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Old 08-20-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: sacramento
Posts: 2
Default Hdt as toter, not for hire?

Hi all, new member here:
I have seen a couple of similar threads here but nothing that answers my questions.
I have a 45' semi trailer that is converted from moving van to rv/toy hauler and therefore needs to be towed with hdt with 5th wheel plate.

My question is: can I use my 1984 Ford F9000 that I have been building for this purpose (stupidly without considering legality) as a private, not for hire, truck?
I live in California and am coming to realize, after talking to some not very sympathetic DMV personnel, that this may not be an inexpensive combination.
My options may be: run as private NFH with all associated costs,
Stretch frame and build rv onto truck(can I still retain 5th wheel plate?
Replace 5th wheel with transfer trailer turret and permanently attatch trailer to truck
thereby converting truck into rv (just a thought)
Sell semi trailer and buy/build toter and stacker trailer for my racecars.

Easiest is private hdt/semi trailer combination, but how to make this affordable?
Also, how to circumvent dpf regs?
Is there a loophole for vehicles that are used for recreation?

Thanks for your time, I am looking forward to any knowledge you may have to share regarding this combination in California.

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Old 08-21-2013, 08:56 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 1,814

Have you read through the resource guide thread in the Escapees HDT forum? HDT - Escapees Discussion Forum

That is the place you'll find the most people pulling big recreational trailers with a HDT. I don't know much about it since I've got a motorhome I don't have to worry about the logistics of what you're trying to do.

'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:07 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527

Very murky issue that has been much discussed, but nobody really seems to know. Plus the rules vary wildly from state to state. Here in Ohio you can register the truck as "heavy duty non-commercial" by signing an affidavit that the truck will never be used for commercial purpose, and the plate is about the same price as a pickup truck. The trailer can undergo a title change to a "house vehicle" by again signing an affidavit that it meets the minimum standards of an rv. I did that myself for a previous rig, very easy. But I have read on the forums that California is much tougher, and Florida for example will not issue a non-commercial registration for any vehicle with a fifth wheel. Which does not make sense as every "fifth wheel" camper out there has to be towed with... you guessed it, a fifth wheel. I have never seen a legal distinction between a full size fifth wheel plate and an rv type fifth wheel, but the LEOs out there do seem to know the difference.

The first thing I would look into would be having the trailer re-titled as an rv (or camper, or house vehicle, or whatever their terminology is there). After that the truck can only be considered commercial if you are towing a commercial trailer, so the fact of an rv trailer may ease the transition of the truck to non-commercial. No different than the guys out there towing a "real" (as in factory built, no offense) fifth wheel camper. And there are a bunch of them.

On that subject, from reading other forums, I have seen folks with a class 8 truck like your have to actually install the minimum requirements of an rv as defined by your state into the truck itself in order to re-title the truck as an RV, which would have nothing to do with the trailer you are towing. Keeping mind of course that the shiny new rv title and registration would preclude you from ever using the truck for commercial purpose again. Look into your states definition of an rv for titling purposes and see if you can install that minimum amount of equipment in the truck to pull it off. For example if they require a toilet, you really don't need to install a full bathroom, you could just hide one under a cabinet or some such thing after titling. Or if it requires 110 power, as small breaker panel and cord to plug in is really no big deal.

Good luck.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: sacramento
Posts: 2

Thanks for the helpful replies. I have gone to the Escapees site as recommended in and found
some great info and links that will definitely help.
I never knew there was such a great community surrounding hdt/toter/rvs.
I think I have a good combination here, hopefully I can make it work.
Otherwise I'll have to start all over again and build a toter and pull a stacker.
Since I work as hdt fabricator, this is not too far out of line for me but I sure would prefer to just run what I already have...
thanks again
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527

check the hdt rally site as well, they have some good info there as well: HDT Rally those guys are all doing the same thing as you, just towing a "factory" camper.

glad to have you on the site.
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Perry
Posts: 1

Originally Posted by hot rod View Post
. . . I have seen folks with a class 8 truck like your have to actually install the minimum requirements of an rv as defined by your state into the truck itself in order to re-title the truck as an RV, which would have nothing to do with the trailer you are towing.
Good luck.
First of all, I'm no expert, and I didn't even drive by a Holiday Inn Express today . . .

Hot rod's suggestion may be the most practical solution. But here's a thought: How much traveling are you actually going to do with the semi rig? If it will be a once in a while thing, sell the tractor and rent one when you want to travel/move. If you want to travel a lot, that is not practical.

Good luck! I would love to do something similar to a moving van trailer, but still way too early to even give it serious thought. Just lurking about in this forum to keep my ideas from wandering too far from reality . . .
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:58 AM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Beloit
Posts: 120

Not sure on your state, but in the midwest, you can register your trailer as a RT (recreation trailer) and truck as RV (recreation vehicle). Provided you are never using the rig to make money and have your 4 of the 6 things in the truck (running water, cooking device, fridge, heat/ac, power such as generator/inverter, operational toilet) and trailer you should have no problems with using it as you plan to. I had a 45' drop deck trailer with a liftgate and a freightliner century class truck with the traditional condo sleeper. Never had any issues running with that. I was never pulled over, but always kept a copy of the state laws with th epages marked and highlighted on what makes a RT and RT and an RV and RV.

Good luck,

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