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Importing HDT from Canada


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As the exchange rate has made Canadian trucks much more attractive, I wanted to see if anyone has had any experience purchasing a truck in Canada and bringing it into the US. As quite a few here have done business with Gregg, I was hoping the logistics would be somewhat established. Any assistance would be appreciated.

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I'm not sure how Greg handles his, he probably does the transfer to US paper work before the buyer takes possession.

In my private party purchase of a Volvo & Teton combination from a BC Canada couple, we used an import broker and split the cost of a couple hundred dollars. The import broker did all the required paper work and issued me an Idaho title (their closest US branch), which I took to SD to get it registered in my home state.

The sellers were driving down here near my winter ranch to pickup their new motorhome, so they drove it across the border with all the paper work. Its not all that complex, just lots of Gov forms to fill out. The US Gov primary concern is a valid title, bill of sale and confirmation that the vehicle was built to US safety & environmental standards. The other thing I learned in that transaction was that Canada does not use liens on vehicle titles the way we do in the US. Just because the seller is in possession of a Title doesn't mean there are no outstanding liens against the vehicle. I had to go to some 3rd party agency in Canada (like a CarFax type) to confirm the title was free & clear. That was 5 yrs ago, things may be different now.


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Here is my experience with my Canadian truck. Living in Southern California, the rust on my HDT is more than we ever see on our vehicles. A lot more! Before I try to remove a bolt, I have to soak it (for days) with a penetrant oil (I use Kroil). And, even then, bolts break off. When I reassemble I use and anti-sieze lube.


When I took it to the dealer for the first time, the service manager said [expletive deleted] a snow truck.


Just my $.02, for what it is worth.

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Jim is on the money. They call them salt trucks also. Absolutely no good reason to purchase in that geographic area. A friend of mine bought a 2003 Sterling with a sleeper, to match his other Sterling. Because it was a relatively rare truck, he located and imported one from Ontario. He is sorry he did.


Stay away from the obvious northern states in the US, But if you find something you must have, the dealer who is selling it to you will be able to complete all the customs paperwork, a very common transaction.

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You definitely want to avoid a rusty truck, but not all of Canada is going to use road salt. The chart below isn't that recent, and a lot of states have more recently switched from salt to sand/cinders. Michigan is the heaviest user of road salt on a per-lane-mile basis, and that's ultimately what's caused the water quality problem in Flint. It also does a number not just on vehicles but the road infrastructure too. But a lot of western and far-northern states/provinces have never been heavy salt users--they either get too much snow or it's too cold for it to do much good. Or maybe it's just too expensive an operation with low population density...



It should also probably be obvious, but where the truck was used is more important than where it was registered. A truck registered to a big company in Indiana that ran back and forth between Tucson and El Paso is going to be better off than the one registered in Texas that ran mostly from Detroit to Buffalo. Service records might be a clue, but it's a little tougher to get those or really see how much rust there is without seeing a truck in person.

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And then there is coastal 'salt in the air', I have seen cars from Florida (old cars) that looked worse then well cared for Ontario vehicles .

If it is important to have a rust free truck you will have to lay your own eyes on it.

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Mine came from Canada. Rick Lacombe (PSD Tweaker) brokered the deal and handled all the paperwork. He just handed it to me and after he was sure I was safe on the road pointed me toward the MI. border. He is someone I would contact with questioms.

That was 7 years ago and we have not looked back.



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Trucks for sale anywhere can be rusty. They run the North American highways. Just because they may now be in SC or GA doesn't mean they didn't run to NewYork or Detroit every week for years.


Mine was based in VA for most of its life and it's frame was as rusty as the next. No issue though. They are not new trucks!


I second contacting Rick. He has it all figured out and you won't be sorry. Jump on that CND dollar savings while you can.

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I also have a Canadian truck. My truck ran a dedicated Calgary-to-southern CA route. It does not have any excessive rust on it. As others have said - trucks typically run the entire country, so are exposed to many weather and road conditions. You have to evaluate each truck individually. ALL trucks will have some rust on them. Unless they have not been on the road much. Excessive rust is to be avoided and is one of the things to look for during truck selection. But in my experience you cannot say that just because you purchase the truck from a Northern dealer that it has rust. That truck could have run anywhere in North America, AND the dealer could even have gotten it from halfway across the country - although these days that is unlikely.

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Chad & Jen, It is true that these days you can save quite a bit of your hard earned cash by sourcing a truck in Canada.

Also true is I have helped many US buyers get a good deal.

I have quite a bit of experience with the process.

If you think you want some help, and your sure you want a Volvo, don't be shy to contact me.

There are many here who will vouch for me.




1998 VOLVO 610 VED-12 @ 425 HP with 13 speed, 22.5" rubber, TC Equipped, single 3.70 drive axle, 193'' WB. REESE, 30K 4 way rocker-hitch, Jordan Ultima 2020. Under-frame mounted Honda 3000 ei, Towing a DRV MobileSuites- 36TK3 with TrailAir Pin Box, a Yamaha Road Star 1700 on deck. http://diesel-gypsy.blogspot.com

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Thanks for all the info. Here is the truck we were looking at, but decided that the logistics of buying a truck that far away from us (we're in the Baltimore area) was just not in the cards right now. While I'm certainly no expert, it seems like a good candidate truck. Spoke with the owner at length and he'll take $40K CAD. Over $50K in maintenance receipts. There is a Volvo dealership nearby who will do an inspection and a Cummins dealership that have a dyno.



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Sounds like a pretty good prospect for just $31K US.

That was my point with Canadaian sourced trucks.

If you have someone looking for you, that you trust to inspect & broker the deal it can be well worth the effort.



1998 VOLVO 610 VED-12 @ 425 HP with 13 speed, 22.5" rubber, TC Equipped, single 3.70 drive axle, 193'' WB. REESE, 30K 4 way rocker-hitch, Jordan Ultima 2020. Under-frame mounted Honda 3000 ei, Towing a DRV MobileSuites- 36TK3 with TrailAir Pin Box, a Yamaha Road Star 1700 on deck. http://diesel-gypsy.blogspot.com

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