had it registered and titled in his name with no issues.

I live in San Diego, where the Smog laws are King. I was unsure how registration of the Tdi was going to go down in California, but I thought I would give it a shot.

Today I went to the DMV section of AAA, and started the paperwork. Mundane stuff, nothing crazy. The DMV tech came out to the truck with me to verify the VIN. As he is poking around, he notes that there are no emissions or federal standards stickers anywhere on it. Nor does it have a sticker with the year and copy of the VIN. So, he says he can't work on it anymore and I need to go to the actual DMV and get a "vehicle verification" done. He said he also can't verify that it's a diesel, only DMV can do that.

So I drive down the street to DMV. They have a dedicated verification lane, and I was the first one in line, so I didn't have to wait long. The lady didn't want to hear my story at all about where the truck was, she just started poking around like the AAA guy did, and also mentioned that it doesn't have the stickers (duh). However, she knew that "Tdi" on the engine meant it was a diesel (wow really?) and checked that box. She also had a sheet on her clipboard that tells her what year the vehicle is from the VIN. Mind you that it's based on US VINs, not the Euro ones. So she looks and declares that my truck is really a 1980, not an 84. Of course I try and explain that the european VINs worked differently until 87 or so, and it really was a 1984. She looks at me like I have a cock growing out of my forehead and says "well I have to go off of the VIN". I wasn't quick enough to answer that the VIN does say 1984, if you know how to read it! I also tried to show her all the paperwork that said 1984, she didn't care.

In the end, she punted me to the CHP. I have a form called the "Application for Assigned Vehicle Identification Plate". In the reason for referral box she marked "No 2nd VIN or Labels, Owner Protests Year from VIN".

CHP only takes calls to make appointments from 7:30-2, Tues, Wed, Thurs.... and no idea how long it will take until I actually get to go down there and do it. I am going to bring printouts from several of the online Land Rover VIN decoders, and hopefully common sense will prevail.

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  #2  
Old January 31st, 2011, 07:25 PM
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barry f
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Why do they bother checking any of that. Here is my question, why even confuse them with the v5? Why not just bring the title in?
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Neill Thornton
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I didn't show the V5 at all, just the AZ title at first. In AAA that was fine, I didn't need anything else. It was the DMV dim-bulb that insisted that the truck was a 1980, and I was trying to show her that even the UK thought it was a 1984. I was attempting to salvage the situation and not have to go to CHP, it didn't work.

Funny how the state is hurting for money so bad, and I actually want to GIVE them money, and they are making it difficult. It's simply amazing.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 08:00 PM
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barry f
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AAA actually checks for the stickers? I would think VIn on frame, title and on brake booster would have done it.
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  #5  
Old January 31st, 2011, 08:22 PM
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What does CHP (as patrolmen?) do that the DMV can't? Sorry, not from Cali...just curious.
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  #6  
Old January 31st, 2011, 08:51 PM
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Tony Lawson
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Neill - Sounds like you are at least moving in the right direction (and a four year hit on the model year wouldn't be that bad). When I researched this, California does not go by the Federal 25year exemption but goes back to 1974 (IIRC) as being the limit for imported vehicles. Also beware - local DMV may 'accept' the vehicle, but final say is in Sacramento - they can review and reject. That being said, I've haven't heard of too many cases where rejection happened that way. CARB drives alot of this - and you DO NOT want to involve them.

FYI - Do a search on reg256f - it's the Cal statement of facts for 'non-compliant' vehicle and is what the DMV should have asked for (but if they're not asking, you're not offering). Yours falls under 'USED DIRECT IMPORT'. Also look up the "Cal Registration Handbook ch21" page 21-2 and 21-3 talks about the requirements.

I'm going the 'resident of ______ state for at least one year route"... It's nuts - if you live in another state, you can move to Cal and bring your non-compliant vehicle with you. But if you live here, you can't buy one and bring it in.

What generally happens though is that DMV workers forget that diesels are still covered by the above (driven by CARB) when they find out it's a diesel and don't ask for the reg256f. But if you talk to CARB, they have a different opinion.

good luck
I'm only passing this on FYI - from what I have read, if your VIN gets flagged as non-compliant, then it's game over.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 09:20 PM
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Neill Thornton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjf View Post
AAA actually checks for the stickers? I would think VIn on frame, title and on brake booster would have done it.
Where would it be on the frame??? That would have solved my problem most likely, but I also have a new galvy frame so I don't know if someone would have transferred it over.

But yeah, AAA was all about the stickers. I know when Crash303 brought his NAS 90 from Houston they also looked for the stickers.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 09:41 PM
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But if you live here, you can't buy one and bring it in.

Do you mean if you buy a truck in another state you can't bring it in or do you mean out of the country?



As for the chassis, the new galv should have been stamped.
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  #9  
Old January 31st, 2011, 10:29 PM
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barry f
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A full year? INteresting? Does that really come down to if the DMV checks?
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Old January 31st, 2011, 10:41 PM
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barry f
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I have heard of people registering in Oregon for 6 months then bringing their vehicles into CA that is why I asked. I have heard of people sailing through AAA. I wonder if you have a diesel in CA if you go to AAA if they give the smog exemption.

I guess the question is how does CA know how long a truck is in the country. I would assume other states date their titles but know nothing about it.
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  #11  
Old January 31st, 2011, 11:34 PM
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Neill Thornton
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I should be clear that this truck has lived in Arizona for a long time under a zonie title and reg.... and I am still doing all of this.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 11:49 PM
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You want some advise?

Don't go to the CHP. Go to a different DMV. The one in Poway is a great one. Go there, and when they tell you it is a 1980, say, yes mam. And let it go. You will leave with a title, and won't have the dmv find some crazy expensive shit you have to do to it. Why can, and often do.
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  #13  
Old January 31st, 2011, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckon37s View Post
You want some advise?

Don't go to the CHP. Go to a different DMV. The one in Poway is a great one. Go there, and when they tell you it is a 1980, say, yes mam. And let it go. You will leave with a title, and won't have the dmv find some crazy expensive shit you have to do to it. Why can, and often do.
I won't lie... I have been thinking that too. I may just do that.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by navydevildoc View Post
I won't lie... I have been thinking that too. I may just do that.
I did. Seriously.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 02:22 AM
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He's right. It all depends on which DMV you go to and who works there. Go to the other one. I brought my in diesel from VA to OR. The guy kicked my tire and signed the papers.
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  #16  
Old February 1st, 2011, 09:47 AM
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Neill Thornton
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I forgot to add an important fact. The current AZ registration says it's a GAS engine. Why you ask? Hell if I know. It's always been a diesel. The import docs and V5 in the UK also show diesel.

The problem is that the AZ title doesn't say one way or the other. So I am in a bind. Show the AZ reg with the title, and hope they don't notice, or just don't show the reg and tell them it's diesel, or I can play stupid and say I don't know why it says gas, which will lead me back down the "vehicle inspection" lane...

Or, they register and title in CA as Gas and now I have a Smog problem.

The OR DMV is my backup. I have family there and I am military, so if I ever get pulled over I can pull the "I'm from Oregon" card. I already called them, they could care less since it's 25 years old, they just want to verify the VIN number on the title. But the sad thing is that I actually WANT to do the right thing, and I WANT to give the state my money.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navydevildoc View Post
I forgot to add an important fact. The current AZ registration says it's a GAS engine. Why you ask? Hell if I know. It's always been a diesel. The import docs and V5 in the UK also show diesel.

The problem is that the AZ title doesn't say one way or the other. So I am in a bind. Show the AZ reg with the title, and hope they don't notice, or just don't show the reg and tell them it's diesel, or I can play stupid and say I don't know why it says gas, which will lead me back down the "vehicle inspection" lane...

Or, they register and title in CA as Gas and now I have a Smog problem.

The OR DMV is my backup. I have family there and I am military, so if I ever get pulled over I can pull the "I'm from Oregon" card. I already called them, they could care less since it's 25 years old, they just want to verify the VIN number on the title. But the sad thing is that I actually WANT to do the right thing, and I WANT to give the state my money.
Just show the title, no reg. They will figure out it is Diesel. I had to tell the guy how to check. Idiots.

Anyway, try it like I said. Mine is a 1990 and is registered as a 1985 for the same reason you mentioned. Doesn't matter to anyone if I went to sell it. Good luck.

Edit: Are you on Pendleton? My codriver is a Gunny there about to retire. I live just on the east side of the base.
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  #18  
Old February 1st, 2011, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckon37s View Post
You want some advise?

Don't go to the CHP. Go to a different DMV. The one in Poway is a great one. Go there, and when they tell you it is a 1980, say, yes mam. And let it go. You will leave with a title, and won't have the dmv find some crazy expensive shit you have to do to it. Why can, and often do.
This sounds like the best advice yet. At the end of the day you're dealing with the lowest common denominator (DMV employees), why allow yourself to be the victim of one DMV automoton's bureauracratic inflexibility? Why even present the registration with the title? When I registered my 90 here in NJ it came only with a title (from NC) It sounds like the registration is part of what is clouding the issue for you. Having said all that, if you need someone to drive it in another state for a year I'll take the hit for you
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Old February 1st, 2011, 11:32 AM
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I had a similar problem in New Mexico. I had to use a certified VIN inspector and he was great. $55.00 and now I have a title.
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  #20  
Old February 1st, 2011, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by navydevildoc View Post
....But the sad thing is that I actually WANT to do the right thing, and I WANT to give the state my money.
Cheese and Rice, me too. This sounds like what I went through with the DC DMV. Luckily they had gotten rid of inspections for passenger vehicles before I got my truck and that my title says both 1984 and diesel. I just had to go down to the inspection station, wait didn't I just say that got rid of inspections?, to obtain my $35 non-spection sticker which automatically clears pass vehicles for ~7 years at a time until they "update their system". All they looked for was the TDI sticker on the side of the vehicle (not kidding) and the VIN plate which matched the title and I was off. No issues with it being imported, RHD, etc etc. A bit annoying that the sticker must be on the starboard side (passenger side she kept insisting...) of the windshield directly in my field of vision on a RHD truck.
Yay BureaucraZy.

Good Luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alastair View Post
This sounds like the best advice yet. At the end of the day you're dealing with the lowest common denominator (DMV employees), why allow yourself to be the victim of one DMV automoton's bureauracratic inflexibility? Why even present the registration with the title? When I registered my 90 here in NJ it came only with a title (from NC) It sounds like the registration is part of what is clouding the issue for you. Having said all that, if you need someone to drive it in another state for a year I'll take the hit for you
totally agree, coming from Long Island with many more DMVs around we had one that was good for licenses (Hauppauge, because its so busy turnover is fast) one good for quick things like renewing plates (huntington, because its small they only want to do quick things to keep the line moving) and one good for weird things like getting a title for a homemade trailer (port jeff, because its so quiet and people arent trying to rush you out of there). I hear NJ is a pain in the ass for registering/inspection on anything other than an '03 civic too. All my *cough* Jeep *cough* friends with any sort of lift are ALWAYS complaining about that.
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