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Discussion Starter #1
I found an 89 D90 with the 2.5L turbo diesel that I want to buy but have read about the difficulties of getting it registered in CA. I am planning on moving to CO within the next 6 months so I wanted to get your opinions on how easy it would be to register it there. I could either register it there and leave it there or ideally I would like to bring it back but I am aware of the new CHP Cheaters program to crack down on out of state plates. What do you think the best option would be? Also does anyone know what all is required to register it in CO? I have family living there so possibly I could register it in their name and have a better chance of driving it here in CA until I would move.
 

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It'll be a heckuva lot easier to register it here than in CA. It will need a VIN verification, and emissions test. If I were you, I'd probably register in the name of your relatives here. That way the CHiPs can't get you. "Oh, officer, I was just borrowing my fathers' truck while he's in town." It's only 6 months anyway.

By the way, in case you don't have the skills already, please learn how to drive in the snow. Kthxbye. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah I will most likely do that although not sure about transporting it from CA to CO and back. Also if I hang on to it here for a while and work on it would there be any type of back registration?

I grew up in Indiana and did a lot of 4 wheeling in the snow so I have that down but I know what you mean. About once a year we get a tiny amount of snow up in the mountains by Santa Barbara area that usually melts by noon. I went up there to check it out and there were cars stuck off the side of the road in about 1/4" of snow!
 

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Register it in CO but keep it off the road and leave it there. Six months will pass and the drive to Ca will be tough.
 

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You could store it anywhere and not register it. Once you move here you could get all that done and not pay any penalty. Possibly. CO does have a late registration fine that maxes out at $100 IIRC. Once you've passed e-test and VIN verify, your annual reg fees are only going to be about $90.
 

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So it sounds like there are 2 options. The first and easiest would probably be to just ship it back to CO and let it sit until I move there. The other option would be to do an engine swap with a CA compliant engine + all smog equipment out here then get it registered. It sounds like I would probably eventually want to do an engine swap but this would probably be much easier in CO to do. I noticed there was a link to Nick's LS conversion kit but it was on Amazon and no longer available. Does anyone know if he still sells the kit with the adapter?

The person I am looking at buying the Defender from imported it 3 years ago which is why I was asking about back registration. He never got it registered in CA because of CARB. I would just be worried that in CA or CO they could say it has been here for that long without being registered and charge some sort of fee. This might not be applicable if it has never been registered to begin with but it sounds like CO has a max fee of 100 though if so but I know CA is happy to charge more. Just trying to weigh all my options and this forum has been full of great advice. Regardless I am now hooked on trying to get a defender.
 

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I called and talked to a CA DMV Registration "specialist" recently for another truck with similar circumstances and they told me that back fees would be owed starting from when it was first sold in CA. As in, if it was brought here 3 years ago but not sold until now, you would only owe fees as of now. But you wouldnt want to take your paperwork to the CA DMV unless your truck is going to pass smog and CARB inspections. Which it never will with that TD engine. So if you were to try to get it registered here, which as others have said may not be worth your time if you're going to end up in CO anyway, don't bring them the truck until it's ready for inspection, with your compliant engine and emissions equipment.
 

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Colorado won't care how long it wasn't registered before you bought it. They only care about how long it was titled in your name. If it was for off-road only, you could put an ohv sticker on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sounds like the best option will be to ship it to CO then. I just sold my home and no longer have a garage to work on anything so the engine swap would have to wait.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am going to take a look at it and possibly trailer it home if it all looks good. The plan would be to park it in my driveway and do a little work on it until I move to CO then I could trailer it there or get a temporary 30 day registration in CA.

The owner said there is some rust on the frame and it sounds like it may be pretty bad on the rear cross member. I have fixed some rusted out Jeep CJ frames so that doesn't scare me too much but what other things should I look for with these? Also he has had it 3 years and never registered it so what documents would I need to get from him so that when I eventually register it in CO I don't run into any problems. I obviously will need a bill of sale but would there be any type of title or importation documents I would have to get?
 

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Has it been titled in the U.S.? If not, the process for co gets tougher and longer. Not impossible though.
 

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Nah I don't think it has been titled. It has been here in CA and he hasn't been able to get it registered so I am assuming it has not been titled unless they issue some sort of title for a temporary registration.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
checked it out yesterday. the body was in decent shape but the frame was shot.....needed a new rear crossmember and there were quite a few bad areas along the entire frame. looks like the search will continue
 

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checked it out yesterday. the body was in decent shape but the frame was shot.....needed a new rear crossmember and there were quite a few bad areas along the entire frame. looks like the search will continue
I suspect that you will find most 80's Defenders in that condition - not a show stopper but am opportunity to get a good chassis underneath and address any other issues in the process. The only way you are likely to find a truck with a solid chassis is on one that has had a replacement chassis already fitted.
 
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