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Old 03-18-2017, 08:54 AM   #1
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Titling and registration in PA

Hey gang, wondering if maybe someone here could shed some light on this.
Im in the great state of PA, and curious on some title/reg issues.
When I swapped the title over, the notary registered it as a station wagon. It has basically a car plate on it, no truck designation and no weight class sticker. The plates are only $36 a year compared to $116. I have Insurance thru progressive, just need to get it inspected.

Now the question is, is this legal and will I run into any issues? I was going to swap it to a motorhome title, but in PA that requires $150 special inspection, pictures sent to PennDOT, then a waiting game of almost 2 months to get the plate and title. If I can avoid that it would be great.

The notary said shes been doing notary stuff for 11 years and this would work, I just figured Id check with some ALT sources.

Thanks yall!
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:07 AM   #2
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If it doesn't, play dumb and delete this thread ;) or use the time to get the RV plate. Too bad I cant convert my bus to a station wagon in WV. If there was any blowback I would assume more would go to the notary. As long as you are unable to transport more than 16 people in your station wagon and you stay under 26K pounds loaded I really don't see how the DOT could say much. Now if your weight is going above 26K and your going outside the state of PA it's worth the $150 to become an RV. I don't know PA law, I'm not a lawyer. I just drive alot in your state who has tough DOT. Lol

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Old 03-18-2017, 09:29 AM   #3
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In Pa as well and I requested our bus to be titled as a station wagon, just cheaper. It was possible as long as you leave some seats inside and not use it as a box van to move equipment or cargo
If I would have wanted it titled as a truck then I would to have it weighted so that they can list the max cargo weight.

Now the bus we have is a mini bus based on E350 econoline chassis


So I think you are fine unless you are using it as work or cargo vehicle.
good luck
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jctrembly View Post
If it doesn't, play dumb and delete this thread ;) or use the time to get the RV plate. Too bad I cant convert my bus to a station wagon in WV. If there was any blowback I would assume more would go to the notary. As long as you are unable to transport more than 16 people in your station wagon and you stay under 26K pounds loaded I really don't see how the DOT could say much. Now if your weight is going above 26K and your going outside the state of PA it's worth the $150 to become an RV. I don't know PA law, I'm not a lawyer. I just drive alot in your state who has tough DOT. Lol

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Well my GVW is 35k, but probably really only weighs 18-20k, although I do plan on upgrading my license.

If something wasnt right it really wouldnt be my fault eh? As a state licensed notary gave me the info and plate.

We do plan to hit up a few states, but if its legally registered in my state in theory it should be ok. Idunno, maybe just thinking too much, I wanna hit the road already!!
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
In Pa as well and I requested our bus to be titled as a station wagon, just cheaper. It was possible as long as you leave some seats inside and not use it as a box van to move equipment or cargo
If I would have wanted it titled as a truck then I would to have it weighted so that they can list the max cargo weight.

Now the bus we have is a mini bus based on E350 econoline chassis


So I think you are fine unless you are using it as work or cargo vehicle.
good luck
Yeah it was like $1200 a year based on my weight for a truck plate. NOPE!
The $36 yearly I can do.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:42 AM   #6
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Yea, truck plates in WV are based on weight as well. RV tag's exempts vehicals from weight and many other DOT requirement however going above 26K without an RV tag could still be a problem, but then again maybe not. I drive truck and I'm cautious as I earn my keep with my CDL. My route is tight enough that if DOT messes with me for a while I'm forced to spend an additional night out, and if I loose my CDL... Does your bus have Air Brakes? I'm not sure how PA handel's that but an RV tag normally makes that a mute point.

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Old 03-18-2017, 09:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jctrembly View Post
Yea, truck plates in WV are based on weight as well. RV tag's exempts vehicals from weight and many other DOT requirement however going above 26K without an RV tag could still be a problem, but then again maybe not. I drive truck and I'm cautious as I earn my keep with my CDL. My route is tight enough that if DOT messes with me for a while I'm forced to spend an additional night out, and if I loose my CDL... Does your bus have Air Brakes? I'm not sure how PA handel's that but an RV tag normally makes that a mute point.

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Yup ive got air brakes. Interestingly enought PA doesnt want the license upgrade for the air brakes, just because the GVW is 35K.
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Old 03-18-2017, 01:46 PM   #8
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It's very interesting to meet a station wagon owner. Mine is a van as determined by the DMV, also with car plates. My van is only 26' long and weighs in at about 19k.

The problems arise from people trying to use buses for commercial purposes. If you've got beds and cooking areas they know you're not using your station wagon for commercial purposes. I believe interstate travel will be uneventful, while I'd expect trouble from crossing Canada's border if you don't have an air brake endorsement.

Oregon doesn't have an air brake endorsement for licenses, just a full CDL with associated annual physical and such, which I'd never pass. I'm driving a van until there is a restrictive problem, but I probably won't make it out of the states. I've spent so many years flying around the world and living on different continents that I specifically want to see the US, plus I'm at that traveling around the country age. Besides, I'm tired of learning to cuss and order beer in different languages.
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Old 03-18-2017, 02:03 PM   #9
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I'm curious about how you plan to build your "station wagon." Are you going with the full RV build?

I'm eliminating the things that would technically make this into an RV by Oregon standards, choosing to go with removable modular units suited to my simple furnishing needs. No permanently mounted propane tanks or sewer system. No stove pipe out the side window. I'm thinking a Webasto for heat and possibly a diesel stove, so everything works off of one fuel source. I can legitimately add an extra fuel tank to this "van."

Put a latch and hasp on your fuel and battery doors.
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:14 PM   #10
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Good Idea on the doors! Ive got the main ones locked up but gave no thought to batteries.

We plan to build it into a full fledged home on wheels, no black tank, wood stove and propane to supplement, possibly a webasto if I can find one for the right price. I like what you said about being on the same source.

We dont plan for a generator right away, as we plan to be on shore often and our batteries will supply enough for some lights, computer, and fridge.

I most likely will switch to an RV title, I had it staged this week with 6 of the 7 things needed, but then we got hit with 30" of snow, shes parked in an alley and I need every inch to get her out, so shes buried for a few weeks. I plan to remove my staged stuff and start tearing the floor out now, and at least get the floor nice so the kiddo can play around while we work.

Ill be starting a build thread soon, make sure to check it out!
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:17 PM   #11
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bus.jpg
Heres our baby

17270969_1722343084448299_1338021559_n.jpg
And how I staged 5 of the 7 things in this little island, sink/faucet, stove, fridge, potable water, and an inverter to supply 120v(water and inverter are under the counter).
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:31 PM   #12
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That's all it takes for DMV.

Damn that's a long station wagon!
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:49 PM   #13
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I just started our build thread, feel free to check it out!

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/he...tml#post191434
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:50 PM   #14
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
That's all it takes for DMV.

Damn that's a long station wagon!
Yeah It doesnt have to be pretty, just has to be there!
lol
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:05 PM   #15
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Serious question. I am moving from se pa to new mexico. The rental truck went from $1640 6 months ago to $3100 now. Freaking ouch.

So i started looking to just buy one and sell it on the flip side.

Then it hit me. Bus. Found a 39ft 2002 bluebird 454 v8 for $2900 in decent shape. I specifically want gas since my mechanic is helping us move and drive and he is not familiar with diesel.

Are you saying i can just walk into the dmv and reg this thing as a station wagon? That would be very ideal since within 40 or 50 days i am leaving the state forever. Plan is to rip out most of the seats and use it as a moving truck to move my family out west. Either sell it in NM or keep it for convenie t storage or who k ows what future use. With no rain or humidity it should last quite ablong while.

Is that doable? Can i put a hitch on one of these to tow a car behind it?

Advice?
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerys View Post
Serious question. I am moving from se pa to new mexico. The rental truck went from $1640 6 months ago to $3100 now. Freaking ouch.

So i started looking to just buy one and sell it on the flip side.

Then it hit me. Bus. Found a 39ft 2002 bluebird 454 v8 for $2900 in decent shape. I specifically want gas since my mechanic is helping us move and drive and he is not familiar with diesel.

Are you saying i can just walk into the dmv and reg this thing as a station wagon? That would be very ideal since within 40 or 50 days i am leaving the state forever. Plan is to rip out most of the seats and use it as a moving truck to move my family out west. Either sell it in NM or keep it for convenie t storage or who k ows what future use. With no rain or humidity it should last quite ablong while.

Is that doable? Can i put a hitch on one of these to tow a car behind it?

Advice?
Something that hasn't really been mentioned here when worrying about registering your newly purchased bus. In the state of Georgia I have 30 days to register my new purchase, using only the BOS during that period. Check your state as time span may vary, but I bet it is always long enough to get it home. If I were in your shoes I would buy the best running bus I could get for your $3k to help insure your mechanic won't have to work on it on the move to NM, then sell it for more than $3k gutted and then buy what you want to keep. I'm a big fan of fuel mileage. I just don't see gas engines keeping up with a diesel in fuel economy or power to move this much weight.
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Old 09-18-2018, 07:17 PM   #17
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To change a title classification from Bus to any other body type in Pa you need an MV-41 form and $53, registration is $37 for a wagon $120 for a motorhome plus the agency fees. You can't just take a bus title and register it as a wagon or motorhome without changing the body type on the title first. Pa code says a "wagon" can't have any life support systems like a stove or sleeping area. If you're registering it as a moving vehicle then wagon is the way to go. If you want to keep it and convert it then you need to go motorhome on the registration. My allstate coverage is $500/yr for $15000 replacement value. Take the title and print an MV-41, take it to a tag place and have them give you a tag and temp registration. It cost me about $300 to do 2 year motor home registration and change the title to motor home.
http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Public/DV...orms/MV-41.pdf
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