With some shame I have plagiarized the following article from the excellent Winnipeg Free Press because I’m pretty sure it’s important to all Canadian gearheads.


By: Ashley Prest
Posted: 05/6/2014

If you are planning to buy a used vehicle in the United States and bring it home to Canada, a new U.S. government rule means a bit more legwork. If you don’t do it, it could cost you a lot more money.

What is the Automated Export System?

The Automated Export System (AES) is a mandatory filing requirement by the U.S. Census Bureau of Electronic Export Information (EEI). The exporter or authorized agent must file the vehicle’s EEI information using AES.

From AES, the importer (or authorized agent) will receive an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) number in a confirmation message. This number must be presented to U.S. Customs to bring the vehicle into Canada. (

The rule requires electronic export information (EEI) to be filed for any used “self-propelled vehicles” — any automobile, truck, tractor, bus, motorcycle, motor home, agricultural machinery, construction equipment or any other kind of special-use machinery designed for running on land — through the U.S. Government’s automated export system (AES).

“Starting April 5, the exporter in the U.S. is required to file automated export system information. They have to report to the U.S. Census to tell them who they are, what they’re sending, whom it’s going to, in a nutshell,” said Trevor Franzmann, sales and marketing manager at A.D. Rutherford International, a Winnipeg customs broker who works with customers on both sides of the U.S./Canada border.

“This is absolutely making it more difficult to buy a vehicle in the U.S. and bring it across the border.”

Statistics Canada’s international accounts and trade division figures for 2013 showed there were 1,332 self-propelled vehicles imported to Manitoba alone from the U.S., for a total value of about $44 million. Across Canada in 2013, there were 18,441 vehicles brought in from the U.S., for a total value of more than $555 million.

Since April 5, self-propelled vehicles exported from the U.S. to Canada are no longer exempt from AES filing. The filing must take place 72 hours prior to crossing the border.

A fine up to $10,000, under the U.S. Census Bureau foreign trade regulations, can be levied for failing to submit the AES information.

“It’s excessive, to say the least. The bottom line is it (the vehicle purchased) is not going to be allowed in the country (Canada) if you don’t file your AES filing,” Franzmann said.

An “informed compliance” period is in place until Oct. 2, giving people time to figure out the new requirements. Franzmann said Canadian buyers of vehicles from the U.S. should start complying right now or risk having the vehicle held up at the border.

“People should also be aware that, even though there is informed compliance right now, U.S. Customs has the right to deny you entry if you don’t file the AES,” he said.

Once the AES filing has been completed, an internal transaction number (ITN) will be assigned. The importer or a customs broker needs to present that number to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to bring the vehicle across the border.

“Simply, it ends up being the Canadian (buyer’s) responsibility to make sure AES filing is done, because that vehicle is not going to get into the country (Canada) unless you are provided with an ITN, an internal transaction number,” Franzmann said.

A potential problem is that to complete the AES filing, the U.S. seller is required to have a federal tax identification number called an EIN. Private individuals in the U.S. might not have an EIN number but, under the new rule, the American seller will have to get one to comply with the AES filing.
That means taking the time to apply to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and some private sellers don’t want to do that.

“What we’re telling our customers is find out if the seller has or will get an EIN number. If the seller won’t, don’t buy or get your money back,” Franzmann said.

Another possible point of confusion is which person is ultimately responsible for the AES filing.

Dale Kelly, chief of the U.S. foreign trade division, said that can vary with the location of the Canadian purchasing the vehicle.

“If the person from Canada (the importer) is actually in the U.S. at the time the goods are purchased or obtained for export, then that person/company/individual is considered the U.S. principal party in interest and responsible for the filing of the AES,” Kelly said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

“Only if the merchandise was sold by a U.S. person or company and the Canadian person never came to the U.S., then that U.S. company would be considered the U.S. principal party in interest.”

Canadians importing a vehicle must be prepared to meet all requirements at the U.S. border in addition to paying fees and taxes. Canadian Border Services Agency spokeswoman Esme Bailey said Canadians should contact the CBSA before they plan to import a vehicle by calling 1-800-461-9999 and visiting the website
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2014 A6

I tow the Ranger on a 6X11 custom built trailer.  A winch pulls the front wheels up against a solid “headache bar” at the front and the bar and the side rails hold it in place.  That system had worked well for a year.  And then it didn’t…..

It was time to clean the chainsaw oil out of the back of the Ranger, so I loaded it onto its trailer and headed for the local car wash in Elgin. The road was a bit bumpy with frost heaves and all of the sudden the tandem trailer started to sway. I pulled off and checked the load, expecting a flat tire.

The tires were fine, but the Ranger had unhooked itself and was on the verge of dropping off the back of the trailer. YIKES!

Chastened, I moved it back up into position, set the brake again, and checked the retaining strap. Turns out the cutout I had selected on the pan underneath the Ranger doesn’t allow the hook on the webbed strap to seat very well: there’s a beam welded to the upper surface of the plate about 1/4″ from the hole. I hadn’t noticed that, and had blindly hooked at the most convenient cutout. I certainly won’t do that again.

I re-hooked in a safer cutout and proceeded on to Elgin. When I got to the car wash the thing was loose again, though it had not come adrift this time. Why would this slick system go so wrong, so suddenly? Frost heaves on the road! The way I have the thing hooked, a bump which causes the front suspension to flex will temporarily loosen, and potentially unhook, the strap. Clearly I need to develop a more secure fastening system, and as well come up with an additional safety strap which I can monitor from the driver’s seat of the truck.

To get home I tied a stout rope to the bumper of the Ranger and to a cross bar on the A-frame of the trailer. If the rope got tight, I’d know I was in danger, but it would keep the UV from rolling off the back of the trailer until I could stop.

Once home I checked tire pressures. In mid-winter this is always embarrassing. Three of the trailer tires were low. All of the Ranger tires were below 5 p.s.i. as well. Much puffing later, the rig was ready for another cautious roll-out, but I’ll look for a snap system for that web strap which will hold securely without making a mess of the bottom of the Ranger.

Tacoma frame inspection

October 14, 2009

When I heard about the frame warranty inspection program for 2000-2005 Tacomas, I dropped by Thousand Islands Toyota in Brockville to book an appointment. The service manager couldn’t help me because Toyota Canada had no record of my vehicle, a California-built standard cab 4X4 originally registered in Pittsburgh.

Plan B involved calling Toyota in California to ask them to adjust their records to take into account the truck’s new address. The helpful guy I talked to told me that Toyota America extends all warranty coverage to Canada, but would not send me the warranty letter which authorized the coverage. He did, however, give me a case number which would do the job.

I was lucky to speak to John Walker when I next contacted the Toyota dealer. With my case number he was able to initiate the process to get my truck’s inspection authorized. It took a couple of weeks, but John kept me posted and when it came through he arranged for a rental car to be waiting on the day. All I had to do was drop off my key and drive away in a new Corolla. Not a bad little car, that.

Anxious, I called yesterday afternoon to see how the frame was. “They didn’t find any perforation, so there’s no problem; they just have to complete the anti-corrosion treatment.” Relieved, I went in today to pick up the truck.

The frame is covered with a hard, glossy black tarry substance, but it’s smooth and looks bullet-proof. I understand the inside of the frame is covered with a white substance with a lot of parafin wax in it. Apparently they thoroughly clean the frame with a variety of chemicals and then start the coatings.

From the look of the revitalized frame, the truck should last until the warranty expires in 2017. There’s no downside to this.

U.S. President Obama took power in the face of a global financial crisis and an even more dramatic economic downturn within his country.  His inauguration marked a turning point:  government repudiated its belief in the invisible hand of the marketplace and opted for a much more interventionist stance.  Massive bailouts to the failing auto industry ensued, and Canada and Ontario rapidly followed suit to protect Canada’s share of the market.  With this activism came protectionism, and a strange new business market emerged by the summer of 2009.  Obama’s Cash For Clunkers campaign offered up to $4500. to an owner to scrap an older vehicle and buy a new one.  $3 billion evaporated in weeks, and the car market has been skewed once again in favour of the immediate sale over the long term relationship with the customer.

As the billions ran out, posted an analysis suggesting that every clunker retired actually costs the U.S. people $20,000, a classic illustration of the broken window theory.  Then released an article entitled Could I Really Kill My Clunker?  “It just seems very wasteful (and somehow ‘heartless’, even with a car) to prematurely end a ‘life’ that still could be valuable to someone–doesn’t it?”

Many owners don’t want a new set of wheels.  I drove my ’95 4Runner to 370,000 km just to see how long it would last.  Then my friend Tony took it to 400,000, and it’s still going.  It has driven clean through every eTest it has ever had, and gives mileage in the mid twenties.  Why should it be taken off the road?

Toyota seems to have come up with a stimulus plan for those who see the fallacy in the argument that a broken window is good for everybody.  For Tacomas registered in the rust belt, they’ve retroactively extended the corrosion warranty on the frame to fifteen years.  This addresses a problem on a number of truck frames purchased from Dana, a California supplier, which made it into production without proper corrosion protection.

The program has produced a good deal of Internet buzz.  Toyota’s offering to buy back terminally ill trucks at 150% of retail value.  An extravagant gift, but not an absurd one in the face of the current blizzard of handouts in the automotive trade.  More significantly, they’re replacing frames on trucks in good condition which do not pass inspection.  This is a big job, but in a week or two the truck comes out of the shop with a new frame.  The owner gets a free loaner in the meantime.  For the vast majority of Tacoma owners, the program means a free frame inspection, minor frame repairs, and an extensive anti-corrosion treatment to extend the life of the truck’s frame to at least fifteen years.

A program like this appeals to men who like their machines.  I looked on a driving site ( and a tractor site ( to get a sampling of how North American men feel about this realistic, if generous, extended warranty program.  A new metaphor seems to have emerged.  The phrase “Toyota has stepped up” appeared in a surprising number of the postings I read.  It will be interesting if the phrase goes viral, appearing in mainstream media as well as on Internet discussion boards.

The Buzz:

On, Snowman commented:  “Because Sudbury is in the salt belt I know of three Tacoma owners that had their trucks inspected at the dealer and received 1.5 times the book values on their Tacomas. One guy paid $8500 and received $13k and promptly bought another one from the dealer. How many manufacturers would do this? The word of mouth advertising has been amazing and has many people I know talking about the commitment Toyota has towards their customers.”

On, Matt Jr. wrote:  “Although I’m glad I own a Chevy, I still think the Toyota is a good truck. The domestics would have a hard time living that one up.”

TCowner added:  “I agree that Toyota, Nissan and some of the others are treated a little easier than the domestic manufacturers when it comes to defects but man, this is an ingenious marketing move. I have no idea what this will cost Toyota but this decision will bring more customers into the showroom.  Ford beats up Toyota on their weak frame and how it flexes so much more than the Ford. But I think it’s pretty safe to say that neither Ford nor GM would ever consider an extended warranty program like this which would include buying the truck back at top book value.”

Podunkadunk commented:  “Ford’s running a nationally televised TV commercial right now and in it, they are stating ‘Quality that’s now equal to Toyota’…  I doubt it, but hey…it’s their nickel.”

Dfkrug reflected the attitude of many posters:  “Toyota is far from infallible, but they have stepped up numerous times when problems arose.”

And finally, a Dr. Spock wrote:  “A good reputation can go much further than a good product.   If you have a good product but a bad rep, no one is going to buy from you.   If you have a good rep and a so-so product, people will still buy from you because they feel they can trust you.”

I found this on  Toyota’s serious about fixing rusty frames.

2001 – 2004 Canadian Tacoma Owners take a look.. copied from Yotatech


Subject: Advanced Notification on Customer Satisfaction Campaign 917 – Warranty Coverage Extension for Tacoma Frame Rust Corrosion Perforation

For your advanced information, TCI will be initiating a Customer Satisfaction Campaign 917 on certain 2001 through 2004 Model Year Tacoma vehicles to extend the warranty coverage for perforation of the vehicle’s frame caused by rust corrosion.

In order to receive the warranty extension, customers must bring in their vehicle to an authorized Toyota dealer for inspection and to have a Corrosion-Resistant Treatment applied to the frame and (where necessary) any frame repairs performed.

Q1: What is the condition?

A1: Toyota has received reports regarding a number of 2001 through 2004 model year Tacoma vehicles exhibiting excessive rust corrosion to the frame, causing perforation of the metal.

Q1a: What is the cause of this condition?

A1a: The frames on a number of vehicles may not have adequate corrosion-resistant protection. This combined with prolonged exposure to road salts and other environmental factors may contribute to the development of excessive rust corrosion in the frames of some vehicles. This is unrelated to and separate from normal surface rust which is commonly found on metallic surfaces after some years of usage and/or exposure to the environment.

Q2: What is Toyota going to do?

A2: Although the vehicle’s frame is covered by Toyota’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty for 3 years or 60,000 kilometers (whichever comes first), we at Toyota care about the customer’s overall experience and confidence in their vehicle. To assure our customers that we stand behind the product, we will extend the warranty coverage, for a total of fifteen years/unlimited mileage from the vehicle’s in-service date, on the vehicle’s frame for this specific condition, subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the owner notification letter.

Q3: Is it a safety issue?

A3: No. All iron based metallic material will eventually rust. This issue is related to inadequate corrosion-resistance protection, therefore, we believe this is a long term durability issue.

Q4: Is this a recall?

A4: No. This is an extension of the warranty coverage on 2001 through 2004 model year Tacoma vehicles for perforation of the vehicle’s frame caused by rust corrosion. This warranty extension, subject to certain conditions, will be provided for a period of 15 years with no mileage limitation from the vehicle’s in-service date, for this specific condition.

Q5: Why is Toyota launching this Customer Satisfaction Campaign?

A5: We at Toyota care about the customer’s overall experience with and confidence in their vehicle. To assure our customers that we stand behind the product, we are providing, subject to certain terms and conditions detailed in the Owner’s letter, an extension of the warranty coverage on certain 2001 through 2004 model year Tacoma vehicles for perforation of the vehicle’s frame caused by rust corrosion.

Q6: What are some of the terms and conditions of the Warranty Extension?

A6: In order for the warranty enhancement to apply, the customer must bring the vehicle to a Toyota dealer before October 31, 2010. The dealer will inspect the condition of the frame and apply a corrosion-resistant treatment at no charge to the customer. Owners of affected vehicles will receive the details of this program in the owner notification.

Q7: Does this Customer Satisfaction Campaign apply to rusted body panels?

A7: No. This Customer Satisfaction Campaign only applies to the frame of certain 2001 to 2004 model year Tacoma vehicles.

Q8: Are 1995 to 2000 model year Tacomas covered under this program?

A8: No. Toyota launched a Customer Support Program in early 2008 for 1995 to 2000 model year Tacoma vehicles.

Q9: Are there any other Toyota or Lexus models included in this program?

A9: No. This Warranty Enhancement only applies to 2001 to 2004 Model Year Tacoma vehicles.

Q10: What is Toyota’s standard rust perforation warranty coverage for the frame?

A10: Under the Toyota New Vehicle Warranty, the frame is covered by Toyota’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty for 3 years or 60,000 kilometers (whichever comes first). This is typical practice in the automotive industry.

Q11: When did you learn about this condition?

A11: We began to investigate this issue in 2001 through 2004 trucks in the first quarter of 2008.

Q12: What is involved in the corrosion-resistant treatment?

A12: Any Toyota dealership will inspect the condition of the vehicle’s frame and apply a corrosion-resistant treatment. The treatment will be applied to both external and internal surfaces of the frame to enhance the corrosion protection of the Tacoma’s frame.

Q13: How long will the corrosion-resistant treatment take?

A13: The treatment process is an overnight process. However, depending upon the dealer’s work
schedule, it may be necessary to make the vehicle available for a longer period of time. During the corrosion-resistant treatment process, however, the Toyota dealer will arrange for a complimentary loaner vehicle for the customer’s use at no charge while the vehicle is being treated.

Q14: What is the warranty on the corrosion-resistant treatment?

A14: The frame on Tacoma vehicles included in this program will be covered by the warranty enhancement. The enhancement, subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the owner notification letter, is for a period of 15 years with no mileage limitations from the vehicle’s in service date for perforation of the vehicle’s frame caused by rust corrosion.

Q15: What if a vehicle has already experienced this condition?

A15: Any Toyota dealer will inspect the vehicle’s frame and apply the corrosion-resistant treatment if the frame is not perforated due to this condition. If the inspection of the vehicles confirms excessive rust corrosion to the frame causing perforation of the metal, Toyota will, at its option, either repair or repurchase the vehicle.

Q16: What is Toyota going to do if perforation of the vehicle’s frame caused by rust corrosion is found?

A16: Upon confirmation, Toyota will, at its option, either repair or repurchase the vehicle.

Q17: Is there any special consideration in the case of vehicle repurchase?

A17: In the case of repurchase, Toyota Canada will reimburse the customer for the value of their vehicle up to 1.5 times the Canadian Black Book® Suggested Retail Value or at original MSRP when the vehicle was purchased, whichever is lower. The vehicle will be assessed as a vehicle in excellent condition regardless of the vehicle’s actual condition; however, a deduction will be made for moderate damage and/or missing components. Owners will receive detailed information about the terms and conditions for this program in the owner notificat

It may be the emergency brake cable acting up.

First I’d better mention that I write a lot better than I wrench.  This blurb, therefore, is for the very occasional shade-tree mechanic, not for the dedicated gear head who will probably find it ludicrously simple.

For example when I started the project I didn’t know which cap to take off to loosen the brake shoes.  Honest.  It’s not that simple.  There are two black things at the bottom where they used to be on a Beetle.  They don’t come off.  Then there’s a little one up at the top.  That’s the one, it turns out.  I took the wheels off, thinking I might find an adjustment port in the plate under the wheel, like on my golf cart.  No.

Deprived of an easy and obvious way to loosen the brake shoes, I selected the looser wheel and tried to take the drum off without easing the shoes back.  I remembered my mechanic mentioning you can thread two bolts into special holes on Toyota drums to work as a sort of drum-puller.  I tried two, 5/16” bolts.  These worked, but one stripped before I had torn the drum free from the shoes.

Stymied, I went to the garage and returned with a 20 ounce framing hammer.  I was going to do some pounding and see if that would help.  With the help of the hammer, I was able to relocate the unadjusted brake shoes enough to slide the drum off over the top.  Remember that this wheel was the one which was tight, but far from seized.

Once I got the drum off I realized the emergency brake cable lever and linkage looked kinda stiff, so I decided to whack it a bit.  It took a fair amount of work to move it, and it is supposed to articulate freely, right?  I found some lithium grease in a spray can in the cupboard, so I socked it to the various levers of this linkage until it had freed up.  Then I nuked the area with brake cleaner so that I wouldn’t wreck the shoes.

Not having learned the lesson which should have been obvious at this point (that the emergency brake linkage is what is causing the brakes to bind, and the shoes can be freed up by forcing the lever back towards the drum) I tried to transfer what I had   learned of brake anatomy on the right side to the left-hand drum.  Just for the record, the adjusters are threaded right-hand on the right, and left-hand on the left.  If you remember nothing else from this tale, retain that.

Then when you have a screwdriver poised to rotate the adjuster, you can puzzle out which way to turn it.  I admit I guessed and got lucky.  The way it wanted to turn (I can’t remember which) didn’t actually free up the shoes, but it did no harm, and before long I decided to try banging on the emergency brake lever with my hammer and that freed up the shoes.

It wasn’t quite according to plan, but it was obviously the correct thing to do, because the drum came right off once I had forced the lever back into place.  Then all I had to do was lubricate the linkage and work the levers until it responded to the pull of the brake springs.

I remember watching my mechanic use coarse sandpaper on the drums and shoes to roughen them up before reassembly, so I did that and carefully put the drums and wheels back on.

Then I had to set up the back brake shoes, of course, because I had turned them way in to facilitate assembly.  The emergency brake operates the adjuster plate inside the brake drum each time the cable is tightened, so I methodically put the parking brake on and released it many times until the brakes would hold on a moderate slope.

When I moved it the truck immediately felt lively and healthy after the repair.  Before, it had felt cranky and rough, not pleasant to drive.  I guess the stuck wheel put an awkward load on the suspension, and did its best to keep the vehicle from moving at every start and turn.

The job took a morning of leisurely work, but paid off in much better ride and performance from the truck, not to mention  the dramatically increased life expectancy of the brakes.

So the lesson?  Before you try to turn back the adjusters, get the slack out of the emergency brake lever.  You may not need any more.