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Old 12-12-2014, 05:01 PM   #1
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North Carolina blues

Hey, I've been talking with NC DMV about my prospective new bus (1993 11 window) and they are telling me I need a CDL with Passenger endorsement to drive my bus because its DESIGN is a bus...regardless of weight, brake type, personal intent for the bus, etc.

This seems unrealistic and I wonder if I'm saying the wrong words (without actually lying) or not asking the right questions.

Anyone from NC who can offer insight into navigating the thicket of bureaucracy here would be greatly appreciated.

Also, prospective bus is located in GA.
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:13 PM   #2
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Re: North Carolina blues

Judging from most state regulations say, if it is titled as a "school bus" then yes you need a cdl license if you get stopped, so your goal like the rest of us is to make enough changes to the bus so you can get it re-titled as a RV, you will have to dig through the regs to see what must be done to make it an RV, in texas it is the county tax assessor collector that can change a vehicle title so if you have such an entity in your state their regs would be where you would want to start, do a search to see if anyone from your state has posted how they did it,
Most states allow a vehicle with a gvwr of less than about 26000lbs to drive with a regular drivers license, if the weight is over that then you need a "non cdl" truck type license, if it has air brakes then that usually requires a quick test to add it to your license,
Now realistically if you have a recent bill of sale and have painted over the school bus lettering and have only your family in the bus then if you get pulled over most cops will not cite you for having the wrong license, take this advice for what you paid for it
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:56 AM   #3
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Some states are really a PITA when it comes to school bus re-purposing.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:36 AM   #4
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Anyone re titled their coach in NC? would love some specifics. I've looked at the NC Title Manual but don't see the specific steps to take (just that an "RV has four or more of...").
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:25 PM   #5
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I would email the nc.gov and for a specif list to go by, for converting and old bus into a camper/RV

that is what I did, and found out there was NO such list for TN...shocker hugh? I wondered why I got 10 different answers from 10 different people
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:14 AM   #6
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Wondering if you made any progress on this. We're in NC and are doing the preliminary research. We're trying to figure out the licensing and insurance.
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
I would email the nc.gov and for a specif list to go by, for converting and old bus into a camper/RV

that is what I did, and found out there was NO such list for TN...shocker hugh? I wondered why I got 10 different answers from 10 different people

Bansil, there IS a list because I got it for the Eagle which was tagged & titled as a motorhome in TN. I had to go to the Dept of Safety. I would have to find the e-Mail later (gotta go to work) but found this on a search thru BNO just now.

Quote:
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 12:50 pm:
What state are you in? Every state is different. In TN all we needed to do was prepare a written and notarized statement saying that we had sleeping facilities, cooking facilities and toilet facilities. No one looked at it. Our Eagle is now licensed as a motorhome. I have heard others place sleeping bag or air mattress (sleeping facilities), a gas grill or even an electric hot plate, I guess a microwave would also apply (cooking facilities) and a self-contained porti-potti (toilet facilities). These things do not need to stay in it. They can be borrowed and removed. But this does not apply to all states.
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:21 AM   #8
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Still in progress here in NC.

Here is the deal so far. We insured our coach as a 'bus' and had to buy commercial insurance at the rate of $800-1200 per year. Quotes suggest that a 'house car' (as such things are classified in NC) insurance would be starting closer to $500/year.

A non-commercial bus does not require a CDL but (depending upon GVWR...over 26,001 lbs) may require a Class B which is a similar test (study book is the cdl one). You will need to pass the written test and then pass a driving test within 90 days; and provide your own vehicle for the driving portion.

The DMV said that you can schedule a site visit (no charge) to have the bus inspected for a retitle from bus to 'house car' and you will need to sign an affidavit of changes. It appears that the inspector basically uses the affidavit as a checklist. Your changes must meet four of the six criteria for 'house car' and give them the "impression of permanency" which was their way of saying they were looking for signs that you won't be hauling that stuff back out to make room for paying customers after they leave. The six criteria are fairly concrete but there is still plenty of room for discretion on the part of the inspector so it would pay to talk to someone at the office you will schedule with. Also, you'll need to provide access to the unadulterated VIN for inspectors use (VIN is in 3 different places on our coach). I called our local office and got a lot of guidance as we discussed his particular reading of each of the six criteria...he was very patient.

You can download the NC title manual here: https://connect.ncdot.gov/business/D...s/default.aspx
open it and do a CTL-F to search for 'house' as a key term. you'll quickly find the section (in Ch 2) on titling a house car with the aforementioned list of six there.

We have discovered that the tricky part is the practice driving. After you pass the written test, it appears you'll need to find/hire someone with a class B P-endorsement (again depending upon GVWR) to ride with you while you drive and possibly go with you down to the DMV to deliver the bus for your test drive. In my area, there are lots of beer bus drivers with free time in the winter...also you could call the school bus garage to ask for names. All of the mechanics have the appropriates and, of course, all the drivers. Drivers are paid about ~ $13.00/hr to deliver kids, FYI.

Final piece of advisement: don't call the office in Raleigh...they will quickly shuffle you to the CDL office and you will be told you need one. You don't. If you chose to go that route, you would have a tougher test and penalties for traffic violations (even those not occurring in your coach) would be double...also the legally drunk blood level drops to 0.04 from 0.08. Call your local tag office instead. If that fails, call the office in Asheville (82 251-6065.
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:25 PM   #9
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Sorry I just found this but I have a skoolie in n.c. And by law as long as the combined weight finished is under 25,999 you don't have to have a CDL. I have air brakes and seven seat belt's have been insured and registered for 4- year's. The only new thing I have had to deal with was inspection last year I had to do a full DOT inspection and get a fuel tax sticker from the inspector installed under the driver's window. That took inspection cost from 13$-54$ but no CDL or Chaffer's license required. Almost done but not registered as an RV and a CDL is not required by the school system for the people that drive our children daily?
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:36 PM   #10
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Oh yes....if you drive a school bus for NC you will need a cdl and an s endorsement as well which is what makes them candidates (over qualified but still legal) for riding with you during practice drives prior to taking class B driving test. You will not need a cdl for personal vehicles (such as my bus). However, class of license required is based on GVWR (the maximum your vehicle COULD carry...not actual weight). Smaller buses may not need a class B; mine is a 44 passenger BB with GVWR of 31K therefore, all stated above is my pleasure.

If one has not yet purchased, it is valuable to know/understand how GVWR factors into legal requirements unless one has already decided on a particular minimum.
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Old 03-01-2015, 04:02 PM   #11
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That has to be a local hill-mountain thing I am not having these issues down at the beach but I am registered at 26,000 not 31,000?
I can see where those requirements come from. We are still normal old school buses here and nothing but a two day class to drive kid's around here.
The only way I can help is if I can find them I have copies of the texas CDL test in 1992 all of them. My dad was responsible for three counties of fire department's and four oil field company driver's if that help's.
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:18 PM   #12
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26,001 is the cutoff for cdl.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:01 AM   #13
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i wanted to have proof from Title and Registration so I emailed them (actually 2 different people and both responded the same basic way

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

copy and pasted below:


Thank you very much

Doug




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

From: Email T&R [mailto:Email.T&R@tn.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:34 AM
To: Doug xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: title info needed



No list on this type of project. Just keep your receipts and/or bill of sales for the things you get to convert.



Maybe from the different info you received it was for a rebuilt vehicle. Like if it was wrecked and you were rebuilding it. But that does not comply to your project.



Hope this helps,



Kathy


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

From: Doug xxxxxx [xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:17 AM
To: Email T&R
Subject: RE: title info needed

Kathy

Thank you for the response



I have just been told different things about beds, cooking area and water supplies etc



I just want to do this correctly the first time and had hoped there was an actual list to use as a guide



Thank you

Doug




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

From: Email T&R [mailto:Email.T&R@tn.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:09 AM
To: Doug xxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: title info needed



Good Morning,



Thank you for your email. Did you receive a title for the bus? If so, along with the title and you receipts for the conversion portion of the bus is all that you will need to title and register the vehicle. It may still be coded as a bus in our system, but you will register as a passenger vehicle.



Hope this helps,



Kathy


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

From: Doug xxxxxxxx [xxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:04 AM
To: Email T&R
Subject: title info needed

I am buying a used school bus to convert to a motor home



I am looking for the required equipment to comply with a title transfer to a motor home



After several phone calls to local dmv I have received several very different answers



I can not find specific TN ann. codes to cover this



Can you help me?



Thank you

Doug



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Biggest issue was to keep receipts to verify no stolen parts

I actually keep a copy of the original email in my "log book" that stays in the bus w/insurance info, campground confirmations etc (not a true log book, just my log book)
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:12 AM   #14
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Differences in results from contacting local offices are not surprising to me and also good evidence that the best person to speak to is from the office you will actually visit.

Also, if you don't get the answer you want...call another office and, if necessary, go there.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:21 PM   #15
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Thanks for sharing all your research. We have our bus, a 94 ford with a 5.9 L cummins. I was actually able to get insurance through state farm; however, it's insured as a passenger vehicle at this time. The total weight of our bus is 29K. Am I going to have to have the CDL regardless of whether it's a registered as a bus or a house car, given the weight? Or does the house car allow you to drive it without the CDL? We're down in Raleigh, and we can use all the help we can get.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:29 PM   #16
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Title Blues

Thank you for all the information you've shared. We have our bus and now we're at the titling conundrum. In NC, do you have to have the CDL if you go the house car route? I'm trying to determine the benefit titling as a house car vs. a passenger bus. Will I need the Class B CDL regardless, if the weight is over 26001? (We weigh in a 29K).
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:03 AM   #17
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careful titling as rv, motorhome, etc. insurance companies will either not cover, or may cancel once they see the vin is for a school bus conversion. consider the cheapness of rates for a bus insured as private vehicle, what if you have to change title back to school bus to get insurance???

that is why i didnt go through the BS to convert my title.
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
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careful titling as rv, motorhome, etc. insurance companies will either not cover, or may cancel once they see the vin is for a school bus conversion. consider the cheapness of rates for a bus insured as private vehicle, what if you have to change title back to school bus to get insurance???

that is why i didnt go through the BS to convert my title.
I second this.
I'm going to keep my title as a private bus, but once its fully converted, I'll switch it over to Good Sam as long as I don't have to title it as a MH.

I know converting the title in Fl is fairly easy, but I wonder if its even possible to change it back.

Very important topic here.
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:59 AM   #19
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I second this.
I'm going to keep my title as a private bus, but once its fully converted, I'll switch it over to Good Sam as long as I don't have to title it as a MH.

I know converting the title in Fl is fairly easy, but I wonder if its even possible to change it back.

Very important topic here.
in louisiana, to convert to rv, i would have to get a trooper to do physical inspection. then get a permission to dismantle (so old vin could be destroyed and new vin assingned. from there, it would be like building a custom car or motorcycle from purchased parts, or a reconstruction as you would a salvage.....then inspected again so as to get a title.

can you just imagine having to reverse that? and, after all that work, its still a bus. a ugly school bus that looks like a school bus...........with paint.

self inflicted wounds hurt the most.
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:50 AM   #20
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We also were able to get insurance (farm bureau) on a business policy ($$$). I spoke to DMV-CDL (CDL headquarters - Raleigh) and they said, based on "design of vehicle" we'd need CDL but the local license office (where I would take any tests) said, "not true, if you are not using your vehicle for commercial purposes, then you don't need a commercial license...but the GVWR will require a NON-CDL class B with Passenger endorsement" which sounds much, much better to me.

FYI, the non-cdl class B test material is taken from the CDL book so that is what we are currently studying. You will also need to get someone with the correct license to ride with you while you practice (after passing written test) and then you will need to supply your own appropriate vehicle (bus) for the driving test.

If you do the house car conversion first, you can make arrangements for a house call to inspect your vehicle to retitle as house car. *That, as I understand it, is when your insurance rate goes down. Call an independent insurance agent if necessary...we did!* but you'll still need the non-cdl class b above b/c your GVWR exceeds to state limit of 26,001 lb (regardless of how much your vehicle actually weighs).

Our current plan is to leave the title as 'bus' because 'house car' doesn't change our license requirement and the difference in insurance is only about $200.00 per year. Also, we can make whatever changes we want without needing to meet the (admittedly) fairly liberal requirements. Also, we are considering moving from NC and might have an easier time with the retitle in our new state.

So, leaving as a bus means making sure you know how to pre-trip inspect an actual bus, maintain some emergency exits and have a seat for the license agent to sit during the test drive and prepare to pay whatever gas tax, highway usage fee etc the state wants to send your way.

But, I would investigate all of that before paying a dime since interpretations vary among agency branches.
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