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#281991 - 12/10/09 10:58 AM The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep.
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
Long: but should be interesting for anyone about to purchase a new, used vehicle. Especially part two of my story.

After 20 years of driving Jeeps as daily drivers combined with the hobby of building and using them as trail rigs, my recent loss has made me decide to take a break. I decided after years of complaining "If I only had a truck." I would purchase a used Toyota Tacoma, preferably the extended cab as I didn't want the bigger size of the crew cab but wanted some 'indoor' storage for groceries, purchases, dogs, etc.

I'm trying to stay very close to the dollar figure returned from the Jeep's insurance settlement so I'm looking for a used truck in extremely good shape. There are many out trucks out there, but few that are in exceptionally good shape for the year and miles.

Recently, I found a gem. It was an 01 that first had me worried but had little mileage (for a Toyota,) original paint was unblemished and underneath was completely clean, new tires and to top it off, it had a whole new frame, new springs, new exhaust and new suspension totally reinstalled by Toyota just this March as part of it's frame replacement/rustproofing "campaign" for trucks in those years.

After agreeing on a price and arranging a day to come back and get it, (he was waiting for a new truck himself) the owner called and very humbly said he decided he was going to keep it as his lease deal for a new, special order Tundra got messed up. When it arrived, the leasing company would not honor the rate the dealer promised him.

While disappointing, the seller proved his honor by sending me a cheque for $100 to cover my 3 hour trip, including a $40.00 bridge toll, to go see the truck. He felt double bad as he had forgotten to tell me prior to my visit that I couldn't take it home that day if I wanted it, which I did!

After much more searching, I found an 04 in great shape. Not pristine like the first but very, very solid where it counts. Also in New Brunswick so again a bit of a trip for view. It came from New Hampshire so my first thought was OMG!! Mark could have owned this truck! It could be a celebrity vehicle!

Never having purchased an imported vehicle, I believed the the private dealer when he told me I would have to go get an RVI (Federal inspection) done and sent it back to him before he could complete the registration sign over. Seemed odd but I said, OK, well if we can't finalize today, would you mind not cashing my cheque until the registration work is done as it will give me a chance to get my mechanic to look at it and I could do a Carfax to check out his "absolutely no accidents" claim. He agreed to this.

My mechanic loved the truck, the frame, everything underneath was extremely solid. So, off I went to try and get the RVI done, I quickly discovered that it was really his responsibility as the importer to have this task done. Also, it was not free as he suggested, it was 193 dollars.

Worse yet, they could not complete this task as the VIN plate was missing from the door frame. The other 'VIN only' plate was intact by the front window but not the door one with the extra info. This was my first clue that I really had to do that Carfax as it indicated major replacement parts on that side, something my mechanic would not have noticed if there was no structural damage signs. The local Toyota dealership was extremely helpful with my resulting questions and were willing to work with Toyota US to get me the VIN plate if, big IF, all was legitimate.

I also decided to call Motor Vehicles Dept. in NB to get the scoop of how the deal was really supposed to go down. I described my situation and I gave them the VIN and they told me that THE SELLER HAD NO RIGHT TO SELL ME THIS TRUCK BECAUSE HE HAD NOT YET REGISTERED IT TO HIMSELF. If he didn't pay it at the border the GST (federal tax) wasn't even paid.

Now he was a younger guy, late 20s earlier 30s, but he had claimed to have been partners in a dealership prior just going with his own private sales, so he definitely knew better. Also, the Carfax report showed not zero accidents but THREE accidents.

Put that all together and I called him up and said that I was returning the truck. He argued for some time, telling me that the Service Center I contacted was wrong, he could get the VIN plate in a couple of weeks, etc. I simply did not want it anymore so I told him that according to the DMV, the Bill of Sale we signed was worthless and that he had to come pick up "His" truck as I wasn't going to endure any more expense on it. Again, he argued, saying I must return it to him. I settled that by telling him what the DMV told me. They advised me against driving the truck any further as the ownership was in question and they could not tell me how insurance would go if I had an accident. Also if pulled over by police for some reason, it might be a long time before they could verify the story I would be telling when they run the temporary plate number and can't find any registered owner.

Last night, the seller's much more pleasant father arrived at my doorstep to pick up the vehicle and we both just chatted a bit and avoided any discussion over the reasons for return. He seemed like a great guy, I wish I could say he raised an equal son.

On the plus side, I may still get the original Pristine Tacoma. I called that seller back to thank him for the $100 dollars and asked if he had considered replacing the truck again because I recalled him mentioning that the Tacoma really wasn't big enough for his work purposes. Sure enough, he is looking and if he found one soon, he had intentions to call me back to give me first dibs on it. He is going to let me know Friday how his hunt is faring out.

If not, my hunt continues.

Perhaps I should just go back to my trusty Jeeps. At least my network of Jeep club friends spanning three provinces gives me instant histories on any vehicle or their sellers. There are a lot advantages to Jeeps and other "Specialty" vehicles. There is generally a social network that has developed to readily gain advice and parts, etc and also every time I had to pull over on the side of the road for some reason, you will never see a fellow Jeep owner (Wranglers and offroaded Cherokees anyways) drive by without stopping to see if you need a hand. I once got frustrated changing a tire because I was delayed by 5 fellow Jeep owners who stopped to see what was wrong.
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#281993 - 12/10/09 12:28 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: Murph]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10415
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
 Originally Posted By: Murph
....I had to pull over on the side of the road for some reason, ....


If you were not driving a Jeep you wouldn't be pulled off to the side of the road as often ;\)

Quite the ride so far, hope the rest of the search comes up with better results.

I must say I truly enjoy owning a truck. I have lent mine to my parents for the past month and I am missing it very much. I think I can just stop in a pick up some wood or something similar and bulky and without the truck avaiable I have to wait till I have access to our SUV that my wife drives, even then it isn't the same.
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#281994 - 12/10/09 12:35 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: Murph]
pmbuko Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
I appreciate your sharing. Private-party sales always give me the willies because you hear about people trying to take advantage of others so often.

That said, I've got a 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon I need to unload. Any takers?
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#282007 - 12/10/09 01:44 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: pmbuko]
BigHonu Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/15/09
Posts: 198
Loc: In the middle of the sea
Hopefully something else will pop up for you.

Before starting a family, I used to drive a Nissan Hardbody 4x4. GREAT little truck! Easy on the gas, very light, and the gearing was okay for the mild off-roading I did on the Big Island. If I were to get another truck, I would definitely look at Toyota. My friends who had Fords, Chevys (and GMC counterparts), and Dodges all switched to Toyotas for their combination of gas mileage, reliability, off-roading capability, and better than average resale value (at least here in Hawaii).

With that said, if I had a vehicle just for play, I'd get a Jeep to fix up. Nothing like a short wheelbase with compound low gearing to get you pretty much anywhere you want to go!

Good luck with your search!

pmbuko,
I have a 2005 Legacy Wagon GT. Last year Subaru made the wagon with a stick. Love that car!


Edited by BigHonu (12/10/09 01:46 PM)

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#282012 - 12/10/09 02:32 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: Murph]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7786
Loc: Canada
One rule I now follow. When someone is selling you something, assume they are sales slime and go from there. It may not always be a fair assesment, but you just don't know who your can trust.
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#282014 - 12/10/09 02:42 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: BigHonu]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6865
Loc: It's all about the location.
It sounds like this kid wanted to make a quick buck bringing a vehicle up from the US. There are a few places in Southern Ont that do this especially with the strength in the dollar. There are some huge differences in prices for certain vehicles between Canada and the US( have a look at a RAV4 for instance). I've looked into purchasing a vehicle from the US before, there's a lot of paperwork involved that this guy should have taken care of before even considering selling the vehicle. The other thing is, although it doesn't apply in this situation, concerns warranties....despite our "Free Trade" agreement, many of the car companies won't honour warranties in these situations and I read that companies like Mercedes will only honour the warranty if you "Canadianize" the car in one of their facilities where they proceed to grab you by the ankles and empty your pockets...this is really just to deter people from bringing their cars across the border, whilst making a whack of $$, imo.
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#282026 - 12/10/09 04:11 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: Adrian]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
Time for a Land Cruiser Icon. ;\)

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#282029 - 12/10/09 04:42 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: oldskoolboarder]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
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#282030 - 12/10/09 04:54 PM Re: The Mis-adventure of Relpacing our Jeep. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
I love that one also.

Warranties, I already scoped out. Toyota honors everything up here, including their frame "Campaign", note they don't call it a recall. Smart Marketers!

I'm taking a break from the trails for a while. If and when I get a truck, it will be strictly a street and around the yard vehicle. If I ever get the unbearable urge to hit the trails again, it most definitely will be another Jeep for me.
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