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Old 06-10-2010, 03:20 PM   #1
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

CDL depends on the weight of the vehicle. Get it scaled and find out the heaviest it would be (full of food, gas, water, supplies, people). then ask your dmv.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:18 PM   #2
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by salvatoreparadiso
Finally, one of the co-owners wanted me to ask this (since EVERYONE asks, first thing, "don't you need a commercial license to drive that?" They all say it with such a smug sense of authority and it's driving me NUTS): DOOOOOO we need such a license? In my research with CA and amongst the experienced such as yourselves, we don't...the bus is 30 feet long, FYI. I'm just worried that my disdain for this question will turn into karma and we'll get into trouble. If we keep it as an "automobile", I can't imagine that we'd need a special license, right?

Many thanks for all of your help! Now I'll move onto another section to ask about boondocking. Woo!

Three cheers,
Eric
Eric;

As a CDL holder I can verify to you that the state requires you to have a standard drivers license for anything weighing less than 26K pounds. Above that you need endorsements for whatever weight class you are driving. For example, my bus is rated at 23K pounds. Thusly, I do not need anything beyond a normal class "C" license. However, having a class "A" with all the endorsements available (yeah, it's overkill, but when I was a trucker, I actually needed every endorsement except the motorcycle one-that one was so I could "play" on my "time-off" I thought I might have coming) makes me legal no matter what.
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:02 AM   #3
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Re: Titling Differences in CA


Canada, Texas, Indiana... all nice places. And all have their own rules about this topic.

In California, you are "good to go" with a plain passenger car driver license so long as your automobile or house car (Calif. Vehicle Code -speak for motor home / RV) is no more than 40 feet long.

I have not read up on the definition of an automobile, but it seems safe to guess that the previous owner removed enough seats to bring it below "bus" standards, and then called the empty space "the trunk". An Extra Large station wagon. If you wish to register it as an RV, then you will have to document basic camping equipment. Having it as an automobile seems like an advantage, however small, to me. The number series of the license plate is the same for automobiles and RVs.
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:25 PM   #4
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John
My understanding of the CVC (insofar as anyone can understand it) is that the plain basic class-C driver's license is good for vehicles up to 26,000 lbs GVWR, and beyond that weight you need a non-commercial class-B (or a CDL if that's what you do for a living). The only exeption to this I can find is for House Cars, which seemingly can be driven on a class-C regardless how heavy they are, BUT as long as they don't exceed 40' OAL. Those folk driving 45' RVs should, theoretically, have non-com class-B licenses - yeah, I wonder how many do! The weights used to determine license requirements, and much else as well, are GVWR, not the actual weight that a weigh station measures. Have a look at your bus's weight plate inside - one of the top lines is GVWR. Even if you are under GVWR, and I hope everyone is, your actual weight doesn't matter in this regards.

Like you, my bus is registered as an Automobile Bus Body, so as long as it has no more than 15 (I think) seats it's OK. Any more seats than that, and it's considered a Bus, as as such a Commercial Vehicle, for which there are a whole load of different and onerous requirements. If you took out all the passenger seats it may be considered to be a truck, with possible commercial ramifications as well. For this reason I left in one seat for two passengers.

At some future time I may get my non-com class-B, just to stay legal, or just for shits and giggles. Eventually I will be able to re-register my bus as a House Car when I have done the needed interior changes, but until then I'm not going to worry too much about this. I taped over my red flashers, to give a cop less reason to stop me, and I also stop at all railroad crossings for the same reason, even though I don't need to. I don't want to draw the attention of police any more than necessary (not that a 40' yellow bus is inconspicuous!).

Have fun,
John

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Old 06-11-2010, 04:45 PM   #5
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Re: Titling Differences in CA


STAR-minus.

John, you wrote "40' OAL". That would rule out pulling a trailer. The Over All Length limit for one RV with one trailer is 65 feet. So you may add a 25 foot trailer and still be OK on a plain C license -- SO LONG AS the trailer's GVWR is below 10.000 pounds.

Most of this is easily found in a DMV pamphlet called Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook -- free at any DMV office.

Now.... I want to find a way around the 65 OAL limit, because I want to tow a 35 foot trailer plus 10 foot rear overhang. THIS could get tricky!
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:45 PM   #6
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

OK Elliott, you get a s STAR too. I think he was only speaking about a single vehicle. As far as your super train setup, stay away from our truck enforcement officer. That dude has got radar or something. Nothing gets past him.

There is a lot of misinformation about licensing requirements for different vehicles and weights of vehicles. I try and tell people and they get stupid. One time at Flying J, I was talking to one guy pulling a 45 ft, 3 axle trailer. When the subject of licensing came up, he said only a Class C license was required. I told him he better check on that. My thought was minimum of a Non-commercial Class A. The guy got belligerent with me. Kinda pissed my off. So much so, that I almost flagged down the cop trolling through the gas station so he could educate the prick. I just dropped it and went on my way. Now if someone tells me they know better, I pretty much let it go unless it's someone that I don't want to get busted.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:24 PM   #7
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Hi all, thanks for the responses, this is one third of the bus tripod here. Eric's post was important because we had assumed it was under weight. We went back to look and our rig has a weight rating of 30000. Not below 26000. Oops.

Now we have an appointment with the DMV today and all we can find is that maybe if we re-register as a 'housecar' then we are legal with a class-c license? I called my insurance agent to ask about quotes on a housecar, not sure how expensive that will be? Another question is how it would be inforced if we are pulled over with the wrong license. A fine or something more serious?

We are not sure what we can do seeing we were planning on leaving at the end of this week. As eric said we are currently registered and insured(GMAC) as a bus. Any info or other ideas could save us here. Please help!

-Nick
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:21 PM   #8
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by salvatoreparadiso2
Hi all, thanks for the responses, this is one third of the bus tripod here. Eric's post was important because we had assumed it was under weight. We went back to look and our rig has a weight rating of 30000. Not below 26000. Oops.

Now we have an appointment with the DMV today and all we can find is that maybe if we re-register as a 'housecar' then we are legal with a class-c license? I called my insurance agent to ask about quotes on a housecar, not sure how expensive that will be? Another question is how it would be inforced if we are pulled over with the wrong license. A fine or something more serious?

We are not sure what we can do seeing we were planning on leaving at the end of this week. As eric said we are currently registered and insured(GMAC) as a bus. Any info or other ideas could save us here. Please help!

-Nick
If stopped, they could make you park the bus until (minimum) someone with the right licence class can drive it home. They could probably impound it, and certainly cite you. Also, your insurance will almost certainly NOT BE VALID if driving your bus without the required class of licence! Upon reading the first post, I expected this problem...the GVWR on my Genesis is also 30,000lbs. (My wife and I both have class B CDL's.) You need to get it retitled as a motorhome (IIRC, that's a "housecar" there...Kalifornia is weird), ASAP!
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:58 PM   #9
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

This is from the California Commercial Driver Handbook. The way I read it is weight makes no difference if it is a housecar.

Quote:
With a BasiC Class C liCense:
a 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less
a 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. gross or less
•a motorized scooter
any housecar 40' or less
A farmer or employee of a farmer may also drive:any combination of vehicles with a Gross CombinationWeight Rating (GCWR) of 26,000 lbs. or less if used exclusively in agricultural operations and it is not for hire or compensation.


Quote:
Commercial Vehicle

260. (a) A "commercial vehicle" is a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.

(b) Passenger vehicles and house cars that are not used for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit are not commercial vehicles.
This subdivision shall not apply to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 6700) of Division 3.
Since I'm not a lawyer but I do play one on TV, my opinion means nothing. If your bus is titled as an auto, you don't need a CDL unless your bus has a GVWR of 26001 pounds. If it is 26001 #, you might need a CDL. That would depend on the PoPo that pulls you over. I would eliminate any and all doubt. Take your butt, your bus, your title and Form 256A to the DMV and have it inspected and change the classification to MH(I think) on your title. They will give you a new reg printout with your new MH classification. They will send your title in the mail. While at the DMV, pick up a California Commercial Driver Handbook and circle the section I wrote about here (it's on the second page) and keep it in your bus at all times to show the man if they are ignorant of the law.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/comlhdbk/comlhdbk.pdf

Form 256A

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg256a.pdf


P.S. Everything I posted is my opinion and worth exactly what you paid me. Let it be a guide. Cheers.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:08 PM   #10
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Another vehicle code.

Quote:
Passenger Vehicle

465. A "passenger vehicle" is any motor vehicle, other than a motortruck, truck tractor, or a bus, as defined in Section 233 , and used or maintained for the transportation of persons. The term "passenger vehicle" shall include a housecar.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:15 PM   #11
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Definition of a RV. This is Health and Safety Code not VC.

Quote:
Health and Safety Code
Recreational Vehicle, Manufactured Home, Mobilehome, Commercial Coach, Truck Camper, or Floating Home

18010. "Recreational vehicle" means both of the following:

(a) A motor home, travel trailer, truck camper, or camping trailer, with or without motive power, designed for human habitation for recreational, emergency, or other occupancy, that meets all of the following criteria:

(1) It contains less than 320 square feet of internal living room area, excluding builtin equipment, including, but not limited to, wardrobe, closets, cabinets, kitchen units or fixtures, and bath or toilet rooms.

(2) It contains 400 square feet or less of gross area measured at maximum horizontal projections.

(3) It is built on a single chassis.

(4) It is either self-propelled, truck-mounted, or permanently towable on the highways without a permit.

(b) A park trailer, as defined in Section 18009.3.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:18 PM   #12
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Vehicle codes that pertain to Housecars.

Quote:
HOUSECAR

Alcoholic beverages in, 23229
Defined, 362
First-stage manufacturer defined, 11930
Lights, 25100, 25105, 25351
Manufactured in two or more stages, 11713.5
Reflectors on, 24608
Sale of, 11930, 11931
Second-stage manufacturer defined, 11930, 11931
Traffic lane use, 21658
Warranty, 11930, 11931
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:42 AM   #13
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Well, we went to the DMV and I'm sure you all are just waiting to hear how it went.

Basically, bottom line, this whole converted bus thing seems to basically be in a loop hole because no one seems to know and the laws are hard to interpret. The woman who helped us said, because your vehicle is registered as a car with a bus body it only needs class C non-comm. We basically came as close as you can to arguing for our most detrimental answer by showing her that vehicles over 26000 weight rating cannot drive a class c. To that she responded by pointing below to the "housecars under 40' " and looked back at us. At that point I thought how can you argue with the DMV about vehicle registration regulations? Don't they write the laws?

So I still think she may be mistaken, I will be wary of it, but we are going to continue with our departure date. To her it is a 'housecar' that is registered as a car with a bus body.
Thanks to everyone for your help, it is invaluable in understanding the whole spectrum of interpretation of the law. We'll be posting more comment I'm sure as we go.
-Nick
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:05 AM   #14
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Re: Titling Differences in CA


Now will you stop worrying???!!!

Your DMV clerk just confirmed what CrazyCal and I and maybe others have been telling you. I give you double points for triple checking -- and with the DMV itself, even. Now off you go -- drive safely and enjoy!
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:05 PM   #15
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

The Federal CDL law that tells what the states can require exempt RVs (housecars) from the CDL requirement nationwide. Some states will add an endorsement for RVs that are too long (e.g. California over 40 feet), too heavy (e.g. NY Drivers' "R" endorsement over 26,000 lbs.) or perhaps air brakes. If your design gross weight is 30,000 and your paperwork doesn't say housecar, Follow Iceni John's advice and don't do stupid human tricks that attract attention. RVs are not required to pull over at "all commercial vehicles must stop' sites, so don't pull over to be friendly. You have passenger car plates, after all. If you are fully equipped as a housecar and do meet a concerned public servant, explain that the DMV must have given you the wrong forms.

Side note: the guy Crazy Cal saw with the 47-foot trailer may have been legal with a Class C, if the trailer gross weight was 10,000 lbs. or less. 10,001 lbs. trailer weight is the starting point for Class A, not the length. But three axles smells like well over 10,001 lbs. gross capacity.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:04 PM   #16
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Re: Titling Differences in CA

Quote:
Side note: the guy Crazy Cal saw with the 47-foot trailer may have been legal with a Class C, if the trailer gross weight was 10,000 lbs. or less. 10,001 lbs. trailer weight is the starting point for Class A, not the length. But three axles smells like well over 10,001 lbs. gross capacity.
I would venture that three 8 lug axles would probably rate at over 10000 #.
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