Whats legal? Frame Swaps, Importing, etc - Page 5 - Defender Source
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  #81  
Old February 7th, 2007, 12:53 PM
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Thank you Ron for gathering that info. Hopefully we can get a good thread of info from this.
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  #82  
Old February 7th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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Nhtsa

I called the NHTSA litigation dept. with a list of specific questions on what was kosher . . .left three messages, none were returned. Called the NHTSA information line. Left messages, none were returned. Until I get a straight answer from someone there who knows what they are talking about, Im going to view everyones opinion with healthy skepticism
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  #83  
Old February 7th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/interps/Index.cfm

Try searching here. Lots of fun.

For example regarding the line between a restoration and remanufacture of a rover:

http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/20592.ztv.html

Here is another good one re: rebody of an older truck and how no engine and trans = parts: (Mike at ECR might want to take this one to his friends at the EPA in Portland)

http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/23894.ztv.html

Keep in mind none of this was ever litigated to my knowledge. Harland I think got screwed because of the way in which he was doing it.

Also, I think there is a difference between a "new" chassis and a "replacement" chassis that does not come across in these letters. Certainly when a body shop replaces a chassis due to accident damage it does not count as a "manufacturer" under the law.
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  #84  
Old February 7th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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Glad I'm in Canada. Our import restriction is only 15years but there is talk of making it match the US 25year rule due to the large number of RHD Jap trucks and Cars that are being brought into the country right now. Is is also easy to build from parts and register a kit car here and be legal, at least in Alberta anyway, I'm not sure about the other provinces.
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  #85  
Old February 7th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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So what if I were to bring in a 1983 LHD 110 next year...is it doable? It has to pass the EPA/DOT requirements for vehicles of the day but otherwise what else is necssary? If I can then get it in then what would be the limits then of restoring it (say swapping in a newer chevy ls1 or something of that sort)?
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  #86  
Old February 7th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
Also, I think there is a difference between a "new" chassis and a "replacement" chassis that does not come across in these letters. Certainly when a body shop replaces a chassis due to accident damage it does not count as a "manufacturer" under the law.
I wondered the same thing. My 127 frame was a LR factory frame, but had no VIN stamped into it. I was told from the seller that it was a factory replacement frame...hence no VIN. It does have some random #'s stamped into it, but none are longer than 4-5 digits. Must be something to do with the date of mfr?

Anyway, this thread WILL be interesting, regardless of everyones philosophical point of view. It's good to hear it all, maybe something concrete will come of it.

Ike's experience is familiar to mine. I didn't go to the NHTSA, but when I went to title/register it in Nevada none of my calls went answered, and the DMV couldn't really give me a straight answer until I went to actually register the truck by driving it down. They inspected it, found nothing 'wrong', and I finished the process. Actually the 'inspection' was pretty lame. I learned to keep my mouth shut that day.
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  #87  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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"So what if I were to bring in a 1983 LHD 110 next year...is it doable? It has to pass the EPA/DOT requirements for vehicles of the day but otherwise what else is necssary? If I can then get it in then what would be the limits then of restoring it (say swapping in a newer chevy ls1 or something of that sort)?"

Again, not your lawyer. Call one. They work.

It has to pass nothing because it falls under the EPA 21 year old exemption and the DOT 25 year old exemption. It just comes in without mods (there maybe something like glass or whatnot, but I never encountered it). It must be original though for EPA so it needs to have the stock engine.

The limits of restoring it are the issue. What can you do? No one knows for sure. Read the letters I posted above and go with that.

As an 83 the chassis (or a correct spec replacement) is almost no different that the current spec 110 chassis so you would likely be keeping it. Same with the axles and suspension and body. As far as what drivetrain you can put into it, generally the EPA rule is a newer motor from a newer vehicle with the same GVWR or less is fine. So an LS1 should be ok. Individually most things are ok, just at some point EPA/DOT will take the position you are a manufacturer and then nothing is ok. This is the rub.

If it were ME I would look for V8 CSW LHD 110s and 90s. Easy swap to EFI V8 and a fine vehicle in its original state regarding everything else. Finding one that is not rusted away is the catch.

Follow-up Post:

Mike,

If you want an answer from NHTSA there is a procedure with a link on the first page I posted above. Write them a letter and they will respond (and then everyone here can read it when they post it online!!!!). Odds are you will not like the answer you get.

Ron

Follow-up Post:

"a--holes and knowledge of importation is something everyone on this board seems to have."

Yes, but only one or two have really researched it properly.
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  #88  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
Mike,

If you want an answer from NHTSA there is a procedure with a link on the first page I posted above. Write them a letter and they will respond (and then everyone here can read it when they post it online!!!!). Odds are you will not like the answer you get.

Ron
Those letters you linked to are pretty damning. I don't think I'll be calling anyone very soon.

I never considered myself a 'manufacturer', but apparently I'm walking the razor-thin line. Thier definition of the word 'restore' is also pretty damning. I don't like it.
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  #89  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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"Again, not your lawyer. Call one. They work. "

Strangely enough I'm currently in law school right now, both enrolled and as I type here in my Contracts II class. This entire thing fascinates me both as a rover owner and law student...I make seek some advice from colleagues.
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  #90  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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"I never considered myself a 'manufacturer', but apparently I'm walking the razor-thin line. Thier definition of the word 'restore' is also pretty damning. I don't like it."

Exactly. This is why I mentioned none of it has been litigated. If it were litigated on the right truck we might be able to get something favorable on the books. It would be an uphill battle against Chevron doctrine, but I think it could work (how many federal court judges with old jags and morgans or street rod that have been restored with new chassis do you think want to uphold that guy's view of "restore").

PS christian, PM if you want help with law school. I was an excellent law student. I probably can still remember all the contracts cases. Also, if you get motivated, see if there is an exception from manufacturer when the truck is not meant for resale (like there is with guns). Edit: nevermind, looks like not for resale does not save you

http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/19664.ztv.html
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  #91  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:19 PM
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Even my '53, which uses it's original chassis and bulkhead, and a majority of body parts, doesn't fit their definition of 'restoration'. What LR that's been 'restored' does? Factory concours restorations and really that's about it.

I mean, if we are strictly interpreting the way that the NHTSA does, we're *ALL* screwed, even the Tdi guys.
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  #92  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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The Tdi guys are screwed by the EPA. A simple motor repower is not enough to get away from a restoration under NHTSA letters. I am not so sure on your 53. It would be close I think. Again, this is just what the general counsel at NHTSA thinks is the answer, until a judge holds one way or the other it can be litigated.
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  #93  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
The Tdi guys are screwed by the EPA. A simple motor repower is not enough to get away from a restoration under NHTSA letters.
And really...according to their definitions and letters I've read, even ECR is crossing the line. They are now 'manufacturers' on any re-framed, re-powered truck they build.

I thought the other thread sucked...this one sucks even worse.

EDIT: Maybe we ought to delete this thread and Ike's thread too...at least back to the first 'for sale' post of his. I don't like the idea of doing the NHTSA's homework for them and driving my own paddy-wagon to jail.
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  #94  
Old February 7th, 2007, 03:38 PM
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Hey Ron-
WRT to the various EPA regulations on "Engine Switching" (for which there were numerous ammendments and clarifications issued throughout the 70's) there is an interesting and nebulous concept which I think was referred to as "useful life." This concept related to maintaining the emissions equipment intact (and without modification) for the "useful life" of the vehicle. Originally the EPA defined useful life as somewhere around 75k miles, but extended it with later ammendments to 100k or more. Clearly businesses modifying emissions equipment (which I think is the umbrella that "engine switching" falls under) are in violation if the vehicle is within its "useful life." However, after that, the law seems very grey and fuzzy.

From reading the laws at the time, I unterpreted that my D90, with 136k on the clock, was both legally and in actuality, beyond its useful life. Like you said, this doesnt appear to ever have been litigated, but I would think there may be a valid case for engine switching in a worn-out vehicle, on the grounds that a newer engine will most likely be cleaner than an old grotty engine.

Furthermore, there is a mountain of examples of private parties who engage in emissions system modifying, engine switching, and modification of type-approved engine/chassis combinations on a regular basis. People install newer engines (sans emissions equipment!) in old cars to create hotrods (out of even relatively new cars - Alternomad anyone?), build kit cars, or custom off-roaders. I dont know if there is no desire to enforce EPA (federal) laws at the local/individual level, no mechanism, or simply if these statutes are intended to limit the activities of businesses.

Interesting stuff.
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  #95  
Old February 7th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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This is of particular interest to me:

http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/matsumoto-2.ztv.html

Quote:
However, if the vehicle is manufactured incorporating a number of previously used parts, particularly involving the chassis and/or drive train, we generally have considered the vehicle to be a used one, and none of the FMVSS that apply to new completed vehicles (as contrasted with those that apply to equipment items) apply to it.

In order to be registered for use, a kit car must meet the requirements of the State of licensing.

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  #96  
Old February 7th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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I was thinking about the question someone earlier raised about ECR's operations. ECR is a relatively high profile business (to the extent that they have lots of well-off clients and their operations have been heavily scrutinized previously). It is my suspicion that if the feds wanted Mikes ass, they would have it - so he must be conducting his business such that he stays on the right side of the line. If that is the case, then their restorations, rebuilds, and conversions could be looked at as an example of acceptable practices. This says nothing of diesel engines, and I think even ECR installs them with the proviso that they are for off-road use only.
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  #97  
Old February 7th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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One addition I would like to make is that the excellent information given in the original post deals with the Federal regulations for the most part. Also remember that individual states have their own requirements for vehicle inspection and regulation that are highly inconsistant. So it would be wise to also research your specific state to ensure legality and emissions/safety requirements. Some have very loose requirements for inspections, while others have extremely specific and restrictive laws.

-Hans
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  #98  
Old February 7th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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I think we should start drafting some letters for specific plans for vehicles.

Ike that is a great find!!!!

This is the reason for this thread, to get all the information out there. However, I will point out that if you use a bunch of used parts you still probably have to meet the year of manufacturer requirement of the used parts.
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  #99  
Old February 7th, 2007, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leafsprung
There you go with "probably" Im not interested in ambiguity here.
Probabilities and ambiguities are why Ron has a job. This whole practice exists in a grey area of the law. You will not get absolutes without a finding from a judge or someone pushing one of the agencies involved for a ruling. Either one requires an attempted act and and a governmental step to stop it, which oddly enough, is how our legal system is set up, we dont decide issues until someone crosses the line.

On a different note:

Everyone _must_ keep in mind there are two main agencies of concern here, the EPA and the DOT, which are completely separate. The DOT regs are the most lenient, to allow for the myriad of acceptable modifications to an already legal vehicle. And with respect to the EPA, there is one option no one has mentioned: fit your alternative engine with all the emissions equipment you can and take it to Wallace Labs (or another EPA lab of your choice) and attepmt to get it to pass emissions for the year of the vehicle you have installed it in. If you are successful, then you will get an EPA certificate of compliace and be home free. This process costs 4-5 thousand dollars and must be repeated for each engine, so no blanket approvals would be possible.
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  #100  
Old February 7th, 2007, 06:39 PM
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For The worthwhile content:

http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/8477a.html

Regards
-Ike
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