Diesel Conversions - can they be Historic and all the rest?

Discussion in 'Buying a VW Camper' started by Airheadboxer, Jun 15, 2024.

  1. There’s a nice looking van for sale at the moment that in one advert raises a number of points I’ve seen in other similar ads. The advert is just an example, so I will not identify it.

    Briefly, it is a diesel conversion (the main point of this posting), claims to be Tax and MoT exempt, ULEZ “compliant” and states 1 years MoT. The seller also wants a non-refundable deposit shortly after the posting ends.

    So, checking this out…..

    Engine and fuel type has been changed: so has V5 been updated? – quick check on the .GOV site, and nope, still showing as Petrol and 1984cc. So presumably the engine number hasn’t been changed either yet?

    12 Months MoT: Checking on the .GOV MoT site and nope, no current MoT. It is SORN and failed an MoT test recently with no retest to date.
    BUT the MoT screen shows Fuel type = “Diesel”. What is going on there, petrol on one screen, diesel on another??

    It is “ULEZ Compliant” (as against Exempt) – To be Compliant the engine needs to meet Euro6 standards (With a transplant I don’t know how you’d do this, but I suppose a copy of the donor vehicles V5 with the engine number and Euro6 on it might be a start with the DVLA???)
    To be Exempt the vehicle needs to be over 40 years and registered as an Historic Vehicle.
    A quick check on the TfL web site shows the registration number is still liable for the London ULEZ (£12.50) so presumably it is neither Compliant or Exempt?

    Is it registered as an Historic Vehicle? – don’t know without seeing the V5, but the last successful MoT expired on the cusp of the van being 40 years old if I’ve done my sums right. The fact it fails the ULEZ web site check suggests probably not Historic. To get Historic status it needs a current MoT (which it doesn’t seem to have as I write this) and a declaration that it hasn’t been “substantially altered”, which it has, hasn’t it??
    On the basis of the V5 still showing fuel type is petrol I suppose you could fib and claim it hasn’t been substantially altered. But what happens when the details of the diesel engine change are presented to the DVLA later? Would it lose its Historic status and its MoT and Tax exemptions? Would you be looking for your nearest VOSA testing centre?

    As for the non-refundable deposit – if things are not as claimed, what are you chances of getting that back? If the seller claims to be a private individual, and there are enough disclaimers, then probably no chance?. Maybe if you can demonstrate the seller is actually a Trader (e.g. through their other items on sale and completed listings), and you’ve paid by a card then maybe a charge-back might be a possibility using consumer protection laws? Anyone have experience of this?

    I know these engine-change issues have been debated at length about Subaru conversions, and the arguments or justifications that the Subaru engines share some similarities and ought not to be considered a substantial alteration, but an inline, inclined, water cooled, diesel with a turbo engine transplant surely is in a different league?

    Has anyone successfully been through this with a diesel conversion on an over 40 year old vehicle registered as Historic and kept the MoT and Tax benefits?

    These are just my personal thoughts and observations. You’ll need to do your own due diligence and make no assumptions as things change over time.
  2. Adrian1975

    Adrian1975 Supporter

    You have to register it with tfl for exemption, that's standard,
    They all go by the reg number and the honesty of the owner,
  3. Moons

    Moons Supporter

    An in-line 4 diesel has a lot in common with a Brazilian bays polo engine.

    I imagine the rest of the ulez stuff relates to the age of the van, not it’s motive power.
  4. Just buy a diesel van or a diesel T25
    Jean-François likes this.
  5. Can't see it getting historic status as they we're never made like that, petrol subaru yes. Could always drop an aircooled in it.
  6. I stopped reading at “non-refundable deposit” tbh

    seller is either a scammer or an arse. Either way I’d look elsewhere.
    Lasty, Purple and Bigherb like this.
  7. Zed

    Zed Gradually getting grumpier

    Even if you can convince yourself that you can wriggle between the lines with this vehicle I predict it'll £bite you on the arse at some point.
    matty and rob.e like this.
  8. It immediately doesn't qualify for "Historic" class, due to engine swap. The rules state it must not be substantially altered in the last 30 years, unless a similar engine to what would have been originally fitted is in there. Therefore, it will also require annual MOTs - you "could" dodge this, and ignore - but the mismatch between V5 and MOT test (i.e. Petrol on one, diesel on the other) will bite you, probably not on a day to day...but wait until you're in an accident, or have to make a claim.

    TFL website shows as being liable for the charge, ALTHOUGH - interestingly, our bus shows as being liable for ULEZ when I checked just now, so I thought I'd register an account - and apply for exemption; once I had added it however it states "ULEZ Exempt" - go figure...
  9. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    At least some of that is wrong.
    Mine is historic and has had an engine swap. Everyone notified and correct details on the V5 / insurance etc. Many others on here in the same situation.
  10. Engine swap is fine for historic to get free tax but will require an annual mot
  11. Apologies - yes, I forget the 2 don't go exactly hand in hand.
  12. No need to apologise :)

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