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Old 04-30-2016, 11:12 AM   #11
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CDL - commercial driver's license. Regulated by the federal DOT. Not needed for privately owned vehicles. No matter what anyone tells you, if you are not hauling something/ someone for compensation, you are not required to have it.

You can buy a brand new Peterbuilt and as long as not for hire, private vehicle is identified with a regular plate, again, no CDL is required. (Ask the retired truck drivers on here. They can tell you.)

HOWEVER, check with your state on air brake endorsement if you buy a skoolie with air brakes. Some states do require that.
On that note... what should I know about air brakes, as far as how to use them (in contrast to your average hydraulic brakes)?
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Old 04-30-2016, 11:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rjnye79 View Post
On that note... what should I know about air brakes, as far as how to use them (in contrast to your average hydraulic brakes)?
Here's a start (from a noob who has only read about 'em): http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/dmv60.pdf page 39ff.

I also found some YouTube 'pre-trip inspection' videos which touch on how to inspect air brakes. Here's an example:
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Old 04-30-2016, 01:01 PM   #13
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Air brake endorsements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsgsxr View Post
CDL - commercial driver's license. Regulated by the federal DOT. Not needed for privately owned vehicles. No matter what anyone tells you, if you are not hauling something/ someone for compensation, you are not required to have it.

You can buy a brand new Peterbuilt and as long as not for hire, private vehicle is identified with a regular plate, again, no CDL is required. (Ask the retired truck drivers on here. They can tell you.)

HOWEVER, check with your state on air brake endorsement if you buy a skoolie with air brakes. Some states do require that.
Hey, how dare you teach me something before 10:00 am.

You are quite correct sir. I had to look it up, but it goes like this;

Note: You do not need a CDL to operate a vehicle equipped with air brakes unless the vehicle otherwise meets the definition of a commercial motor vehicle.

All my life I have always been told that you must have an air brake endorsement to drive a vehicle with air brakes, otherwise known as a class B license. Of course that was probably information from school bus drivers. Apparently I'm legal and I didn't even know it until now. Some outlaw, huh?

From what I've read about other people's experience with international travel in buses, an air brake endorsement is needed as countries also vary in endorsement rules. As always, research.
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Old 04-30-2016, 01:07 PM   #14
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What's confusing me about air brakes now is we are being sold commercial insurance policies for a privately owned vehicle. I'm guessing we're overlooking that "commercial" word too casually. Does a commercial insurance policy for a private vehicle affect the requirements for air brakes? Not according to the state information.
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Old 05-02-2016, 10:02 AM   #15
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if you bought a commercial policy, its because you were unable to convince the insurance agent that it meets the requirements as a private vehicle. pre-conversion, a bus that seats more than 14 is most certainly a commercial vehicle.

there is a bus similar to mine, with air brakes. that has just passed though British Columbia, and up into Alaska.

in his blog, he only mentioned how quick he went through customs at the US border. no license problems, just kudos from the immigration folks about his bus.

check out his page here:
https://www.facebook.com/followalmanzo/
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:04 AM   #16
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No, I bought a commercial policy because it was the only insurance policy available to me. Actually it turned out to be a weird loophole that I qualified for because I'm not registered as an RV. Because I titled this as a "van" I was able to get the commercial policy for private use. Supposedly that's got to do with the gross weight of the vehicle, but I am under 25k.
I put in weeks looking for insurance after not being able to insure through my current insurance carrier at the time I bought the bus. Then a policy with Nationwide that was cancelled 10 days later, then a policy with State Farm that was cancelled about six weeks later.
If I were willing to have this bus converted professionally it would be insurable as an RV, but if it's an owner conversion the bus becomes a door stop. I do not understand why buses are being shunted into commercial policies but I am glad to still be driving legally. People are slowly being dropped from regular insurance policies. Kudos to those of you who are able to find insurance and actually keep it for now, but I think the writing is on the wall.
The rules change so much from state to state, then interpretation of those rules varies so much among people. I've been turned down by Progressive several times, hearing the statement of not being insurable. It all depends on who you talk to and how bull headed they are about knowing it all about insurance.
My last bastion of insurance, an independent agent, said I taught her something new with this policy and the phrase "commercial policy for private use" because she thought it was uninsurable.
State Farm doesn't want to refund my prorated policy cost now.
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:20 PM   #17
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I posted this elsewhere too but just to get it out there... Check out AIS and see if they can help. I spoke to them and they understood the situation almost immediately and had coverage options for me throughout the process - commercial vehicle coverage to get it home, incomplete conversion during the build and skoolies/RV coverage when it meets RV standards.

From talking to them, it sounds like the reason alot of insurers are dropping these vehicles from coverage is not the vehicle itself but the drivers... As in alot of people are buying school buses and driving them without any experience in a large vehicle and the liability claims are much higher due to the sheer size of the vehicle when it's involved in an accident.
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:47 PM   #18
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I would strongly agree with that. It's very easy to become an inexperienced driver of whatever size bus you want.
I finally landed on a Progressive commercial policy, although it seems kind of strange. I am insured, registered and titled as a "van". Insurance is reportedly not available for self converted RVs from buses in this state. That may be why so many people here use them as vans here.
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Old 05-10-2016, 02:09 PM   #19
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My advise about air brakes?

they work better than any other kind of hydraulic brakes (short of a racecar)

remember you are moving a valve, NOT pushing fluid..so you dont apply hard pressure, it is nice and easy...you will get the hang of it quickly

and make sure anything and everything is tied down and secure, because that big azz bus will stop faster than your POV
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:46 PM   #20
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I was told that self-converted SCHOOL busses arent insurable because they feel that converting them causes the weight distribution and center of gravity to change . sometimes drastically esp the busses that have lower GVWR's / smaller rear wheels..

a COACH conversion was insurable as an RV because it is typically a Heavier GVWR / suspension to begin with and so a conversion not done properly is not as much of a problem as in a skoolie done incorrectly..

while most people on this site think about things like weight distribution and safety in their builds.. there are apparently alot who dont..

that was what was told to me by an Agent.. an it may be also as others have pointed out.. the drivers.. however the driver argument would apply to a converted Coach as well as a skoolie as well as a commercially built Coach RV..

-Christopher
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