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Old 09-27-2016, 03:14 PM   #1
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Buying out-of-state - do I need a CDL to drive it home?

Hi guys! I found my bus but it's in Florida and I'm in Wisconsin. I found the information I need about a temporary tag in Florida (Temporary Tag | FL-DHSMV Answers) which should get make it legal for the vehicle to move but will I need a CDL to drive it home?

The bus is under 26,000 (GVWR 25,100) which in Wisconsin does not require a CDL. However, because it's designed to carry more than 15 or 16 passengers, it does. This makes me think that the state troopers aren't going to be thrilled about me driving back without a CDL. Anybody have experience here?

If it helps, I suppose I could bring an angle grinder down and rip out the seats before I move along but that would require finding someplace to work on the bus and to dispose of the seats. I've rehabbed enough houses to know that nothing ever goes according to plan so I'd have to deal with surprises as they come up, out of state, and without the bulk of my tools. Just doesn't seem like a good plan.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:42 PM   #2
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As long as you aren't actually carrying any passengers, you should be alright. New buses are moved regularly by drivers without Passenger endorsements (and I'm told it's legal, as long as no passengers are aboard).
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:13 PM   #3
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Just thought about air brakes. Does anyone out there drive with air brakes and not have a CDL?
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:31 PM   #4
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like Brad said, as long as you're not carrying 16+ passengers, you'll be fine.

I'm not aware of a state rule that says you need an airbrake license. RV's are usually exempt from requiring a commercial license.

if we set up a poll to see how many forum particpants have CDLs, i bet it isnt many. most of us just have a regular Driver's license.

air brakes take some getting used too, learn about them, learn about slack adjusters, and auto-slack adjusters. figure out what you have before you go. learn about your transmission too, 1 common school bus transmission, the allison AT545, doesnt lock up. that can make coming down a grade real tricky if it surprises you.

if you are under 26k, a future RV, you'll be fine.

don't stop at weigh stations, you aren't a commercial vehicle. you are an RV.

check with your insurance agent, they probably cover you for the trip home.
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:00 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! You probably get tired of telling every newbie the same things over and over again. Just so stupid excited to be starting this journey! Very happy to have found a community of amazing enthusiasts.

(reading everything I can find about air brakes)
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:28 PM   #6
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I posted a link to an old Army video that explains in considerable detail exactly how air brakes work. Well worth a look, if you are considering air brakes or just want to learn.

The biggest difference between the Army video and "modern" air brakes is today's systems typically run about 120 PSI, and the addition of the parking brakes (AKA spring brakes) - which military equipment of the era may not have had, and hydraulic brake trucks/buses often use a "driveshaft brake".
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:20 PM   #7
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I no longer have a CDL and can STILL drive vehicles with air brakes.

ONCE AGAIN,, the people who can tell you if a CDL is necessary are your local DMV/MVD, NOT the people on this forum.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:26 PM   #8
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Congrats! and may the wind guide you safely on your travels.

I am 4 months into this bus and i am still excited every day. It's an amazing new world, that seems to fit me.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:30 PM   #9
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Just my 2 cents, but what the bus is titled as and what states you are passing through and their local laws would be where to look. Technically I needed a CDL with air brakes to drive home from Indianapolis to Detroit, but retitled I only need a regular license

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Old 09-27-2016, 10:57 PM   #10
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I no longer have a CDL and can STILL drive vehicles with air brakes.

ONCE AGAIN,, the people who can tell you if a CDL is necessary are your local DMV/MVD, NOT the people on this forum.
I can just see it now!

"I'm sorry Mr. DOT Officer....
The internet people at Skoolie.net said it was ok"
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:23 AM   #11
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Where at in florida? I've got tools if you decide you need help.

Jeep, bus, repeat.
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:36 AM   #12
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haha, the people on this forum told me it was ok.

why the f, are you talking to a DOT Officer? do you do that every day, or is it something you feel the need to because you now have a big personal vehicle?

if you are under 26,001 don't tell anyone you got a "bus". not the dot people, not your insurance agent, nobody that has any possible authority over your circumstance.

you have every right to drive around in your personal RV without explaining it to every passer by.

once you have a bill of sale in your hand, its no longer registered by the former owner. that needing a cdl to get it home is a bunch of crap.

when you do use the word "bus" to anyone (police, insurance and dmv), that means you are transporting passengers for money, that takes commercial license and insurance.

you are under 26k, you need to mind you own business and not use the word "bus".

its ok! you have the right to privacy as an American. what law do you think you are breaking?
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:10 PM   #13
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Where at in florida? I've got tools if you decide you need help.

Jeep, bus, repeat.
What kinda tools?
I need help!
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Old 09-28-2016, 02:20 PM   #14
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Standard mid-range stuff. Torches, welder, misc crappy power tools. Air tools. No heavy commercial equipment. Only thing i really need more of in the shop is time...and a plasma cutter.

Jeep, bus, repeat.
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:56 AM   #15
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Standard mid-range stuff. Torches, welder, misc crappy power tools. Air tools. No heavy commercial equipment. Only thing i really need more of in the shop is time...and a plasma cutter.

Jeep, bus, repeat.
Sounds like my tool collection!
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Old 09-29-2016, 11:00 AM   #16
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like Brad said, as long as you're not carrying 16+ passengers, you'll be fine.

I'm not aware of a state rule that says you need an airbrake license. RV's are usually exempt from requiring a commercial license.
In Ca if the RV is over 40ft then a class B endorsement is req, not a Class B license just the endorsement .
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Old 09-29-2016, 11:10 AM   #17
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I got the firsat bus from florida, they just handed me a temp tag... i had a mechanical failure in that one on the way home and it was parked in same spot for a couple days... a DOT guy was getting gas there... looked at it and said "cool bus", never asked me for the papers or anything... he knew I had air brakes because he asked "that sucks, what broke on it" whe ni said i was down.. I replied "air brake compressor"..

I just drove my new bus from texas to florida... I was concerned as I left it completely like a school bus... I blew by weigh stations.. passed numerous cops, had a couple pass me... no one bugged me once in the 1050 mile drive...

I was drivng sensibly at 60, wasnt swerving, or texting or such...

I didnt even paint over the word "School bus"..

I had a couple people tell me i would get hastled.. but it seems people on this forum do it all the time and dont get bugged..

I say just drive...

-Christopher
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:04 PM   #18
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I say just drive, too!
I came back with only the name of the county painted over. Still said "county schools".
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