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For those who are curious

Just read all 29 pages- 580 posts- on this in about 4 hours and learned more than any book could have ever taught me!
 

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Are Engine Upgrades Legal?

Maybe these questions are ones nobody wants to know the answers, it's not easy to find some definitive information!
I've read through this thread for the third time now in as many years. Import regulations are fairly clear, but I've long been confused about all the conversions going on after these ROW defenders are on the ground in the USA.
So many people doing Cummings swaps, LS swaps, M57's also RHD to LHD conversions & galvanized chassis, is it legal?
I'm interested in what is actually legal, not opinions. There are very few posts referencing the legality of such conversions, but the few I've seen would suggest that any change to the vehicles original format would invalidate their exemption, presumably for both the 21 and 25 year rules.

You see so many 198X defenders advertised with 200 or 300Tdi.. are they strictly speaking legal? So what happens if a imported vehicle, with an invalid exemption gets into a accident?
 

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My understanding of the laws is that they determine what can/can't be imported. This is very different from what can/can't be driven on the road. 2 different things.
To add to this: the portion you put in bold, I interpret as reading that any change to the vehicle (before importation) would invalidate the exemption a, say, 26 year old car would otherwise be afforded...not that it would invalidate the exemption that was already afforded a car that had been legally imported.
 

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I think bnoonan is correct. The laws on the book are for importing and if you are successful in getting it titled, the rest is on you to disclose to the insurance company, etc. about what you have. I asked 3 people about this that were in legal/law enforcement and received three different answers.



Sheriffs deputy- "I don't care if you changed it after it got here, as long as the VIN numbers match whats on the title and in the computer you can turn it into an electric car for all I care."
A Circuit Court Judge- If the state gets to tax it, no one cares what you do with it after you title it. Period. It's yours to sink as much money into as you want to.

A Florida State Representative (the ones who make the laws for the road)- Give me your contact information and I will get back to you on that (he didn't.)


I asked those questions about 4 months ago when thinking of going galvy in the upcoming months. Your state and mileage may vary, but ask the same 3 people where you live and see what their response is because it may vary based on where you live.
 

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What happens AFTER it is imported and what is legal is up to local jurisdiction. For instance, CA has VERY different rules than Vermont (and there is a very long thread on CA in its own right). I for one will speak to CO as that is where I am at. If you have a car/truck after 1973, then you need to have it inspected and it will need to conform to the original emissions gear (engine, transmission, emissions equipment) as was originally imported OR it needs to have a DR2375 filing with what engine is currently in it and you must have all the emissions equipment from whatever vehicle that this engine came with (assuming that the transplant came from a federally EPA registered engine). So for my LS3, I have it inspected and emissioned as a 2013 Chevy Silverado and I have all the emissions equipment and ECU from that engine running and pingable through the OBD2 port.

So it depends on where you will have it registered and you need to check locally for what is or is not allowed.

I believe in MS you have much less restrictive tests so check locally.
 

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You are too kind Davis. I believe here in Mississippi i could have this thing run on puppies and emit pure Strontium-90 without issue.
 

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Reading this thread. Now I am worried about my import. Went from being excited to soon receive my defender, to panic that something will snag it.

If CBP rejects the vehicle, is it possible to switch it as Off Road Only? I will just keep it as a farm vehicle.
 

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You are too kind Davis. I believe here in Mississippi i could have this thing run on puppies and emit pure Strontium-90 without issue.
Reading this thread. Now I am worried about my import. Went from being excited to soon receive my defender, to panic that something will snag it.

If CBP rejects the vehicle, is it possible to switch it as Off Road Only? I will just keep it as a farm vehicle.
Hahaha! Poor puppies! We have a new little guy being dropped off tonight! Just filled out rescue paperwork and met our other pup...

Don’t worry about GA— I’m under the impression they are a piece of cake. It really the left coast and a few other states that are causing distress at the moment...



What? Your adopting me AND you have a defender? I’m home!!!!
 

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Reading this thread. Now I am worried about my import. Went from being excited to soon receive my defender, to panic that something will snag it.

If CBP rejects the vehicle, is it possible to switch it as Off Road Only? I will just keep it as a farm vehicle.


I get very worried for people who have already committed thousands of dollars buying a truck, and it's about to set sale to the US or is on way.

Then they come here, read these threads, and panic. By this point it's too late. If it's rejected by CBP, the recommend course of action is to ship it back to the country of origin.
 

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If it's rejected by CBP, the recommend course of action is to ship it back to the country of origin.
Doesnt work that way.
Part of the entry process is the owner/importer's assertion through signed entry forms that the vehicle is legal, ie either conforms to US requirements, or is eligible for exemption because its is as originally built by the manufacturer, based on age.

Typically if Customs, EPA, or DOT take issue with the vehicle it is seized by Customs and you no longer own it. You have to petition to regain ownership and the ability to export the vehicle, this typically takes 4-6 mos and costs 5k+ in legal fees plus storage costs with Customs contractor.
In most cases they will return ownership to you and allow export, if it is a first offense. Expensive lesson to learn and totally avoidable.
If you get caught up in a mess, call Will.
 

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Agreed. CBP are inspection agents and have no authority to answer meaningful questions, make final decisions or give advice. Hiring an attorney will be a necessary evil but the likelihood is high that they’ll let you turn it around. The bigger problem is typically what to do with it once it’s outside the US. If you can store it somewhere until it is legal to re-import that might be ur best case scenario.
 

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Doesnt work that way.
Part of the entry process is the owner/importer's assertion through signed entry forms that the vehicle is legal, ie either conforms to US requirements, or is eligible for exemption because its is as originally built by the manufacturer, based on age.

Typically if Customs, EPA, or DOT take issue with the vehicle it is seized by Customs and you no longer own it. You have to petition to regain ownership and the ability to export the vehicle, this typically takes 4-6 mos and costs 5k+ in legal fees plus storage costs with Customs contractor.
In most cases they will return ownership to you and allow export, if it is a first offense. Expensive lesson to learn and totally avoidable.
If you get caught up in a mess, call Will.
Thanks for that info. I have a few more questions I hope you can assist.

-I am still unclear if this would be problematic: If the Vin's 8th Character (Engine Type) is "B" is the 200tdi in there? It is 4 cylinder turbo diesel 2.5l.
-If it is an issue and already in transport but not yet arrived at port. What are my options?
------Can it stay on boat for another destination? Or do all vehicles have to be unloaded and inspected? I will send it to somewhere else.
------ I see that you can bring it in as "restore" under "bonded entry" and have 120 days to bring it to the original spec. I would happily swap it back to 19j.

"1.1.3.3 Bonded Entries EPA will require a Customs bond upon importation of a U.S. version vehicle that has been modified or altered. The bond is needed to ensure that the necessary repair and restoration work will be completed. Even though the bond amount is set by Customs, EPA recommends to Customs that the bond be at least the current market value of the vehicle. After a bonded entry has been made with Customs, the importer has 120 days to bring the vehicle into compliance with EPA requirements. Otherwise, Customs may seize the vehicle, require the vehicle to be exported, and seek monetary damages and penalties."
 

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Thanks for that info. I have a few more questions I hope you can assist.

-I am still unclear if this would be problematic: If the Vin's 8th Character (Engine Type) is "B" is the 200tdi in there? It is 4 cylinder turbo diesel 2.5l.
-If it is an issue and already in transport but not yet arrived at port. What are my options?
------Can it stay on boat for another destination? Or do all vehicles have to be unloaded and inspected? I will send it to somewhere else.
------ I see that you can bring it in as "restore" under "bonded entry" and have 120 days to bring it to the original spec. I would happily swap it back to 19j.

"1.1.3.3 Bonded Entries EPA will require a Customs bond upon importation of a U.S. version vehicle that has been modified or altered. The bond is needed to ensure that the necessary repair and restoration work will be completed. Even though the bond amount is set by Customs, EPA recommends to Customs that the bond be at least the current market value of the vehicle. After a bonded entry has been made with Customs, the importer has 120 days to bring the vehicle into compliance with EPA requirements. Otherwise, Customs may seize the vehicle, require the vehicle to be exported, and seek monetary damages and penalties."
You read that wrong.. That loophole is specifically for " A US Version Vehicle". Ie if you took a NAS 90 out of the country for several years and were trying to bring it back with a 300 under the hood. This loop hole allows you to make it right.

No a B in the vin does not indicate a tdi.
A B indicates a 19J engine.
A tdi either 200 or 300 would be an F.

If your truck does not have the right engine, best advice is contact the customs broker handling your entry and ask that they not file the Customs entry. Then make arrangements to ship it back out and correct the problem.
Whether or not a vehicle is seized or allowed to be turned around after entry is filed is entirely up to the officer handling your entry. Keep in mind these are law enforcement officers and they climb their professional career ladder by making seizures and arrests. If the vehicle is incorrect, and the inspecting officer catches that, the probability they will snag it is high.
 

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You read that wrong.. That loophole is specifically for " A US Version Vehicle". Ie if you took a NAS 90 out of the country for several years and were trying to bring it back with a 300 under the hood. This loop hole allows you to make it right.

No a B in the vin does not indicate a tdi.
A B indicates a 19J engine.
A tdi either 200 or 300 would be an F.

If your truck does not have the right engine, best advice is contact the customs broker handling your entry and ask that they not file the Customs entry. Then make arrangements to ship it back out and correct the problem.
Whether or not a vehicle is seized or allowed to be turned around after entry is filed is entirely up to the officer handling your entry. Keep in mind these are law enforcement officers and they climb their professional career ladder by making seizures and arrests. If the vehicle is incorrect, and the inspecting officer catches that, the probability they will snag it is high.
Thank you for your advice. I reached out to my broker and he said it should be "fine" because the engine is "similar" and quoted :
"- The vehicle must be in its original unmodified configuration.
- Vehicles at least 21 years old with replacement engines are not eligible for this exemption unless they contain equivalent or newer EPA certified engines and emission control systems."

I have been trying to get in touch with Will for almost a week now but no luck yet :/

I know he is dealing with a similar situation except I think his is a vehicle that was non-turbo that is now turbo.
 

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2 things being missed here are
First what does your insurance company think they are insuring if it's not what they believe they have insured and you are involved in a major claim they can walk away and leave you with the claim to pay and all other liability
Second if you get stopped for a Federal inspection all your local inspections mean zero it happens with diesel trucks that have been deleted they just red tag it and you tow it home and pay massive fines the Feds don't fool around
 

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2 things being missed here are
First what does your insurance company think they are insuring if it's not what they believe they have insured and you are involved in a major claim they can walk away and leave you with the claim to pay and all other liability
Second if you get stopped for a Federal inspection all your local inspections mean zero it happens with diesel trucks that have been deleted they just red tag it and you tow it home and pay massive fines the Feds don't fool around
Randy,
Most of this thread is about getting a vehicle into the country.
If there is any question about insurance, take the vehicle to your agent and disclose what you have under the hood and have he and the underwirter discuss, removes it as a potential future claim issue. In my case they didnt give a damn.

My experience has been, they could care less what makes it go down the road.

Tell them you want full coverage on a vehicle you will off road and lights and buzzers go off .
Hagerty would not an insure a 110 for me because it had a snorkle.

Never seen or heard of a DOT inspection for anything under 25k # , have you ?
 

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Yes any of the newer trucks if they smoke they will get pulled not a Rover but the point being if they want to they can
 
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