Now I've noticed that a number of things get knocked around here - posts from noobs, import/reg topics, and california. This one is going be all three, so guys please cut me some slack and let me know if I'm not coming at it right.
First off let me introduce myself. I've been a lurker around here for about half a year now. The main thing that has kept me from getting a D90 is that I only really want diesel but it seems owning one where I live (NorCal) is easier said than done. I'd like you guys' take on whether my understanding of the situation is sound. Here are reasons why I believe (based on browsing endless threads here) that a diesel D90 would be extremely difficult:
1) Direct import
- fuggedaboutit. Something about direct imports to CA are considered 'new' regardless of actual age. The federal 25 year exemption does not apply to direct imports to California. When the VIN doesn't look up you'll be asked for some 'manufacturer letter' to prove EPA/FMVSS compliance, which you won't be able to produce for an ROW truck. This applies whether it's diesel or not.
2) Previously imported ROW diesel
- There are some properly imported and titled ROW 2.5 diesels out there, as well as re-engined Tdi's, and I expect there will be a flood of legit 200Tdi imports starting next year. But trying to get one titled in CA won't happen. There won't be a '50 state' emission sticker under the hood, and no original Rover diesel motor would pass CARB/CHP scrutiny.
3) Already titled in CA
- I remember running into a couple of threads where people are saying the DMV is even walking back on already titled diesels and refusing registration renewal.
So am I correct to say that, shy of somehow slipping one past (due to either DMV incompetence or some helpful nudge-wink) - only NAS trucks can really be happily titled and registered in California? And if I want diesel - the only channel would be to first obtain a NAS truck, and then do an engine swap CARB compliant diesel engine and transmission?
Do CARB-OK diesels that can legally be installed in a NAS D90 actually exist? (AFAIK there are yet more rules about what diesel engines could go in a gasoline powered car - year, donor vehicle class etc). Assuming this entire enterprise is even possible in California (perhaps an OM617 with the right provenance?) - what would be the ballpark cost? As a kit and to have the job done?
I'm under no illusion that this would a walk in the park. This is all hypothetical - it may well turn out to be an impractical pipe dream - but I'd just like to collect some information. Even if I don't end up doing it - perhaps this thread will be helpful for some other CA dweller pondering the same questions.