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Importation Issues

Discussion in '88-91 Honda Civic/CRX' started by jhmed, May 20, 2006.

  1. jhmed

    jhmed Member

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    Apr 27, 2006
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    This is kinda continuation from my 'I'd liek to introduce myself' thread where a couple people had asked me about importation of my SiR. Well, turns out the very same day I got some disturbing news....

    Thursday I got a call from a buddy of mine who is trying to get his DA6 to pass a safety inspection so he can drive it. He needs a front rebar. I was like wtf, I don't have one, and he said the gov't is cracking down on RHDs. The shop he took his car to says that they have a letter regarding this.

    I called the shop and he confirmed that story and he was told that they will begin pulling over RHDs and yanking plates at the side of the road because the cars do not meet regulations. He said that even though I passed once before only means that they will fine and/or revoke the License of the Technician who performed the inspection on my car. He had even had Inspectors with the Provincial Government come out and oversee his inspection of a Skyline (which didn't pass, imagine that!) to make sure he checked for those things...

    I began making phone calls. Transport Canada (Federal Government) says the car is legal to import, and that is the province that is in charge of their own roads and have jurisdiction in this matter.

    I called the provincial government, too. They have had such a problem with people removing/modifying front bumpers on Skylines, Sylvia's (mentioned specifically by the officer I spoke to),etc to make room for larger intercoolers; improper lighting and glass; and being otherwise irresponsible in driving habits, that they are now cracking down on ALL Japanese imports. They even have a special officer in the Alberta Infrastructure and Traffic Safety office designated to handle all inquiries and issues related to Japanese imported vehicles.

    What he told me is happening is this. The Province has advised the local city police and the RCMP across Alberta of the crackdown, and they are told at their discretion to pull over RHD vehicles. They have the ability to order an on-the-spot inspection by a safety officer who comes out and inspects the vehicle (at the side of the road no less!) and if it in any way does not conform to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act regulations, they have the ability to take away the license plates and tow the vehicle.

    I called the city police traffic division and asked them about the 'road-side inspection' thing and they said that they only do it in EXTREME cases and wouldn't pull me over simply because of the orientation of my steering wheel. He said that in a post-accident situation they may do an inspection on *any* vehicle regardless of left or right-hand drive. But he did admit to me when asked directly that a RHD would be a more likely candidate for a post-accident inspection than a LHD one.

    But that led me to a thought... what would my insurance company do in the event I had an accident (my fault or otherwise) and my vehicle was inspected and found to be in violation of the regulations for an Out Of Province vehicle... even though I was told that it passed. So, I called my insurance broker and I am still waiting for the results of her conversation with the underwriter of my policy.

    And then I obtained a copy of the letter the government sent out....


    ...and I found out it's not just my province either. Ontario has already suspended any incoming JDM vehicles from being registered there.

    Yesterday, I obtained the book for the inspection requirements for an out of province safety inspection and I discovered the roof glass shouldn’t be a concern. No mention is made of roof glass in the inspection requirements. Their main concerns are visibility etc. and since I don’t look out of the roof when I’m driving it seems to be ok. The door impact beams seem not to be of any concern either.

    Lighting seems to be my biggest issue now.

    I have found a website that lists the SAE laboratory testing procedures for lighting on automobiles. This information comes at a cost of about $50US per section. I’m thinking that if I cannot locate the publications for free, I will try and hit up some local RHD’ers on the local forums to pitch in for the information. I still have to clear this with the government, but my theory is that if the lamps are not stamped SAE/DOT, but still pass the SAE's laboratory test criteria, the Alberta government may allow it. I have found one such lab in Nevada. I'm presently looking for one closer to home.

    I called them Friday again and the government says they have no regulations for the bumpers on JDM cars other than the vehicle must be equipped with some form of bumper impact absorbtion. They aren’t opposed to me modifying a rebar to fit the SiR front end, so long as a licensed bodyman performs the modifications and can attest to the structural integrity of the support.

    I have also confirmed visually from one of the tails in my collection, that the back-up lights are DOT and SAE approved. I will be checking my CR-X for side glass and the rest of the lights this weekend when I go to the storage unit. EDIT: Some friends have checked their JDM lights for me. So far I have confirmation that the tails (all 3) say SAE (DOT req'd in the USA). The headlights LHD/RHD do not, and I haven't checked corners/side/front signals yet.

    My insurance broker forwarded my insurance company's response to her query on my behalf. She said that she would ask as though it was someone looking to import and not mention any names so as not to tip them off. This is what they had to say:

    "We would basically follow Alberta Registries guidelines to register the vehicle. The client would have to get a safety done (please have him refer to Alberta Registries for the type required) and complete any recommendations made. If Alberta Registries is willing to register the auto in Canada we would insure. Modifications - if the auto is coming stock from Japan then we wouldn't consider it modified - however if the inspection shows after market modifications (for speed) have been done you would need to contact Underwriting for binding approval."

    Does my Spoon ECU count? LOL. Anyways, they don't seem to care at this point because it's registered here already, but it doesn't anwer what would happen if I got into an accident. Remember, just cuz I passed the inspection doesn't mean that they checked all the right stuff...

    I was talking to some technicians at work over the many smokes I've had during the past few days, and they all seem to be in agreement about one thing: I am not qualified to make the determination that my car is unsafe for Canadian roads. That's what the safety inspection was for... to have a QUALIFIED technician look over the car and confirm it meets all safety and standards set forth by the government. They basically said that if I did not work for Honda and knew nothing about cars I wouldn't know about these deficiencies and would drive my car around like nothing was going on, and they said simply that I should. If anything goes wrong, it's the technician's ass on the line who performed that original inspection. Damn glad I didn't get that inspection done thru work! The only catch to that is, the tech could turn around and say that I did so much in the way of work to the car, that I could have easily removed the pieces post-inspection and that they were on the vehicle during the inspection. Then I would be in a bit of hot water. They could easily verify that I am competent enough to remove the rebars etc...

    Then today, Saturday, I found out that the Skyline Shop in Vancouver BC (about 9 hours away, and my old hometown) had sent some lights from various models of Skylines out for SAE certification. I put a call into them for the name of the lab they used so I can get more information but they are closed for the long weekend.

    Wish me luck guys...

    CLUTCHONE Active Member

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    Apr 27, 2006
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    I hope Everything Works out...

    So they Stopped Importing through Ontario, Canada...:confused:

    This is what happens when 1 bad Apple Ruins the Barrel, I really wanted to Import a Silvia through Canada now Its getting Harder to do... I hope they dont Stop all Imports from getting Regestered, I hope those Headlights Pass DOT standards because I Beleive this may be the only way for us to Import now... :(

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