When I bought my bus it was registered as a bus. I want to register it as a Motor Home. I would appreciate hearing about the experiences of other Iowa bus owners that managed to convert to a Motor Home. This is my experience so far:
It does have a chemical toilet (Thetford) and a bathroom to put it in.
It has the ability to plug an extension cord in and that will energize two outlets, one at the front and one at the rear of the bus. A 1500 watt inverter can also be used to energize these two outlets. The wiring for these is run in conduit.
There is a small chest freezer and a window air conditioner that has brackets that allow it to be installed in one of the emergency exit windows.
There is also a set of bunk beds, but these are of no benefit when determining if the bus can be classed as a Motor Home in Iowa.
Through research on this site, and the internet in general, I found that Iowa requires 4 of 6 items to be permanently installed in the bus to be considered a Motor Home. Two of the four required items must come from the first three items on the list. The other two items can be any of the six listed items.
1) Cooking facilities.
2) Self-contained toilet or a toilet connected to a plumbing system with connection for external water disposal, or both.
3) Heating or air conditioning system or both, separate from the vehicle engine or the vehicle engine electrical system.
4) Ice box or mechanical refrigerator
5) Potable water supply including plumbing and a sink with faucet either self-contained or with connections for an external source or both.
6) A 110/115 volt alternating current electrical system separate from the vehicle engine electrical system either with its own power supply or with a connection for an external source, or both, or a liquefied petroleum system and supply.
There is a form that can be filled out to attest that the items that have been installed.
This form is called Owner’s Certification (Motor Home) (Iowa DOT Form 411057)
Description: This form is used to determine motor home classification for registration purposes
There is a link to this form on this page: https://www.iowataxandtags.org/vehic...vehicle-forms/
Link to the fillable form: https://iowadot.seamlessdocs.com/f/OwnersCertification
Since I had 2, 3, 4, and 6, I filled out the form and went to my county treasurer’s office at the courthouse (Iowa residents must register their vehicles at the treasurer’s office in the county in which they live).
I gave the clerk my paperwork and told them what I wanted, they went to talk to their supervisor and came back and told me that to register as a Motor Home I must get it inspected and they gave me a phone number to call, the Help line at the Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection. I made the call and the recording I got asked me to leave a message or communicate through email as the phones were not being staffed due to Covid.
I sent an email:
I bought a bus that has been partially converted into a Camper / RV / Motorhome. I took the form described below, to The Jefferson county courthouse. They gave me the number for the Investigative Help Line (515-237-3050) and told me I would need to have it inspected before I can have it registered / titled as a motor home.
Owner's Certification (Motor Home) (Iowa DOT Form 411057)
Description: This form is used to determine motor home classification for registration purposes.
I appreciate any guidance you can provide in completing this process.
I received a reply:
Paul, can you provide me the following, so I can determine the best route for you:
1. picture/copy of the front and back of the title
2. picture/copy of your purchase agreement
3. picture of your vehicle
4. picture of the VIN plate on the vehicle
5. In what county in Iowa do you reside?
I provided the requested information and received another reply:
Paul, the conversion of a bus to a motor home is complex in Iowa, so I have quoted the county treasurer’s manual and Iowa code below. In summary, the Iowa code requires the bus to be converted and registered five times as a motor truck, prior to being allowed to be registered as a motor home. If you want to convert the bus to a motor truck, you do not need the DOT to inspect the vehicle. You can simply go to the Jefferson County Treasurer’s office and self-certify that it is a truck now and no longer a passenger bus. After five registration periods, it could be converted to a motor home at the County Treasurer’s office. Again, no inspection by the DOT is required. Another thing I noticed from the photos is that it still has the “school bus yellow” paint on half the vehicle, which technically is reserved for school buses. I have included Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Myers in this email as well, as he can assist you with any of the transfer discussed above.
IOWA CODE 321.124 Motor homes, multipurpose vehicles, and motorsports recreational vehicles — fees.
1. Motor homes are classified as follows:
a. Class A motor home means a truck chassis or special chassis upon which is built a driver’s compartment and an entire body which provides temporary living quarters. A class
A motor home shall also mean a passenger carrying bus which has been registered at least five times as a motor truck and which has been converted, modified, or altered to provide
temporary living quarters.
County Treasurer’s Manual: Truck or Bus Converted to Motor Home
When a truck or bus has been converted to a motor home, the owner must complete a "Motor Home Owner's Certification" form so it can be determined if the vehicle is a motor home, and whether it is a class A, B or C. Assuming the vehicle is a motor home, the title and registration card will be processed as follows:
1. Vehicle type is "Motor Home A, B, or C depending on the certification.”
2. Vehicle make is "original make" (Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, etc.).
3. Vehicle year is the original year model, as shown on previous ownership document.
4. Vehicle style is "MHA,” "MHB" or MHC" for class A, B or C, respectively.
If a truck or bus has been converted so it may be used as a temporary or recreational dwelling, but does not have four of the six specified systems permanently installed, it is not a motor home. Vehicles of this type must be registered as a truck or bus, see Section 7, Definitions and Registration of Vehicles.
**If a bus is being converted to a motor home, it cannot be yellow, cannot have a school name on it, must have the stop bar and stop sign removed. Also per 321.124(1a), it must be registered five times as a motor truck before it can be registered as a motor home.
County Treasurer’s Manual: Conversion Distinguished from Reconstructed
When a vehicle is converted, it is not classed as a reconstructed vehicle and must be registered as outlined in the following paragraphs. Conversions include:
• truck converted to or from a bus or motor home;
• permanent conversion of a truck to a truck tractor or truck tractor to a truck;
• trailer-type vehicle converted to or from a regular trailer, semi trailer, towable recreational vehicle or mobile home.
So essentially, according to this I cannot register the bus as a Motor Home until I have registered it as a truck for 5 years. I was able to locate the County Treasurer’s Manual online and found this fee schedule which adds the words “or bus” to the 5 registration periods required before registering as a Motor Home is allowed.