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Discussion Starter #1
I have read about the many TS conversions. I have 2 engines sitting in Long Beach awaiting an X-ray of the container. I have made some rookie mistakes or assumptions about the EPA requirements to import the engines. I would love to hear about how you overcame the obstacles to importation. Could you help out a rookie importer?
 

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What mistakes did you make? I've not heard of problems importing the engines by themselves. A whole car can be a problem, but an engine is just parts, not a vehicle.
 

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I had a set of TS engines imported a couple of years ago from Italy on the slow boat. Port of call was Los Angeles, and the engines were trucked all the way up to Seattle for delivery at a bonded warehouse. It was in Seattle where I dealt with US customs. The EPA never entered the picture. And as far as customs was concerned, they were very nonchalant about the whole deal. I was a quite surprised about how easy all the official paperwork was.
 

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I've done it twice. I picked the first 2 up at a bonded warehouse in Long Beach and, aside from a minor shipment number problem (sorted by the US Customs people), it was easy. The second 2 I picked up at a bonded warehouse in San Diego and it was no real problem either. Both times I had to answer several seemingly unrelated questions that the Customs guys had but there was never anything involving EPA.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. I apologize for not being as specific as I might have been. I would like to know which Customs and/or EPA forms you had to present to Customs. Most of you seem to have done your conversions with cars which are registered for street use. I guess this is a separate issue, but how were you able to register the conversion vehicle? Or is there a legal way?

It is clear that an engine by itself is a "part" and not subject to EPA approval. (It is clear to me, but not to some of the EPA agents I had to speak with.) The EPA also has this to say, "Importers should be aware, however, that replacement of an engine in a U.S. version vehicle with an engine of a different type or model year which is not currently covered by an EPA certificate or will be covered by an EPA certificate prior to introduction into commerce may violate EPA regulations.)

I got shot down on bringing the engines in for installation in a GTV. However, I am almost sure I can get an exclusion if I do another transplant of an Alfa engine into a Lotus. I would have to meet SCCA regs to satisfy the EPA gentleman in charge of racing. (A regional only class: A sports racing.)

In summary, did you have to fill out a EPA form 3520-1? Was it marked "W" meaning the engine will be made EPA compliant? Or did you go the racing car route and use "L" on the form accompanied by an EPA approval letter.
Were you able to import the engine with no EPA papers? If so, what paperwork was necessary for the Customs officer?

Thanks for the help!!
 

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Most of you seem to have done your conversions with cars which are registered for street use. I guess this is a separate issue, but how were you able to register the conversion vehicle? Or is there a legal way?
I know nothing about racing rules, but for the street most people are doing it in vehicles of a year that are not smog controlled, or in states that have very loose smog rules and people just don't say anything about it.

Myself, I'm in CA and in a pollution controlled area. My car is a 79 and even I am not planning on saying anything about the conversion. I'm going to make it look like it has all the required equipment and say nothing. You open your mouth about a different year or differently equiped engine and you are probably done for.

Again - I don't know how the EPA comes into the picture when the engine is at customs. It's not a car. They themselves (from your quote) seem to think that you will only be in trouble if you install it in a car. If somehow they are there, tell them it's an Alfa Romeo 4 cylinder engine, what's the big deal?
 

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The thing everyone needs to realize is that 2007 is a whole new ballgame when it comes to customs. Things are much stricter than even a year ago, and everything seems to be taking a lot longer.

My advice to the original poster would be to hire a broker to clear your package.

Joe
 

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I wonder where we can find any of the new rules. I also wonder if it would refer to a whole engine. We may need to analyze for loopholes. Such as if the seller overseas unbolts the head and removes it, would we be talking about not an engine, but more parts? I'm just brainstorming here and applying the same kind of reasoning for whole cars and engines. It may even have to be separate shipments of heads and blocks if the new rules are such.
 

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importing engines

Hi,

I recently imported two engines from Italy(a twinspark and 1.8 turbo). The engines got to long beach in March of 2007. I didn't need any EPA forms or paperwork at all. All I had to take was the Bill of Lading, which you should get from your shipper, and the receipt from the seller(private or company). The shipper will inform you when it has release customs, you have to go to the customs office to pay for the tax, my tax was 2.5%, from $1400 from the sale price(you don't pay tax on shipping charges) it came up to $44 at the customs counter. You can call the long beach customs office at (562)366-5555 and ask them what you papers need to bring.

Their website is
http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/ports/ca/2704.xml

Last year I also brought a 20 foot container from japan. It did have to go thru the X-ray machine, which delayed it another month, but didn't have to present any EPA papers then either and the whole container was full of engines and half-cars that didn't pass any EPA or smog laws. For what I was told by many brokers and customs people is that IT IS LEGAL TO IMPORT ENGINES THAT DON'T PASS SMOG BUT IT IS ILLEGAL TO USE THEM ON A CAR THAT IS REQUIRED TO PASS. WHAT IT MEANS IS THAT YOU CAN BRING ANY ENGINE OF ANY KIND, SIZE, OR BRAND NOT QUESTIONS ASKED. I was selling the engines so I had to have the buyers sign a release form saying the engines were to be used for off road only because I didn't know if they were going to installed them on newer cars.

When I imported the two engines I didn't use a broker but I had to use one for the container.

Who is the EPA guy in charge of racing? I never heard of anything like that. You can build a car to race in any club, it doesn't have to be SCCA regulated. Is this guy part of the government or SCCA?

I hope that helps you a little.

good luck ,max
 

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Discussion Starter #11
.



"Who is the EPA guy in charge of racing? I never heard of anything like that. You can build a car to race in any club, it doesn't have to be SCCA regulated. Is this guy part of the government or SCCA?"

The gentleman in charge of exclusions for race cars and engines is John LaCroix. This is his address and telephone number:

John LaCroix
USEPA
Compliance & Innovative Strategies Division
Tel: 734-214-4463
Fax: 734-214-4869
(See attached file: competition engine request ltr..doc)

The first thing you need to know is to NOT MENTION TRACK CARS. The letter excluding you from EPA regulations is based on you competing in a recognized series of races. The organizing groups range from NASCAR to SCCA. I forgot to ask about the various Vintage Racing organizations. You have to produce a number of pieces of evidence that you will be competing in a "real" racing organization. Pictures of the race car from 4 different angles, racing schedule, and your competition license are among the things he will want to be included with your letter requesting an exclusion. I chose SCCA because I raced in SCCA for many years. My last car, a rebodied Lotus 23 with a GTA Jr engine is pictured in my avitar.

I wish I had been more diligent in my research and had never followed a broker's advice to investigate the EPA regulations. However, a nasty divorce and health issues were foremost in my life. I can see now that Customs isn't really interested in EPA regulations with respect to importing engines.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I wonder where we can find any of the new rules. I also wonder if it would refer to a whole engine. We may need to analyze for loopholes. Such as if the seller overseas unbolts the head and removes it, would we be talking about not an engine, but more parts? I'm just brainstorming here and applying the same kind of reasoning for whole cars and engines. It may even have to be separate shipments of heads and blocks if the new rules are such.
Stefano,
The EPA publication, Quick Overview of Vehicle Import Requirements, states that "EPA regulates the entire vehicle, not individual parts, for cars, light trucks and motorcycles. If an engine is not installed, and is to be used in a car, motorcycle, or light truck, it may be imported as an automotive part. No approval or Customs bond is required by EPA."
http://pubweb.epa.gov/otag/imports/quiktext.htm

You and I can read the statement and see that an engine is only a part and not a whole vehicle. However, the EPA agents have a different level of reading comprehension. There are other mentions of the EPA not regulating engines. One is in the publication Kit Car Policy. "The production, sale and importation of vehicle parts (engines, transmissions, chassis, vehicle bodies, etc.) are not regulated by EPA because parts are not considered motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act." Unfortunately we have EPA agents who are making their own rules. What needs to be brain stormed is how to get agents of the EPA to adhere to their own rules.
 

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Dude - stay away from EPA and all other agencies not involved in the process...! They have bugger-all to do with the import! (For that matter, you are importing an engine "for off-road use only"...!) There are no "EPA agents" sitting in the customs office!

Any way, when you get the call from the shipping company that the goods have arrived, you simple march your happy-arse over to their office (NOT a governmental office of any kind) and you ask for the paper-work "to go and self-clear the shipment!" (Get the customs office address...)

You take the paper-work to the designated CUSTOMS office and simply state than you would like to clear the shipment and hand them the papers. They will ask you what is in it and you will tell them - tweo used spare engines just like what is in your car now. Period - no EPA involvement!

If one of them gets nosy, you will simply state that the motors are for use in an off-road application only, get your papers stamped, pay the duties and leave!

Take the stamped paper-work to the warehouse, collect your crate and ride off in to the sunset, never to be heard of a again!

Perform the most factory-looking installation that you can muster and get the car smogged. If at all possible, get the smog done on the old motor first!
 

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Used2be - you are in Novato? Come to the Alameda car show on Oct 7th. Lincoln Middle School on Fernside Ave on Alameda Island. I will be showing my Black Alfetta with the TS. We'll chat a bit about smog stuff.

Joe says something about customs changing in 2007? If Max did what he says above, then things haven't changed. Getting them into the country isn't a problem. Where are your engines right now and what are they (and who exacly are they?) asking you to do?
 

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importing engines

Hello again,

Maybe I missed it on the post but what year is your car?

Jungle justice and Stefano are right, you should stop talking to the EPA and do what the shipper tells you to do. You can call the customs office but don't mention the EPA at all. The truth is that you don't even need a car to import engines, it could be for a future project for all they know....there was two girls and a guy at the customs office, the two girls didn't know what an alfa was but the guy had one back in college so he was really cool about it. Remember the customs officers do these type of transactions everyday, the two girls didn't care too much about the engines and what I was going to do with them but the guy was just interested in my car more than anything....

make sure you have your receipt ready and your bill of lading. If your receipt is in italian or Euros make sure you go prepare with the right amount in US dollars to pay taxes on. I bought mine thru ebay and when i mentioned it to them they wanted a copy of the auction from ebay to see the actual price in US dollars but after i showed them the receipt in euros they made the conversion and calculated the tax. If you can take a copy of the ad or auction with you.

Don't worry you'll get your engines soon and make sure you post some pics of the conversion when you are done with it...

good luck, max
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Gentlemen,
I owe you a great deal of thanks. You have told me exactly what to do, which is what I needed. I am suffering from clinical depression and became so timid that I engaged a Customs Broker. His insurance underwriters didn't want to have anything to do with "nonconforming engines". I was given some EPA telephone numbers to find out what I needed to import the engines. BTW,EPA stands for Essentially Pathetic Advice.

I have related my difficulties in dealing with the EPA. I am going to do what has been suggested: ignore the EPA. Your explicit advice as to what I should do is exactly what was needed to begin acting normal.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time to set me straight!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Importing Engines

Hello again,

Maybe I missed it on the post but what year is your car?

good luck, max
Max,
As you can tell I am having problems dealing with the posting and reply procedures. I have four cars left in my shop and backyard. I have a '58 Spyder which is a rust bucket I shouldn't have bought, I also have a '61 Sprint which has been a project for 15 years, I have a '66 GTV which was going to be a vintage race car, and lastly I have a Lotus Super 7 that only has a 1600 cc crossflow Ford.

I hope people aren't going to be upset after helping me, but the first conversion will probably be done with the Lotus. Let me give you my reasons. At present I am handicapped and a physical wreck. I have recurrent Prostate Cancer which could cut short my time to complete the project. I also lost 30% of my heart by having a heart attack in a blizzard with no aid available. I also have 4 rods and 14 screws in my spine which limits my mobility and lifting ability. I have chronic back pain which results in a daily dose of 120mg of Oxycontin, along with 6-8 Percocets. If that wasn't enough I developed Parkinson's Disease last year. Depending on where I am in my dosage cycle I can still weld and turn a wrench. Otherwise I have to be able to put both hands on the tool.

The Lotus is a bare tube frame at present, which is perfect. I can get to almost everything without having to bend. I can also do a lot work while sitting. (I can't stand for very long.) I hope you can see why I choose the Lotus. This could very well be my last project. I thank you for your interest and allowing me to vent my feelings.
Bob Lusk
 

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Joe says something about customs changing in 2007? If Max did what he says above, then things haven't changed.
I may have mis-spoken; I didn't mean to imply that the rules have been changed, rather that any tolerance in the process is being purposefully squeezed out.

This means: more inspections, longer delays, more throrough declaration paperwork required, and enforcement of penalties for not filling out the paperwork correctly.

Joe
 

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engines

Hello Bob,

Don't worry about your posts, they are just fine. In regards to the engines you will get them soon, Joecab is right also customs takes as long as they want to proccess the shipment, x-ray, etc. Meanwhile, be patient and get your paperwork ready to give to them.

About your personal life, I can't begin to imagine what your going thru but the best therapy sometimes is to grab some tools, work on your car and forget about anything else, afterall I think that's the reason I work on cars besides getting the sense of accomplishment. I like to drive them too!!:D

Take care, max
 
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