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Old 12-14-2012, 11:27 PM   #1
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Question S. CA - Suggestions for Rent-For-DMV Test

Here's a wild question, that's a "chicken & egg" challenge.

I've driven very large Ryder trucks for almost 10 years (the 40' One-Way ones). I'm trying to get my class B license to drive a 45' MH, and have successfully passed the written test ("learners permit" had me when I was given it, thinking of what my 16 year old was like when she got the same for a car).

So, the challenge is that I don't yet own a coach at all. I'm fairly certain I could pass the test with a driving school (though I'd love to take at least a 1-day course as I'm sure it would help), but where do you "rent" a coach to train/take the test? I'm fine with paying something reasonable for it, and would prefer something close to what I plan on buying (45' with tag), but I guess you can't be picky.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm in S. Orange County and I think the only place to take the test is in Fullerton (but need to check that out further).

Any /all suggestions appreciated!

Mark
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:49 AM   #2
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:13 AM   #3
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Double check what license you are going with. I just got the Class B Non Commercial California license this year. It was for Over 40' up to just under 45'. If getting a full 45' coach, I understand that you need the Class A non Commercial, and that it does include Pass/Fail Air Brake testing knowledge. On the Class B, they have you run thru it, but it is not graded towards the test.

I also found that I knew more about what I needed then the DMV office where I took the test and got the Permit. They had to get the supervisor, who had to pull out a 'how too' book. The computer system needs to be tricked, and even then, they have to maually cross things out and write things in, at least for the Class B permit.

Last caution, was I did have to take the Class A trucker's written test, which I was not supposed to have to do. I past it, but was just luck. Suggest you study for the Class A trucker's test in case you are asked to take it too. On the actual driving test, at least at the place I took my test in the San Diego area, they make you turn off the rear camera, when doing the 'backing up to a loading dock' test. They use that to be the same as backing into a camp ground. No where in writing is this a requirement, it was how they did things in that office. I explained to the gent helping me with my test, that this is not fair, as I have my mirrors set to work in conjunction with my rear view camera. That if I did not have the camera, I would have the mirror arms out more, and angle the different mirror heads to cover more of the back end of the coach. I was not going to do that just for the test, so did the best i could. The grade you by how close you get to the 'end of the camp space/loading dock'. Take off 1 point for every foot you are away from the end, and fail if you hit the back end. Another interesting twist on my test, was he took off 3 points for me, and that seemed high as I felt I was not 3' away. So I asked him what me measured to, and he said the back bumper. Well we have our Stirling hitch mounted, folded and covered when not in toad towing usage. It is about one foot from the back of the bumper on our set up... So I asked him if I had hit he pylons (They used orange pylon tall cones.) if that would have been a failed. He stopped and thoughtm and sad yes... So, the grade to the bumper, but fail if you hit with something else? (What about the ladder too, another 6" on my coach.).

I do feel that DMV has conflicting rules and not a full grasp on what they did when the extended the Class B requirement on over 40' rigs. And yes, the local office at San Diego may have come up with their own rules when giving the skills test. And hey, they were all real nice, in the office where I got the permit, and also at the skills test for driving - sort of a change to me, as it had been over 7 years since I went into a DMV office. Good to see the change in those two offices staff behavior to the public.

Ok, one other intersting observation. I have a 40' Country Coach Model, that I pay the state of California a 'value' portion fee on the all up DMV fee and registration for the coach. When I asked the DMV if the Class B was based upon 'model' vs 'as measured', they said it went by model. When I stopped at the local Highway Patrol office to ask them, three officers talked for a few minutes. One said he would go by the model, the other two said they would measure, and go by actual measurement. When asked where they measured from, one said from 'bumper to bumper'. The other said from 'mirrors to back of ladder' (he had a Class A rig), if ladder was on the rig. So very clear that this was not a very well rolled out process in California. I had been driving my coach for over 18 months, not catching the change in rules. When you look at the DMV site, as I pointed out to the Supervisor at the DMV office, in the heading it says 'Motor coaches 45'. It is not until you get down into the reading of the info, that it points out that over 40' is now a Class B. When I looked, and saw the heading 'Motor coaches 45' (Might have said house car, forget the actual heading wording, other then 45') - I did not at first read down furhter. If it was not for a thread about drivng on California Higways where a poster said that over 40' Class B Non Commercial License was required - I would have not known.

I decided to go get mine, even with a 40' model, as I did not want to take a chance of how an officer on the road might look at things.

OP - Good luck on yours. Best to all,
Smitty
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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A trip to my local DMV took two days to find what test to take.

A trip to the local CHP gave me the same impossible measuring scheme. Well I would do this and I would do that. Really? Guess what. I don't have bumpers so how do you measure it? Uh, I would drop a plumb bob from the front to the back. Finally they understood I was not accepting a verbal answer and would indeed challenge in court if necessary any officers determination of measurement. Ultimately I was given a direct phone number for a guy in Sacramento and was told they would have to give me a written answer if I asked in writing. I called, received a great call back and that man was very unsure. He asked that I send pictures etc. I have not done so and probably won't. If this thing gets in any kind of collision it will be impossible to measure anyway. Besides that. I'm leaving Kalifornia after being a native for almost 60 years.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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You took the words right out of my mouth YC1...I left California twenty five years ago and have never looked back. (except that I go down there once a year to visit relatives and remind myself of why I left)
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:42 PM   #6
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Thanks to all that posted, especially Smitty. I agree there's some confusion at DMV over this, but I did take and pass the proper written test. The coach I'm interesting in will fall into the class "B" designation for sure.

But there's only so much time you are allowed to be in the "learner permit" mode, so I've got to source a qualifying coach to take the test in (and hopefully a little practicing as well).

That's where I need help, as I don't yet own a coach. Suggestions???

Mark
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSJC View Post
Thanks to all that posted, especially Smitty. I agree there's some confusion at DMV over this, but I did take and pass the proper written test. The coach I'm interesting in will fall into the class "B" designation for sure.

But there's only so much time you are allowed to be in the "learner permit" mode, so I've got to source a qualifying coach to take the test in (and hopefully a little practicing as well).

That's where I need help, as I don't yet own a coach. Suggestions???

Mark
This question made me wonder...is this even possible?

It's a "Catch 22" kinda thing...since you have to have the special license to drive one of these big RVs, then who would ever rent one...but if you can't rent one, how do you get the license to drive one?

I searched and searched this area and could not find a commercial rental outfit that had a coach over 40 feet.
So, I submit that this may probably be a private owner deal, so craigslist is where I would start. Unless you are on the hook for the purchase of your BIG NEW RV, then you could make that part of the purchase deal(?)

Best of luck
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:33 AM   #8
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I think Elmonte RV rentals has a 40X by fleetwood its actually 40 ft 11 inches
I have a Class B non commercial lic, and I didn't see a mention of a Drs Test
I have to redo mine every year, but last time I got my blood pressure low enough that maybe every 2 years now, it has to be below 140 I think it was
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:10 PM   #9
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You might check with the DMV office and see if you could just rent a Ryder truck for the day. I know someone who got a job as a school bus driver, got free training and drivers test, got his license and worked for one semester.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Smitty77 View Post
Double check what license you are going with. I just got the Class B Non Commercial California license this year. It was for Over 40' up to just under 45'. If getting a full 45' coach, I understand that you need the Class A non Commercial, and that it does include Pass/Fail Air Brake testing knowledge. On the Class B, they have you run thru it, but it is not graded towards the test.

I also found that I knew more about what I needed then the DMV office where I took the test and got the Permit. They had to get the supervisor, who had to pull out a 'how too' book. The computer system needs to be tricked, and even then, they have to maually cross things out and write things in, at least for the Class B permit.

Last caution, was I did have to take the Class A trucker's written test, which I was not supposed to have to do. I past it, but was just luck. Suggest you study for the Class A trucker's test in case you are asked to take it too. On the actual driving test, at least at the place I took my test in the San Diego area, they make you turn off the rear camera, when doing the 'backing up to a loading dock' test. They use that to be the same as backing into a camp ground. No where in writing is this a requirement, it was how they did things in that office. I explained to the gent helping me with my test, that this is not fair, as I have my mirrors set to work in conjunction with my rear view camera. That if I did not have the camera, I would have the mirror arms out more, and angle the different mirror heads to cover more of the back end of the coach. I was not going to do that just for the test, so did the best i could. The grade you by how close you get to the 'end of the camp space/loading dock'. Take off 1 point for every foot you are away from the end, and fail if you hit the back end. Another interesting twist on my test, was he took off 3 points for me, and that seemed high as I felt I was not 3' away. So I asked him what me measured to, and he said the back bumper. Well we have our Stirling hitch mounted, folded and covered when not in toad towing usage. It is about one foot from the back of the bumper on our set up... So I asked him if I had hit he pylons (They used orange pylon tall cones.) if that would have been a failed. He stopped and thoughtm and sad yes... So, the grade to the bumper, but fail if you hit with something else? (What about the ladder too, another 6" on my coach.).

I do feel that DMV has conflicting rules and not a full grasp on what they did when the extended the Class B requirement on over 40' rigs. And yes, the local office at San Diego may have come up with their own rules when giving the skills test. And hey, they were all real nice, in the office where I got the permit, and also at the skills test for driving - sort of a change to me, as it had been over 7 years since I went into a DMV office. Good to see the change in those two offices staff behavior to the public.

Ok, one other intersting observation. I have a 40' Country Coach Model, that I pay the state of California a 'value' portion fee on the all up DMV fee and registration for the coach. When I asked the DMV if the Class B was based upon 'model' vs 'as measured', they said it went by model. When I stopped at the local Highway Patrol office to ask them, three officers talked for a few minutes. One said he would go by the model, the other two said they would measure, and go by actual measurement. When asked where they measured from, one said from 'bumper to bumper'. The other said from 'mirrors to back of ladder' (he had a Class A rig), if ladder was on the rig. So very clear that this was not a very well rolled out process in California. I had been driving my coach for over 18 months, not catching the change in rules. When you look at the DMV site, as I pointed out to the Supervisor at the DMV office, in the heading it says 'Motor coaches 45'. It is not until you get down into the reading of the info, that it points out that over 40' is now a Class B. When I looked, and saw the heading 'Motor coaches 45' (Might have said house car, forget the actual heading wording, other then 45') - I did not at first read down furhter. If it was not for a thread about drivng on California Higways where a poster said that over 40' Class B Non Commercial License was required - I would have not known.

I decided to go get mine, even with a 40' model, as I did not want to take a chance of how an officer on the road might look at things.

OP - Good luck on yours. Best to all,
Smitty
Why not just under 40 feet. No change in a D. L. needed. If you upgrade you will have to take a medical exam every two years. No doctor in the world would sign off after a failed spinal operation. I would be stuck with a coach I could not drive.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:23 PM   #11
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The folks I know with a 40+ foot MH in Ca first bought their rigs.

Then they drove their rigs for a while and later obtained the Class B license using their rigs.

The "Chicken vs the Egg" issue never arose during the test day.

They did their driving test somewhere near Indio.

The above violated the law, but it is a law that an LEO is not working hard to enforce or may not even know of.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:37 PM   #12
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It is unbelievable just how much the drivers license is different from state to state. In Wyoming I can get a class B with an air brakes endorsement if the MH GCWR is 26,001 pounds. If the GCWR of the MH is 26,000 pounds you don't need any special license and in fact you can't even take the road test with a 26,000 pound GCWR MH. Has to be 26,001.

The Ford 22,000 GVWR chassis has a GCWR of exactly 26,000 pounds.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:08 AM   #13
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Move to Oregon and you don't need an indorsement or special lisence to drive any MH not matter if it has air brakes or weighs over 26k. Gotta love it.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:57 PM   #14
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Move to Oregon and you don't need an indorsement or special lisence to drive any MH not matter if it has air brakes or weighs over 26k. Gotta love it.
That's probably the ONE nice thing about living in Oregon. (I take it back...no sales tax is a nice thing also.)
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