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Old 02-24-2003, 09:16 AM   #1
Ox
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Has ANYONE registered a Class 8 truck in Arizona as an RV?

I understand residents in other states have done it.

I tried this morning and was promptly blown off by the local Motor Vehicle Department. The Enforcement division is the next stop. Without going into the frustrating details, the first MVD basically said a Truck-Tractor can not be classified as an RV unless it has an extended box attached, not just a sleeper.

If ANYONE has DETAILS (gotta be details) on Arizona registration, post it. Names, reg numbers, offices that do it, etc. I'll post what I find as the hassle develops.

Commercial plates will run me $1,526 plus hitting the scales plus getting a CDL. Ggggrrrrrrr
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Old 02-24-2003, 12:45 PM   #2
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Chris,
My experience in Ca. is that it can't be done by telephone and is not easy in person. It depends of who you talk to, at what office, and what mood that person is in that day. I had to identify sections of the Ca Vehicle Code that supported my case. I had to try to convince that person to follow the vehicle code. That person resisted to the point of saying "sue me". I had pictures of before and after alterations. I had a list of changes that were made. I spoke softly and was persistant. I prevailed. E-mail me for more info....abillramsey@hotmail.com

99 Volvo VNL64T/610 Motorhome
2001 Alpha Gold 39'10"
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Old 02-24-2003, 08:15 PM   #3
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I responded to Chris's post via e-mail.
We need to know the specific requirements for the State of Arizona. Then we can figure out how to meet them if Suzy Q does not already qualify.

None of my conversions has been turned down in any State. Joe in Missouri had planned to build a bed all along. As i understand it, He is going to have the bed fabricated before he registers his Volvo. Missouri has the toughest requirements of any State I have seen.

onezman

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Old 02-25-2003, 08:05 AM   #4
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I wrote a more inclusive article on motorhome registration for those interested under the topic "Larry Zeigler" (That's me)

Larry
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Old 03-01-2003, 05:26 PM   #5
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Some thoughts about this issue:

It is likely to be easy to register a conversion such as a Showhauler as an RV. Once the licensing folks see one, it is obvious it's an RV. (Another good argument for one over a 5er. Of course, the clerk may have a hard time getting in when the dogs are in there.) :-)

HOWEVER: in reality, a vehicle used as a power unit to pull a 5th wheel is NOT an RV. If you were doing that with a pickup, would the pickup be an RV? Not in a million years.
What you really need to do is the same as with a pickup - which is some kind of NON-COMMERCIAL truck registration. Check around and see what kind of registration is used by someone hauling horses for their own use, or a MD truck for a 5th wheel power unit. Follow that lead. You should be more likely to have success, and less likely to have a bunch of regulatory hassle. I am guessing that the conversion to a tractor with a pickup-like bed being completed before you attempt the registration is more likely to facilitate success, too.
I'm a government lawyer, so I see the distinction between the 2 categories pretty easily. (And in some states, since the tractor used to pull an RV is clearly not an RV, you might get some really nasty enforcement flack from someone if they wanted to push an inquiry about registration fraud. That would be really unpleasant. Consider that someone transporting 5ers for pay, not for their own use, would in fact be driving a commercial vehicle, and if they used a converted tractor to do it, would be in a much different posture than you. The possibility that such a use could occur will lead regulators to be very cautious about how they respond to a registration attempt.)
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Old 03-01-2003, 07:44 PM   #6
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Hi Doug,

I don't want to disagree with a government lawyer, but these Volvos can be and are used as RVs for trips of up to several days. I have taken a number of two and three day trips living in a Volvo conversion. There are places to shower etc., at many many campgrounds, truckstops etc throughout the US.

Many OTR truckers live full time in their tractors. Tractors can offer a variety of accommidations for living quarters.

If a tractor conversion meets the legal requirements for a particular State and it is legally registered as a motorhome in that State, certainly no fraud is involved.

Requirements vary a good deal from State to State. Turns out Arizona is a very difficult State to register this type of conversion in.

IMHO, State "A" cannot question a vehicle legally registered in State "B". While it is possible State A may refuse to register the vehicle as registered in State B, the operator of such vehicle violates no laws by drivng his legally registerd vehicle in or through State A.

Larry
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Old 03-02-2003, 04:21 PM   #7
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You are correct that the "Full Faith and Credit" clause should preclude such behavior. That doesn't mean it will always be a successful response in the field. I have found some "interesting" interpretations from various folks which are clearly not correct, but they have persisted and not been willing to address the errors. (And unfortunately, motor carrier enforcement personnel tend to be trained to exercise their discretion againt everyone, leading to some pretty interesting results. We have some interesting experiences with WSP's interpretations of statutes in my office, leading to some serious conflicts.)
I spent several years OTR, and while I liked my nicely equipped trucks, it would take a lot more to make me willing to travel that way in a bobtail and call it an RV. Bobtailing is ok until you run into slippery roads of some kind, even wet, as the lack of weight on the rear can make for some interesting experiences. I happen to not like pivoting on the front axle. :-)
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Old 03-02-2003, 05:43 PM   #8
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The bobtailing issue being mentioned above brings to mind the question-Would tandum axels help bobtailing on slick surfaces or would it make any/little differance?....In all my driving experience I never did any bobtailing....empty dry vans and some flats but I never hooked up or dropped a trailer they were always ready to go then I arrived at the dock.....geof
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Old 03-02-2003, 09:30 PM   #9
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Freightliner is rebuilding tractors in Toole Utah prices are $36,000 with a warranty....I looked at one Saturday and they are first class.... FYI for those of you that don't want to get into private sales....they are converted to daycab configeration so If you wanted a C&C for a Showhauler or NRC....and you want a used unite that will save you $40,000 over new....they seem to have a reasonable deal....we have FYDA Freightliner here and they have a good reputation among most I have talked to....again FYI...NRC will compete with Showhauler and any other builder as per their VP which is nice to know.....So far the only differance is the insulation package I can see ....as I get nearer to crunch time I will post differanctes and costs and any deals they throw....I still haven't made up my mind as to a Volvo 610 tractor and Airstream trailer or a NRC/Showhauler configuration....Decisions Decisions...I did run into a guy with a Ford 9000 tractor with all three types of hitches on board...sliding 5th and under it, in to the rear, a recesssed ball for a gooseneck an a roto-drop hitch for tags....interesting idea...he can haul anything....geof
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Old 03-14-2003, 07:42 PM   #10
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I am new to the forum and it's taking me a while to catch up on all the old posts so this is my first post. I have privately emailed onezman and Bill R with my concerns over registration and a CDL requirement but I haven't got it figured out yet. I would be satisfied with a non-commercial registration if that existed here in California, but a few years back I was charged a commercial surcharge for a van registration which the DMV person said was a standard requirement unless I had a permanent camper conversion.

Anyway, I just wanted to comment on geof's and Doug's earlier comments on bobtailing over slippery roads. When I drove professionally, pulling out of Minnesota, I bobtailed on slick, snow covered roads several times with both twin-screws and single-axles and the twin-screw does help a little, although its main advantage is traction from a stop. When you hit a slick spot it's still pretty easy to swap ends (I've done with both drives on). However, a load doesn't really help that much. Once pulling out of Chicago during a snowstorm with a fully loaded 40' reefer (78,500 lbs.), I hit a slick spot on the freeway and the tractor fishtailed violently back and forth at least 5 times before I got it back. Luckily, it had power steering (many didn't in those days) or I might not have been able to keep up with it. I wouldn't have been on the road if that jerk of a dispatcher wouldn't have forced me to be under threat job loss. I'm glad those days are over.

I'd still love to hear more on non-commercial registration from anyone who's done it and how they did so. Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2003, 08:35 PM   #11
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Hi Mike,

I wrote a column concerning registration on the "Larry Zeigler" (that's me) section of truckconversion.net. You might check that
forum.

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Old 03-14-2003, 09:42 PM   #12
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When the roads get bad....I'm the first one in the truck stop with a lot lizzard or two and we sweat the storm out together.....sorta.....not only that but I get the best pick....;&gt....geof
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Old 03-14-2003, 11:36 PM   #13
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Thanks Larry,
I did read all the posts in your "Larry Zeigler" section and I will attempt to use the techniques you suggested in your "Registering a Tractor As A Motorhome" post. I have read all the statutes in the California Vehicle Code but their definition of a "housecar," as the code calls a motorhome, is vague. The pertinent portion of CA. VC ß 362 reads:

A "house car" is a motor vehicle originally designed, or permanently altered, and equipped for human habitation, or to which a camper has been permanently attached. A motor vehicle to which a camper has been temporarily attached is not a house car...A house car shall not be deemed to be a motortruck.

I'm not certain if the word permanently means that only an integral sleeper would qualify and modular style, detachable sleepers would be precluded. The statute does not specify exactly what equipment is required to qualify as "equipped for human habitation," and I haven't yet discovered whether any other written requirements exist that are not included in the vehicle code. Bill R said the info is scattered throughout the CVC but I haven't found anything else yet. If anyone knows, please post it or let us know where to find it.

As I said, I would be fine with a non-commercial registration but the code seems to imply that all trucks, even pick-ups and vans, are commercial vehicles for purposes of registration (and thus will pay some amount of surcharge). It's probably just a revenue thing. I don't know how much commercial plates for a tractor are here, but I'll bet it's high (and commercial reg. would mean a CDL requirement and all the other headaches that go along with that).
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Old 03-15-2003, 04:18 AM   #14
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Bill registered his Volvo in California just as I sold it to him with no additional modifications.

A 610 Volvo has an integral air ride sleeper. Many truckers live full time in their trucks. Therefore, they are fit for human habitation. The Volvo was "permanently altered" by removing an axle and shortning the frame. Before and after pictures may be helpful.

The Volvo already has a bed. I install a microwave and refrigerator. I now install shore power also and can install inverters.
A pota potty or chamber pot can be installed.
There are many creative ways to meet any other requirements inexpensively.

Just be prepared
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Old 03-23-2003, 05:26 PM   #15
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Larry,
An update on my search. I spoke with someone in the DMV's main office and discovered that a set of written requirements does exist in a DMV manual. The requirements are very similar to the Missouri requirements posted by JoeHDVoyager on December 08, 2002 under "Tennessee Says "No" to Volvo Motorhome". The DMV official was willing to read them to me but informed me that they cannot be issued to the public. When I inquired as to how the public would be able to meet those requirements if not allowed to see them, she admitted that I had a good point but reiterated that her supervisor forbid giving out any copies to the public. I haven't physically gone into the local DMV office yet (I see that as a last resort) because I don't relish the thought of standing in line for four hours only to be told I can't have a copy. However, now that I know the written requirements exist and I know what to ask for, I will try that next.

Mike
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Old 03-23-2003, 06:59 PM   #16
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mike E:
Larry,
"they cannot be issued to the public. When I inquired as to how the public would be able to meet those requirements if not allowed to see them, she admitted that I had a good point but reiterated that her supervisor forbid giving out any copies to the public.
---------------------------

Hi Mike,

That sounds like total BS to me. The DMV people are notorious for making up requirements on the spot. What authority do they have to withhold public information?
National Security? Ha Ha. None. They have none. They simply don't want to register a tractor as a motorhome, so they will feed you a line. I know it can be done.
Bill Ramsey has done it. I have another customer in California who is going to seek help from Bill in getting his registered next week. Im betting he gets it done. I also recently sold another Volvo that will be going to Ca in about a month. I'M not saying its easy. I'M saying it can be done. If your vehicle meets the written requirements, you are able to go over the requirements point by point, and you are willing to stand up for your rights.

Later on,
Larry
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Old 03-24-2003, 09:00 AM   #17
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Hi Larry,
Yes, it sounded like BS to me too, and it really irritated me to be given the run around like that. And I didn't even tell them I planned to convert a class 8 truck so this is just their usual degree of obstinance. However, Bill R offered to mail me his info packet which I'm sure will help. In the meantime I will go into my local DMV office since it is a little harder to dismiss a determined person who is standing right in front of you. A person with local knowledge advised me that the least busy time at my local DMV is the day after a holiday which sounds like good advice anywhere but since I can't wait until Memorial Day I will grin and bear the line. I'll post anything I get.
Mike
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Old 03-24-2003, 05:30 PM   #18
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Mike,

I think it would be next to impossible to get the DMV in CA to agree to register something they can't see for themselves. It's tough enough when you have the vehicle sitting outside. Without it, describing what you plan to do is not likely to make much headway IMO.

I have a buyer in Ca who I think plans to enlist Bill Ramsey's assistance in registering his Volvo, hopefully this week. I'll let you know what happens.


I currently have 2 white 2000 Volvo with autoshift transmissions. One conversion is just about finished. I should have a webpage for it by Wednesday night. I'll post the site on the for sale section of this forum then. This Volvo is my best conversion ever. This one is already sold, but I have a couple more in the pipeline.

Larry
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Old 03-27-2003, 12:54 PM   #19
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Mike,
I gave Bill R the info as how to get it regestered in Ca. If he sends it to you, you should not have any trouble. Some of the requirments was that it be two axle, Have a bed, refiidge?, cabnets, Porta-poty, sink, not all have to be presant. You must look in the vehical code book in health and safty, page 168 I think not shure on page bill may have that. You Can look it up on line just go to state of ca web site and find dmv site and look up code book.

I did my Pete 330 last year after paying 1,200 Bucks the year before. This year was $317.00-----

Hope Bill sends His info to you as I misplaced mine. Good luck Mike.

Steve and Nancy O'Bosky
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1995 collins two slides
(AKA Pete and Pete's draggin')
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Old 03-29-2003, 03:30 AM   #20
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Thanks Steve,
Bill R did send me a package and it was interesting to see all the things done to his truck. However, the package did not include the California requirements or info on how to get it registered in California. I know that Bill's truck had already been registered as a motorhome in Oregon so perhaps many or most of the modifications had already been done and they were sufficient for Ca. However, I will be starting from scratch so I need to know the actual equipment required. I know such a list does exist and I will try to get someone at the DMV to give it to me. The info is not in the vehicle code. It is in a manual that the DMV uses but is not generally available to the public. If it is available online, I haven't found it yet but if anyone knows, please let me know. As a law student, I have access to Westlaw and Lexisnexis Research System (legal databases) so I can easily pull up any statute or regulation from any state but it helps if I already know the section numbers. I have been a little preoccupied this week due to the birth of my new son so I will get back on it next week. Later.
Mike
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