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Old 02-08-2021, 06:38 PM   #1
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Buying vans from a distance and getting an inspection?

Hi

I have been looking for a Ford Econoline or Chevy Express van to buy in the US and bring back to the UK for some time for a camper conversion.

It is an interesting time to look for one of these vehicles from across the pond, because lockdown in US may actually be a leveler for me. Basically it makes things just as difficult for local competing buyers as it does for me.

I currently have a few options that I'm interested in.

Is there a way to find and pay a company in USA to inspect vans that I'm thinking of buying?

Can anyone recommend (or equally usefully advise to avoid) any nationwide inspection company that can de-risk this a bit for me?

I have found some interesting options in IAAI auctions and they only allow inspections from CarInspector.US Are they any good?

thanks from London
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:51 PM   #2
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Basically it makes things just as difficult for local competing buyers as it does for me.
I do wish you the best of luck in your search, but most of the US is not locked down to the point of keeping someone from buying a van. If anything, the opposite is true. The virus seems to have camper vans selling at all-time premiums, the "good" ones selling within hours of being listed. It happened to me just a few months ago!
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Old 02-09-2021, 04:15 AM   #3
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ok that's fair enough.

Though there are pockets of the market where I am right. For example some of the auction houses are not allowing anyone in to inspect vehicles. In that scenario I have the same ability to guage the condition of a vehicle and bid on it as an American.
I have even discovered that buying a non runner is not necessarily the issue that you might think it is. Provided that a shipping company can pick it up on a truck and push it in to a container they don't seem to care much, so non runners on the west coast suddenly become viable.
On the east coast the way to go is running and driving vehicles because shipping on the East coast to the UK seems to be mostly Roll on Roll off ferries.
Most of the east coast vehicles seem to be New York / New Jersey and the problem there seems to be rust.
If I could find a Texas running and driving vehicle then that would be ideal but they just don't seem to come up.

If I can't get a good independent assessment then I'm thinking a solid body (such as California) vehicle cheap because it doesn't run is my best bet.

Better to by a non runner cheap and repair than a what I think is good, turns out not to be and end up repairing it anyway. It's also more tax efficient because a cheaper non runner attracts less UK import duty and VAT.

I am well able to repair my own vehicles, especially mechanically, but already have a 1976 Peugeot in my garage that needs rust chopping out and replacing and so I know what an insane amount of work that is.

Pulling out an engine and swapping in a known good one is easy by comparison, and maybe I could get lucky I get a non runner home and find that it isn't actually that broken.

That's my current conclusion but I am not 100% sure about it (or I wouldn't be posting on here).

When I see a a vehicle that runs and drives with inspection that's basically what I want, and don't see rust in the dealers tiny photos and it's near a RoRo port I become conflicted and tempted.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:30 AM   #4
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You would have to find a van your interested in, then call a company like these guys to inspect it.
https://copart.advantage-inspect.com...ection-report/

Someone posted this clist van seems like a good rig and it's in TX

https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...tml#post290007
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:19 AM   #5
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If its any help I'm in Columbus, Ohio and would be willing to travel a bit inspecting something for you. I'm NOT a "qualified" car inspection service, have owned Ford vans for some time now and believe I could say yes or no on any one you might find.

PM if I can be of help!

J W
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Old 02-09-2021, 11:03 AM   #6
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If its any help I'm in Columbus, Ohio and would be willing to travel a bit inspecting something for you. I'm NOT a "qualified" car inspection service, have owned Ford vans for some time now and believe I could say yes or no on any one you might find.

PM if I can be of help!

J W
Thanks. That's helpful.

Anyone in New Jersey want to help out a Brit?
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:38 PM   #7
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I've bought many vehicles from other states, and what I've done is get a "pre-purchase inspection." Its not uncommon at all, and usually the buyer pays, or offers to pay for it.

I've always had inspections done at either Dealerships or recommended performance shops. Dealerships will tell you every little thing that is wrong with the vehicle, because they want to do the work. They are normally qualified to look at the vehicle, miles, and check the usual things that you should replace.

A performance shop is normally a recommendation I've gotten word of mouth, or are known for that type of vehicle. It would be like asking SMB to look at an SMB before you bought it

Once the inspection is done, there is usually a report of some sort and you are good to go.

Sadly I'm in Socal, or I'd offer to go look as well... but NJ is a bit far
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Old 02-09-2021, 04:53 PM   #8
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The classifieds right here seem pretty good. If something in the DC Metro area pops up the I'll take a look.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&customid=

No affiliation with this one. If I was in the market I'd take a look.
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Old 02-09-2021, 06:01 PM   #9
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Thanks
I'm looking for cheap 2 wheel drive diesel vans with windows (passenger vans), normal length (not extended).
But that's not the point of this thread.
You will all think I'm mad now (and maybe I am) but I live in the land of $6 a gallon.
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Old 02-09-2021, 08:04 PM   #10
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Don't take this wrong but I think you have a 'grass is always greener' problem. If I were you I'd be super happy with a Mog or LandCruiser based camper or one of the many awesome vehicles you can get over there that we can't.

There are about a million contractors and tradesmen over here who have driven Ford vans for 30 years and they would unanimously scream "WHY would you want to go to the trouble to move one overseas???!"

My opinion here won't be popular with our old school E-series owners and a yes an SMB is a lot different than a basic Ford van but still.
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