Here is the response I received to a letter inquiring of the SCDMV about the bus-to-motor home titling requirements for South Carolina [my comments in brackets].
Thank you for contacting the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Please be assured your inquiry is very important to us.
When converting / rebuilding a bus into a Motor Home "from the ground up":
1. You will need to surrender the title for the frame, engine, transmission,
[By "surrender" I guess that they mean that the title has to be turned in with the other paperwork mentioned below.]
2. Surrender receipts and/or Bills of Sale for the rest of the major parts
used to build the Motor Home (not nuts and bolts)
[Receipts for flooring? Walls? Insulation? Not really clear. I am betting that it would be satisfactory to hand in a notebook with copies of all receipts generated during the conversion.
3. Complete a Form 4038 available on our website at http://www.scdmvonline.com
under the general information tab, then download forms You will need to contact our Dealer Licensing Unit to make contact with an agent from our Agency to come out and inspect the motor home after you have completed the changes. Please contact the Dealer Licensing Office at (803) 896-2611. [Phone number updated 04/20/05 -- This is the state office, which will give you the number of a local inspector.]
[Form 4038 is an "Affidavit of Rebuilt or Homemade Vehicle". The information gathered on this form is this:
MAKE YEAR MODEL BODY STYLE
VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NO.
LAST REGISTERED LICENSE YEAR
VEHICLE IS CLASSIFIED AS: (Check only one) REBUILT HOMEMADE CUSTOM KIT CAR
The vehicle has had the following major components replaced: (List)
AFFIDAVIT OF RESPONSIBILITY: (Check only if previous title is not available) I shall be responsible for any liens or encumbrances which may be filed against the above described vehicle, as I have exhausted all means of obtaining the previous title for same as shown by the attached documentation. (sign) (date)
CERTIFICATION OF AN AUTHORIZED AGENT OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
This is to certify that I have examined the above described vehicle and found the vehicle identification number listed on this form is properly affixed on this vehicle. (sign)(date)
I don't know what the inspector inspects for, specifically, but the above paragraph makes me think that they inspect to see that the changes claimed have actually been made. Perhaps there is some kind of safety inspection, as well, but I am not sure. I will inquire further.]
4. Complete a Form 400 also available on our website, using frame serial,
make of frame manufacturer and current year
[Form 400 is a title application.]
That appears to be it. In SC you must get a temporary tag for vehicles until they are properly registered, and you have 45 days to accomplish that. You must have proof of insurance in order to get a permanent tag and registration. You must pay property tax before you can receive a permanent tag and registration (the tag and registration renewal process is normally handled through the county property tax system each year.)