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Old 09-13-2019, 12:12 PM   #1
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Exclamation School bus bought in WI need help registering

I got a 93' international school bus 94' Thomas built 72 passenger that i am trying to get registered i was told that it cannot be yellow and that it needs to be painted before driving it... its located in a barn and could not be painted there so they told me i would have to contact state patrol and let them know that i'm driving it across wis. to bring it home. no big deal there. the requirements state that it cannot resemble a school bus and that the stop sign and swing arm/ lights removed. that is all removed other than the fact that its yellow still which i am going to paint red once its home. The DMV told me it could be then registered as a heavy vehicle since the plan is to turn it into a toy hauler but will need to be fully loaded and weighed. if exceeding 26,000 lbs i would need a cdl to drive this even tho it has hydraulic brakes (i thought wi cdl goes by vehicle length/ air brake equipped) the build/sale sheet says it weighs gvwr 27,500lbs. so ill need a cdl? another thing someone told me to do is get it registered as an rv/motorhome which would by pass all the requirements before. what would be required for an "RV". what is better to do? thanks any feed back would be great i'm new to this
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:24 PM   #2
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You'll need to check your local laws for whether the conversion by passes the weight restriction. Seating for more than 16 requires a CDL, over 26Klbs,may require it even after conversion. In Ga. an RV can be driven with a standard class a license, regardless of weight or brake system.

No one really has issues getting their buses home after purchase as long as you drive civilly, have the Title, BOS, and insurance paperwork in order. Get a temp tag to cover your trip home. You'll only need registration and insurance on the bus while you build it only if you plan on driving it during the conversion.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:30 PM   #3
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I’m in Wisconsin. As far as I can tell, Wisconsin is pretty liberal about buses operated as RVs. They require you to demonstrate that you have painted it and that you have installed four out of six “life support” systems, eg., potable water, toilet, electric, a bed, etc. Once you clear that hurdle, you can register it as a motorhome and you are go-to-go on your regular driver’s license. Wisconsin has a length limitation for single vehicles of 45 feet, and 75 feet for combinations, but beyond that it is wide open. You could convert a semi truck into an RV and drive it with your regular license.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:48 PM   #4
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That 26,000# value and the CDL are linked in many states. Check with Wis motor vehicle dept just to be sure and before you spend money and time on the project.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:01 PM   #5
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Here is the language right off of the Wisconsin DOT website:

Who is exempt from CDL licensing in Wisconsin?

Federal law allows states the option to waive certain kinds of drivers from the requirement to obtain a CDL. In Wisconsin, the following drivers are not required to hold a CDL:

Recreational vehicle operators (owned or leased motor home, fifth wheel mobile home or touring mobile home, provided it isnít longer than 45 feet) not engaged in commercial activity are not required to hold a CDL.

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/c...loverview.aspx
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:06 PM   #6
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And the 45 foot limitation applies only to a single vehicle. Combination vehicles can go up to 75 feet. So your bus/motor home can be any weight at all, within the overall limitations for vehicles in general, and you can pull any trailer, so long as your total length does not exceed 75’, without the need to have a CDL.

Additionally, all of the other states will honor Wisconsin’s rules as they pertain to a driver licensed in that state.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:37 PM   #7
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There are no "school buses" I know of that are over 40'. In Ga. a class A license allows to drive "All Recreation Vehicles" I
When someone brings up brake system or weight I just ask them for their definition of "ALL"
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:00 PM   #8
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You know the Vermont reg by mail option right?
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
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There are no "school buses" I know of that are over 40'. In Ga. a class A license allows to drive "All Recreation Vehicles" I
When someone brings up brake system or weight I just ask them for their definition of "ALL"

A Class "A" license is what I hold to legally drive a tractor-trailer. I think you mean a Class "C" license.


Many states, including GA, offer Class A and Class B non-CDL licenses, these are typically for non-commercial operations of the respective vehicle classes - commonly used for farmers but some states apply these to RV's as well. Air brake endorsements are usually available (and certain parts of Canada, should you visit, may require this if applicable to your rig).
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:51 PM   #10
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A Class "A" license is what I hold to legally drive a tractor-trailer. I think you mean a Class "C" license.


Many states, including GA, offer Class A and Class B non-CDL licenses, these are typically for non-commercial operations of the respective vehicle classes - commonly used for farmers but some states apply these to RV's as well. Air brake endorsements are usually available (and certain parts of Canada, should you visit, may require this if applicable to your rig).
Your right, what ever the standard issue license is allows RV driving
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:06 PM   #11
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OP, it sounds like the DMV is as unsure as you are! This is not uncommon because what we do here is uncommon so they don't get a lot of inquiries about this fringe classification.

If you plan on a toy hauler with living quarters, like WrenchTech said you can get enough accommodations installed to meet the requirements for an RV retitle. If that is not your plan, inquire about some designation of heavy vehicle for non-commercial use to bypass the CDL requirement. Otherwise, by weight and (currently) passenger capacity it meets the federal guideline for a commercial license even if its not air brakes and even if you don't plan to engage in commerce with it. Ultimately you'll just be waving a red flag every time you drive it that says "interrogate me". The other matter relating to type of title will be what kind of insurance you can get and how expensive it ends up. RV title means cheaper insurance but a non-commercial bus or heavy vehicle for non-commercial use is vague and suspicious to insurance companies so tends to be more expensive to insure.

As for the anything-but-yellow issue, that's actually just common sense but I don't know why people struggle with it. A new color scheme is first on my to-do list, possibly even before seats removed but then again I have the proper endorsements to keep it technically a bus. With lights and school signs removed/masked, that should be enough to at least transport it home - just be sure not to go joyriding with it like that and especially not around any schools! Basically I think the major issue jurisdictions have is the potential confusion because every kid knows what color is a school bus and seeing a yellow bus coming they're not going to observe the name or lack of name on the side. As long as its not yellow then there's no confusion. The end.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:42 PM   #12
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My conversion insurance policy ($171) was half what my RV coverage costs ($303)
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:38 PM   #13
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where did you find the list for the RV requirements? a link would be appreciated thx
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:44 PM   #14
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so would it be best for me to just go ahead and do a small rv in the front of the bus and leave the back open for hauling? or just register as a heavy vehicle and be done with it? i really just want to use it like a big van....
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:45 PM   #15
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where did you find the list for the RV requirements? a link would be appreciated thx
The list is pretty standard in most states, you need to complete 4 of the 6, your choice of which 4. There are variations to some rules, like a compost toilet is satisfactory. I added sleeping arrangements to the Ill. list

Cooking appliance with onboard fuel source
Gas or electric fridge
Toilet with exterior evac
Heat/AC with power other than engine
Potable (drinkable) water supply
110v power supply
Sleeping arrangement
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