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Import rules

Discussion in 'General Truck Info' started by Heiny, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Heiny

    Heiny New Member

    I’m confused on what years can be imported and how. I thought they had to be 25 years old to get around EPA rules. I remember reading they had to have a plate welded to the shifter to limit top speed. Is that still in effect? I saw a dealer in Texas who is selling different year model as up to 2018. What changed? From what I read in one thread is that Tn doesn’t seem to care what year they are or if they have been speed limited. I see side by sides with plates here running with traffic at 40 mph. I’m confused.
  2. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    To be DOT legal, and comply with FMVSS, they must be 25 years or older to the month at time of import. No restrictions. No speed limiting, no shift blockers ect. Drive on the interstate highways if you want, it's legal.. This is good enough for all but California and I think Hawaii and their restrictions are due to CARB complaince. To explain this more. The EPA exempts engines/ vehicles older than 21 years for import. CARB compliance is not exempt newer than 1976.

    New trucks can be imported if the engine has an EPA certification. They will be speed limited and imported as low speed vehicles. Titling is up to your state, some do, most don't.

    There is also some confusion where some DMV's will mistakenly title the older trucks as versions of low speed vehicles.. The truth is, it could be an R32 GTR, or a Kei truck, they will have the same restrictions= none if they are 25 years or older
  3. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Active Member

    While the import restrictions are set at the federal level, the licensing is done at the state level. So, there fifty different sets of rules. Some states have specific laws for them, a few are operating under decisions of their attorney generals. To complicate matters, most folks at licensing offices have never seen one, so they are really confused on how to deal with them.

    I’m in Idaho, our statutes explicitly address them, and says they get licensed as ATVs. Under the law here you get the ATV plate, which allows you to drive them on roadways which aren’t part of the State highway system. So I can run legally on City and County roads, or the Forest Service and BLM roads.

    But, I do run on the State highways, pretty frequently, even though it’s technically illegal. The City and Count LEOs don’t bother folks about running ATVs on the highway unless they are driving like pinheads, or are too loud. And, so far two of the Staties have just smiled and waived when they’ve seen me out on the road, Both times I’ve been headed to the dump, with the bed full, and the load secured.

    In Montana, you have a choice of licensing and titling them as on road or off road vehicles. The on road plates cost more, and the insurance costs more. So, if you want one for around the ranch, occasional jaunts on the county and forest roads, you get an ATV plate. if you want to use it as an urban commuter you buy the real plates. There are a couple of Honda Actys around here with Montana street plates, owned by older gals with kids over on the Montana side of the mountains, that have them licensed at their kids addresses.
  4. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    Not really. Idaho has a mini truck law that addresses the trucks. The law was written BEFORE most of these trucks we run turned 25 years old, so it makes newer trucks possible to register for road use in Idaho ( with restrictions ). The trucks that are old enough and imported correctly, will have paperwork making them FMVSS/ DOT and EPA compliant through exemption which is good for all but 2 states.. Person can have the option as titling as an ATV/ mini truck, or a road vehicle. To be clear, this document from Idaho does not have any exemption for mini truck listed. And since the truck will be 'compliant'. It's all legal. Now the DMV, and some cops probably won't know because they had a " mini truck law " existing for 10 years.. If a cop marks it as an ATV on a vin inspection, all you would have to do is supply the DOT paperwork showing it's a motor vehicle and not an ATV. They don't know everything.
  5. Heiny

    Heiny New Member

    Thanks for the info. So any truck newer than 25 will have speed regulators. I have seen them for sale online and that is not mentioned. Once the truck becomes 25, can the limiters be removed? I noticed on some early 2000s trucks they have digital odometers, can they be tampered with to change total miles?

    Are there any dealers near the Nashville area that anyone knows of?
  6. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    law states, 25 years at time of import. So you can't import one and wait it out..

    And yes, no odometer is 'safe' from tampering. It's fairly easy with the earlier digital odometers as it's a single chip that can be hacked to change the reading. but Japan records stuff like that, and it would show " odometer replaced " if you were to look up stats on the truck. That said, odometer fraud is not a big thing in Japan. The older kei trucks are 5 digit and some sellers are not truthful that an odometer has rolled over or not. Some of the Honda Acty's and Subaru Sambars do have 6 digit odometers
  7. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Active Member

    My Hijet is a six digit mechanical. All the S100 series do. The S80 series had five digit.

    And if you’re buying used you need to check things like the wear on the pedals. If the pedals look really new, pull the rubber off. If the metal is polished they are replaced, and it took a lot of miles to wear it off.

    check the door seals and see how they look. And on the minitrucks, look for wear on the front of the fender well where pants and shoes rub. Is the paint rubbed or a different color/tone. It takes a lot of in and outs to wear that paint thin.
  8. Heiny

    Heiny New Member

    Good points to look for thanks.

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