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Old 02-23-2004, 03:56 PM   #1
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Typical RV License Requirements

Here is what you will typically encounter when you go to register your bus as an RV at the DMV.



Must be a self-propelled vehicle and must have at least four of the following facilities:



1) A cooking appliance with on-board power source.



2) A Gas or electric refrigerator.



3) A toilet with exterior evacuation.



4) Heating or air conditioner or both from an on-board power source separate from the vehicle engine.



5) A potable water supply system.



6) A 110-125 volt power supply separate from the vehicle engine.



7) A bed or sleeping area.





These will change depending on what state you are in.
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Old 02-23-2004, 07:11 PM   #2
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in michigan you only need two of the three. Toilet, Cooking facilities, sleeping quarters
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Old 02-23-2004, 08:23 PM   #3
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Some SC information

Researching this as I type...



From the SC Code of Laws



TITLE 56. MOTOR VEHICLES





CHAPTER 5. UNIFORM ACT REGULATING TRAFFIC ON HIGHWAYS



From the part regulating window-tinting.



SECTION 56-5-5015. Sunscreen devices. [SC ST SEC 56-5-5015]





(I) The light transmittance requirement of this section applies to windows behind the driver on pickup trucks, but does not apply to windows behind the driver on other trucks, buses, trailers, mobile homes, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and recreational vehicles.





(J) (6) "Motor home" means a vehicular unit designed to provide temporary living quarters built into and an integral part of or permanently attached to a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis.





(J) (10) "Recreational vehicle" means a self-propelled or towed vehicle that is equipped to serve as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, or travel purposes, and is used solely as a family/personal conveyance.



That's all I could find in the state code about what defines a motor home / recreational vehicle.



Did find this about taxation, though:



SECTION 12-37-224. Motor homes; primary or secondary residence; real property. [SC ST SEC 12-37-224]



A motor home on which the interest portion of indebtedness is deductible pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code as an interest expense on a qualified primary or second residence is also a primary or second residence for purposes of ad valorem property taxation in this State and is considered real property rather than personal property for property tax purposes.





That might mean a tax break for people living in one full time...or not...what kind of property tax are y'all paying on a used bus? How do they value it for tax purposes?
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Old 02-26-2004, 02:27 PM   #4
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Greetings,

Basically the same for Texas, but a couple of added requirements:

It must have seating for less than 15.

If you have more than 15, it is still a private bus and not a motorhome and you need a minimum chaufeurs license or CDL.

They rent 15 passenger vans to take places, and I wondered why they only allowed that many, now I know.



You must have a certified weight certificate and pictures of your conversion when you apply for a motorhome title change.



Oh yeah, you must have liability insurance!!!
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Old 05-13-2004, 07:35 AM   #5
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Greetings,
OK, I just went thru the whole process here in Texas.
To get the title changed from a Private Bus to Motorhome in Texas, you need to take the following to the TXDOT title office:
1. Your insurance card for the bus.
2. Your old license plates from the bus.
3. Pictures of your conversion - I took 2 outside and 3 inside, they kept 1 inside and 1 outside.
4. A certified weight certificate showing empty weight.
5. Your old title so they can change it to Motorhome.
6. Money.........ALWAYS MONEY!!!!
When you get thru, you get regular passenger car plates and a new title.
Mine says "MH" in the type category.

To drive a Motorhome in Texas, the TXDOT office told me:
1. If it weighs less than 26000 gross, you can drive it with a regular drivers license - EVEN IF IT HAS AIR BRAKES.
2. If it weighs more than 26000 gross you need a CDL-B. I don't know what the "B" stands for, but will look it up.

They inspect the vehicle basically to the same as a passenger car with added requirements for marker lights, reflectors, etc. due to length. When I got mine inspected, the inspector "rode shotgun" while I drove around the block and back to the inspection station.

Start with your insurance, it's required all the way thru the process and seems to make things work smoother if you already have the card in hand.

Hope this helps!
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:01 AM   #6
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Hi Vern,

The following is acccording to Federal Regulations (under whose control all CDL reqirements and implmentation fall). Essentially a State cannot require that you get a a CDL unless you are driving a "Commercial" vehicle as defined in the regulations; and they specifically (as you'll read below) exempt Recreational Vehicles when used privately. A State can (and some do) require an endorsement to your "normal" license for air brakes and over size vehicles.

This is important stuff because if you have a CDL then you're considered a "Commercial" driver and you operate under a different set of requirements then you would with a general drivers' license. You also become subject to D.O.T. requirements (both Federal and State) and by definition if you're driving the vehicle for which you were required to get the CDL it's then a "Commercial Vehicle" and subject to D.O.T. inspection, weigh stations stops, etc. It could play havoc with your insurance if you're deemed a "Commcercail Vehicle". In short CDL literally means "Commercial Driver's License" and should only be required if that's what you drive (not every person I've talked to in the licensing department "gets" this; once they understand it's a "Motorhome" the problem has always gone away).

Here's the Federal Regulations:

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce (bold added) to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle --

(a) Has a gross combination weight rating of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds); or

(b) Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more); or

(c) Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or

(d) Is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in this section.

------

Non-CMV means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles not defined by the term "commercial motor vehicle (CMV)" in this section.

------

CDL Exemptions

The law exempts three groups of drivers from the CDL:

Farmers transporting farm equipment, supplies, or products to or from a farm in a farm vehicle are exempted provided the vehicle is operated by a farmer or a farm employee. (Products include Christmas trees or wood products transported by vehicles 40,000 pounds GVW or less.)

Fire-fighters/Law Enforcement Personnel operating emergency equipment are exempted provided they have completed the Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention Program (EVAP) and they carry a card certifying completion.

Recreational Vehicle Operators are exempted when driving RV's for non-commercial purposes. This includes two axle rental trucks, and horse trailers for non-commercial purposes. (bold added)
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:27 AM   #7
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I should hasten to add that in the previous message I was making my arguments and stating my opinions! I am NOT an authority on the subject and only mean to provide what information I have; I have had a CDL (drove over-the-road semis in the past), which is I why I'm familair with what new requirements one is subject to and I have been through the process where I live; I've tried to reseach the situation pretty thoroughly. It all hinges on your rig being plated as a Motorhome (Recreational Vehicle) because, as far as I can tell, that grants you the Federal Expemption to the CDL requirements.

As they say...YMMV
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:34 AM   #8
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Bingo! Here's what I wanted...I searched Google for "Texas CDL Exemptions"...

Are there any exemptions to being required to have Texas CDL?
Yes, a few . . .
1. Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military vehicles.
2. Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
3. Farmers . . . in certain cases.
4. Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for nonbusiness purposes (bold added by me)

And from the Texas Department of Public Safety:

The law does provide provisions for some exemptions, using the CDL 2, Exemption form required. If the driver meets one or more of the criteria listed on the following page, he/she will not be required to have a CDL. However, the driver will be required to have a Class A, B, or C Non-CDL License.

Exemptions:

A vehicle that is controlled and operated by a farmer; and used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm; and not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier; and used within 150 air miles of the person’s farm.

A Fire-fighting or emergency vehicle necessary to the preservation of life or property or the execution of emergency governmental functions, whether operated by an employee of a political subdivision or by a volunteer fire-fighter.

A recreational vehicle that is driven for personal use.

A military vehicle, when operated for military purposes by military personnel.

A vehicle that is owned, leased, or controlled by an air carrier, as defined by Texas Trans. Code (TRC) section 21.155.

A vehicle used exclusively to transport cotton modules or cotton burrs.

NOTE: You will need to complete the CDL-2 form, take and pass the A&B rules written exam, and pass a driving test in a representative vehicle of that class.
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:24 PM   #9
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CDL information

Hi Les , Nice to hear from you again. I haven't heard from you on the board for quite awhile. Good info on the CDL portion. The correct info is good to know. Sometimes the law enforment personnel do not know all the laws. knowledge regarding your legal rights could mean the difference between a ticket and a friendly "be on your way". What about us individuals with a Class A CDL? does this effect us in any way driving a Motor Home?

Later, J.B.
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Old 05-15-2004, 11:10 AM   #10
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Hi J.B.

Yeah, it's been awfully nuts at works here and it isn't giving up much "fun" time.

If you have a CDL and are driving a personal verhicle (like a private motorhome) it doesn't cause any grief from a D.O.T., licensing, etc standpoint. Of course, if you get a ticket, even when driving a private rig, it can affect your CDL. My point is, that just like the "big boys", if you're driving the rig that required you to have a CDL (say a bus over 26,000# that isn't licensed as a motohome(RV)) then you're operating under CDL regulations, so things like non-signaled lane changes and following too closely (not that you should do that anyway) become the major violations they are when driving a commercial vehicle with a CDL, rather than the the typical wrist-slappers. And if you're over the weight specified on the signs at the scales you'd have to pull in.

In other words, if a CDL were required that would hand you all the same responsiblity that a Commercial driver has but with none of the benefits (like getting paid for the hassle). It also places you in a position where you must know many more regulations and obey them; you shouldn't have to do that in a non-commercial vehicle.

The Feds now dictate what the CDL is and isn't and all States must comply (for many years now); they specifically exempted Recreational Vehicles (at any weight) so as far as I can tell no State can require a Commercial license (CDL) for an RV. That doesn't mean they can't have State requirements for non-CDL higher class licenses (like Texas) or for an endoresment for an air brake equipped vehicle.

The exemption is what makes it perfectly legal to buy a big ol' Peterbuilt, stretch the chassis and build a home on the back of it; it's going to go way over 26,000# (heck my long-nose Freightliner Condo truck tipped the scales at 22,000#; tractor only), but licensed (plated) as a motorhome you're good to go. (Not for me...I've had enough of 13-speed Road Rangers; I like my automatic )
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Old 07-28-2004, 02:16 PM   #11
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Minnesota Laws

Here are some requirements for Minnesota:

RV Requirements: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/168/011.html (Look at subdivision 25)

Bus Color Requirements: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/169/448.html

Seat Belts: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/169/448.html (look at subdivision 5) and also http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/169/686.html (Subdivision 1) A bus is not exempt once it is licensed as an RV.

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Old 07-29-2004, 09:02 AM   #12
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TN -- We had to do this for the Eagle. You do not need a CDL in our state if you are driving a "motorhome", they are special exemptions. This law is a reciprocal law meaning that ALL states in the US honor it (I asked).

To title the Eagle as a Motorhome we had to have a signed and notorized affidavite stating that our "motorhome" had sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilties as required by state law.

BTW, the bus had NO SEATS (it had already been stripped) and we had an air mattress, portible LP BBQ grill and a porti-potti when we made the statement. No inspection either. Just our word and the SC title listing the bus as a bus.

First time was a problem, but I went online to the TN state website at Dept of Safety and e-mailed there to find out how to get it tagged/titled as a motorhome. Apparently (since I had mentioned I was having problems with our local tag/tile office) they contacted the locals and I didn't even need to use the notorized affidavite. Unfortunately I have since lost my copy of the paper (including the copy of the e-mail and law) so I can no longer post the info.

If you are having problems titling in whatever state you are in, ask at your state's online website. You will need to go to the section that deals with Titles (usually Dept of Safety). I have found that the local offices tend to get freaked at the unusual requests and automatically say "you can't do that" when in reality you can. Just make sure you follow your states rules (ask to make sure you understand) and print out all the e-mail responses you get to take with you.
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Old 07-29-2004, 01:53 PM   #13
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J.B. is right about Law Enforcement personnel and knowledge of state statutes. I am a Police Officer and I don't know everything and the book I carry on the streets is a condensed version of the codes and statutes so it doesn't have a lot of information/definitions I sometimes need (especially with regard to trucks and commercial motor vehicles). It is best to print out the statute from your state website or photocopy the statute from the library or DMV and have it on-hand in case you get stopped or hassled.

Vehicle licensing is reciprocal as Lorna stated so you shouldn't have any problems once you get it licensed in your state. The question comes in over the amount of passengers. Most states have a "B" level CDL classification for bus drivers and/or chauffer. Here in Minnesota they call it a chauffer's license. It doesn't have the restrictions that a full commercial license has, but it allows you to transport more than 15 passengers. I couldn't imaging that you would be required to have it for your own personal vehicle and I have never heard of anyone being hassled for carrying more than 15 people in an rv. A lot of people around here put decals on the side of their converted coach (on or near the door) saying, "not for hire" to show that it is not a commercial vehicle. Weight of a vehicle is where the license requirements would be more of an issue, not passengers.

It's great that you are making sure you're legal and good to go, that's the right thing to do. What you'll probably all find is that there is nothing to worry about with your license class for an rv since you are not required to stop at weigh scales and Officers stopping you on the road (other than some State Troopers) will have less knowledge about this subject than you do already. Where you have to worry is the copper out there who thinks he/she knows and really doesn't and is set on giving you a ticket when you're legal. That's where carrying the statute with you might help you educate him/her and get you on your way, as J.B. said, without having to post bond. It's much better to have paper in hand than to just try to tell them what the statute says because (and I know this is hard to believe) everyone lies to us. I only believe half of what I see and none of what I hear so paper goes a lot farther. Unless you speed everywhere you go, the odds of being stopped in your motorhome for issues of registration or DL class is little to none. I can't stop you just to make sure you have the right DL for what you're driving, so as long as you don't give me a reason to stop you you're ok.

Good luck!
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Old 10-13-2004, 12:27 PM   #14
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I just called the Texas DPS since I am rather curious about this. The Bus I am looking at is over 26,000 GROSS...or it's designed for that. The DPS said over 26k and I would have to have a class B CDL..under 26k they are not sure and are going to get back to me.
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Old 10-14-2004, 07:24 PM   #15
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i think you'll find that since you don't own a commercial vehicle, you don't need a commercial drivers liscense (cdl) It'll be interesting to see what the people at the DMV have to say.

I've been informed that some states do require an air brake endorsment even on RV's. Michigan, the state i'm from does not require anything but a regular drivers liscense to drive a recreational vehicle, regardless of weight or air brakes.
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Old 10-15-2004, 10:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by system-f
I just called the Texas DPS since I am rather curious about this. The Bus I am looking at is over 26,000 GROSS...or it's designed for that. The DPS said over 26k and I would have to have a class B CDL..under 26k they are not sure and are going to get back to me.
This is from the Texas DPS web site:
-----------------------------

Texas Commercial Driver License Information

All drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle will be required to have a CDL. To determine the class of CDL, refer to section "Different Classes of CDL’s".

The law does provide provisions for some exemptions, using the CDL 2, Exemption form required. If the driver meets one or more of the criteria listed on the following page, he/she will not be required to have a CDL. However, the driver will be required to have a Class A, B, or C Non-CDL License.

Exemptions:

A vehicle that is controlled and operated by a farmer; and used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm; and not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier; and used within 150 air miles of the person’s farm.

A Fire-fighting or emergency vehicle necessary to the preservation of life or property or the execution of emergency governmental functions, whether operated by an employee of a political subdivision or by a volunteer fire-fighter.

A recreational vehicle that is driven for personal use.

A military vehicle, when operated for military purposes by military personnel.

A vehicle that is owned, leased, or controlled by an air carrier, as defined by Texas Trans. Code (TRC) section 21.155.

A vehicle used exclusively to transport cotton modules or cotton burrs.
NOTE: You will need to complete the CDL-2 form, take and pass the A&B rules written exam, and pass a driving test in a representative vehicle of that class

Different Classes of CDL’s

Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle or vehicles towed exceeds 10,000 pounds.

Class B: Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, any one of those vehicles towing a vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, and any vehicle designed to transport 24 passengers or more, including the driver.

Class C: Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that is not a Class A or Class B if the vehicle is: 1) designed to transport 16 to 23 passengers including the driver; or 2) used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded under 49 CFR, part 172, Subpart F.

---------------------------------------

So, at over 26,000 pounds you will need a Class B endorsement on your regular driver's license but not a CDL which is only necessary (by Federal Law) for Commercial vehicles. Some States do require an Air Brake endorsement on a regular license for air brake-equipped vehicles but again it's not a CDL.

Hope this helps,
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Old 10-16-2004, 09:07 AM   #17
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I suspect that many of the states have RV's listed as exempt from the CDL requirement. The thing is that the exemptions tend to be listed somewhere other than the location of the CDL requirements. So many DMV offices only look at the requirements and not the exemptions. This is why I prefer to ask questions regarding tag/tiltle and licensing via the state website. I can save the answer for future use and I have the correct answer not what some nut in the local office "thinks" is right.
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:58 PM   #18
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Hi Lorna,

It isn't possible for a State (any State) to require a CDL for a private RV; that's Federal law. If the coach/bus has private plates (not commercial truck plates) it doesn't fall under the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) program or requirements.

It's entirely possible (and not uncommon) for a State to require an additional endorsement on your "regular" driver's license for heavy vehicles (typically over 26,000 pounds) and/or one with air bakes but this is not part of the CDL process. It's very much like getting a motorcycle endorsement on one's license; that's not a Commercial process either.

The CDL program is a Ferally mandated process; one with which all States must comply. Each State handles the actual licensing process but they can not alter the rules and statutes under which a CDL is awarded or required. This information is availble on the Federal DOT web site; it does take a bit of digging though!
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Old 10-17-2004, 03:49 PM   #19
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Okay this is what we did for the state of TN


E-Mailed the state of TN website to ask them what needed to be done to title bus as motorhome in TN and what kind of driver's license we needed (told them weight, length and the fact that it was a former Trailways motor coach). Changed SC tile listing Eagle 05 as bus (Sc has problems registering coaches as motorhomes so it was listed as commercial bus) to TN title listing Eagle 05 as "Motorhome" License Plates are $24 per year and are for a "Motorhome". Did not get a CDL or any different license due to the fact that according to the TN Department of Safety, who is responsible for driver's licenses (including commercial), titles and registration in our state, we didn't need one.

But not all states will recognize a highway coach as a motorhome (how many hoops can you jump thru?). This is why I always say to e-mail your state for the correct info. So much of the info I was given by folks who "knew exactly" what I needed to do was so wrong. I also spent 6 months reading posts from all over the country on info for tagging & CDL's. The info did not apply to TN. Only 1 post from a guy who has sucessfully tagged/titled his Coach as motorhome in Knoxville and he said TN told him he didn't need a CDL either . We don't need to be "legal" according to the laws of any state except TN.
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Old 10-22-2004, 02:15 PM   #20
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Bus to Motor Home titling information for SC

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,
etc

[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.)
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