your all doing it wrong, the 3ds importer is crap
ok maybe not crap but there is an easyer/better way...
and dl the obj exporter/importer for max and use that to export you models to and from max/maya..
it also has the added bonus of keeping you mesh quaded and not converting to triangles like the 3ds importer...but you do need max though
you can use the FBX plugin from here..i think its able to import max files direct..
it able to export/import textures and well as basic animation..which the obj exporter cant do.
Monsters! Monsters from the id!