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Old 12-20-2017, 07:35 AM   #1
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Soon to Be Bus Owner: All About CDL and Driving a Bus Conversion?

I'm from Oregon and currently in Arizona shopping for a bus. What is the real deal on the CDL and if I just quickly take out all the seats, will that bypass the need for any other license but the standard one I have...
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Old 12-20-2017, 07:47 AM   #2
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From the states I've checked, if you aren't using your bus for commercial purposes, you don't need the CDL. The only place I"ve heard anything weird is PA expects a Class B endorsement if you're over 26k GVWR regardless of use.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertMax View Post
I'm from Oregon and currently in Arizona shopping for a bus. What is the real deal on the CDL and if I just quickly take out all the seats, will that bypass the need for any other license but the standard one I have...
You do not need a CDL, in any state, if you are not driving "commercially". That can include volunteering to drive a church bus, or boy scouts, etc. If you are driving a School Bus, as a School Bus, you need a Class B CDL with S and P endorsements. If you are driving the same vehicle privately, you do not.

So for most of us a regular Class D state-issued license is just fine, but a few states vary.

Some states require an endorsement for air-brakes (which, by the way, is a good idea).

Some states put any vehicle over 26000 lb GCVW into Class B on a regular license, and into Class A if you are towing a trailer over 10000 lbs. You have to test to get the class added to your regular license.

None of those state requirements are in any way related to a CDL. Those rules are Federal, and there is an exemption to the rules for an RV of any weight.

You simply have to check what your state demands.

Once you are legal in your home state, even the states that make no extra demands, you are legal anywhere there is a reciprocal arrangement. That is all 50 US states, and Canada.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:03 AM   #4
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If you're in AZ looking for a bus, I can only assume you wanted one with AC. We have some pretty good buses here in Oregon.

What part of OR are you from? There is a growing bus trend on the west coast lately, but the east coast seems to be dominate in the number of skoolies on the road.

This would be a good time of year to be in southern AZ. What kind of beast are you looking for?
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:33 AM   #5
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The research I did into "needing" a CDL directly parallel Twigg's advice above. I even went so far as to contact my state's State Police "Commercial Enforcement Division". Their response also echos Twigg's statement.

As long as you are not driving "commercially" (e.g. not making a living doing it), then there's no need for a CDL.

Think of it this way - the driver's licenses are issued for "why" you are "driving", not "what" you are "driving".

That being said, I'd love to attend some classes on how to drive something so freakin' big as my 45' bus.... I can do it, I've proved it to myself, now I'd like to learn more of the "gotchas" for driving something so big (as compared to driving my Aveo). Getting some exposure to some of the more, ahem, extreme situations and what to do in them would make me a bit more confident.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:52 AM   #6
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Once you get used to the butt swing on these buses during a turn, the rest is a piece of cake. If I'm going straight down the road I'm only driving about the first six feet of the bus. Lane changes and turns are a different story.

Of course you guys are correct, there is no CDL requirement in Oregon for a private use vehicle. Here a class "C" license is the common license.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:58 AM   #7
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OK That is Great News :::

Thanks for all the great responses..

Also, to Robin.. many more questions arise! I read the link you included in your response and about insurance :::
I am basically a snowbird Oregon to Arizona like so many others but my new home base is Oregon and Florence out on the coast to be exact.

Here is what I am going to purchase somewhere hopefully towards the and of this winter season about Feb or March..



I like the pushers and have plans for the entire 40 feet of interior space..
I am in touch with a salesman at Las Vegas Bus Sales who has 30 of these!!!
(I visit Government Auction site on a regular basis and realize the savings buying it from them would bring but it's complicated because I don't want to travel out of state and all the auctions seem to be on East Coast etc)

Ok Q1: I do have a conundrum in that I live in my truck camper which I need to sell here in AZ since it appears they are in demand in these parts however I love my truck and will be keeping it. Truck in AZ, bus to be driven back to Oregon by me. I've checked what seems to be all the possibilities on towing and it is sketchy at best. Do not want anyone else driving my truck so the CraigsList ads (drivers available) do not appeal to me. Left with storing the truck here in AZ and then flying back down to drive it home...
Sooooooooo.. you mention buying buses in Oregon? I am leery of mold the union's most beautiful state propagates and felt comfortable getting one down here in the sunbelt. Am I missing something not considering just coming home and making my deal in OR?

Q2: Insurance ::: Would insuring it here in AZ be a possibility and if so, does that carry to Or???
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:22 AM   #8
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I can understand your aversion to mold issues, but the OEM insulation seems to be capable of producing mold across the country based on reports from numerous builds. The glass fibre insulation itself doesn't mold. It does however catch dust from airflow which reacts with humidity/condensation and or leaks to produce mold. I had very little indication of mold, which is also common in other people's builds here in OR and WA. We have quite good buses compared to many states.

Actually, the link was supposed to show the deadbolt arrangements other individuals have made with their doors.

If you've got a truck you want to keep why not simply have a class 5 hitch installed on your bus and pull your truck home? It's not sketchy, except the part about you driving a new to you vehicle. Honestly with a truck towed behind, it should make you feel more secure about not getting broke down somewhere because you'd have a secondary vehicle to rely on.

I'm sure you can get a decent bus here in OR. That said, there's not always what you want when you want it. That's why so many people travel great distances to get the right bus.

Yes, if you get insurance in AZ it will be fine here in Oregon. Depending on where you spend most of your time you should pick up an insurance agent in that area when you settle down.
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:07 PM   #9
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Arizona :: Oregon

Thanks for that Robin. You know, I had planned a flatbed tow behind when I began this adventure and I guess it was on the Ford Truck Enthusiasts forum where the sketchy stuff began. Guys were saying highway patrol and state troopers like to stop those towing the heavier trailers and what not..

That being said, I did check out adding the hitch assembly to the new bus and it is not a problem. Just where to rent a trailer capable of carrying my truck.
Went to local Ford dealer and got a print out on my trucks VIN which states weight as 9400 lbs. The truck forum guys seem to think that was way wrong on the heavy side and it did surprise me when they handed it to me...
Anyhow I hear United and Ryder do rent them but I believe you can only use them behind that companies rental truck which I of course do not need...
On goes the battle...
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:10 PM   #10
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Some of the best buses I saw while searching were being sold by Oregon school districts.

The only issue for me was the 1800-mile drive home. I didn't mind the drive, but it added around $1000 to the price of the bus in my yard.

You don't need to worry about mold if you are stripping it to a bare shell inside before the build-out.
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