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TDIMeister January 13th, 2013 19:46

TDIMeister's German-imported 1998 Audi A4 Avant TDI quattro
I thought I'd start this thread here to document my ownership of this car from its purchase, shipment from Germany to Canada and ongoing updates of its life in the New World.

Original ad of the car:

Some pics taken just after the purchase and driving it back to Aachen:

Some pics taken at the port of Emden, Germany, from which the car was shipped:

TDIMeister January 13th, 2013 19:46

At the gate of the Montreal airport to Halifax January 9th 2013 (I didn't fly Air Canada but rather with Porter Airlines)

Going to pick up the car, Friday, January 11th 2013 - crossing a bridge in Halifax

Entering Dartmouth port area - Getting close, getting excited!

Arrival at Autoport to pick up car

Foreground: silverbox's 03 Jetta Wagon, background: mine

On North American soil

Passed inspection

On the way home - recently decommissioned RCI shortwave radio transmitter near Sackville, NB

Accumulated snow on the ground for most of the the ~1300 km drive but mild weather and otherwise good driving conditions

Fuel gauge reading at 1000 km. MFA (needs to be fixed) shows trip average fuel consumption of 5.1 l/100 km. Not bad for an AWD wagon that happens to be carrying a ~400 lb engine in the trunk and the thermostat also needs replacing. Ended up driving 1190 kms while not deep into reserves before a partial refueling because I found discounted Diesel, thanks to Gas Buddy.

TDIMeister January 13th, 2013 19:46

What it is:

110 PS AFN engine
5-speed DGW 01A transmission and DAJ final drive
Grey metallic paint
Grey "Buffalino" leather heated seats
MFA instrument cluster
No cruise control (to be added later)
Power front windows (roll-up rears)
Power sunroof
Aspherical, asymmetric side-view mirrors
Rear cargo cover and net
OEM radio/cassette
Halogen e-code headlights with motorized levelers
Front/rear fog lights
Full-sized spare tire
Underbody rustproof coating with Fluid Film(R) done January 11, 2013.

Will add more info to this post later.

TDIMeister January 13th, 2013 19:46


I would like to take this opportunity to thank a number of individuals and companies that were particularly helpful in making this whole thing possible. Without their combined assistance, this would have been much more difficult to impossible to pull off under the circumstances. I don't mean to omit people, but as I remember them, I will update this list. There are a LOT of people who helped in both big and small ways, but none are exempt of my appreciation and gratitude.

First and foremost, I want to say how eternally grateful I am to silverbox (John S.) for his friendship and all his help during my 4 days in Halifax and even the help rendered long before my arrival. Without him, this endeavour would have been truly and utterly impossible. I could write a book chapter to list all that he has done, but his generosity, hospitality, kindness, willingness to help and persistence will never be forgotten. Thank you so much, John.

CFriedriszik in Germany, a veteran TDIClub member and an old friend of more than a decade, who helped advise me with the vehicle search, due diligence and all the valuable information to deal with the purchase and registration of my car in Germany. Also in particular helping me diagnose a faulty injection pump solenoid valve when I visited him just a few days after picking up the car.

Turbo Johan in The Netherlands, who agreed to meet me on short notice on the day that I was en route to drop the car off at the port of Emden. He was actually the one who replaced the aforementioned defective injection pump solenoid. :) I look forward to working with him on future projects.

DIESEL DAZZLER, who has also been a long time close friend, and who will be this car's chief mechanic. ;)

Uberhare, who having himself imported a couple of cars via Halifax, provided me with some key information and encouragement to smooth the process of getting my car in Halifax.

Non forum members Action Jackson, Slater, pitcalco, etc.

ASI Auto Shipment GmbH of Bremerhaven, Germany handled the shipping brokerage. The prices were reasonable and the staff were very patient and accommodating to my paranoia. :)

Anker Schifffahrts-Gesellschaft mbH was the shipping company.

Colley Motorships Ltd. in Montreal, QC was the agent at the port of discharge.

Autoport Ltd. in Halifax, NS received the car. Felicia was an absolute delight to work with and made the whole process so painless.

I'll keep updating this as more credits come to mind.

TDIMeister January 13th, 2013 19:47

Well after exactly two weeks to the day since picking up the car in Halifax, today, on January 25th, I finally got this car fully registered in Quebec, Canada. These intervening two weeks had been very long and frustrating. Essentially the first frustration was getting my car "pre-registered" so that at least I could get temporary transit tags and the foreign VIN would be recognised by the department of motor vehicles. Because it was not something that was frequently done, there was a lot of figuring out on the fly on the part of the employees at the DMV, waiting and running around; this is understandable, and the ladies at each visit were generally nice and as helpful as they could be under the uncharted circumstances (I had to make three visits on separate days for the “pre-registrations” and two more that followed, to be explained in greater detail later).

After the third visit, I had to take the car for a mechanical inspection, IMO a BS money grab and a bureaucratic nightmare. What is enraging is that this inspection is only required for vehicles brought in from outside of Quebec and for other special circumstances (modified vehicles; those re-registered after coming out of long-term storage; vehicles with salvage titles, etc.). The true pieces of junk that are completely exempt from such inspection (not required of other cars, whether every n years or during change of ownership) and that are commonly seen driving on shared roads are indicative of a failed system IMO. [/rant] :mad:

I thought that the inspection would be totally straightforward. Despite being a very anal person about my cars, I really believed in good faith that there were no issues that would warrant failure of this inspection, that it would be simply a formality and that I could have had everything completed a week earlier...

So, my last visit with the MoT/DMV for the first half of my adventures was on a Friday morning; I wanted to have my car inspected the same day. None of the local stations (there are 2) could accommodate me that day. So I called one some 100+ km (62+ miles) away that was able to fit me in for 3 p.m. that same day. It would be tight, but the inspection itself should only take 30 minutes to an hour and the local DMV there was only about 4 km away and closed at 4:30 p.m. I made the trek. At 4:15 p.m. or so - furious at having no chance of going to the DMV that day and anxious but still hopeful of at least getting a pass, the inspector read out to me a litany of non-conformities [$*%#^!!!].
  • No DRLs (I was absolutely certain this was working earlier that day, albeit a very temporary solution with a test wire and alligator clips) - I argued vigorously in my non-existent French but when we went outside to try it in the car, sure enough it didn't work. When I had proceeded to fix it later, I found that the wire had melted at the joint at one end. Fair enough. It's much more permanent now with heavier gauge wire and a fuse.
  • 3 out of 4 tires worn - an explosion went off in my head. These were snow tires; they were not great but several opinions before and even after the inspection said that they should be fine. I was forced to replace all four nonetheless; under the duress of the moment I paid too much for C.R.A.P. Had I collected my thoughts a bit, done some research and shopped around, I could have gotten Michelins or at least some name brand on sale for not much more. But now I have brand new snow tires all around and they seem OK. Oy.
  • Belly pan not properly secured - found of be one damn screw that was not fastened in place. Could have been fixed by the inspector in 10 seconds, but instead got cited as a non-conformity. :facepalm:
  • Unable to access and inspect spare tire, rear seat bench and rear seat belts - the rear bench was folded down and both it and the spare tire compartment were under a pallet holding an engine I was schlepping around.
I finally got all the above non-conformities addressed. I brought it for re-inspection on Wednesday, January 23rd (this required going back to the DMV a 4th time to get another temporary trip permit, as the previous one had expired - I couldn't get a 10-day because my car was not yet inspected :mad: ); passed the re-inspection and finally today I returned for the fifth and last time to the DMV (this time a different, private outlet) for the final registration, after paying $165... :rolleyes:

The proof:
Would I do this again? The answer has become very clear in the past 2 weeks: “Yes, but not as long as I am still in my current jurisdiction.” There have been apparent systematic efforts to discourage private car imports to Canada in general and Quebec in particular. The original premise was understandable: Most of the cars being imported were right-hand drive JDM Nissan Skylines and the like, owned by a very predictable demographic (young, dumb and reckless early 20-somethings and responsible for a disproportionate number of accidents and street racing incidents). I was very careful to distinguish my car from this group to everyone from the insurance companies to the DMV. The way things are between the policies at the insurance companies and the provincial DMV sets up in my view a circular problem: I can't get a car insured unless it's registered in the province; I can't register the car, much less obtain a temporary transit permit unless it is physically in Quebec and passes a vehicle inspection; I can't transit the car from Halifax without both insurance and a permit. There's no way I can see to do this without bending and creatively interpreting rules, short of transporting the vehicle from Halifax on a train or truck at a cost that would certainly be in the order of $1000 more.

Mine was a unique set of circumstances (did not own a car or had insurance for the prior 6 months; have a poor command of the French language where you really need it; unfamiliar of the local bureaucratic processes; and under a tight budget) that made the whole process not amenable to such an ambitious undertaking without a great deal of difficulty.

That said, with it all done now, I have accumulated invaluable knowledge and experience, maybe for another future import, or to help someone else who wants to do this himself; at least I could share what I’ve learned that someone else can avoid some of the frustrations I had to endure. I'll do that in a blog, perhaps in collaboration with a fellow TDIClub member who has also imported cars from Europe into Canada.

In time, I will return to a level of really appreciating having such a unique car on my driveway. For now, I’m exhausted from it all and just want to drive the car. Therefore, I don’t plan any major work on it. The engine hardware will remain stock for now – there is no scope in the budget for a big project. I’ll have to buy a set of wheels and tires come spring; that and a full maintenance program and detailing will be my immediate next moves.

I will re-edit this post once I've tallied up all the costs thus far, but it's certainly over $4000 over and above the purchase price, not including the new tires installed and new battery that I'll also need.

CFriedriszik January 14th, 2013 07:27

Congratulations you made it !
Gotten any strange looks already for the wagon & TDI & AWD ?

Are you already regretting you didn't drive mine ?

Hope you have a lot of fun with your new tinkering toy - when shall we start to look for the successor A6 V6 ?

Die guten V6er mit MKB B?? und Rollenschlepphebeln wurden erst ab ca. 2002/2003 produziert, Du hast also noch genug Zeit, 2017 geht es dann los ... :D

Windex January 14th, 2013 09:53

How much for the RO/RO shipping from Germany to Halifax? How did you arrange it?

silverbox January 14th, 2013 10:50

Hi Dave, nice looking Jetta wagon at the autoport.

Alcaid January 14th, 2013 12:35

Welcome to the TDI 4x4 club ;)

Radman January 14th, 2013 12:47

WAY TO GO DAVE! Awesome find!

NoJoke January 14th, 2013 14:23

Success! Now the real questions is what motor did you bring over(the one in the trunk):D

TDIMeister January 14th, 2013 19:14


Originally Posted by nb99tdi (Post 4060477)
nice car!!! may i ask how much it cost to get it to canada?? (not including the cost of the car)

Costs are still being tallied up, but after all is said and done, I expect to have spent about $4000 CAD over and above the purchase price of the car, including EVERYTHING like shipping, registration and transportation on both sides of the Atlantic; taxes/duties/excise, numerous fees, etc. Uberhare and I plan to collaborate on a blog page to document our respective experiences as a comprehensive HOW-TO.


Originally Posted by CFriedriszik (Post 4060694)
Congratulations you made it !
Gotten any strange looks already for the wagon & TDI & AWD ?

Not that I have noticed yet - it takes keen eyes and ears because my car has no badges to identify it as quattro or a TDI. One would have to spot the down-turned exhaust tips, Euro licence plate frames and other minute details to have a full appreciation of what it is.


Are you already regretting you didn't drive mine ?

Hope you have a lot of fun with your new tinkering toy - when shall we start to look for the successor A6 V6 ?

Die guten V6er mit MKB B?? und Rollenschlepphebeln wurden erst ab ca. 2002/2003 produziert, Du hast also noch genug Zeit, 2017 geht es dann los ... :D
Ich denke schon über deinen A8 nach. 2022? :D


Originally Posted by Windex (Post 4060868)
How much for the RO/RO shipping from Germany to Halifax? How did you arrange it?

About $1200 CAD at exchange rates back in October. ASI was referred to by a forum member who lived in the US and is now based in Germany.


Originally Posted by silverbox (Post 4060949)
Hi Dave, nice looking Jetta wagon at the autoport.

It runs as well as it looks, John! :)


Originally Posted by Alcaid (Post 4061049)
Welcome to the TDI 4x4 club ;)



Originally Posted by Radman (Post 4061066)
WAY TO GO DAVE! Awesome find!

Thanks! I'm very happy with it too!


Originally Posted by NoJoke (Post 4061153)
Success! Now the real questions is what motor did you bring over(the one in the trunk):D

It's a BHW with engine harness. :)

GoFaster January 15th, 2013 20:52

Nicely done, Dave. Looks fantastic!


Originally Posted by NSTDI (Post 4061794)
Also, what is the HP and torque for that engine? Any mods needed to do the import to meet Canadian emissions or safety rules?

Original ad says it's a 1.9 110hp, and that means it's a regular rotary-pump engine with a VNT15 turbocharger, all very similar to the '98 New Beetle and the '99 - '03 Golf/Jetta, but with bigger injectors. The good thing about that, is that it's all familiar hardware. Anyone who can fix a rotary-pump TDI can fix this one and you can get all the normal service parts at any VW/Audi dealer or specialist shop. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the only difference emissions-wise could be that it doesn't have an EGR cooler. Most would suggest that this is a good thing to not have. (mine is hissing ...)

Since this is 15 years old, it isn't required to comply with the Canadian motor vehicle standards and that's why you can import it.

It'll still have to pass a regular safety inspection (same as for any used car here) and the regular Drive Clean emissions test ... and THIS is where it might get interesting, because that car wouldn't have been required to have OBD-II (which started out as a US EPA thing before it spread worldwide). Any idea whether it's OBD-II compliant??

Funny thing is that VWvortex and elsewhere joke about the "diesel manual AWD station wagon" for some reason - the ultimate practical and sensible vehicle bar none. Well, guess what we have here :D

chaloux January 16th, 2013 12:22

Looks awesome. We need to have a meetup of Quattro TDIs! We'd have... uh, 4? lol

Demon Diesel January 16th, 2013 18:47

Nice find.

What's happening with the BHW? :) You're not gonna..... are you?

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