Bringing An Overlander Back Home

Jambo

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Cincinnati
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OH
#81
These points refer to the import process which will never be a problem. Titling is completely different. Texas wants to ensure that I am proper owner and that nobody else has an ownership interest in the Jeep. When they grant me a title, they are basically certifying my ownership and effectually providing a title insurance policy to the next owner (hoping this one never leaves our family but we all know how this hobby works).

I'm expecting something similar to Eric's experience because those workers do not like anything outside the box. Probably a couple weeks away, and I'll let everyone know how it goes.
Um.... I HAVE AN INTEREST IN OWNING this totally awesome Jeep. ;)
 

Jeep Addict

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Baton Rouge
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La
#82
It does happen. My first Overlander I got from Australia never made it out of the North Carolina customs port. Something about the paperwork not matching what it was "supposed" to be. My second one got through with zero difficulties, however. As far as I know, the first one never left the port and is either rotting there or crushed. After about 18 months of haggling with the US Customs Agency, the Australian govt and the shipper I finally gave up.
Man that is tough to read. That actually fking sucks. Good that you got a second though.
 

DeLuke

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Dallas
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TX
#84
Thanks Andrew!

Latest update. Went for the title yesterday, and all worked out just fine. They never asked me once about not having a title! As suspected the clerk immediately took the paperwork to a supervisor and the process took maybe 45 minutes. The only blip that came up about the title was that they needed to put a title/document number into the system, and I only overheard them talking about this. For that, they used the license plate number on Andrew's annual registration. On the paperwork, that field said something like, "title or document number (if applicable"). I'm not sure if that registration got them over the hump or what they would have put without the registration (N/A?).

There were a few hiccups that were my own fault. I brought in a copy of my state safety inspection, but they wanted the original. I ran out to the Overlander and got another copy and told them that was all I had, but the original might be at home. They accepted that. They also let me pull up my insurance card on my phone because I forgot that like an amateur. Finally, I usually use the year-of-manufacture (YOM) license plates with my Jeeps and can usually find a decent pair of personalized plates from the given year. You are supposed to have both matching plates but I asked them to approve a single customized plate ("001300"). No dice, but they did approve a standard pair from 1984 that were my back-up.

I highly recommend my logistics group, Schumacher Cargo. They held my hand very well, provided everything needed, and answered all my questions very quickly. I would definitely use them again.

Next updates will cover the small touch-ups to make the Overlander more factory presentable. Overall, Andrew has kept it in awesome shape, and it needs almost nothing. It drives great, and I'm getting used to the right-hand drive. Plus, I will post some more pictures soon.
 

ag4ever

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Richmond
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TX
#85
Was the state safety inspection/liability insurance a requirement of the titling process, or just for license and registration?
 

DeLuke

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#86
Was the state safety inspection/liability insurance a requirement of the titling process, or just for license and registration?
Great question! In Texas, you can get a car titled but not registered for road use. For the title process, you do not need the safety inspection or the liability insurance. Only when you register it for use, do you need to show proof of those. See the 130-U form and the boxes along the top; one is for "Title Only".

I did this for my 1985 Scrambler. It probably wouldn't have passed safety as delivered, and we started restoration process within two weeks. Since Texas charges a penalty if you wait more than 30 days to title a car after buying or bringing it to Texas, I went ahead and got a "title only" for the 1985. When the restoration finished about a year later, I then took inspection and insurance and registered it. I also did the same title process for Jamboree #12 but have yet to have it inspected and registered. Need to get that done!
 

Ron84cj

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West Bend
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WI
#87
It does happen. My first Overlander I got from Australia never made it out of the North Carolina customs port. Something about the paperwork not matching what it was "supposed" to be. My second one got through with zero difficulties, however. As far as I know, the first one never left the port and is either rotting there or crushed. After about 18 months of haggling with the US Customs Agency, the Australian govt and the shipper I finally gave up.
That made me sick. Just wow. How long ago was that? I would keep fighting that one. There is no way I would be able to let that go.
 

ag4ever

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Richmond
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TX
#88
That made me sick. Just wow. How long ago was that? I would keep fighting that one. There is no way I would be able to let that go.
I was thinking the same thing, even if the legal fees exceeded the value, I’d fight tooth n nail just on principle.

Also wonder if a customs officer was trying to scheme a way to impound it for personal reasons, but most gov’t employees don’t have that much initiative.
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
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Richmond
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TX
#90
Long, long time. 15, 20 years?
No restrictions on import (25 years old or older)
1983 + 25 years = 2008
1984 + 25 years = 2009

15 years ago = 2019 - 15 = 2004
20 years ago = 2019 - 20 = 1999

So it would have to be imported under the rules that it meets US regulations at time of manufacture or it has been converted. That might have been the sticking point and under review and interpretation. But it should have passed review as they were made to US standards.

Go figure. I'd still have fought them on it, but I am stubborn.
 

DeLuke

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#92
So it would have to be imported under the rules that it meets US regulations at time of manufacture or it has been converted. That might have been the sticking point and under review and interpretation. But it should have passed review as they were made to US standards.
Definitely an interesting case study. Too bad we don't know more. Maybe they could not determine if the original emissions had been altered. Any potential alteration would have invalidated the original build to US standard and certainly would have been a red flag to the EPA / US DOT.
 

Jambo

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OH
#93
So, yes, I fought for 18 months, but got nowhere. And it had had an LP tank installed (and removed) that might have had an effect on Emissions, but that was not the sticking point. It seems to my aging memory that it was strictly a papering and documentation issue. And that the US kept referring me to AUS, AUS kept referring me to shipping co, shipping co back to AUS (different dept.) who would say that's a US Customs issue. Talk to them.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The nice thing is they were nowhere near as expensive then as they are today, either to purchase OR to ship. Remember, AMC had stopped selling in Oz right around 85, so parts and support were getting hard to find. A lot of folks just wanted out from under them. (Not that there were a lot to start with though). So yes, I was out a decent chuck of change, but not exorbitant.
 

Jambo

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#95
I succeeded AFTER you brought yours over successfully (seeing it could be done re-energized me!), but i lost one a long time before that and just soured on the entire experience until yours got through.
 

Jeep Addict

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Baton Rouge
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La
#96
I succeeded AFTER you brought yours over successfully (seeing it could be done re-energized me!), but i lost one a long time before that and just soured on the entire experience until yours got through.
I agree! JJ’s sparked me as well when my postal just wasn’t good enough for an Overlander “clone”
 

ag4ever

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Richmond
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TX
#97
I figured I would post this here to keep the “import” information in one place. DeLuke, if you would rather it elsewhere just let me know...

I have been working on getting the documents together for the title on my Overlander I bought from Jeep Addict. (See above regarding the fact it was imported and never titled.) I did not have the US Customs forms, and when I tried to get it titled like DeLuke did I hit a bureaucratic brick wall. This was at the County Tax office where you do all the motor vehicle registration and title processing in Texas. (Hit the wall when they asked for the US Customs Forms.) They directed me to the regional TxDMV office for the bonded title. I never knew Texas even had a DMV office. (In Texas drivers licenses are issued by the DPS i.e. Department of Public Safety i.e. State Troopers.) I am not sure what else the TxDMV office does, but the second step in the Bonded Title process is there (first step was the VIN inspection).

I had my VIN inspection done by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. Apparently, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office does all the inspections for the surrounding counties except for Harris as the surrounding counties do not have a VIN inspection program. The VIN inspection was no cost, just need to schedule an appointment in advance.

At the TxDMV office, they take your bonded title application, the VIN inspection, sales contract, and any other supporting documents and run them through their database to determine if a title has ever been issued. If all goes well, they hand you a letter that states, “a title is not able to be issued for this vehicle.” The letter goes on to give you 2 options on how to get a title.

Option 1, take the TxDMV letter and supporting documents back to the County Tax office and request a hearing. The hearing will be made so evidence can be presented supporting why they should issue you a title. They make a determination, and it is “final”. Your only recourse is to file a civil suit in your county court system. I think you can still go option 2 if they rule “no”.

Option 2, get a surety title bond. Then return to the County Tax office.

I chose option 2, and requested a bond from my insurance company that handles all of my property insurances.

The TxDMV office determines the value of the vehicle and your bond is 1.5x the value of the vehicle. The bond cost appears to be standardized as the cost I paid fit the following formula:

  • Bond Amount: $1-$6,000 / Cost: $100
  • Bond Amount: $6,001-$25,000 / Cost: $15 per $1,000 of coverage ($100 minimum)
  • Bond Amount: $25,001+ / Cost: Subject to Underwriting
After getting the bond, I took it, the packet from the TxDMV (bonded title application, VIN inspection, letter, and sales receipt), and a “normal” title application to the County Tax office. The clerk took all the paperwork, printed an internal checklist for bonded titles, and began processing it all. The checklist had about 25 items on it with some being an either or option. In the end, I had 18 items checked off on that list. After doing some more computer input, she let me know what the final cost of taxes and application fee were. I gave her a check and I got my title receipt in return. I should have my title in about 2 weeks.

The title will have a branded watermark showing “Bonded”. After 3 years I can request a cleared title where that will be removed and it will look like any other Texas Title.

All in all, a painless process. Just need to follow the bureaucracy involved and do as they instruct. It also does not add very much to the cost of the title process. Interestingly, the assigned value was less than the value on my sales receipt.
 

DeLuke

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Dallas
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TX
#98
Glad you were able to wrap that up as quickly as you did. Now that we know the costs and limited 3-year taint on bonded title makes a non-title Jeep much more appealing than they were in the past.
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
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City
Richmond
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TX
#99
There is still some risk in an untitled domestic jeep. I had a very high comfort level in the overlander since I knew the history. There were many steps in the process that you could get snagged if the history was not squeaky clean. (No past history is great, good past history is good, bad past history is a no-go)

TxDMV searches a national database on titles to look for past documents. The VIN check is supposed to look at the national insurance crime system for stolen vehicles. And, in Texas, they will not title an incomplete vehicle. One of the bonded title questions was, "is the vehicle complete with an engine, etc..." That one prevents the purchase of a partial vehicle without a title.

So, if the seller seems sketchy in the least, I'd still head for the hills, but if they tell a good back story that sounds legitimate, then there should be less risk.

In the end, the bonded title process is not difficult, but also not risk free. When the TxDMV issues your letter they send a copy of the letter to past owners and lien holders found in the national database. This gives them an opportunity to file on the title bond policy.

What will be interesting is to see if Jeep Addict gets a copy of the letter in the mail. His name was in the packet used in the application, but his address was not in the packet.

The clerk at the TxDMV said there was no record of the vehicle in the national database. Said that was a good thing and makes the process easier.
 
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