Welcome to the online diary of the “London Ziegs,” as they journal their experiences relocating from the balmy climes of sunny Orlando, Florida to the more chaotically cosmopolitan environment of London, UK!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So the takeaway is: don't ship a US vehicle to England...it's just not worth the fuss!

This was the tally of things which were "wrong" with our 2004 Ford Freestar and had to be physically repaired or replaced before it could be legally driven in the U.K.:
  • Front position lamps are a colour other than white
  • Offside headlamp aim too high (welcome to the U.K...aim low! yuk yuk)
  • No rear fog lamp system fitted
  • Rear indicators area colour other than amber
  • Front position lamps do not show steady light with indicators/hazards activated
  • Rear stop lamps do not show steady light when indicators/hazards are activated (e.g., they flash...isn't that what you'd want hazards to do?)
  • Front indicators do not meet the required angles of visibility (side repeaters required)
That last one was interesting...they ended up drilling holes in both sides of the van and mounting 6-bulb LED star projectors that shine every which way. And I'd wondered how they would do the license plate, since British license numbers are rather longer than US versions, and I doubted a wide plate would fit within the beveled recess on our bumper. Their solution was simplicity itself: turn on word-wrap! The final plates (fore and aft) ended up being two lines high, fitting both legal and physical requirements.

Sadly, none of this was cheap...or fast...or convenient...or to be honest, pleasant in any respect, or even necessary at the end of the day (since after four months' time in country, we've learned to get by quite well using public transport). By the time all was said and done, I'd have been about as happy to roll the thing off the cliffs of Dover and have done with it.

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