US Van Conversion Import

by Ron Laine
(Calgary, Alberta)

I would like to take a Canadian purchased empty Sprinter cargo van and have someone like Sportsmobile do a custom conversion for me.
Can I get the conversion inspected and certified for use in Canada? Do all parts (stove, heater, etc)need to be CSA approved?
Also, I believe I would need to pay GST on the conversion when I bring it to Canada, would I also need to pay State sales tax and duty at the border?

Comments for US Van Conversion Import

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Nov 26, 2017
Hello Stephane Lavergne Re: Who did you choose?
by: Anonymous

Hello Stephane,

Wow, we came upon this website again :).

We are happy to provide an update as to which RV van we chose and about our experience:

We chose a New West (18 1/2 foot vehicle, under 8 feet tall, so we could park it in our garage). We built an 8 foot garage rather than a 7 foot one so we could park a camperized van in it.

Originally, we were prepared to fly to Quebec and look at both the New West and Safari Condo vans. However, it ended up that we did not need to do that. A local rv dealer happened to purchase a dealership in the East Coast of Canada, which had several of the New West van/rv models. For some reason, they did not wish to keep the vans there and sell them from there. A very uncommon act of ingenuity occurred (sorry but we think wayyyy more of this type of thinking should be done in the RV business). A local rv dealer in our province had their drivers drive the rv's (from this East Coast rv dealership) across Canada to their local rv outlets (in various provinces). We happened upon it by chance by looking at the inventory on the local rv dealership's website; we never stop exploring on the web. And there OUR VAN was. Yea!

As we said in the previous post, we had an issue that should have been dealt with at the New West manufacturer warranty point; but our e-mail went unanswered (I believe I called and left a message, as well). Buying outside of one's local has its costs. The local rv dealer we purchased the RV/van from said it was New West's warranty work to do. Our local rv dealer dealt with a sink issue (different issue than what I alluded to a few lines up) in an honorable way. A local GM dealership fixed the issue for our van (we paid for the fix).

However, we are VERY HAPPY with our purchase, because one of our requirements was being able to park it in our garage. Hail has destroyed many rv's roofs, and ours was NOT one of them, because we could park it inside a garage. A heater, fridge and big bed were also requirements we had. Our New West VR met these. A Chevy van is nice to drive. We wonder how much longer RV manufacturers will be converting Chev's.

Continually exploring the web for RV options paid off for us. We are very happy with the RV van we chose, and are grateful for fate's hand at helping us do this. We just need more time to use it.

Thanks for asking about our experience Stephane. Bonne journée!

Aug 26, 2017
Who did you choose?
by: Stéphane Lavergne

Hi! You say you ended up using a conversion company from Québec. Who did you go with? Safari Condo, New West, Gala RV, Cosy Road? I'd be curious to hear about your experience.

Thanks. :)

Dec 08, 2015
by: Anonymous

The GTRV was an option we considered rather than going through the millions of facets of worrying about the border and Sportsmobile. Located in Vancouver.

We did not go with that option, and went from a Quebec conversion company (even though we are not in Quebec). Good choice for us, however they are not keen to answer back when warranty work is inquired about via e-mail.

Good luck and happy travels:).

Jun 19, 2015
by: Bob

Having owned 2 NCV3 Sprinters, (2007 on up), I would recommend sticking with the T1N, (pre-2007), Sprinter.
The newer ones have had problems with emissions, transmissions, and other various electronics and front end issues.
Our 2, a 2009 cutaway 3500, & a '13 3500 van, both had multiple front end/suspension/alignment problems.
The older Sprinters, if you can find a good non-rusted specimen, are much, much simpler to work on with much less electronics.

Just my 2 cents

Jun 18, 2015
Tax yes, CSA approved parts - possibly
by: Marianne

Interesting question and I'm not 100% sure I know the correct answer. I do know that since the vehicle was purchased and remains registered in Canada, you won't have to go through the import process and (I'm guessing) that, other than the propane system and propane appliances, nothing else will need to be CSA certified.

Yes, you will need to show receipts for the work you have had done and pay gst and possibly other duties on the improvements. I would contact The Canadian Border Services Agency for the exact details.

I would ask Sportsmobile whether they've worked with other Canadian vehicles. They're a big company so it's highly likely. They may know more about this. We all have repairs done and parts replaced on our travels and have never been questioned or inspected on those.

Perhaps, some readers who have gone through something similar can chime in.

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