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Old 07-15-2016, 04:50 PM   #1
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Help! old topic, fresh start; Sportsmobiles and Canada

Hi folks:

As some of you already noted, I accidentally restarted some discussion on an old thread so it needs a reboot. I live in Canada and want a Sportsmobile; I have seen an older one that lives in Whitecourt, Alberta. I've already read older discussions on this topic. Apologies for the length of this initial kick-start:

Some highlights from Transport Canada web pages:

Introduction webpage for importing from the USA:
"a vehicle modified from its original state, other than regular maintenance, may not qualify for importation into Canada. This also applies to Canadian vehicles modified in the U.S. and returning to Canada. For example, but not limited to;
a van transformed into a motorhome (often known as Class B motorhome),
a van equipped with raised roof and/or modified interior
"

From FAQ:
"Why is a modified vehicle no longer considered admissible for importation?

Once modified (other than having general repairs or routine maintenance), the vehicle no longer maintains its original factory issued certification. This certification is required for importation into Canada. This also applies to Canadian certified vehicles modified in the United States and returning to Canada. For example:

a cargo van converted into a camper,
adding a suspension lift kit to a vehicle,
adapting a vehicle for disabled access,
re-fitting a vehicle with a different body kit.

Be careful when buying modified vehicles to import into Canada. Make sure the vehicle modifier or final stage manufacturer has established that it complies with Canadian standards. You cannot import the vehicle into Canada without this proof
."

Here's a link to the TC list of approved vehicles:
Section 5.6 - Van and Truck Conversion (Travel or Other)

There is a long list of companies in the USA that do van conversions and that have followed the steps required to allow their vehicle to be sold in Canada. Sportsmobile is not on the list. Quadvan is absent yet I have seen a Quadvan
15 seater bus for sale in Canada very recently. Quigley is on the list but only good for 2007 to 2014 E350s (what I'm interested in).

Quigley all looks OK for Quigley but...

"The compliance label affixed by the conversion company (2nd stage manufacturer) will show the final date of manufacture."

This is the problem with Sportsmobile. As I understand things, based on a memo received directly from Sportsmobile about a year ago, compliance labeling is a process that must cost the company enough time and cash that at this time, they are not interested in pursuing business in Canada. I was told that in the USA, Sportsmobiles are classed as "qualified residences" and and subject to tax relief. This can make expensive "mobile homes" more attractive for US purchasers. We don't have this up here in Canada.

Another problem for E350s bought directly from Ford by Sportsmobile and then converted; they have incomplete VINs:

"6. All admissible vehicles, including all types of trailers, must bear a manufacturer issued 17 character alphanumeric sequence, as required by CMVSS 115 - Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), including snowmobiles manufactured after January 1, 2001 and restricted-use motorcycles (RUMs) manufactured after December 1, 2004. RUMs manufactured before December 2004 must have a VIN composed of between 14 and 17 alphanumeric characters, as required by CMVSS 115."

This requires Sportsmobile to do whatever is required to complete the VIN and attach the compliance label.

I think that's enough background information to explain the issue. It's not just a 4x4 conversion issue; it's the whole thing; modding interior, pop top..

In the thread I accidentally brought back to life, the original poster suggested that back in 2009, Sportsmobile had been discussing plans to do what was required to allow importation to Canada in "5 years". It's 2016 now and based on my memos last year this is not going anywhere.

I know about Sportsman in Kamloops, BC; they do 4x4 conversions; there's another place in Merrit, BC I think. I have read reports that suggest that get all I have to do is buy a van here, get it 4x4d here and then send it to Sportsman for everything else but the TC notes above suggest that if this ever was the case, it's not so now; modding the interior and goofing with the roof have to be covered by compliance stickers.

I think this is enough to get this subject rolling again. I really hope that someone from Sportsmobile will join in.

Rick
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Old 07-16-2016, 03:28 PM   #2
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Have you considered a GTRV pop-top? Not sure if they still have their Canadian location, but their website says "serving the USA and Canada." Maybe look for a used Quigley and get GTRV to convert it? Also, there's a Candian forum member here (name escapes me) who bought a used 4x4 SMB from Alaska a few years back. Search the forum and send him a note to see how he did it. In any event, if you bought a base van in Canada and then had it converted in the USA, how would the gov't know? Just spend a month or two living in it after the conversion and it will look plenty used.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:55 PM   #3
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I was told on another thread that GTRV don't do work in Canada anymore; probably why they didn't answer my questions. I began looking into this about a year or more ago and I'm sure that the wording of the Transport Canada "advice" has changed to emphasize 4x4, raised roof and modified interiors. This suggests I am not alone and others have been asking similar questions.

It's clear from the list that Quadvan are the only acceptable 4x4 converters in the USA but as noted, I've seen an almost new Quadvan 15 seater up here for sale (CAN67k).

I don't feel comfortable breaking the law; too much to lose. I was wondering if it would be possible to import a USA kit, U-Joint for example, and find someone here to install it. This may be a legal way to modify a vehicle bought here. I will contact UJoint and see what they say. I'll also talk to Quigley.

Next time I'm in Whitecourt, AB, I'll track down the Sportsmobile owner there and talk to him about his van.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:30 PM   #4
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Just buy one that is more than 15 years old. All those rules go out the window.


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Old 07-16-2016, 10:33 PM   #5
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And there are companies doing legal Canadian 4x4 conversions. One is: http://www.farmbro.com/portfolio_page/4x4conversions


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Old 07-17-2016, 09:11 AM   #6
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The one in whitecourt is my old smb, a great couple bought it, they sure get lots of attention with it.

As mentioned 15 years and older to the build month is a must if you want an existing 4wd or 2wd smb from the u.s. If you have a Canadian van you can have the interior done down there but you cant have the 4wd installed down south and bring it back over. You can buy a ujoint kit and have it shipped up and have it installed in Canada. ive done that twice now.
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Old 07-17-2016, 05:45 PM   #7
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I am in the same situation. UJoint seem to do a good 4x4 Kit which can ship to Canada but any work done on the roof or interior looks like it will have to be done in Canada to remain legal. So .... Any Canadian companies do a quality roof pop and interior?
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:59 PM   #8
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gnty: Please tell me more about UJoint conversions in Canada. Did you do the work yourself? I'd really like a newer Van than 15 years old.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:55 PM   #9
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You could contact
Johny5 over on the Expo site. He has a nice shop and has built and converted 4wd vans, I'm sure he could install a UJoint kit, or use his own conversion parts for a Chev. van. He may even have one for sale. He's just outside Vancouver.
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhr900ss View Post
gnty: Please tell me more about UJoint conversions in Canada. Did you do the work yourself? I'd really like a newer Van than 15 years old.
I was in the same boat as i wanted a newer van as well and a particular configuration, so waiting to find the right one, 15 years and older, right price and a good conversion was likely not going to happen. I live quite close to the border so i have the parts and Ujoint kits shipped to Montana and just bring them across and install myself at home. Saves a ton on shipping. If your ever in the area your more than welcome to see them or go for a ride.
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