ok on Boneyard tutorials I found a Max script for obj export that did not bring up an error
I ran it and then listener, copied the text into notepad and saved it as an obj file
got mesh out
very questionable looking, what the GTA tools brought it was obviously very questionable, it looked like a aeroplane but was really just a few primitives
game meshes obviously make lowpoly look complex!
I still cannot figure out how to import a whole set from a game map, though the GTA tools finds them all in my game.