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Old 11-07-2018, 05:53 PM   #1
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California Registration Issues

I live in San Diego and am looking at buying a short bus. My choice seems to be buying a bus currently in the state which is California legal. A dealer near here has a 1996 8 window DT466 which is exempt from most of the smog but the bus has a DPF. Bad news it has an AT545. It is $$.

I am more interested in a 6 window from Texas which is a 2003 T444 with a 2000 allison and only 140K miles (cheaper). Is this bus likely to be California legal? If it is not legal here, do I buy it and drive it back here, immediately apply for the Vermont motorhome registration, and then exist with Vermont plates while driving it here. If I elect to then change registration to California will the bus be exempt from smog because of its Vermont motorhome classification which I seek to change to California motorhome.

I have read past threads but am seeking knowledge from those in California. If I do not go the Vermont route the bus will be coming into California as a bus where I likely insure it as a commercial bus for personal use. Being commercial it then is subject to current smog requirements for commercial vehicles. So will this Texas 2003 bus meet those requirements?

While the weather here in San Diego is unbelievable government here is very intrusive and only going to get much worse. I sense the Vermont route is my best option.

Thanks Patrick
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:41 PM   #2
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Catch22 with California Registration

For those not from California commercial buses are subject to smog regulation while diesel personal motorhomes are not. Whether an individual bus driven by a person is considered commercial or motorhome is by registration status and use. If I bring the bus in from Texas before I can get motorhome registration status in California I will be subject to California commercial smog rules. To get motorhome status you need an inspection where they look for bathroom, running water, stove tec. I am only not subject to the smog rules once I have motorhome registration status. Vermont registration seems the way to go but I do worry about someone saying something while it sits in my driveway in California as I plan on using it for local camping etc.

Patrick
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:58 PM   #3
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Yes, even if a temporary visitor is allowed to enter CA with a given foreign-classified/registered vehicle

a CA resident keeping the same vehicle within the state is legally obliged to (try to) register it locally under CA rules.

I think 2 main options

A. get a vehicle that is, or can become CA-legal and keep it in CA, or,

B. register it out of state, but then either store it out of state, while driving inside CA, carry proof it is only in CA for a short time out of each year,

and/or keep it well hidden while it is not actively in use within CA
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:00 PM   #4
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I just did this. I bought a 2006 CE300 in Louisiana - it was from Alabama. I registered it in VT and drove it home. I just sent the paperwork in and figured that would be enough if I got stopped, but I got a bypass at all scales/inspection sites and several LEOs just passed me without a care - all without plates on.

VT DMV has cashed my check and I am waiting on the paperwork. Once I get the plates (any day now), I will be good. When I get around to it, I will register it in CA - no inspection, no emissions requirements as VT has it registered as a type 19 (IOW a motorhome).

PeteinSF just registered his bus this way too and he received the plates and registration.

The only caveat is that you don't get a title in VT for a vehicle >15 years old - but the registration is sufficient to re-register it with a title in CA - so I have been told.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:18 PM   #5
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Pizote,

I think California rules make Vermont the way to go. You have answered my key question which is once it is a Vermont motorhome and you want to make it a California motorhome it is not subject to any California smog rules. So in theory it could be a California smog noncompliant bus but if it is a registered as a Vermont motorhome than it becomes a motorhome in California regardless of the smog rules or the compliance of the diesel engine. So pick up the bus in Texas, drive it to San Diego, apply for motorhome registration in Vermont, wait several months and then apply for California registration as a motorhome not needing an inspection.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:22 PM   #6
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Pizote,

Thanks again for the info. May I ask how and with whom you insured the bus for the trip from Louisiana to California. I assume commercial insurance for private use which you will change to motorhome insurance once you get the Vermont plates and registration.

Patrick
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:53 PM   #7
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I got a personal use commercial policy from Progressive. About $480 a year.
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