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Old 02-15-2007, 12:44 PM   #1
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How do I register a school bus as an RV?

We've chosen our bus for conversion and will be picking it up next week, but we're not sure how to register it as an RV so we don't need a CDL to drive it. We'll be registering the bus in Kentucky if that matters. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-15-2007, 02:13 PM   #2
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This and insurance are the two biggest question all new bus owners face. Unfortunately, every state is different so you won't get a solid answer from us most likely.

Many states have several options. In Minnesota I could have registered as a private bus, Y-plate weight based registration, or as an RV. For me, registering as an RV was the best option. While it was the same price as the Y-plates (they use the same tax base), I get the insurance benefits and no questions at campgrounds. Some people have better luck as a private bus.

What states require varies widely. I simply had to sign an affidavit with several categories. It was not unlike getting a degree in college in that there were categories and you had to have a certain number of points in each category. For me this meant that I had beds, potable water, a toilet, 12volt AND 120 volt wiring, and a permanent propane fired cooking appliance. The rules looked strict, but it was all stuff I had (or was going to have...I technically was a little short when I registered) and they didn't require an inspection.

You best bet will be to contact the DMV, DOT, or State Patrol office in your area. In fact, contact several. It's good to know what the DMV requires from a legal standpoint, but it's also good to know what the State Patrol is out looking for as well.

As for insurance (that is generally the next question after registration), the general consensus on the board seems to be GMAC or State Farm. I personally have State Farm for all my vehicles as I've known my agent for a long time and she takes good care of me. It was no issue for her to register it. The only questions she asked we more out of curiousity. I pay about $200 per year, unlimited mileage. As the bus sits right now, the insurance is suspended. Should I want to drive it at any time I just need to call and leave a message....done deal. My insurance includes roadside assistance, a worthy $5 or $10 per year. The cheapest towing place I've seen charged $250 for hook up and $5 per mile for a vehicle this size and that assumed I would be caging the brakes and removing the axle shafts myself. While I can handle the brakes, I sure don't have a slide hammer big enough for the axles.

The best I can tell you is start calling around. Make sure you have pertinent information handy such as odometer readings, chassis make, body make, etc. Pictures are also helpful although at this point I doubt you have much to show.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:42 PM   #3
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[quote] While I can handle the brakes, I sure don't have a slide hammer big enough for the axles.

You can unbolt the driveshaft at the differential and tie it up to the frame, less mess if the differential is not the problem or loosen the nuts on the axle flanges and then take a sledge hammer and hit the center of the flange with everything you have. One good shot straight in and the axleshaft should spring and rebound out releasing the cones/tapers on the studs, remove the nuts that you left on to protect the studs, remove the cones and axleshafts load up the greasy axles make a cardboard cover for the hub,and tow. Hope that their is enuff lube in the hubs to prevent bearing damage, and now you get to clean everything up and reassemble the axle. Personally a clean piece of cardboard to slide under the bus on and a tiedown strap to tie the driveshaft up with are permanent fixtures in my inventury of carry tools.
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:12 PM   #4
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Congrats on the bus! Every state is different on how they will register your bus. I live in Oklahoma and had to register mine as a non-commercial bus. That cost me about $80 or so. I use USAA for insurance. It's for military. But for my bus, they went through Progressive. Progressive insures my bus as an RV as long as I get the conversion done within one year. That means I have to paint it, install a toilet and have a bed in it within one year. I'll be done well before then. It only costs me $190 a YEAR. You can't beat that deal! Call Progressive and see what they say about your bus conversion.
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:34 PM   #5
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Ugh...when I called Progressive they told me that they would only register it as a commercial vehicle to the tune of $1000 every 6 months. Just goes to show...everyone is going to have an answer, but you need to look for yourself to figure it all out.
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