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Please help

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by bmwr71, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    I bought a truck from a US dealer, and overpayed by a lot, probably double vs getting one from Japan and doing the waiting game.. That truck was a 1992 Suzuki Carry 5spd. Little under $6k. it needed a clutch eventually but I daily drove it for over a year. I sold it when it became unreliable due to carburator and electrical system issues, but I had also just bought the replacement vehicle which was/ is a 1993 Suzuki Jimny 660 tin top ( Samurai in USA but there are big differences )..

    The total cost of my Jimny exported was $1,700 from Beforward.jp . Import broker costs and customs costs added about $1k to that and then I had it shipped to me from the port. So all told I was around 3k, but the going rate in the USA is $4,500+
    Now my truck DID come with a blown up turbocharger that I did not know about. I elected to purchase a new/ used complete engine since an importer had one cheap enough. My trucks lot cost was $611 so I can't expect too much..

    Now after having a DD Kei truck, and the Jimny is finally going together. I can tell that owning the Jimny makes a lot more sense for a DD and the reason is that you can cross parts to USA counterparts. Brakes are available ( canada spec SJ413 ), the timing belt is the same as a 1.6L in the Suzuki X90. tires/ wheels while different. will fit a 205/70/16 and Falken makes a sweet Wildpeak A/T Trail tire in that size..

    Now as far as what really fits something like the Suzuki Carry... The timing belt might be the same as the one in the Jimny ( and thus available ) but I'd have to look.. 14x5.5" wheels can be found and 155 or 165/65/14 tires can be found although the only 'real' tires you will find are Nokian snow tires at this point. Nankang, Achillies and Federal tires exist in those sizes but they are garbage tires.. as for why that size tire. The OD is the same as 145 R12 at 155 wide, and 165 wide is only marginally taller..
    I went through 2 sets of brake pads I got from the phillipines as the first set did not fit correctly. The locator pins didn't line up.. Shift cable broke, and I had to pony up $150 to get a new side to side cable... All in all, it's a novel truck and I miss it but a daily driver, it just wasn't practical.
  2. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    Are there any consistent problems with the four wheel drive on these trucks or was the seller just lying?

    This evening went to look at a 1990 Mitsubishi 3 speed 2wd left hand drive with mph gauge truck. The seller claimed that he was told by a local mini truck dealer that sells them for off road only and at a high price that the four wheel drive on them was a problem and to avoid those. But he later did change the story to be that he was told by the guy that the 4wd parts on some mini truck had a noise and was told to avoid it. Sounds like two different tales.

    I will say that from driving it, I see that it could be a daily driver, maybe not real comfortable, but a way to get around town. I could also see that working on it wouldn't be a big deal as it seemed that one could get at the parts. So I hope that the county clerk director will find away that I can license one. I also took my friend that owns a few acres and allows me to store cars there and maybe I might get one just to play around with out there.

    While driving this one, was on a bumpy gravel road so the ride wasn't smooth. Good thing it was a gravel road with no traffic as it seemed I was having trouble braking. I thought at first that somehow with those small pedals with close spacing that I was missing the brake pedal. But I realized that all it was was the brake pedal going to the floor with no stopping the truck. And like on the gas pedal, it would have the lever drop down behind it and then that pedal would go to the floor and would need to lift the pedal up and get the lever back in place. I could repair both, but perhaps a better truck would be better. The odometer said like 17500 miles. I asked if that was the original mileage and the seller said he didn't know. He had a title that he had like 4 yrs that he never had transferred to his name and it said at the time of transfer, 35000 miles on the truck. Another mystery for that truck.

    So it made me know I want one and can fit in one, but still have to wonder which one would be best? Will try sometime to run out to the dealer and see what is there, but think there are maybe 8 trucks there and it is like an hour or more drive away and I won't be buying there.
  3. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    Avoid Mitsubishi in general IMO. LHD with mph speedometer was a USA import grounds vehicle ( speed limited, never road legal ).. And no, there is no real issue with the 4x4 he was trying to upsell his 2wd.. Some of these trucks use a control unit ecu that can go bad and 4x4 won't work ( I know Suzuki does ). But it can be bypassed with extra switches or replaced if it does
  4. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    Thanks again. You are helping me to become an informed buyer.

    This guy was putting on the hard sell, like the deal that if I didn't buy right then that someone would be buying it the next day.
  5. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    Back after days after being told no by the state vehicle license people. I emailed the info to the county clerk's office director and she sent back the stae law regarding mini trucks in Kentucky, KRS189.517. I read it again and that brought questions to mind. It speaks of rules and prohibitions for mini trucks and it defines a mini truck as a Kei class truck, but there is no definition of what a kei class truck is so that became a question of hwo they can denie a road license for something with no definition. It also doesn't say anything about kei vans or cars and therefore it brought the question if these are affected by that law. I also wanted to know if it made any difference that the trucks sold were brought in under the federal 25 yr and older rules that make exemptions from safety and emissions standards and it it made any difference that the trucks from the dealer I have been communicating with had titles for his trucks that called them pickups and not mini trucks.

    I called the state agency again and got to a woman I had spoke to before that was their contact on that particular law. I asked her my questions and she could not answer them. She told me to email the director of the agency and get his word. The following is his replay and he does not answer my questions and I wonder what information you guys may have that pertains to what he wrote?

    Currently, the state of Kentucky does not title nor register mini-trucks (also known as Kei-class and Japanese mini-trucks). As you might be aware, the Kentucky General Assembly tried unsuccessfully through House Bill 421 in 2010 and House Bill 356 in 2011 to allow mini-trucks to be titled and registered. Additionally, the other reasons we are not allowing mini-trucks to be titled and registered are as follows:

    · Mini-trucks were approved to be imported into the United States for agricultural purposes only. To that effect, please note that KRS 186A.080(5) exempts vehicles used for the implement of husbandry from title and registration.

    · KRS 189.517(2) states that “except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, a person shall not operate a mini-truck upon any public highway or roadway or upon the right-of-way of any public highway or roadway”.

    · Mini-trucks Manufacturers’ Certificate of Origins designate them as Off-road vehicles.

    · Mini-trucks do not comply with U.S. vehicle air pollutant emissions standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a bulletin in 2009 warning states that mini-trucks may be in violation of the Clean Air Act.

    · Mini-trucks were not designed to be operated on North American roadways. Allowing their operation introduces into the conventional traffic mix vehicles with questionable stability and crash protection.

    · The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) issued its final ruling on January 10, 2011, advising that mini-trucks should not be licensed to operate upon public highways.

    · Likewise, the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on its May 20, 2010 publication, warns states not to allow mini-trucks on public highways because they were not manufactured to meet safety standards for public highway use.

    · The state of Florida may have a specific language in their statute that permits mini-trucks to be titled. I am not aware of any Kentucky statutes that authorizes us to license mini-trucks.

    Because mini-trucks do not meet FMVSS/CMVSS standards of vehicle design and safety, do not meet emission standards, were not designed to be operated on North American public highways, and were not approved by the Kentucky General Assembly for public highway use, we cannot title and register them at this time.

    If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to call me or send me an email.

    Thank you and have a great day.
  6. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    Mini trucks used to be able to be imported as ag vehicles well before they were 25 years old. They were generally speed limited and Mitsubishi even shipped LHD versions here as grounds vehicles in the 1990's..

    However, in 1988 The USA FMVSS\ Federal DOT created a standard that any vehicle that was 25 years or older is compliant with Federal DOT regulations through exemption. This means that any vehicle, 25 years or older that was designed for road use 'somewhere' will be eligible to put on the road according to the US DOT.. This is also where things get muddy. Most states know these mini trucks from before any of them were federally legal, but around 2015 when the good ones ( 660cc ) became available for road legal import, not every agency is up to snuff on the legality. Where this guy keeps putting " Mini truck " is correct only if it is 24 years or newer.. 25 years or older, and imported as an exempt motor vehicle on the FMVSS HS7 document and it's not a "Mini truck", it's a federally exempt motor vehicle. He put "Because mini-trucks do not meet FMVSS/CMVSS standards of vehicle design and safety, do not meet emission standards, were not designed to be operated on North American public highways, and were not approved by the Kentucky General Assembly for public highway use, we cannot title and register them at this time."

    Tell this guy to read bullitin #7 https://www.nhtsa.gov/importing-vehicle/importation-and-certification-faqs. it's from the NHTSA and covers the FMVSS issue he relayed. And that your interested in titling a federally legal exempt motor vehicle, it is not a mini truck.
    If you still can't get them to play ball after that. License in Vermont and transfer later to your state
    Ohkei Dohkei likes this.
  7. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    That is a question he failed to answer, the law says a mini truck is a kei class truck but it does not define what a kei class truck is. In law, if a word is not defined by some law contained language, then one looks at the common dictionary meaning. I saw on the Net from Merium Webster dictionary that kei is a type of apple. Clearly I do not want to license an apple. I also see he did not address the 25 yrs or older exemptions and I asked him about it again and await some response.

    And I asked about the trucks for sale that had titles that called them pickup trucks and not mini trucks and he also conveniently did not answer my question. I told him I would probably get some answer regarding "policy", which is essentially rules just made up and not real law. Instead of reading about policy, I just got no answers to my questions. Perhaps I got what he wrote because I told him how the county clerk's office director said the law was incomplete because it did not have information of why the trucks were prohibited from licensing with info about fatalities or insurance companies refusing to insure the trucks or pay claims.
  8. Ohkei Dohkei

    Ohkei Dohkei Active Member

    Kei does refer to specification such as a maximum standard size in Japan. I think I would go the route Matt suggested rather than worry about the "Kei" term and just explain that it is 25 years old and therefore exempt. I doubt you'll get anywhere, but it might be worth a try.
  9. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    I did some digging in Kentucky for you. Looks like the import law for the state was created in 1986 and never revised. However the written law, states that if you can get the paperwork proving that it is legal with EPA and DOT ( which is on the HS7 form, and the EPA form that you need from customs ), all you need is a statement from the manufacture on origin which I know some states do, however Honda and Nissan have no problem doing that for sure ( Honda/ Nissan of Japan of course ). probably all the manufactures will do it for you.

    Given the complications I would mail order a vermont title, and then transfer it later or keep the VT plates if they won't. Vermont really does not care
  10. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    I didn't get a response today from either the state nor the county clerk's office directors. Perhaps they are busy or took off, or perhaps they are stumped.

    The law on the mini trucks says they are kei trucks and never defines what a kei truck is. I know there are specifications in Japan, but Japanese law does not apply here. If the law said that the definition for kei was that specified in some Japanese law or publication or guidance, then it would matter depending on if they did the citation correctly, but there is no mention of where the kei definition comes from unless it is somewhere else that nobody had informed me of, but I am doubting that. As I said, in law, if a word is not specifically defined, then the common dictionary meaning is used. I don't think there is any dictionary definition of what a kei class truck is except who knows, maybe in some Japanese dictionary. And perhaps non-English or non-USA dictionaries don't count.

    Would be interested in knowing where to find the import law information in the Kentucky statutes so i could see if I could further corner the directors. But perhaps they would claim it didn't amtter due to the specific law on mini trucks being applicable.

    And I need to look into the Vermont license. May check with a policeman friend to see if there is any law that one needs to change the license on a car to a Kentucky license after so many months of living in the state. He has already suggested I just buy one and take it for the sherriff's inspection and just go into a county clerk's office and get a license. That is tempting, but might end up with a truck that I can only off road with. And where I live, the stupid government prohibits unlicensed vehicles in one's driveway or yard.
  11. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    Kei in Japanese means light, so a kei vehicle is a light vehicle. And the law in Japan goes on to limit the engine to 660cc/ 64hp and 10' long by 50"

    However your getting cought up in the mini truck terminology. Those laws were written before they could be imported as exempt motor vehicles. The trucks affected by "mini truck laws" are those that were imported as agricultural used farm equipment.. Once you get one in the USA that is 25 or older and is imported as an exempt motor vehicle with the HS7 and EPA documents, it is an "exempt motor vehicle"according to the FMVSS/ DOT.

    If you read between the lines, and forget your talking about a mini truck, you will find the loophole and the fact it's legal. https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=6152
  12. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    Thanks very much for taking the time and effort to help me with this problem. I have wanted one of these for years and I thought I had a way to get past the legal nonsense, and maybe i can get it done in the end if I keep on working on it.

    I get Pintrest emails everyday. As I looked at some railroad stuff a while back and keep looking at it, that is what they generally send me. But they also salt in other subject pictures and if one looks at them, then the future emails may be links to pictures of the new subject. The other day there happened to be a picture of a mini truck mixed in with the railroad pictures (maybe Pintrest is spying on me). I click on the link to the photo origin and it was a Japanese site with maybe 10 pictures of different hot rod style custom mini trucks. I want to do a mini truck military style, but maybe if the first one is good, will need another to do a street rod looking one.

    How would one find a certificate of origin that shows that the mini trucks are not agricultural? I guess I could look and see if any of the groups he mentioned have changed their opinions on mini trucks, but wonder if I can show that they did that he would just respond that it doesn't matter? And still haven't heard back from my state representative and senator, and I am not surprised. I think I may have them on there being no definition of a kei class truck and guessing they will just go quiet with no response or more smoke and mirrors.

    Regarding the Vermont title, need to ask my policeman friend if that could be a problem. Not sure but there may be some law that one must get their vehicle licensed in the county where they live or like that they must get their vehicle license changed to a KY license after so many days of living here.
  13. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    The manufactures statement of origin is a statement from the manufacture ( Japanese parent company, USA divisions won't help you ) on where it came from and that it is designed for the road. Only a couple of states require that and KY is one of them..

    You might look at US Mini trucks. He asks a premium, but only gets premium quality trucks and repairs them if needed BUT. He can also get a title in his state IIRC Texas. With an out of state title, you should have no trouble getting it licensed in Kentucky.

    As for Vermont, most states is 6 months. But it's an out of state title, they should accept that without an issue.
  14. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    Thanks again. The Florida dealer is much closer to me than Texas. And it would come with a title shown as a pickup truck. Would think that this would get me around problems. And I wonder if I just went to a county clerk's office and had the inspection and took the title in if they would just issue a title and life would go on??? But have no way of knowing. I have asked how I would get caught in the system and got no answer. I have asked if there is a list of banned trucks or how they determine what a kei class truck is and got no answer so far. I would expect they would claim with the statute on mini trucks being in existence that this fact ends all of my arguments and my quest would be over. That is why I think pushing them on the fact that they have no definition of what a kei truck is is the key to defeating them.

    I asked my friend who has been a policeman for like 26 years if I would have trouble with having a Vermont license on the truck and he said he didn't know. He still suggests I just take a truck and get the inspection and take the title in the building and see what happens. As I said, without a list or definition of what a mini truck is, perhaps it will just slip through the system. But just don't want to end up with a truck I can't drive.
  15. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    I wouldn't use a dealer in florida, besides Garanin Corp, and I'm not even sure he is still around. the website looks dead. The reason is, it's far too easy in Florida to skip steps in the import process and actually bring in ' black market ' cars.. This is why you can find R34 GTR's and other known illegal ( newer than 25 year ) cars in Florida.. The Florida title is a red flag for some states, and possibly yours. The way I understand it, is Florida 'tag offices' can be independently owned. You register plates in much the same manor that you buy a hunting license here at a Walmart in NY

    You have to forget the 'statute' on "mini trucks" and "kei trucks" all together. Mini trucks is the agricultural import term, and kei truck is the Japanese term. Once you get past that, and the FMVSS HS7 exempts it, and the EPA form exempts it, it becomes a federally legal, through exemption motor vehicle.. That loophole according to the Kentucky law I found shows that if it's good enough for the FMVSS/ DOT, they will accept it... If you keep calling it a mini truck, or a kei truck. your going to get the same road block every time
  16. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    The people I have communicated with so far have made no issue of coming from Florida. I guess I am partial to that dealer as he says he has them titled as pickup trucks and not mini trucks, as you said, forget the mini truck thing.

    I would love to forget the statute on mini trucks, but the jerks I am dealing with sure won't. I read what you had added regarding imports in Kentucky and it wasn't real clear to me that there would be a loophole that would get around the mini truck thing. I am not unfamiliar with dealing with law stuff as I was an enforcement engineer for a government agency for many years and spent the last miserable years working for the agency writing law stuff. On the other hand, with no definition of a kei class truck that is what a prohibited mini truck is defined as, if I just say it is a small import truck, perhaps my problem could be solved.

    Thanks so much again for your help
  17. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    exactly once you just tell them it's " a federally exempt imported vehicle " it becomes legal... I would only buy from a dealer who could furnish copies of the customs/ DOT/EPA documents with the chassis number on it and the copy of the original export certificate... US Mini trucks titles as road vehicles as well, and any correctly imported truck will be titled as such. My '92 Suzuki carry was titled in Ny as an LT Suzuki pickup, and insured as a Suzuki swift which is what my local state farm office did for it.. NY is anti mini truck as well, but I kept copies of the law and import documents in the glove box. I was questioned on it a few times
  18. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    I will keep those documents in mind and ask about them. Will be interesting if and when I hear the responses from the "authorities".

    So is the Suzuki what you drive now? I do see that there are the most parts for them on fleabay and the most posts and people for them on this forum. Those things make me think that this should perhaps be what I buy. But the Sambar is also interesting.
  19. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    I did have one, for about 2 years as a daily driver but I sold it. I have imported a suzuki Jimny now, which is the kei version of the USDM Samurai... Parts for most mini trucks are quite expensive unless you know how to search the world for them. That's why I upgraded to a Jimny. 660cc turbo, 5spd and many parts are the same as USDM Samurai or Canadian model SJ413, both of which have parts available
  20. bmwr71

    bmwr71 New Member

    IS the Jimny also considered a mini truck? Where would one buy one of those?

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