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Author Topic: loading a smart car  (Read 8104 times)
Len Silva
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« Reply #45 on: May 03, 2011, 04:48:05 AM »

I think a HDT and 5th wheel make a lot of sense for many full timers.  One precaution though that I have heard about.

There was a long running thread on Escapees about someone who regularly took his HDT/Trailer combo into Mexico for the winter.  Because of a family emergency, they bob-tailed back to the U.S.. No problem getting in but they could not take the truck back into Mexico without the trailer attached.

I don't remember the outcome, seems their choices were to pay a commercial hauler to bring the trailer into the States so they could haul it back, or to buy a cheap trailer and abandon it in Mexico.

Just a little useless info to plug in to the back of your brain!
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Jeremy
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« Reply #46 on: May 03, 2011, 05:30:09 AM »

I don't suppose they are available in the States, but there's a French company called Microcar that build small cars that are not unlike the Smart, but less sophisticated and less fashionable. A guy down my street is obviously a fan as he had had a whole series of them. From the sound it made I had always assumed that it had a two-stroke engine, but according to their website they are available with a 505cc 4-stroke petrol, a 548cc diesel, or in a electric version.

Anyway, the point is that their Virgo model (a few years old now and no longer made) is stated as being 2580mm long. That's 101.57 inches folks.



Plenty of them on Ebay for not much money

Jeremy

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« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2011, 08:02:35 AM »

I don't suppose they are available in the States, (snip)  Jeremy 

Nope, you'd never get them past the N. American regs.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2011, 09:05:53 AM »

Back to the topic... I STILL say, a Smart Car should be able to load itself.  Otherwise its dumber than H*ll. Grin
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« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2011, 09:14:30 AM »


Nope, you'd never get them past the N. American regs.

That's a shame - there was me dreaming up a part-time business that bought little French cars on Ebay and stuffed them in shipping containers going to the USA. What kind of things might it fail the American regs on do you imagine? Not enough cup holders?

I can well imagine there would be very little demand for one of these in the States, but if a Smart car can pass the American regs I'm interested to know why one of these couldn't.

Jeremy

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Len Silva
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« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2011, 09:33:27 AM »

Actually, I think the European emission and safety regulations are probably stricter than they are here.  Mostly it's a matter of very expensive testing for a very limited market.
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« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2011, 09:49:02 AM »

I can understand that selling brand-new cars into the American market would (quite properly) require a full range of expensive type-approval testing. But are there not exemptions for personal imports or kit-cars etc?

If an American vehicle is imported into the UK by an individual, for example, it has to go through a 'SVA test', which is 'Single Vehicle Approval' - this checks many things and isn't easy to pass, but obviously doesn't get into any of the really serious stuff that new cars go through (ie. crash testing etc).

Jeremy

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« Reply #52 on: May 04, 2011, 07:28:32 AM »

  I can understand that selling brand-new cars into the American market would (quite properly) require a full range of expensive type-approval testing. But are there not exemptions for personal imports or kit-cars etc?
If an American vehicle is imported into the UK by an individual, for example, it has to go through a 'SVA test', which is 'Single Vehicle Approval' - this checks many things and isn't easy to pass, but obviously doesn't get into any of the really serious stuff that new cars go through (ie. crash testing etc).   Jeremy

North American laws are very different.  The laws (National Motor Vehicle Traffic Safety Act of 1966 and Clean Air Act of 1969, as amended) require that every vehicle meet all the requirements of the law and also regulations set by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Enviromental Protection Agency, with almost identical requirements in Canada, enforced by Transports Canada and Environment Canada.   It doesn't matter if you're bringing in one or one hundred thousand. 

There was a "personal import" exemption at one time but it was revoked because it was burdensome for the bureaucrats.  There are hundreds of pages of laws,  regulations, and court rulings but it all adds up to "it is not practical".
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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Iceni John
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« Reply #53 on: May 04, 2011, 12:09:20 PM »

Why not take the engine out of the car, and maybe also the wheels, then separately import the resultant pieces as "vehicle parts", and leave it up to the purchaser to put them together to make a complete car?   How big or small does a part need to be, to be considered "parts"?   Wherever there's bureaucracy, there's a way around it.

This is sort-of like how diplomats in foreign postings would import their own cars in the famous Diplomatic Bag.   There used to be some interesting vehicles in far-flung obscure places that were brought in this way.

John
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« Reply #54 on: May 04, 2011, 01:06:21 PM »

" How big or small does a part need to be, to be considered "parts"? "

The law specifically says "vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment" so that answer is that all parts have to meet all standards that apply to them.  Don't try the "disassemble the car" trick -- quite a few people have; they're now known as "The Defendant".  BTW, you DO NOT want to mess with US Customs -- they're the only US Gov. agency that's judge and jury in their own court.  You actually have more rights with Homeland Security than you do with Customs.  Customs can condemn and seize anything -- that's one of the specifics of importing any item across the border.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

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« Reply #55 on: May 04, 2011, 01:38:27 PM »

Just curious. Has anyone here ever had their bus stopped and measured by anyone from the dot? In fact raise your hand if they pulled you over and did an inspection. I have a fifth wheel gooseneck flatbed trailer I built that is 108 wide at the fenders and I've never had any problems and it's been through a lot of scales. I guess fenders are possibly exempt as they are considered safety equipment!! Roll Eyes

Just a question - Are we required to run our Coach RV through the scales along the interstate?  So far, I've just driven by without a thought.   Huh
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« Reply #56 on: May 04, 2011, 02:07:33 PM »

Presumably it's not the importing aspect specifically which causes the problem - I would imagine the various agencies would only take an interest when you tried to get a US registration issued on a 'non-recognised' vehicle for use on the public road.

I'm surprised to learn how restrictive the laws are as I'd always assumed that America was the land of 'anything goes' when it came to vehicles, and the wilder and wackier the better.

Jeremy
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« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2011, 03:38:46 PM »

Tikvah,  No, you are not required to run across the scales,  UNLESS you are using it for business and have a DOT number and a CDL.   In fact if you do go across the scales when they are open, i have heard that they can stop you and do an inspection just like you were a commercial rig.
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« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2011, 03:45:33 PM »

 Presumably it's not the importing aspect specifically which causes the problem - I would imagine the various agencies would only take an interest when you tried to get a US registration issued on a 'non-recognised' vehicle for use on the public road.  

No, (regarding US laws, but Canada is similar) any vehicle that's brought across the border (for any commercial purpose -- and registration and use in the US is considered a commercial purpose) must be enrolled with US Customs and a bond for the value of the vehicle deposited with Customs.  There are a few exemptions (a foreign military person in the U.S. on NATO-authorized orders; a credentialed diplomat; a vehicle that's being brought for an auto show, a race, or exhibition like marketing research -- these must be kept under bond and exported or destroyed at the end of one year although an extension for military persons or diplomats is available by application to Customs.  Also, a vehicle which is 25 years or older is considered a non-commercial vehicle and is exempt; however, the importer must apply for a ruling from Customs that this applies and Customs must issue a notification that they have accepted the exemption; bond is released when this exemption is validated by Customs and such a vehicle can be kept in the US indefinitely) but all vehicles have to be processed by Customs and released.  If any vehicle does not quality for an exemption, the technical details of the vehicle are referred to Department of Transportation and EPA.  In theory, it is possible to have a vehicle released by DoT and EPA but the practicalities are that this never happens.  

It is illegal to register an imported vehicle that has not been released by Customs but this is separate from and only at the end of the comprehensive Customs procedure.

It is legal to import a vehicle that is manufactured and certified by its manufacturer to meet N. American standards.  Examples of this are US military personnel -- they must buy US vehicles if they want to bring them back; I am not aware of any company that does this except for German and Swedish ones.  Similarly, if a car is sold in Canada and it meets US standards, that vehicle can be brought into the US.  But in all cases, the importer must go through the registration and release procedures required by Customs.

(US and Canadian laws fit together hand in glove so almost everything can be converted by substituting "Canada" for "US", above.)

It is quite simple.  It's illegal to import a non-US vehicle into the US without approval of Customs.  They enforce this law.  It's as simple as that.  

(Sorry for the thread drift but there seems to be a lack of understanding out there.)
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

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« Reply #59 on: May 04, 2011, 08:57:50 PM »

its legal to both send parts and import parts.. so ur right icini john.  My friend who has a place in south america, not only sent truck and auto parts in containers (shipped as scrap) to his shop there, but also cut up n dismantled a ranger pickup so he could reassemble it there.  I have both bought and sold major components to europe, and while in some states like this one, you can assemble your own homebuilt cars, as i have, you can do the same.  The only thing i have had to do besides show reciepts, is to make sure that the headlights were at the right height, n the thing had proper lights, wipers, etc.  Somehow they have never cared about the drivetrain, or the bumpers, etc.  We also have to stamp the frame in the proper 2 places, as that is inspected also. I have a car right now that i have to get the number inspected... well, almost.... abt 2 more days work on it.
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