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Old 01-15-2014, 02:08 PM   #1
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Florida registration for new conversion

I just bought a 21' 16 passenger (including driver) shuttle bus that i'm converting to use for road trips with family and friends. I didnt want an RV as much as I wanted the space for enough friends, plus camping or tailgating gear. After reading alot of these forums about Bus to RV conversion, I decided that's the simplest and most affordable option for me to have my little bus. I thought I had all the research out of the way and I was in good shape to legally operate how I wanted, but when I went to register it, they said I need to have it inspected at the DMV. I called the DMV to find out more about the inspection, fees, appointments, etc. THEY told me that it won't be registered as a motor home, but as an "assembled from parts" vehicle. They're basically giving me a salvage title, and everyone that drives it will still be required to have a CDL because it's over 15 passenger by 1 lousy seat. I thought it would be titled as an RV and that the RV's were exempt from the passenger endorsement, but I could be wrong. I didnt find anything specific to that online.
If anyone has registered a bus to rv conversion on Florida, please post or email me and tell me how you did it and what your title shows it as. Also, if you need a CDL to drive it or have more than 15 people in it.
Thanks for whatever you can tell me. I'm on a deadline to get this done before April for a big trip we have planned.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:17 PM   #2
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

ugh.....take out most of the seats and then it's not a 15 passenger vehicle anymore

and do not do a salvaged title, worst case register it like a kit car, rv or motor home would be best, ever state is different

email is your friend, copy and save/print all responses between dmv and you
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:19 PM   #3
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

1. The first thing I would suggest is to talk to someone else at the DMV. Maybe even go to a different county to see what they say. Someone, somewhere will be able to give you the list of conversion requirements and an affidavit that youíll simply need to sign and return with the title you got from the previous owner. They will probably have to see the VIN on the vehicle to verify the numbers, but they shouldnít need to inspect the vehicle to make sure it has what you say it has in the affidavit. When I was researching this same thing for mine, I had the list, but when I found my vehicle already titled as a motorhome in Tennessee, I didnít need to do anything other than register the vehicle in Florida.

2. Remove the seats you donít need. If it doesnít have 16 seats, they canít say itís a 16-passenger bus. It doesnít matter how big or heavy it is, if it seats only four people, itís a four-passenger vehicle. On the other hand, even if you manage to get it titled as a motorhome, if they subsequently find it has 16 or more seats, theyíll say you need a CDL to drive it ... even if you only ever carry 4 people. I would expect youíd also pay fines for not properly registering the vehicle.

3. Once itís (properly) titled in Florida as a motorhome, you donít need a CDL to drive it. There are no weight restrictions for motorhomes and a standard driverís license is fine.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

The most important question is what does your title say the vehicle is? Does it say it's an F350/F450 van? If so remove a seat and register as a van....
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:24 AM   #5
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

The title does show it currently as a bus. It's the DMV that told me I will still need a CDL because they will give me a salvage title and it will still be rated in the system as a 16 passenger bus, whether i leave the seats in it or not.
I think I just got the wrong person when I called. I will try contacting another office. Thanks for the input. If anyone has done this in Florida though, I would love to hear from them about the process they went through.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:52 PM   #6
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Hey KJones, how did it turn out with registering in FL? I'm in the same boat, about to try and register my bus in West Palm Beach. How about an update!
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:11 PM   #7
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

When I re-titled mine from a school bus to an Rv in texas I got different answers from everyone I spoke with at the DMV and the tax assessors office,
I suggest you get a copy of the DMV manual and the tax assessors manual for vehicle titles,
You will need to find the sections that apply to you and be able to reference them when you go back,
I had talked to many at the DMV and none of them had ever dealt with a converted school bus before, the same with the title people, they are saying what they think but they are wrong,

I remember looking into the florida manuals a few months ago for someone else and they seemed similar to texas,
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Old 05-15-2014, 03:54 PM   #8
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Florida turned out to be pretty easy. I had to get a notary to verify the VIN on a form the DMV gave me, then I took that to the DMV along with my affidavit that I printed myself stating I added one of 3 conversion things (gas, water, or electricity) and walked out with no hassle at all with my registration. I just told them that I wanted to "register this as a motor home" and handed her the title and other paperwork. Never said the word "school bus" but it doesn't seem like they would have cared. It helps to smile at the DMV people sometimes and I carried all the paperwork in a nice blue folder. Easy peasy. I was prepared for more of a hassle.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:54 AM   #9
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

That's good to hear TwilitFox. I just bought our bus yesterday so I have all of the paperwork to look forward to now. Thanks for sharing your experience. What county are you in, if you don't mine my asking.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:22 AM   #10
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

back in 03 when I did my 87 Ford bus it was fairly easy. It took an hour of haggling and getting supervisors but I don't even recall having to fill out any affidavit.
Glad it still isn't too bad. Insurance is a bit tricky.
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