English flagGerman flagFrench flagSpanish flagDutch flagCzech flagDanish flag

New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

Canada Flag South Africa Flag


Written by Robin on Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Just about everyone who sees this truck ask me about the certification and inspection process. Really, it’s not a big deal, at least not in British Columbia. Basically there are two inspection levels – a federal and a provincial. I’m not sure at what point you have to pass a federal inspection. It didn’t apply to me.

The provincial inspection is what the New Cruiser falls under. Here’s how the process worked:

  • Apply to MOTH (Ministry of Transportation and Highways) for a new VIN number.
  • Vehicle is classified as a “U-Built” for insurance purposes. Our truck model is officially a “1986 Toyota U-Built.”
  • Along with the VIN application they want some of the major receipts to show that some work was actually done. In my case I sent copies of receipts for aluminum stock, suspension, the shop rental, and the labour that I paid for.
  • You specify one of the certified private shops that will do the inspection, and MOTH will send the VIN tag to that shop.
  • At the inspection they look at obvious things like brakes, headlight position, horns, tail lights etc. They check for leaks in anything. They look to make sure there are no obvivus structural deficiencies, i.e. bad rust on the body or frame.
  • They are not engineers and do not subject any of the truck to engineered testing.
  • I made friends with the inspector and he came out to the shop the day before the scheduled inspection to take a look at the truck. I gave him some beers and he let me borrow his repairman plate so that I could take it into town in the morning without hiring a tow truck. A repairman plate is the only way it can be taken on the road at this point legally, supported by its own tires. Otherwise it would have to be transported on a flat deck.
  • When the inspection was finished they put the VIN tag on. The tag issued by MOTH is blue aluminum foil with a strong adhesive on the back. You pre-drill two holes in the right position on the door jamb, place the tag over the holes, and then hammer in some rivets. There is no way to drill the rivets out at that point without damaging the tag, and I don’t think that peeling it off would be easy without ripping it. Basically it ensures that no one is transferring that tag to another vehicle.

At that point you need to have the vehicle weighed at a certified weigh scale – this can either be a MOTH scale for trucks, or any other industrial weigh scale that is legal for trade. I used a gravel pit scale nearby. The problem with all of this is that you are not supposed to drive the vehicle until you have insurance on it. You can’t get insurance until it is inspected and weighed. Once again the inspector was nice enough to lend me the repairman plate. I guess if you wanted to do everything by the book and there weren’t any friendly mechanics to lend a plate, then you’d have to hire another flatbed and tow it to the scale, then to the insurance agent.

The insurance agent gave me a bit of grief as she struggled to register the truck. She had to see the vehicle with the new VIN attached to it to confirm that it had been inspected. I told her the name of the contact I had with MOTH and that really helped. In the end I ended up talking directly to him with the insurance agent across the desk, and we sorted the paper work out.


That was that. After writing it all it sounds a bit complicated, but really it was just a matter of a few phone calls and keeping good records.

Further Reading on The Truck: