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Old 11-25-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Easton, PA
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 3800 International
Engine: T444e
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Legality of woodstove? (Pennsylvania)

This is my first post here, but I've been using this forum in our conversion process, so thanks for all the help so far!

Here's our situation. My husband and I live in Pennsylvania, and bought a full-size bus from a child care center. It was registered as a commercial vehicle, so instead of going through the process of getting CDLs/ commercial insurance, we got it towed to the farm where we're doing our conversion. Then we plan on towing it back to the mechanic for our enhanced safety inspection so we can get a title change to a motor home. Then we will move out of our apartment into the bus.

According to PennDOT's Self Study & Training guide for Enhanced Safety Inspectors ( ... _guide.pdf):

If the vehicle is not equipped with at least 4 of the following, the application will be rejected when submitted to PennDOT for processing.

Cooking appliance
Self-contained toilet
Heating/Air conditioning
Portable water supply
Faucet and sink
Separate 110/125 or LP gas supply

We sourced a wood stove (actually approved for motorhome use), and plan on using it as our only source of heat, as well as our winter cooking appliance (summer cooking would involve an outdoor kitchen/ rocket stove/ camp stove). So the wood stove would, in practice, take care of 2 of these 6 requirements. When I called one of the guys who does the enhanced inspections, he was looking at the same exact guide, and was stumped about the legality. I called the PennDOT office in Harrisburg today, and they were also stumped. The woman said it was the first time she'd heard of putting a wood stove in a motor home, and if it's not referenced in the manual, it's probably not permitted. I argued that no specific methods are mentioned, or barred, therefore, how could it be assumed not permissible? Supposedly, a supervisor is supposed to call me back.

We're nearing the completion of our subfloor, and I'm allotting an area with suggested clearance for the slate hearth. We'd like to install the wood stove as soon as possible, because it's cold as heck here right now, and it would make it much more comfortable to do the rest of the conversion. I think we'll end up fulfilling the other requirements just in case the stove heating/ cooking requirements don't pan out - i.e. putting a dummy electric cooktop on there. But I'm concerned that either the mechanic will fail us because they think the wood stove is illegal, or, when we send photos to PennDOT, our application will be rejected. I don't really want to install and then deinstall the stove, nor do I want to continue working in frigid conditions.

Does anyone have experience with the legality of stoves, or how to talk to officials to convince them it's safe/ legal?

Please don't bother with responses advising us to "just use propane" or "wait until spring to do the rest of the conversion" etc. In case you're wondering, we plan on full-timing, mostly staying in one place, complying with clearance recommendations, and of course never using the stove while the vehicle is moving. For air exchange, we will crack windows, as we got a large stove compared to our living area. This is our stove model: Winter is actually the best time for me to do this work because I'm a landscape design professional & springtime (and the rest of the growing season, to a lesser extent) is insane.

To check out the progress of our bus:

Thank you!
Kristen & Dallas, Easton, PA
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Old 11-25-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: MNT CITY TN
Posts: 4,824
Re: Legality of woodstove? (Pennsylvania)

do exactly what I did:

Email the dept that does titling for your state and ask them this question

What is the exact requirements needed to meet the change of title to a Motor Home?

if they list what you have(they should)

you can then ask written copy of the required components because you want to be comply with out questions being brought up during inspection

See what they say, print those emails off and then send the same question to the same office again (you can change email addy if needed, do not reference the first sets of email and see what the answer is

That is a start

For me Everyone, cops, title office, county court house...etc..they all said "you need to have this and this..blagh, blagh.."

I finally found out by the title office, that there is no "printed" list for the state of TN; and they said just keep receipts to show nothing is stolen(didn't need that either in the end)

So I actually worried about nothing (I changed the title to a personal vehicle same day, it was yellow and had all seats still)

so TN was easy

So you just need to figure out what the state has "written" down and take that with you to the inspecter

Hand over any pictures, you needed and the filled out forms and the copies of the emails from the title/dmv etc office and say" here is everything I was told I

and let us know what the process is
Our build La Tortuga
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
George S. Patton
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