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Old 07-26-2021, 12:49 PM   #1
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CA DMV Help

Hello everyone. I am new to the club but have been driving around a 2000 Goshen Freightliner I got off the LAX tarmac for a few years now. I was just denied registration because the DMV, in all its brilliance, can't seem to get over the fact that my bus is no longer commercial. Their argument was that it could haul up to 36 people but I showed them that it only had 6 seats now ( less than my Yukon ) but they still told me I need to change the engine if I want to register. Does anyone have any experience in this? I heard there is a mobile inspector that can come out and sign off for me? How do I register my bus??

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Old 07-30-2021, 11:29 PM   #2
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Location: Waltham MA
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: Ford E350
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I don't have experience with it per se, but I was just researching it. It actually has nothing to do with whether or not your bus is considered a commercial vehicle. It has to do with the weight and age of the vehicle. I'm no expert but my conclusion is that if your bus weighs over 14000 lbs and is not registered as an RV or an antique you will have to comply with the regulations. \

Here are the sections I found that apply:

https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdie...s/fsregsum.pdf

What vehicles are affected by the Truck and Bus Regulation? The Truck and Bus regulation affects individuals, private companies, and Federal agencies that own diesel vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 lbs. that operate in California. The regulation also applies to publicly and privately owned school buses; however, their compliance requirements are different and reporting is not required.

This states that ALL diesel vehicles above 14,000 lbs - WITH NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN COMMERCIAL AND PRIVATE - must comply, so that would indicate that yes you need a new engine. But then it goes on to state that privately owned school buses must comply but have different regulations. Here's what's listed for buses:

https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/resources/fac...bus-provisions
Reporting is not required for school buses, but recordkeeping is required to demonstrate compliance.

Then there's the issue of what equals a school bus. By this definition if your vehicle only transports members of your household it is not considered a school bus. which with the old regulations was a good thing designed specifically to protect skoolies from having to comply. HOWEVER - now the regulations state that if your vehicle doesn't meet the definition of a school bus you're required to follow the general CARB Truck and Bus rules. Which DOES mean a new engine.

DEFINITION OF A SCHOOL BUS
VEHICLE CODE - VEH
DIVISION 1. WORDS AND PHRASES DEFINED [50 - 227.1]**( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )
**
545.**
(a)*A “schoolbus” is a motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained for the transportation of any school pupil at or below the 12th grade level to or from a public or private school or to or from public or private school activities, except the following:
(1)*A motor vehicle of any type carrying only members of the household of the owner of the vehicle.


There seems to be two ways around this as I said (edited to just show pertinent options):

https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdie...tbfinalreg.pdf

(c) Exemptions
This regulation does not apply to:
(9) Historic vehicles as defined in section 2025(d)(36);
(10) Motor homes for non-commercial private use;


---------------------------
So... RVs are exempt as are "historical vehicles," but ther are some major limitations on how much you can drive on that registration.

The final exception is this one from the school bus page, which states that if you drive less than 1000 miles a year in the state of CA you are exempt. But you have to have records and a working odometer to prove it if asked.

Sorry. Hope I'm wrong but this is how it looks to me. If you can get it registered as an RV though, you're good.
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Old 07-31-2021, 12:01 AM   #3
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I used to live in the Cali Democratic Republic (think like DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik)). In those many years in my dealings with DMV I found that:


1) DMV employees would outright lie to me.


2) A number of them really did not know the law or the rules.


3) They will cheat you if they can.


Sometimes DMV relies on "policy", not law. If I was dealing with them today I would have hardcopy of the applicable codes in the hand and if the person at the counter doesn't get it right, politely ask to see the manager. Your going to be there for hours, but it may be worth it.


(any trip to Cali DMV is hours anyway)
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Old 07-31-2021, 12:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flattracker View Post


(any trip to Cali DMV is hours anyway)
Not if you show up at 4:30. They want to go home so they hustle.
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by firebuild View Post
Not if you show up at 4:30. They want to go home so they hustle.
They tell you to come back tomorrow.

Iíve gone to those strip mall registration places. Iíve only done registration there, but they can also change body type on titles. Well worth a few extra bucks
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flattracker View Post
I used to live in the Cali Democratic Republic (think like DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik)). In those many years in my dealings with DMV I found that:


1) DMV employees would outright lie to me.


2) A number of them really did not know the law or the rules.


3) They will cheat you if they can.


Sometimes DMV relies on "policy", not law. If I was dealing with them today I would have hardcopy of the applicable codes in the hand and if the person at the counter doesn't get it right, politely ask to see the manager. Your going to be there for hours, but it may be worth it.


(any trip to Cali DMV is hours anyway)
The DMV offices in urban areas are the worst! Iíve had the experiences you wrote about. Iíve also gone to DMV offices in the sticks and had good experiences
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:49 AM   #7
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Year: 1991
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
They tell you to come back tomorrow.

Iíve gone to those strip mall registration places. Iíve only done registration there, but they can also change body type on titles. Well worth a few extra bucks
I've done it multiple times - if you're in the building at 5 they have to take you.
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrywalker67@me.com View Post
Hello everyone. I am new to the club but have been driving around a 2000 Goshen Freightliner I got off the LAX tarmac for a few years now. I was just denied registration because the DMV, in all its brilliance, can't seem to get over the fact that my bus is no longer commercial. Their argument was that it could haul up to 36 people but I showed them that it only had 6 seats now ( less than my Yukon ) but they still told me I need to change the engine if I want to register. Does anyone have any experience in this? I heard there is a mobile inspector that can come out and sign off for me? How do I register my bus??
I'm in CA. I went through AAA and they were very helpful and understanding. My bus was never a skoolie though... Think bookmobile. If you want to deal with real people, join AAA and see what they say about your situation. At least they'll take the time to explain what you need to do.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:12 PM   #9
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Year: 1991
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Engine: 7.3L Diesel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
I'm in CA. I went through AAA and they were very helpful and understanding. My bus was never a skoolie though... Think bookmobile. If you want to deal with real people, join AAA and see what they say about your situation. At least they'll take the time to explain what you need to do.
Great idea! What was the outcome?
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:47 PM   #10
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Great idea! What was the outcome?
I was wondering as well. Itís interesting being that the insurance side wonít touch a skoolie with Progressiveís 10 foot pole
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:55 AM   #11
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Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
I suggest you make a quick-and-dirty "conversion" that will be just enough to satisfy the requirements to be a House Car (DMV-speak for a motor home or RV in CA), then take the "converted" bus to an auto registration service and have them verify the VIN and that it is a House Car. I recently had an auto registration service do exactly this, but I do have most of the conversion now complete; the Body Type will be changed to MH, then you shouldn't have any problems with registering it in CA. I had a CARB hold on my bus because the Body Type was BU, so they assumed it was a commercial bus; last year I used a self-service kiosk inside my local DMV office to get around the hold and issue me new tags, but that loophole has now been eliminated.

A friend of mine with several Crowns has driven his buses to Twenty Nine Palms because the small DMV office there changes the Body Type without even looking inside the bus! Who knows if that's still the case though?

Good luck!

John
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Old 08-01-2021, 10:55 PM   #12
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There are two paths you can take:

1. Change the color, remove all school insignia, stop signs, crossing arms, front flashers, etc. convert it, you will need cooktop, bed, toilet, etc. You will need to have it inspected - similar to a VIN verification but more detailed. They will
measure it, etc.

2. Register it in VT as a MH, then when you get the registration and plates, and after you convert it, register it in CA and just do a VIN verification for out of state vehicle.

I went route #2 and it was painless. It was registered in VT during the conversion process and then I registered it in CA. Took me about 90 minutes for the inspection and registration.
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Old 08-01-2021, 10:57 PM   #13
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Great idea! What was the outcome?
Sorry for the late reply, I walked out with plates and stickers
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Old 08-02-2021, 01:22 PM   #14
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Sorry for the late reply, I walked out with plates and stickers
That's awesome! It would be great to hear how that came about. Were you exempt? Did you have to comply in any way or were you determined to not be covered by the regulations?
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
Sorry for the late reply, I walked out with plates and stickers
Did they change your body type to MH in the process?
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Did they change your body type to MH in the process?
Yes they did. Frankly the 2 girls helping me out didn't really know what to do. I had a small sink (hand pump), a tilt up shower fed by a bilge pump in a bucket and cabinets installed here and there. I have on-board generators and lots of lights so I think I had them a bit confused. They looked at the engine, which is very clean, and just said OK. Progressive insured me for 50k as a motor home before I had it driven out here. Like I said, it was never a school bus. Built by Blue Bird and finished by Century Customs in 1998. I bid on and lost several bookmobiles prior to this one
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Old 08-03-2021, 02:39 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by firebuild View Post
I don't have experience with it per se, but I was just researching it. It actually has nothing to do with whether or not your bus is considered a commercial vehicle. It has to do with the weight and age of the vehicle. I'm no expert but my conclusion is that if your bus weighs over 14000 lbs and is not registered as an RV or an antique you will have to comply with the regulations. \

Here are the sections I found that apply:

https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdie...s/fsregsum.pdf

What vehicles are affected by the Truck and Bus Regulation? The Truck and Bus regulation affects individuals, private companies, and Federal agencies that own diesel vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 lbs. that operate in California. The regulation also applies to publicly and privately owned school buses; however, their compliance requirements are different and reporting is not required.

This states that ALL diesel vehicles above 14,000 lbs - WITH NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN COMMERCIAL AND PRIVATE - must comply, so that would indicate that yes you need a new engine. But then it goes on to state that privately owned school buses must comply but have different regulations. Here's what's listed for buses:

https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/resources/fac...bus-provisions
Reporting is not required for school buses, but recordkeeping is required to demonstrate compliance.

Then there's the issue of what equals a school bus. By this definition if your vehicle only transports members of your household it is not considered a school bus. which with the old regulations was a good thing designed specifically to protect skoolies from having to comply. HOWEVER - now the regulations state that if your vehicle doesn't meet the definition of a school bus you're required to follow the general CARB Truck and Bus rules. Which DOES mean a new engine.

DEFINITION OF A SCHOOL BUS
VEHICLE CODE - VEH
DIVISION 1. WORDS AND PHRASES DEFINED [50 - 227.1]**( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )
**
545.**
(a)*A “schoolbus” is a motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained for the transportation of any school pupil at or below the 12th grade level to or from a public or private school or to or from public or private school activities, except the following:
(1)*A motor vehicle of any type carrying only members of the household of the owner of the vehicle.


There seems to be two ways around this as I said (edited to just show pertinent options):

https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdie...tbfinalreg.pdf

(c) Exemptions
This regulation does not apply to:
(9) Historic vehicles as defined in section 2025(d)(36);
(10) Motor homes for non-commercial private use;


---------------------------
So... RVs are exempt as are "historical vehicles," but ther are some major limitations on how much you can drive on that registration.

The final exception is this one from the school bus page, which states that if you drive less than 1000 miles a year in the state of CA you are exempt. But you have to have records and a working odometer to prove it if asked.

Sorry. Hope I'm wrong but this is how it looks to me. If you can get it registered as an RV though, you're good.
Wow that was probably the most thorough and thoughtful response I have ever gotten on the subject. Thank you Mary. I think I have to install a "marine" toilet to get it signed off as an RV. Ive heard of people that will come out tp the bus and sign it off for a fee. that is what Im trying to find.
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Old 08-03-2021, 02:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrywalker67@me.com View Post
Wow that was probably the most thorough and thoughtful response I have ever gotten on the subject. Thank you Mary. I think I have to install a "marine" toilet to get it signed off as an RV. Ive heard of people that will come out tp the bus and sign it off for a fee. that is what Im trying to find.
While I'm not sure about every state, but most states use a list of 6 items to qualify for an RV designation. None require all six, but a combination of any 4 of the 6. A toilet is not required at all.
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Old 08-03-2021, 02:58 PM   #19
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Join Date: Sep 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
Yes they did. Frankly the 2 girls helping me out didn't really know what to do. I had a small sink (hand pump), a tilt up shower fed by a bilge pump in a bucket and cabinets installed here and there. I have on-board generators and lots of lights so I think I had them a bit confused. They looked at the engine, which is very clean, and just said OK. Progressive insured me for 50k as a motor home before I had it driven out here. Like I said, it was never a school bus. Built by Blue Bird and finished by Century Customs in 1998. I bid on and lost several bookmobiles prior to this one
That is really impressive. Someone should take a school bus with a minimal setup (still yellow, boat toilet, camp stove, futon, bucket sink) to see if it can be done again
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Old 08-03-2021, 03:03 PM   #20
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Year: 1999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
That is really impressive. Someone should take a school bus with a minimal setup (still yellow, boat toilet, camp stove, futon, bucket sink) to see if it can be done again
Keep in mind, this may pass DMV, surely not your insurance company.
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