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Old 07-17-2016, 08:28 PM   #1
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Scales and Skoolies

I wasnt sure where to put this, so Mods please feel free to move as needed.

I'm about to embark on a road trip and I just realized I dont know the first thing about scales.

Question: does a Skoolie, registered as a "private bus", need to stop at scales and weigh stations? This is a 12 window 1999 Blue Bird with a DT466e sporting two axles (steer and drive) and weighs about 21000 lbs loaded.

Help?
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:38 PM   #2
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Most states don't require weigh-station stops. Our converted buses are usually viewed as RV's. Commercial passenger carrying buses are required in some states. Some folks put "private coach" on the side so it's clear to cops it is not a commercial use vehicle.

Here's the thing. If you stop, and get waved through, all is well. If you bypass when you should have stopped, they won't take kindly to having to chase you down. And at 21K pounds, you should be plenty legal on weight.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:23 PM   #3
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I didn't stop at any in 800 miles.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:47 PM   #4
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I am grateful to see this because i was unaware it could be a problem. So if i travel far i just put private coach on the side or just stop and ask if they want me to stop?
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:49 PM   #5
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I wouldn't stop at a scale unless there was a man with a badge and a gun standing on the road waving me in.
Your skoolie is an RV. Be an RV.
If I have learned anything in 30 years of trucking it's that nothing good can come from contact with the DOT.
Drive past the scale and smile.
They won't chase you down.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:57 PM   #6
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We've been 15k miles in our bus in a year, coast to coast. Never once stopped at any weigh stations or checkpoints. Never had an issue.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:59 AM   #7
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With over 300k logged miles in commercial coaches, I never once had to stop at a weigh station. I've only ever seen weigh stations labeled "Commercial Vehicles". Skoolies are registered as either an RV or a bus, not a "commercial" vehicle. It says so on your plate. The only times buses have to pull over for weigh stations is for spot DOT inspections. At the time, coaches were self-inspected. I never had to endure a spot inspection either. Not sure how much things have changed in the last 20 years.

Follow the signs. Listen to the person with the badge. You'll be just fine.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:16 AM   #8
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Off the top of my head the only state where buses even weigh is Missouri and if you're vehicle doesn't look like a commercial bus then I think you'll be fine to bypass the scale.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:21 PM   #9
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Here in Ca you will see & usually on weekends signs at weighstations ordering busses into stations for Saftey inspections because on weekends there's hundreds of them running to the casino's BUT if you are titled RV you are a RV & it doesn't apply.
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Old 10-27-2016, 02:31 AM   #10
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Amusing anecdote:
On my way home from Burning Man this year, I came to a weigh station where the sign said "closed". But I wanted to stop and check my tie-downs and tires and whatnot. So I pulled in.

Turned out, there were three or four California Highway Patrol officers there.

I headed down the Empty lane, nice and slow....
And the red light came on.
Then the blinking arrow, which means "drive around to the back so we can inspect you".

I must have spent at least half hour regaling the officer with Millicent's history, Burning Man information, and on and on. He seemed to really enjoy everything he saw and heard.

Eventually a second officer came over, so we brought him up to speed.

Oh... and I apologized for driving into their scale when the sign said closed. And I explained why. And... I thought he was about to pin a medal on me. The officer praised me for using the weigh station for my safety check, rather than stopping on the shoulder.

I expected he would want to verify my papers were in order, and maybe check for bald tires and such, before I left.

Not.

Not at all. None.

When we ran out of stories and laughs, we shook hands and off I went.

(Millicent's rear axle was a couple thousand pounds over legal maximum weight.)
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Old 10-27-2016, 07:44 AM   #11
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I had a couple peoiple scare the &*^%&*^ out of me when i got my latest bus.. about scales and how DOT has a "hard on" for decommissioned yellow busses crossing the country.. because their drivers are often not legal etc....

I blew by every weigh station in sight, I had many a state trooper and a couple DOT cars pass me on the highway... the bus was still virgin except the school name was painted out... (dead giveaway its not a real school bus)..

I still had 'School bus' all over it and a texas temporary tag taped in the rear window.. so it woukldve been obvious ...

I happened to think that ive never seen any school bus or coach for that matter ever pull into a weigh station so I just kept going... not sure why I was given the fear of god by a couple people unless it was to be funny and I caught it wrong

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Old 10-27-2016, 11:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I had a couple peoiple scare the &*^%&*^ out of me when i got my latest bus.. about scales and how DOT has a "hard on" for decommissioned yellow busses crossing the country.. because their drivers are often not legal etc....

I blew by every weigh station in sight, I had many a state trooper and a couple DOT cars pass me on the highway... the bus was still virgin except the school name was painted out... (dead giveaway its not a real school bus)..

I still had 'School bus' all over it and a texas temporary tag taped in the rear window.. so it woukldve been obvious ...

I happened to think that ive never seen any school bus or coach for that matter ever pull into a weigh station so I just kept going... not sure why I was given the fear of god by a couple people unless it was to be funny and I caught it wrong

-Christopher
I and several others told you to blow through em, though.
Some folks are like Hank Hill, if you know what I mean.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I and several others told you to blow through em, though.
Some folks are like Hank Hill, if you know what I mean.

you did, and i did.. even had my 'Got bus?' T-shirt on doing it

Drove it like I stole it on its recent trip to Ohio... granted that means I was still at or below most of the speed-limits on I-75 LOL

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Old 10-27-2016, 12:42 PM   #14
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In over 40-years of driving buses I can count on one hand how many times I have ever seen a scale house with a sign out for all buses to enter.

Once was in OR and twice was in UT. But those signs were out for commercial buses and not school buses. Those school buses with USDOT #'s would have had to stop.

The weight cops were not interested in how much the buses weighed but were doing DOT inspections. Since school buses owned by school districts are exempt from most DOT rules and regs it would be a waste of time for everyone for those buses to enter. But for the commercial carriers it was a good time to check log books and do vehicle inspections.

Since I saw the sign up at the OR port of entry on I-5 just south of Wilsonville the NW Motorcoach Association has entered an agreement with the OR and WA weight cops that they not use the scale houses or ports of entry for bus inspections. After a couple of buses were put out of service in the port of entry the weight cops decided it was a really bad idea to have 40+ irate passengers all in the scale house ragging on the employees. As an alternative, when you go to a venue where a lot of buses congregate (football games, ski areas, amusement parks, casinos, etc.) it is not uncommon to find the weight cops going through the parking lot.

One time at a ski area where there were more than 40 motorcoaches nine were put out of service. One was put out of service for having some lights that didn't work (it was fixed before the passengers got back to go home). Of the eight other buses, all were put out of service due to driver issues. One was put out service because the driver left his wallet in his car back at the bus garage, five were put out of service for out of date physicals, and the last two had expired driver's licenses.

So getting back to the original poster's question, you are driving a privately owned RV. As an RV you are exempt from almost all commercial vehicle rules and regs. About the only rule you may run afoul is if you have air brakes. In western Canada, you must have an air brake endorsement on your driver's license in order to drive through Canada.

I researched that regulation for a customer who didn't have an air brake endorsement and wanted to purchase an air brake equipped bus and drive it home to Alaska. The Canadian Board of Trade official I talked with was working at a port of entry in eastern British Columbia. He said that as he was speaking with me he was looking out his window at three very large and very expensive motorhomes that were red flagged and waiting for a properly licensed driver to drive them through Canada back to the states.
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Old 10-28-2016, 11:43 AM   #15
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I'm inclined to agree with that Canadian regulation. Air brakes are superior technology, but require a bit of knowledge.
Of course, the "wealthy senior citizen lobby" suppresses this requirement. Ma and pa Kettle don't want to be bothered. They expect the vehicle to handle everything for them -- one pedal to go, one to stop; no brain required.
And perhaps it is statistically not a safety problem. But I recommend reading up on it if you will ever drive air brakes.
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Old 10-28-2016, 11:54 AM   #16
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And while we are at it....
There are now RVs and highway-buses up to 45 feet long. "We" will not encounter many, since school buses -- to my knowledge -- still top out at 40 feet.
But in California, a higher Driver License is required to drive an RV over 40 feet.
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Elliot Naess View Post
I'm inclined to agree with that Canadian regulation. Air brakes are superior technology, but require a bit of knowledge.
Of course, the "wealthy senior citizen lobby" suppresses this requirement. Ma and pa Kettle don't want to be bothered. They expect the vehicle to handle everything for them -- one pedal to go, one to stop; no brain required.
And perhaps it is statistically not a safety problem. But I recommend reading up on it if you will ever drive air brakes.
Gotta love the wealthy senior citizen lobby. Their presence here in FL is why the laws and regs are so lax on everything RV-related.
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:38 PM   #18
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yes, we drive RV's and not buses, so i would pass any weigh station sign that said buses included.

i kinda doubt that Canadian BC air brake endorsement too. it may be law if you are a BC resident, but its not going to apply to passers thru.

i don't know for certain. i know BC has that air brake rule. i just don't see how it can apply to non resident or non citizens.

i have followed another bus thread of a guy with a similar bus as mine, air brakes, included. he is returning from Alaska now, and never made any mention of issues as he passed through BC on the trip north a few months ago. he's is probably in BC again heading south.

other than the thumbs up approval of his bus conversion by the border patrol, he made no mention of any other contact with them.

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Old 10-28-2016, 03:54 PM   #19
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US law stops at the border, if you are going to Canada in anything other than a car, you should check with the province you are going through. Also call your insurance company for a Canadian rider and insurance card, some US state insurance cards do not meet the requirements in Canada and being insured for Canada is not automatic with US insurance and if you go to Mexico, you need Mexican insurance through a Mexican company
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Old 10-28-2016, 06:30 PM   #20
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And the California regulation points out that folks from out of state must have their home state's 45' license.

Driver License regulations were pretty much standardized nationally in the 1980s -- certainly the commercial licenses.
And the 45' allowance was first enacted federally -- before it was formalized in California.
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