School Bus Conversion Resources

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-   -   Titling a Bus as Motor Home in Texas (https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f18/titling-a-bus-as-motor-home-in-texas-22029.html)

consti2tion 04-13-2018 09:43 AM

Titling a Bus as Motor Home in Texas
 
I posted this in a couple of other threads, so I figured why not just start a thread of my own for future reference.

Here is what I just did to get mine titled/registered as an RV.
First thing I did was obtained “Commercial Vehicle insurance for Personal Use”

I then had the bus inspected just as it was a bus. (Skip this step, I’ll explain why in the next step)

Just out of curiosity I went to the local tax office to attempt to just register it as a private bus. I goofed and told them I had removed the seats. Then the supervisor came into the picture and explained that since I have modified it and it is no longer a bus that I would have to complete the conversion, get and inspection as a motor home, and weigh the bus.

I also had to fill out a VTR-61 Form, which you can obtain from here: TxDMV.GOV - Forms
You also need to bring a VTR-130U (Which you can get from the site mentioned above.) with you when you go to purchase your bus, that is the form required to transfer ownership to you from the previous owner.

Then I could title and register it as a motorhome. So the first inspection was a waste of time and 7 dollars.

The state of Texas requires 4 out of 6 things. You can pick and choose what you want.

Here is the manual on what the state requires, chapter 11 covers a Converted Bus.

https://www.txdmv.gov/txdmv-forms/do...vehicle-manual

(A)is built on a motor vehicle chassis as an integral part of or a permanent
attachment to the chassis; and
(B) contains at least four of the following independent life support systems
that are permanently installed and designed to be removed only for
repair or replacement and that meet the standards of the American
National Standards Institute, Standards for Recreational Vehicles:
(i) a cooking facility with an on-board fuel source;
(ii) a gas or electric refrigerator;
(iii) a toilet with exterior evacuation;
(iv) a heating or air conditioning system with an on-board power or fuel
source separate from the vehicle engine;
(v) a potable water supply system that includes at least a sink, a faucet,
and a water tank with an exterior service supply connection; or
(vi) a 110-125 volt electric power supply.

Here is what I did.
1. I installed an inverted to satisfy the requirement of 120v power supply
2. I installed a mini fridge powered off of the inverter.
3. I installed my “camp chef” range/oven with a small portable propane bottle.
4. I installed a “Mr Buddy” heater with the small portable propane bottle as well.

I then took the bus to a state inspection facility and asked them to inspect my Bus as a “motor home”.

After that I took the bus to a local truck stop ( Loves ) and had the bus weighed.

I then went to the tax office and brought with me these items..
Vehicle Title
Insurance Card
Completed VTR-130U
Completed VTR-61
Weight certificate
Inspection certificate
I also brought pictures of the "conversion" the kind lady at my local tax office did not request them nor did she say it was necessary but she went ahead and took them in case the state asked any question.

After all of this an around 350 dollars later I now have a legally registered Motor Home in the state of Texas.

Keep in mind my " conversion " was very rudimentary.
Here are the pictures I gave them.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/H5...H=w934-h700-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Uv...Y=w934-h700-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/UL...I=w934-h700-no


When I filled out the VTR-61 I just explained what 4 items I added to the bus. ALSO! Be sure that when you fill out that VTR-61 you date it as completed BEFORE or on the day of the day of the inspection and weighing.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will answer what I can.

JasmineR29 04-18-2018 11:30 PM

This is great information thanks for posting. I will be using this as a Guide as I will be purchasing a school bus.

Twigg 04-19-2018 07:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JasmineR29 (Post 264763)
This is great information thanks for posting. I will be using this as a Guide as I will be purchasing a school bus.

Remember that, in Texas, you will also need a "Non-Commercial Class B" adding to your Texas license if the GVWR exceeds 26000 lbs.

Miles O Roads 04-19-2018 10:35 AM

Dang $350. Wonder what it cost in Indiana. Sucks I have to fix the bus title before I can start on getting the rv title.

JasmineR29 04-19-2018 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by consti2tion (Post 263730)
I posted this in a couple of other threads, so I figured why not just start a thread of my own for future reference.

Here is what I just did to get mine titled/registered as an RV.
First thing I did was obtained “Commercial Vehicle insurance for Personal Use”

I then had the bus inspected just as it was a bus. (Skip this step, I’ll explain why in the next step)

Just out of curiosity I went to the local tax office to attempt to just register it as a private bus. I goofed and told them I had removed the seats. Then the supervisor came into the picture and explained that since I have modified it and it is no longer a bus that I would have to complete the conversion, get and inspection as a motor home, and weigh the bus.

I also had to fill out a VTR-61 Form, which you can obtain from here: TxDMV.GOV - Forms
You also need to bring a VTR-130U (Which you can get from the site mentioned above.) with you when you go to purchase your bus, that is the form required to transfer ownership to you from the previous owner.

Then I could title and register it as a motorhome. So the first inspection was a waste of time and 7 dollars.

The state of Texas requires 4 out of 6 things. You can pick and choose what you want.

Here is the manual on what the state requires, chapter 11 covers a Converted Bus.

https://www.txdmv.gov/txdmv-forms/do...vehicle-manual

(A)is built on a motor vehicle chassis as an integral part of or a permanent
attachment to the chassis; and
(B) contains at least four of the following independent life support systems
that are permanently installed and designed to be removed only for
repair or replacement and that meet the standards of the American
National Standards Institute, Standards for Recreational Vehicles:
(i) a cooking facility with an on-board fuel source;
(ii) a gas or electric refrigerator;
(iii) a toilet with exterior evacuation;
(iv) a heating or air conditioning system with an on-board power or fuel
source separate from the vehicle engine;
(v) a potable water supply system that includes at least a sink, a faucet,
and a water tank with an exterior service supply connection; or
(vi) a 110-125 volt electric power supply.

Here is what I did.
1. I installed an inverted to satisfy the requirement of 120v power supply
2. I installed a mini fridge powered off of the inverter.
3. I installed my “camp chef” range/oven with a small portable propane bottle.
4. I installed a “Mr Buddy” heater with the small portable propane bottle as well.

I then took the bus to a state inspection facility and asked them to inspect my Bus as a “motor home”.

After that I took the bus to a local truck stop ( Loves ) and had the bus weighed.

I then went to the tax office and brought with me these items..
Vehicle Title
Insurance Card
Completed VTR-130U
Completed VTR-61
Weight certificate
Inspection certificate
I also brought pictures of the "conversion" the kind lady at my local tax office did not request them nor did she say it was necessary but she went ahead and took them in case the state asked any question.

After all of this an around 350 dollars later I now have a legally registered Motor Home in the state of Texas.

Keep in mind my " conversion " was very rudimentary.
Here are the pictures I gave them.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/H5...H=w934-h700-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Uv...Y=w934-h700-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/UL...I=w934-h700-no


When I filled out the VTR-61 I just explained what 4 items I added to the bus. ALSO! Be sure that when you fill out that VTR-61 you date it as completed BEFORE or on the day of the day of the inspection and weighing.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will answer what I can.

Thanks I will definitely use this as a guide. What engine/transmission combo would you suggest I look
For. I’m look for a mid size 25-30’ dog or flat nose wheelchair lift school bus. It will be converted to a tiny rv used for full time living and traveling in varies regions?? Any suggestions ?

consti2tion 04-19-2018 08:20 PM

Oh geez that’s a loaded question. I’m really only familiar with the 7.3 international and 5.9 Cummins engines. I would stick with either of them personally just for the simple fact that they are both common engines. In a smaller bus you don’t necessarily need to have one of the larger Cummins or Cat engines. But it really is up to your preference. I would certainly try to read as many other threads on those engine debates as you can find though. I myself steered clear of the Allison 545 transmission due to the lack of a lock up torque converter and lack of over drive. Try to find a bus with the Allison 2000. Or any other Allison with OD. This are just purely my opinion on the subject. I am NOT a bus or diesel expert. I just read a lot and I have a strong mechanical aptitude.

omnibus2006 03-19-2019 10:32 PM

Thanks for the info. I am in Texas (Houston) and have just purchased a 2006 mid-sized school bus and I have not started doing a conversion yet. I wanted to live in it for a while before committing to a floorplan. Where did you go for insurance, and what did you insure the vehicle as, a bus or an RV?

o1marc 03-20-2019 12:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omnibus2006 (Post 315181)
Thanks for the info. I am in Texas (Houston) and have just purchased a 2006 mid-sized school bus and I have not started doing a conversion yet. I wanted to live in it for a while before committing to a floorplan. Where did you go for insurance, and what did you insure the vehicle as, a bus or an RV?

There is a list in post #1 that explains what is required to convert to an RV. Seems many can pull the wool at DMV, but it is the insurance company that is going to want proof the requirements have been met. As a bus it is hard to legally call it an RV.

consti2tion 03-20-2019 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omnibus2006 (Post 315181)
Thanks for the info. I am in Texas (Houston) and have just purchased a 2006 mid-sized school bus and I have not started doing a conversion yet. I wanted to live in it for a while before committing to a floorplan. Where did you go for insurance, and what did you insure the vehicle as, a bus or an RV?

I went through a local progressive insurance agent. We have insured it as a commercial vehicle for personal use, we only have liability insurance. It’s about 500 a year. I know other people have gotten insurance cheaper and etc, not to sound lazy but it’s not worth it for me to hunt down another insurance provider. It took enough work to get it insured this way lol. You can throw a little propane stove, mattress, ice chest, and an inverter on it and try it out.

Hotpuppy 04-10-2019 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by o1marc (Post 315190)
There is a list in post #1 that explains what is required to convert to an RV. Seems many can pull the wool at DMV, but it is the insurance company that is going to want proof the requirements have been met. As a bus it is hard to legally call it an RV.

I'd like to point out that insurance isn't about opinions. It's about facts.

If your title says "bus" it's legally a bus.

When you re-issue the title as a "Motorhome," it's an RV. That's legally how it works and why you have to file the additional form. The state decides what the vehicle is. The carrier decides if they want to insure it or not.

Your carrier (insurance company) isn't going to re-interpret the legal facts, they are simply going to note them and move on with handling the claim.

Many carriers have decided that school buses are high risk and will not underwrite them for coverage. I've heard some excuses about narrow wheelbase, but that seems odd given that skoolies are 96" and previous to approx 1968 all buses were 96" wide. Skoolies are some of the toughest vehicles manufactured and have to meet stringent safety standards.

Motorhomes and trailers on the other hand are poorly built.

None of this reply is legal or insurance advice.

AGearHead4Life 11-07-2019 05:24 PM

Thank you so much for your creating this post consti2tion!
You have likely saved me a lot of time and time is very valuable.
I'm just now about to start the conversion on my bus but need to get it titled. I didn't want to title it as a bus if I could avoid it and save money. I did a quick google to start the research today and your thread popped up quickly. I'm in TX as well and will be using your thread as a guide. It was well written and thorough.

You effort & time to create this thread is much appreciated.

consti2tion 11-07-2019 06:30 PM

Absolutely glad that this is helping others. If there are any questions or there is anything I can help with please let me know. Thanks for the kudos!

adic27 05-14-2020 10:47 AM

I know this thread is kinda old but I got a few questions for the OP...

First of all, thanks for this great post.

1. What happened to the images you uploaded. Only one of them is showing.
2. What kind of inverter did you use and how did you go about mounting/setting it up?
Did it run off of the starter battery/s for the bus?
3. What was the inspection like when getting the bus inspected? Did you go to a random
place or somewhere where the company knew you from previous visits
4. (Question for anyone) When you purchased your bus was the title signed over to you and was it
already registered to where you can drive it? If not, did the seller provide a moving permit or
temp plate so you would be able to drive it home?

I was running late when I went to meet the seller so he said he would leave the title and key in the bus for me but the title has a sellers signature followed by "School District" and date that's a year before I purchased it. I purchased it summer of 2017 The "buyer signature" line, however, is blank. Will I be ok when I try to get things switched over into my name or is this gonna be a problem? Sorry for the "few" questions but I really wanna minimize the effort in trying to get this thing titled/registered as an RV finally

Thanks in advance

consti2tion 05-24-2020 09:14 PM

1. I don't know what happened to them, nor are the really relevant as you can imagine what a mini fridge, inverter, portable camp oven, and Mr. Buddy heater look like sitting inside of an empty bus. The people at the tax office didn't ask anything about any of it, they looked at the pictures and filed them away somewhere.
2/3. The inverter I had in the bus for the pictures was one I had sitting around just a 2000 watt inverter, running off of the start batteries. You don't even really "need" to hook these items up, just stage it because whoever does the inspection is likely not going to give a rats ass whether it is a MH or just appears to be one. I had a friend of my brothers do the inspection for me. Most people are just interested in the fact that you are attempting to convert it rather than nitpicking it. As long as your lights, horn, brakes, and other safety equipment work that's usually all they need to satisfy the actual inspection.
4. I did not receive a moving permit when I purchased the bus, the seller does not provide that, that it something you will have to procure from your local tax office ( Temp tag etc. )


When I purchased mine it was from a school district, some ISD administrator signed it for the school district. There is usually a penalty in the state of Texas when it comes to registering/transferring a vehicle into your name if you do it more than 30 days after the purchase if I remember correctly. It's XX.XX amount per month not to exceed XXX.XX amount.

Hope this helps, some of it is foggy now as it's been awhile since I went through the process. Sorry I was late to respond, been in the middle of settling our home, purchasing a new one and getting settled in.

adic27 05-28-2020 02:49 PM

@consti2tion

Thanks for getting back!

aamert 08-05-2020 08:02 AM

Sounds like titling and insurance are two separate steps and equally complicated. I am calling around and running quotes for a bus insurance and having a hard time findings carriers to insure. I am in the DFW area as well.

Sjenks35 08-24-2020 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by consti2tion (Post 357764)
Absolutely glad that this is helping others. If there are any questions or there is anything I can help with please let me know. Thanks for the kudos!

I’m new here and in Texas as well. This is a great thread. I want to make sure I have this right because I’m about to purchase a bus later this week.

So if I understood this correctly it’s best to take out the seats and install the 4 things to make it an “rv” prior to ever getting the title in my name? That way I can title
It in my name and have it Registered as an RV at the same time? Thanks for your help

o1marc 08-24-2020 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sjenks35 (Post 402328)
I’m new here and in Texas as well. This is a great thread. I want to make sure I have this right because I’m about to purchase a bus later this week.

So if I understood this correctly it’s best to take out the seats and install the 4 things to make it an “rv” prior to ever getting the title in my name? That way I can title
It in my name and have it Registered as an RV at the same time? Thanks for your help

There may be a time penalty for titling and registering it a period after purchase. You can title it without registration.

SMMTX 08-24-2020 08:20 PM

Hi, You might want to check with your county tax office. I was told by TX DPS that my county, Comal, required a sheriff's written report showing the living stuff mentioned above. Apparently some counties in TX like to stay in the mix. Also the guy I picked up the bus from in Klein ISD did not date the title, so I can start the process when I am ready. Otherwise 15 days to penalty. Maybe ask for that. You need a B drivers license if you plan to drive it to any step in the process. Written and driving test. Appointments jammed up so not fast on that. May need air brake endorsement. Just start your demo and start that process too... If you are lucky they will both get done lol.
Call your local county tax office in a slow time of day and get the scoop in RR.

AGearHead4Life 08-25-2020 10:57 AM

Hey! I see that we're both in Spring Branch. I'll shoot you a PM and see if you're interested in talking shop about bus projects sometime.


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