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Old 12-23-2017, 12:08 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arlington Heights
Posts: 34
Default Truck vs RV: newbie license title questions

Getting RV police inspection and subsequent RV plates seems a no brainer financially, in IL, $475 difference in cost for plates.

Getting a title that says RV.

What are the benefits in doing that?
Compliance DOT?

Iím comfortable financially if itís insured as a truck at proper value given minimal changes I plan. In other words, Iím not feeling the need to insure it for an extra 20000 because I did a conversion.

Is title saying RV or motorhome necessary for getting out of weigh stations and travel log commercial accusations, or, are RV plates enough?

Not clear what I ďgetĒ by switching title to say RV

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Old 12-27-2017, 12:29 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Schaumburg
Posts: 13

From roadfitter (Ken):
In Illinois, you walk in with the title, cash, check or a Discover card in hand - "NO Visa or Master Card" - and you walk out with your plates.
RV/Motorhome plates with NO Inspection, just answer the questions.

"Don't Expand on the Truth"!

From LLonearth (Larry):
Illinois regulations:

A recreational vehicle is defined as "Every camping trailer, motor home, mini-motor home, travel trailer, truck camper or van camper used primarily for recreational purposes and not used commercially nor owned by a commercial business" (625 ILCS 5/1-169).

A motor home, mini-motor home, or van camper displaying Recreational Vehicle (RV) license plates must contain at least four of the following six equipment items:

1) a cooking facility with an on-board fuel source;
2) a gas or electric refrigerator; \
3) a toilet with exterior evacuation;
4) a heating or air conditioning system with an on-board power or fuel source separate from the vehicle engine;
5) a drinkable water supply system that includes at least a sink, a faucet, and a water tank with a an exterior service supply connection;
6) a 110-15 volt electric power supply.

If a van does not meet the RV equipment requirements, the applicant should purchase either passenger or B-truck license plates, depending on the design and use of the vehicle (625 ILCS 5/1-145.01).

From Dennis M (Dennis):
We are registered in Illinois and have had no problems whatsoever.

The main thing to remember is do not offer any more information than is required at registration. I made sure that my Volvo had the minimum mods required, took my paper work to the Elgin SOS office (DO NOT take the truck with you).

Handed the clerk the paper work, said "I need RV plates for this conversion to a motor home", she looked it over, looked up the appropriate page in her three ring binder, looked at me and said "so this is an over-the-road tractor that has been converted to a motor home?" I answered "yes" and walked out with RV plates.

My title says "Volvo Motor Home".

You will need a non-CDL class B operators license for a class 8 tractor (oops, motor home) or a class A operators license if the trailer is over 10k. The written test is a snap - I studied the CDL manual but when I went to take the test (you do have to go to a commercial SOS facility) he asked if I had studied the non-CDL manual. He handed me a small booklet that I read on the spot and then took and passed the test.

When you come back for the driving portion of the test you HAVE to have a Class A or CDL licensed driver with you. The driving test was also a snap, I did not even have to back it up!

No walk around other than the examiner checking the lights and no questions on air brakes.

I had been told you cannot float shift, but when I said I was bit rusty on double clutching the examiner said to shift like I always do. Passed with no problem.

From John (C-IL):
Illinois is a snap to get a conversion like Dennis said.

If you have no need for the CDL just get the class A. In order for the CDL to be valid you have to have a physical card and be on a random drug test list, therefore, getting a CDL is just additional work with no benefit to you.

Conversion just means that you need to have the minimal things for life support, but they do need to be in the truck.

A generator that is permanently attached to the truck, heat, running water, microwave and a dorm fridge will get you there.

While you are doing it the shore power with a couple of outlets to run the microwave, heater and fridge will be a great convenience and also add to the usefulness of the conversion stuff.

The toilet is the hardest part because in Illinois it is supposed to be permanently attached and have the fittings for outside evacuation which means you would probably need a holding tank.

BTW, your running water also needs to have an external fill fitting.

From WildJohn (John):
I second everything posted above.

I live in the far south of Illinois and our local Sec of State office is great.

I went in with all the information related to the laws and a list of the conversions I had done and walked out with the registration.

I had taken the written 'class a noncommercial test' previously in Champaign so all I had to do as to take the driving test.

Now that was interesting since the tester was not sure what test to give so since she was trained as a commercial tester (that facility doesn't offer them) she gave me the complete cdl test. Over 45 minutes on the road test.

She loved the truck (OOPS RV) and that may have influenced how much time she spent ..LOL.. got dinged for shifting going over railroad tracks at about 10mph..oops...

You won't have any problem with it. My only problem was when I upgraded they took off my M rating so I had to end up going through the rider training coarse to get my Motorcycle classification back.

The class was very well worth it. After YEARS of riding I was surprised to learn several points.

From Dennis M (Dennis):
I am not aware of any inspection requirement in IL. I never had one done and, as I noted above, don't offer any more info than needed.

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Old 12-27-2017, 09:29 AM   #3
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Location: St. Paul, MN
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Another advantage of having RV plates, you can drive on parkways and aren't restricted by weight limits on certain other roads. Can operate off "truck route". Because once you are an RV, you are no longer a "Truck."
'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 12-27-2017, 09:30 AM   #4
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Location: St. Paul, MN
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Parking might be easier too. My city doesn't allow trucks to be parked on the street for more than 30 minutes unless actively loading/unloading. But my RV I can park for 48 hours.
'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 01-01-2020, 10:15 AM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arlington Heights
Posts: 34
Default Update: Illinois Chicago Burbs

My experience has been slightly different than whatís been described above.

For people who own a conversion that already has a title saying itís a motor home or RV, as described above (Dennis), no problem.

The interesting question is how Illinois handles your request for RV plates when you have a title that says truck only and GVWR is in the commercial ranges beyond standard D class for Illinois rules. (And caution on drivers license aspects)

DMV gave me form 625 ILCS 5/1 - 145.01, but would not process it based on my word (or photos) or examination on the spot.

It lays out the ďneed 4 of these 6Ē rules to get RV plates.
(My title doesnít say Motor home or RV, itís class H Truck)

I meet the 4 of 6 rules. Minimal modification to truck beyond installing HVAC, cabinets, stove, genset, fridge, pass through was performed. Ie no frame extension, axle chopping, suspension or chassis modification.

I called State Police as directed by the form and my local dmv to arrange inspection. They have said I must apply to change the title first, not just get RV plates after a simple inspection of theirs. I was directed by them to submit photos, a check, and a VSD 190 form to Springfield to run it through as a ďspecially constructed vehicleĒ

This is contrary to what my dmv plate reclassification form states, that ONLY if itís materially altered does it need all that.

So currently, Illinois is sitting on my application with photos, a check and the two forms. I hope to get a response soon to schedule said examination with state police.


Incidentally, Illinois is one of the few states where a title and plates saying RV does not circumvent the need to have a driver license for the proper GVWR of the base vehicle.

In Illinois, an RV (or rental truck even) of less than 16,000 lb is ok on our standard class D driver license most people have. But if your RV has GVWR 16,001 to 25,999, then you need class C drivers license, non commercial. If you are 26001+, itís B or A depending on what you want to tow.

This matters because in theory, if you rent an RV or own one that is over 16000 lb, you need to upgrade your license from standard one. It was a written test, and driving test for my class C, non CDL. And, I was not hassled about having brought my truck to DMV for the test on my standard D license.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:35 PM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arlington Heights
Posts: 34
Default Success in Illinois

Well, after waiting several months and rejecting my application due to a wrong amount on the check.... I resubmitted the application along with several photos of my conversion, ones that went beyond the requested sides, front and rear. I showed the pass through, the HVAC and the generator, and cooking station and Fridge in the photos along with made up bed in the attic.

I got a new title which said Motorhome in the mail last week, and a few days later new plates with a sticker good till 12/2020 and with RV on the plates.

Farmer's would not insure as an RV since it wasn't a factory conversion. It would have needed to say Winnabago or Renegade or something with a model number to be insured by them, or their three subsidiaries.

Progressive did issue me a policy. I will have to shop around as I'm not convinced it was the "best" deal out there, but I'll print up the terms of my policy and make some calls later. I needed something for the RV, this is better than nothing, and its for an RV, not a truck as the old policy stated. Don't want to tempt fate.

Interestingly I never had to arrange for an inspection in person. Not sure why.

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Old 03-04-2021, 10:22 AM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2

All of these responses are very helpful. My additional question to the original topic is the conversion of a semi trailer.
I have drop frame van that we converted to haul 5 racecars for my business. We have decided to close that business and convert the trailer to living quarters in the front 20 ft and "toy hauler" in the rear 33ft for my son's and my racecars. I have looked at the state of IL form and it states there must be a "pass-through". We will not have that as we are a tractor and trailer. I have my CDl so I'm not worried about that. We also satisfy all seven of the requirements. Thoughts or should I start a new thread on this?

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