Before I start it's going to cost between £1000-£1600 (depending on how much you can get the engine price for) to get this all done. Some say they have done it cheaper, good for them, I'am just trying to be realistic. Okay spare yourself around 20 minutes reading time, get a cup of coffee or whatever, tell the missues to go shopping or something and let the kids out to play in the garden.

This is your time, and you need to take note as in some sections you need to use your brain and own initiative.

Part 1

Okay first, find a company wether in Japan, USA, Aaustalia or New Zealand, or to be honest anywhere where you can source an VE engine for sale. In my case it was USA, so this will be how I imported the VE to my home in the UK. Once you have found the company, ou are happy with their reputation, i.e you have done your research and your happy to buy from them, perhaps you have bought from them before.? In my case I had purchased items from them before so was happy to buy again.

However an engine is not really a simple transaction to have it sent abroad and involes alot of work. Okay so 60 emails later, I was happy to buy the engine after working out the costs. In my case it was an SR20VE and Greddy MSS (Multi-Switching Unit for the VVL activation). I was happy with my price for the parts and how much the shipping would cost.

Pay attention here.

When it comes to shipping it is better to have it shipped to a port near where you live. Having it delivered to your home will add a hell of alot onto your own bill when it arrives into the UK. In my case living in <yourtown>, I had it shipped to my nearest port which was <nearest port>. From there it would go to the local warehouse near me where I can pick it up once it has cleared (I'll cover clearance later).
Okay before you agree to the deal you want to be happy with what they are sending you. Ask for pictures of the parts:-

2 1

Okay happy with what they have sent you, now what I did was let them know it needs to be done correctly as I work for a magazine which feature Japanse cars, so their comapny will be mentioned in the thread and blogs I have. I always use this line, just to make sure they do a good job and don't send rubbish, however this occasion I was being serious as I do have a few Magazine features lined up for this project one completed.

Part 2

Okay this section is when you have paid them, either via paypal or international wire and ask them to send the invoice and ship the parts. Please bare in mind all you are doing now is having it shipped to a UK port, but it is up to you to sort out the clearance, customs, duty, vat etc. 

Take note here, it is now down to you to really do the chasing on this once the engine has been shipped. The company always say they will sort it out until it arrives in the UK, but eight times out of ten once you have paid they don't give two hoots! Okay the company who you have bought the engine and parts off will arrange for their own local courier to pick up the engine which is then dropped off at a local warehouse before it is picked up again and sent to the port for shipping. How did I know this? Take note now. It is very important that once it has left the company YOU ASK THEM FOR THE REF NUMBER/BOL OR TRACKING NUMBER. Without these your more or less screwed as you will not be able to track and trace your item until it arrives in the UK. You will have no idea what condition it will be in and what is going on.

The importance of a tracking number - Disaster struck.

Once it left the company with the tracking number I had, I then gave it a day then tracked the item. With the tracking number, I found out that it was picked up by the local courier, who then sent it to the local warehouse. From there I called the local warehouse and spoke to a lady to confirm all was well, and she said nope! She told me that because the engine was not bound well and was on a plastic pallet, it was breaking through and oil was seaping (nothing major though).

I got a picture sent to me:-


She told me it they will speak to the company to ask them weather they should sent it back to them or just deliver as it is. The importance of a tracking number as some companies will just not want the hassle and just tell them send it as it is.

Yes at this stage I was livid and straight away I called the company and told them what I found out. They were shocked that I managed to find out all of this important information before them. They the said okay we will take it back check the engine, clean it, rebound, seal it and put it on a stronger pallet. At this stage I was threatening reporting them to other forums and magazines.They said it was fine when they sealed it and may have been damaged in transit. Anyway they got it back and the engine was fine, so they sent me a picture of it ready and I said, okay send it again.


Part 3

Okay it's been sent again, picked by local courier, delivered to local warehouse, picked by local courier and sent to port, again along the way I have tracked it with the new numbers given by the company and all is fine.

At the port in USA, I tracked it and called them. They give me the following:-

• Shipment Date
• Departure and Arrival Dates
• Ship/Vessel
• Port of Arrival

They also give me a new ref which is then what you will use for your UK correspondence. Okay now it takes around two weeks to arrive in the UK, depending on the shipping date arranged. During this time is where you need to use your brain power.

Part 4

Okay you have the ref details and you contact the port who tell you what happens when it arrives in the UK. The port will send it to a local warehouse near to you where you can arrange collection. Just make sure that the company who you bought the item off sent you the invoice and put your details on, i.e full name and address, as when you collect the item you need to prove that you are that person or company.

Okay 1 week till arrival, you call the port again, just to make sure the ship has not sunk, if so get your swimming trunks on as it time to swim to the Atlantic! Fuck you got a VE on that ship, fuck anything else, the people can sink the drugs can be distroyed, you got a VE!?!

The port give you the local warehose where the items will be delivered to for you pick up, but before you need to pay the following 3 bills

• Import duty.
• Use of deferment.
• VAT payable on imports.(just remember you pay VAT on the invoice you show to the UK company warehouse, so the higher the bill on the invoice the higher the VAT bill, which could amount to loads if your not smart, time to call the original company I bought the engine from again).

• Port security
• Documentation
• Terminal Handling

• Customs Clearance

Okay once all paid to the UK company you await arrival and usally can pick up within 5 days of arrival in the uk. Get a mate or in my case a courier van for the day, mine cost 44 gbp for 24hours, good considering I had some other odd jobs to do so use the van well that day. Okay the day you go you speak to the clearing again to let them know you are coming to collect the engine, they ask for vehicle registration number and give you a reference number, which means only that vehicle and you can go to the warehose and pick up the engine. Okay arrive at warehouse and show ID, have the engine put into your van and take it home... whooooohooo!! the moment you have been waiting for, a VE in the uk!


Then the moment of truth, you get your mates to help you get it in the garage, and luck for me it fits along with my car as well... Rip it open likes it's Christmas and make sure it is an VE and not a 1.0 Micra broken engine!


Now I have done the hard work, it's up to you to import that VE...

Note:- These information is used for importing engines into the UK, this information may be used for other countries but procedures may greatly differ. If you have any questions please post in the relevent forums

By: Andy Sunny GTi