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Old 03-07-2017, 09:42 PM   #1
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Default 45' moving van conversion

GREAT site with Tons of information!!! I could, and have, spent hours searching different threads for useful information and will continue to do so.
Like many of you I have always wanted to own my semi truck and am so consumed that I can name the brand of oncoming truck from a long distance, almost turning it into a game i play by myself when traveling, and I am in sales and drive 40,000 miles a year. My wife and also love camping and have a 31' Winnebago we take to the lake and horseshoes but there has always been something missing.
Ten years ago we bought a 1989 International 9307 and an older drop van trailer, cut some windows and doors in the trailer and had one heck of a horse hauler for 1/10 the cost of a dually and goose neck horse trailer would cost, but we never got around to putting an interior in it and the kids came along so at a time when we needed the money we sold it, not losing a single $ I might add.
Rules and regulations were different back then and I am still not sure what the best options are for me or the setup yet but we will figure that out when the time comes, right now we are still building.
So what I have is 1987 White with a Mack engine it, don't know much about it and this point other than its a mechanical motor. Plan on cleaning it up and painting it flat black with dual chrome exhaust. Bought it sight unseen aside from pictures for $3K. Have it home now, a $450 tow bill since I didn't want to the chance of driving it until I know what condition it is. It starts, stays running, shifts into reverse and at least the first 3 years, it has an Eaton 9 speed.
The trailer is a an old 1988 a mayflower drop deck moving van. Paid $3500 for it. Back 16' will be horse stalls and the remainder living quarters, for me, the wife, and two boys under the age of 8. Front section will be living room and use the hard wood floor already in the trailer, kitchen is next and then the bathroom leading back to the horse stalls. Bedrooms will be two lofts.
Here are a few photos of what I am been able to get done in just a few short weeks.....
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:45 PM   #2
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A few more photos, sorry but I couldn't figure out how to attach more than one photo for my first post.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:47 PM   #3
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The trailer
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:48 PM   #4
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Before any construction
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:49 PM   #5
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First wall being built
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:49 PM   #6
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Looks great. I have absolutely no building skills so I love seeing other people able to do stuff like this.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:44 PM   #7
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So as a follow up for all those that like to bend the rules or the folks that are Stickler for the rules........

When I had my previous set up I lived in Michigan and applied for a farm endorsement. This allowed me to operate a vehicle with airbrakes and pull any size trailer as long as I stayed within 150 air miles of my farm. Some will argue with me and tell me this wasn't possible but I managed to find a loophole that allowed me to drive that truck and trailer anywhere I wanted to in the United States, without a CDL. How? It was quite simple when you understood what a CDL stood for, as long as everything on board belong to me and was not for sale I was a not for hire vehicle and fell under no more rules and regulations then the Griswold family on a family vacation. That was back in 2008 2009 timeframe and the rules have since changed.

Now I live in Ohio and from what I could gather the rules now stipulate that if you are driving a vehicle that weighs over 26,000 pounds you must have a CDL class a to operate. If you want to pool a commercial trailer, one that is defined again is having a gross vehicle weight rating of over 26,000 pounds, you then also must take the combination skills test.
I have read a few threads that indicate to me that it is possible to have this commercial trailer that is 45 feet in length re-registered to an RV trailer. Again, I am building the trailer to be an RV anyways so all of the requirements such as a stovetop a refrigerator etc. will be Met. I have also read other state that if your truck and trailer is under 65 feet that it can be registered as an RV as well. I don't have the room in the truck to go through the effort of putting in all the necessities for an RV, never mind the fact that the RV laws state that if the vehicle is over 26,000 pounds it cannot have a fifth wheel hitch attached and be considered an RV.
So my question is simply if I am successful in registering the trailer as an RV, can I then only take the written airbrakes endorsement for the truck to be legal?
I hope I explained this correctly and look forward to what I'm sure will be very in degrees of opinions.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:51 AM   #8
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The CDL laws vary so much state to state it seems. I have Zero clue.

But I will say that floor in your trailer is gorgeous!!
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:13 PM   #9
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Surprised by the lack of opinions...I mean responses. I figured I would get 20 different suggestions for registering the tractor, trailer and myself. Guess I better do my homework. Been cold here for the past week or so so I haven't been able to make much progress. More photos will come after I get a few walls up
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Old 03-13-2017, 10:23 PM   #10
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Best information might be found here: HDT - Escapees Discussion Forum

There are some threads at the top there that probably have the info you need.

My .02, forget about "commercial" if you aren't using this for anything "commercial." From your description it doesn't sound like you intend to use it for "commercial." If I'm correct about that then build the trailer to satisfy the "recreational vehicle" requirements in your state. You should be able to find those over at the Escapees forum I linked to. Now, about that truck. I would do whatever I can to equip it to satisfy the same rv requirements and get it licensed as a motorhome. You should be able to. I bet others have and that info will be in those sticky threads over there.

If I'm wrong and you are going to do commercial things, none of this applies.
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Old 03-13-2017, 11:32 PM   #11
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Definitely not doing anything commercial.
If I read the regulations correctly it will be easy to get trailer registered as RV trailer and not commercial trailer. There really is no room in the truck to have it registered as RV. If I had a large stand up bunk it would be possible.
I found the same thread as you noted and have been reading all night. I think that what it comes down to is how hard you can sell it when challenged.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:28 PM   #12
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no CDL rules like that in Texas....all that is required (but rarely enforced) is the Class B (air brake) endorsement.

I've been stopped TWICE (by curious Texas Rangers) who used the lack of a front license plate as their probable cause....and not one word was mentioned about endorsements, weights or other requirements.

One of the stops was by a younger (new) officer who had is boss (sergeant) along for the ride/training...we talked about LOTS of stuff - and not once was a CDL, weights or endorsements mentioned.
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Old 03-16-2017, 02:07 AM   #13
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Well after doing some more research I do believe I am good to go as is with no requirements, although I will take the farm endorsement written test that allows me to use air brakes.
I will keep the pictures coming as I complete more of he trailer and get to the tractor.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:37 PM   #14
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Windows for the horses are in
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:38 PM   #15
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Loft for the boys to sleep
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:40 PM   #16
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These will cover the aluminum cargo bars
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:41 PM   #17
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Interior of truck being gutted
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:50 PM   #18
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I didn't read the link, so forgive me if I'm restating something(a lot of people think they know and are clueless) I have been in contact with FMC and State of Michigan dot. Question #21 on FMC site may answer any questions you have. I race for pure hobby(more like vacation) since I rarely win money(claim it under normal income), don't have sponsors, etc, I am not considered commercial and was told by the FMC that I do not need a CDL, although he encouraged me to get one, to drive my motorhome and 38' stacker trailer. I agreed with the FMC guy that I might get hastled by a road officer, towed or parked, but I'm taking my chances until it happens. I carry supporting documentation from MDOT and FMC and two years tax returns to show I'm not a racing business. I maintain the speed limit and try to do everything "proper" as to not attract attention. The gray area for you is that your truck is not a motorhome. I'm not sure how that plays out. Good luck.
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:30 AM   #19
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I have moved on from what I need to drive this rig. I am not doing anything commercially so as long as I have air brake endorsement and am marked as nom commercial not for hire I am good to go.
i will put a different spin on the whole CDL thing, if I ain't doing anything commercially why would I go through the effort and cost of a CDL? I had a DOT officer tell me if he pulled me over as a non commercial rig and found out I had a CDL that it would raise red flags, basically saying if I didn't need the CDL then don't get a CDL.
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Old 07-06-2017, 05:53 PM   #20
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Truck got painted today...semi flat black using nothing but cans of spray paint. The visor will get chrome plaited. Need to clean up the aluminum and get new chrome wheel simulators.
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