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Thread: 2008 GTI (Canadian) - TPMS import to USA

  1. #81
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    The insanity that is Importing a vehicle from Canada to the USA...

    So I decided to go down to the Customs and Border Patrol office in San Diego today. This is where you might be able to import a car.

    I explained that I'm unable to get a Letter of Conformity from VW of A. It states that the car falls short of conforming due to the lack of matching the USA OEM Direct TPMS. I explained the progress I've made with confirming operation of Indirect TPMS and the attempt at Direct TPMS retrofit by myself. The officer stated that without a letter of conformity that I'm wasting my time. He then referred me to the Department of Transportation. He said that only they can make an exception if the manufacturer cannot provide a letter of conformity. I explained that even VW has gone back and forth on Indirect and Direct TPMS. But none of that matters.

    From what I gather with the DOT exception list, it is very difficult and expensive to get a car listed on there. Most are exotic or old (but not 25 years yet).

    So I've written an email to importcertification@dot.gov asking for a review and certification though I'm not holding my breath. If you are bored and like speaking up for the little guy, maybe send an email to them too and tell them how stupid there policy is.

    My wife and I have basically given up.... all over TPMS needing to be Direct instead of Indirect... and/or VW being of absolutely no assistance. Hmm. I guess a road trip back to Canada to sell it, then Subaru?

  2. #82
    Benevolent Dictator Uwe's Avatar
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    One problem is that the indirect systems in 2008 were not yet sophisticated enough to meet the US requirements for TPMS in 2008. They were able to detect one under-inflated tire just fine, but the standards call for them to detect when all four are equally underinflated by a certain amount (I think it's 25%). I'm not sure how the current indirect systems actually manage to do that, but somehow they do.

    -Uwe-
    The engineering problems are likely insurmountable. It would be like proposing to land a rocket booster section on a barge floating in the middle of the ocean.

  3. #83
    FoRT jyoung8607's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck dive View Post
    The insanity that is Importing a vehicle from Canada to the USA...

    So I decided to go down to the Customs and Border Patrol office in San Diego today. This is where you might be able to import a car.

    I explained that I'm unable to get a Letter of Conformity from VW of A. It states that the car falls short of conforming due to the lack of matching the USA OEM Direct TPMS. I explained the progress I've made with confirming operation of Indirect TPMS and the attempt at Direct TPMS retrofit by myself. The officer stated that without a letter of conformity that I'm wasting my time. He then referred me to the Department of Transportation. He said that only they can make an exception if the manufacturer cannot provide a letter of conformity. I explained that even VW has gone back and forth on Indirect and Direct TPMS. But none of that matters.
    I know you hadn't gotten the CCM to completely behave in your car, but it still seems conceivable you could get it running and driving with TPMS long enough to have it certified. And if you switched back to a different CCM afterward, while that would not be strictly legal, nobody would know or care to look at that point.

    I've never been through this process myself, so I have to ask: Let's say you successfully complete the TPMS retrofit. Are you sure that will actually advance your cause, or are you still stuck unless VWoA provides written certification of your retrofit?
    Silence gives consent.

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  5. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyoung8607 View Post
    Let's say you successfully complete the TPMS retrofit. Are you sure that will actually advance your cause, or are you still stuck unless VWoA provides written certification of your retrofit?
    It seems that for import... Customs (at least the one I went to) does not make any exceptions. They either want a letter of compliance from VW, a letter of certification from a Registered Importer (I contacted all of them, no help... but I may try again if I get Direct working... they'd just be a rubber stamp), or a letter from DOT stating that they've made an exception.

    So, in reality, no... having Direct TPMS does not guarantee anything. But it certainly helps the case. I would then try with VW again (dealer and ofAmerica) and make a big stink since we own three VWs. With the dealer, I would ask them to certify module 65 is present and the sensors are working... then ask them to go to bat with me with VW of A. I would also try the Registered Importers again and show them that a dealer has confirmed though VWofA won't provide letter... in the hope that the Registered Imported will just see easy money cause they don't really have to do anything, just confirm the work was done and it works.

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