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Need to decide

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by punimog, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. punimog

    punimog New Member

    Howdy y'all,
    I was recenlty introduced to kei trucks (and vans) and have determined I need one of these in my life.
    The big question I have been wrestling with is: should I just buy one from an importer here in Washington state or should I import it myself with the help of one of the many companies offering assistance with the auction & shipment (I a leaning toward https://japancardirect.com/)
    I have found some great resources describing the import process through the forum, but I would love to get some more feedback as I intend to drive it on road as well as off.
    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    You get a lot more cheaper with Pacific Coast Auto and the cost difference is 1,000 yen ( $9.21 currently ).. If you want a car NOW, then buy one from a dealer lot. There are a few in Washington.. Personally I bought my '92 Carry from a dealer for $5,600 and it was a deal or so I thought. I found the auction sheet and searched it, where my truck sold for about $200. If the same truck was imported by me, I'd have had it for less than $4k.. I'm going to import a Suzuki Jimny 660 pretty soon through PCA
     
    punimog likes this.
  3. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Active Member

    An advantage to buying from a local company, is that they have a good handle on the potential legal issues, and know what you need to do to get licensed.
     
    cmoore and punimog like this.
  4. Maximal

    Maximal Member

    if you can find a clean one locally, do that over importing. you can get it properly looked over and inspected vs any surprises importing
     
    punimog likes this.
  5. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    FWIW, I bought my truck with no guarantee that I could get it licensed in NY. importer ( Nipponway NT ) said I could probably get it registered. I ran the chassis number to verify it was 25 years old, verified he was supplying the correct paperwork and then bought it. Most JDM dealers are not registered car dealers especially in the Kei truck market ( some are ). So they are not going to help you with registration. The local guy I have here that used to import them just instructed everyone to register through Vermont so I've had to help a few people out get NY plates as it stood out that my truck had NY plates..

    Also, my truck was up graded on Nipponway's internal inspection sheet. Went from being a grade 3 with a C interior/ B exterior to a grade 4 B/B.. Still the nicest truck I could find and I'm happy with it. But your not getting any more buying one landed. And these trucks potentially go for little of nothing through the auctions, you can save more than a little.. The auction sheet also noted the drivers seat bottom was replaced on my truck. I'd have never noticed otherwise.
     
    punimog likes this.
  6. cmoore

    cmoore New Member

    Nice thing about buying from a dealer in the states is that the kei likely is already titled and registered. I bought my Sambar from http://www.nwminitrucks.com/ in Camas Wa. They had already gotten it a Washington title. I still had to title transfer to my state (Idaho) but based on my local DMV’s response to the van, if it had not been already titled in WA, the van would likely be yard art (off road use only).
     
    punimog likes this.
  7. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    The thing to remember is the local DMV probably does not know what to do. It does not make it illegal in your state.. My local and tiny one person DMV that I always use told me I had to have approval of the Japanese consulate to verify the translated export certificate. I knew I had the right paperwork and upon trying another, larger DMV had no problem
     
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  8. Tuskano

    Tuskano Member

    Welcome to the forums! I agree with all above... with dealerships it is usually already titled and legal. Less to do and less chance for dmv issues. With WA it is easier since it follows the 25 year exempt law. I'm in WA too.

    I have not imported myself but have seen plenty of write ups from others from importing to dealing with DMV paperwork, do if you decided for that then yea.
     
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  9. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    I just realised that NW Mini trucks is Boeki USA, which is part of Nipponway where I bought my truck. They were decent to me, but I don't think I could buy another vehicle off them.
     
  10. cmoore

    cmoore New Member

    Details? I've known the guys out of Camas,WA forever (English Racing). The mini truck game is a side deal for them comparatively speaking. I've never known them to be anything but up and up.
     
  11. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    Well, my truck was rated one point higher on their internal inspection sheet than was on the auction sheet which was in the glovebox. And the paperwork that I got were PDF docs emailed and only after I asked for them. I don't doubt that they had originals that he forgot to send with the truck but couldn't be bothered to send them and just said all he had were the PDF's.. In the end the printed pdf's were enough after I convinced the DMV that the paperwork is only filed electronically. Lucky they actually believed me and it made it through the main DMV because I have a NY title. I think it's because I had more proof and paperwork with me than NY required

    I've actually tried to contact them about purchasing other vehicles and give them a second chance and they don't bother to respond.. This is Nipponway now in NJ. They may just be partners with Washington and not totally affiliated .. On Ebay they just went back to 100% feedback from 95% after having a few negatives removed. They were at a 98% with like 40 feedback when I bought my truck. To this day they are in my saved seller list

    The other benefit to self import, unless the dealer your interested in titles vehicles, is when you get your import paperwork, the Customs entry form will have only your vehicle on it, you will for sure have the correct stamp, your export cert WILL be original and the emissions exemption and FMVSS exemptions will be originals as well.
     
  12. cmoore

    cmoore New Member

    Sorry about your troubles. IDK about their company arrangements, I just know the guys in Washington from their other company ( https://englishracing.net/pages/about-us ).

    Self import can certainly have it's benefits. I've wanted to self import a while now, but I've had trouble getting JP businesses to respond. I tried for a long time to order a Calstage.jp VW-Kei conversion but they don't respond to my inquiries.
     
  13. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    You need to find an exporter willing to buy parts for you. From what I understand most Japanese parts companies hate dealing outside of Japan. Making places like Megazip, Japan-parts and forwarding services invaluable
     
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  14. DMann

    DMann New Member

    I went through Japan car direct no problems. I was nervous and over thought things but it all worked out. The only real negative thing I can say is they hint that import duty on the truck could be 2.5%. The duty on kei cars is 2.5% on kei trucks it is 25%.
     
    cmoore likes this.
  15. punimog

    punimog New Member

    That's good information. Is the 25% based just on purchase price of vehicle at auction or price + exported fees + shipping?
    Thanks to you all for your replies. Sounds like any way I look at it, I need to do a bit more research on my exact vehicle.
    I've been leaning toward a Carry (mostly because of availability), but I need to go test drive a few.
    Can anyone speak to the EL geared and/or 5 speed transmission? Does this effect the top end? Or the off road capability?
    Thanks again folks!
     
  16. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    The tax is based on just the invoice price for the vehicle. Shipping and export is not included. Since the trucks don't sell for a ton at auction it's not a ton of money.

    I have a '92 Carry 5spd. I bought it to daily drive so pretty much needed 5th gear. The EL gear unlocks when in 4x4 and gives a nice low gear. Between EL and 1st are really usable offroad and there is no low reverse of course but it does ok.

    If I were to buy again, for my purpose I would spend the extra and get one of the EFI Sambar's
     
  17. Maximal

    Maximal Member

    Be-Forward, Carepo, Yokohama Motors, Nengun, and Trust in Japan, PartSouq in Saudi Arabia and FitInPart in Singapore dont mind shipping worldwide. the guy that imported my Sambar for me doesnt do parts so i just get them myself, ive gotten parts for my Toyota Crown and Subaru Sambar from all of those places no issues. FitInPart has Sambar brake shoes and other small bits for wayyyy cheaper than anyone else, i got front and rear brake pads for my Toyota Crown for $120 shipped whereas from Japan it was $250+

    ive heard the supercharged EFI isnt worth it, ive always owned the carbureted versions and a guy by me that used to work on Sambars in Asia said you cant even feel the boost/15hp difference the EFI version has. only boosted model ive heard you can feel a pull in is the turbo Carry
     
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  18. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    EFI alone would be worth it from a drivability standpoint over a carb ( taken from someone who daily's a carb in a colder climate ) The turbo/ supercharged versions of the trucks are not really supposed to 'feel' boost. It assists the power in the overdrive gear to maintain speed. They are just low boost, non intercooled setups.

    I want to find a way to take the F6A intercooler turbo from a Jimny and put the whole thing in a Carry
     
  19. Maximal

    Maximal Member

    I guess its hit and miss, I've started my carbureted sambar many times in -30c not plugged in, never have had to pump the gas pedal and it starts right up then idles at 2500 for a couple minutes then goes down

    It would be interesting to see a side by side comparison on hills with wind though, with headwind and a steep hill I've been stuck going 60kmh floored a few times lol
     
  20. cmoore

    cmoore New Member

    I'm actually talking to them right now about getting another Sambar van. So far, at least from the front side, they've been awesome. Wish me luck.
     

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