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Old 06-03-2003, 03:45 PM   #1
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Been thinking about buying a bus for conversion. Mostly I've been looking on E-Bay and think I see a bunch of good deals. The ultimate question occurred to me yesterday (this is aside from whether it is a good idea, whether I will ever finish the project, which is the best bus, et.al.).

The question is if I buy a bus in NJ and want to take it home to LA will I need a chauffer's license. As I understand the law in LA it would require me to have the license to run a bus. I know I have to go through weigh stations and the seats are likely to be in the bus when I buy it. I haven't tackled the LA question of how to register the beast as an RV. I assume that I can get a temporary permit in most states, but what about the license?

Any opinions, thoughts?

Thanks,
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Old 06-03-2003, 03:45 PM   #2
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Been thinking about buying a bus for conversion. Mostly I've been looking on E-Bay and think I see a bunch of good deals. The ultimate question occurred to me yesterday (this is aside from whether it is a good idea, whether I will ever finish the project, which is the best bus, et.al.).

The question is if I buy a bus in NJ and want to take it home to LA will I need a chauffer's license. As I understand the law in LA it would require me to have the license to run a bus. I know I have to go through weigh stations and the seats are likely to be in the bus when I buy it. I haven't tackled the LA question of how to register the beast as an RV. I assume that I can get a temporary permit in most states, but what about the license?

Any opinions, thoughts?

Thanks,
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Old 06-03-2003, 06:20 PM   #3
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I don't know about CA. your best bet is to go to MAK's board www.busconversions.com/newsboard/index.html or Ian's board www.busnut.com/bbs/ and ask about a CA license & title. We are in TN. We titled our bus as a motorhome and have a standard passenger type tag. We do not need a commercial license (CDL). You shouldn't need a CDL (chauffeur's license) as you are not driving a commercial rig. Each state does things differently so when you ask make sure you include what state you are in. I had to e-mail the State in order to get the info I needed. Do not ask local DMV as they are usually unable to answer correctly. You do not need to stop at the weigh stations. Make a sign to stick in the window "Private Coach Not For Hire"and cover any commercial signage with Duct tape so the sign is basically unreadable. We brough our bus home (SC to NC) with no tags, just the 30 day temp tag from my jeep that we had just bought (no documentation to show it was for anything). You might want to use a temporary tag (get from used car dealer). Don't forget to drag your bill of sale along with you.

Lorna
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1972 Eagle 05 Bus Conversion (Self Conversion) www.freewebs.com/aluminumasylum
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Old 06-03-2003, 07:05 PM   #4
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As stated, put a sign saying Private Coach over any destination sign and drive away. You don't need a commercial license, since you are not hauling passengers or using it for commercial purposes. You also don't need to stop at weigh stations. We have driven our bus from coast to coast and border to border, both before and after converting it, and never been bothered, including in California.

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Old 06-04-2003, 09:19 AM   #5
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Actually, it depends on the state you live in. When I bought my Class 8 truck, I had truck plates (which cost me $850.00) but no CDL required. In Ohio there is a provision in the code which states that if it is not going to be used commercially no CDL is required. I put "Not for Hire" on the doors.

Check your state.

BTW: Do not rely on state officials to give you the correct info, you may have to do alot of digging. It took me 5 or 6 people before I found someone who knew the code and could direct me to the right information.

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Old 06-04-2003, 09:49 AM   #6
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I think Warpath is probably right. I called Texas, where we were going to register the bus, and was told that as long as it was not purchased for use in commecial service no CDL was required. I think it is possible a cop might pull you over and disagree. I based my reply on what I was told by Texas DMV in Livingston.

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Old 06-05-2003, 03:42 AM   #7
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Okay, this has been beat to Yellowknife and back on the bus boards...You need a COMMERCIAL DRIVER"S LICENCE for when you are PAID to drive. Get it COMMERICAL...PAID. To drive your PRIVATE BUS home from that auction or where ever you bought it, all you need is your regular driver's license. Unless you are like Greg Paciga and his infamous Arizona Eagle (long story...But don't pick up hitch-hikers) no one will bother you. When you get back to CA then you park it and start the red tape. Some folks believe that because a bus weighs so much (30,000 +/- lbs converted) that you need a comercial license. I was told (don't forget I'm in TN) that it is how the vehicle is USED and TITLED that determines the Driver's license requirements. For example..My kids have a scooter (one of the Italian type scooters). In order for us to put it on the road it needs to be tagged..as a motorcycle..they would need a Motorcyle Driver's License in addition to their regular Driver's License. Your bus will be in transit, Just drive the silly thing. Make sure they show you where the hi-low beam switch is, how to turn off the bus, how to start it, at what point the air brakes have enough air in them to release (no air & brakes stay on), Don't run out of fuel (most don't have fuel guages or they don't work..you do not want to try to start a fuel starved engine). How to adjust the seat. Get them to show you how to make some turns...Short driving test and take notes, you will not remember anything when you get halfway across the country and need help.

Lorna
1974 Apache Solid State Pop-Up www.freewebs.com/schinskeapache
1972 Eagle 05 Bus Conversion (Self Conversion) www.freewebs.com/aluminumasylum
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Old 06-05-2003, 04:01 PM   #8
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My understanding is also: Commercial=CDL Private=Regular License in Texas

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Old 06-06-2003, 03:36 AM   #9
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Regardless of rather the vehicle is used for commercial purposes, how can you drive it without an Air Brake endorsement on your license. Most of the larger vehicles here have air brakes, it would be very dangerous to be driving up and down the road without proper understanding of your braking system....

The liscensing system would seem to be flawed in this respect. This should be a requirement.??
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Old 06-06-2003, 05:23 AM   #10
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As much as I hate inconvienence, rigger your right we all should have to go through some sort of training and testing. I actually bought the CDL training manuels and took the CDL written test and passed that. I did not take the driving portion, because my truck was off getting converted. I will tell you the written test and manuels provided a ton of information and help me now go through a pre departure check list as well as a better understanding of rules and regulations. Also the air brake information was awesome. You really have to respect the size and weight of these vehicles, or you can be in big trouble.

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Old 06-06-2003, 05:27 AM   #11
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Rigger,
I am not sure what you mean by an air brake endorsement. I've never heard of it in any state I've ever been in. I know people from Ohio, Arizona, Texas, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, and several other states who have bus conversions, or buses in the process of beign converted. None have ever needed a CDL, myself included. Have a friend who just retired from the Arizona driver's license bureau and asked him about an air brake endorsement. He's never heard of it either. Don't some Class A diesel pushers have air brakes?

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Old 06-06-2003, 05:57 AM   #12
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Nick -
Actually, there is a air brake endorment to the the CDL license. So you have Class A,B & C CDL and then the following endorsements to your CDL specific to your application.
(P) Transporting passengers, air brakes, combination vehicles, (T) doubles & tribles, (N) Tankers & (H) Hazadous.

Now in New York I heard there is a motorhome endorsement that you must get to your standard drivers license. Anyone here this?

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Old 06-06-2003, 07:29 AM   #13
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Warpath,
In Texas there is a seperate license needed if a vehicle is over a certain weight limit, be it an RV or whatever.

I do not think having some sort of test requirement is a bad idea. Too many people who have never driven anything larger than a Chevrolet buy a big Class A motorhome and head for the highway with no idea of what it takes to safely drive and stop something that big. I am a big beleiver in Dick Reed's RV Driving School.

While my earlier posts state that no CDL is needed for a bus used as an RV, that does not mean it should not be required.
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Old 06-06-2003, 06:13 PM   #14
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The airbrake endorsement apparently is only required for CDL as mentioned in the above post...however any Class 8 conversions and some buses have air brakes along with some Medium Duty trucks...
You really should not be driving these vehicles without proper knowledge of your braking system.

You should know how to test the adjustment of the brakes and how to adjust the slack adjusters, drain the moisture from the tanks, how to brake on steep downgrades to avoid fading, proper bleed off rates, the list goes on and on....

It is a whole different ball game with air brakes.

Many previous posts deal with not having to obtain a CDL, sure the vehicles are not being used for commercial purposes but they are still
big heavy vehicles built for commercial use and designed for commercial drivers.

The common sense thing would be to not try and beat the rules through a few loopholes but to take the tests and be confident that you can share the highways with other drivers without endangering your life and the lifes of others...

It is really quite scary to think one can buy a
Class 8 truck off the lot, hook up a 39 foot trailer and drive off down the road at 70 MPH with no experience or training in the trucks systems....its a heavy piece of equipment to turn into an 8 ton spinning top at 70 MPH when someone hits the Jake Brake switch to see what it is for when the road is slippery!!!

I guess I am starting to rant a bit but it is really quite a safety issue...

Have fun but be safe out there with those bigger rigs...
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