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Author Topic: Buying a bus to take to Florida or in Florida  (Read 3463 times)
Povertyhill
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« on: March 05, 2009, 05:47:48 AM »

Has anyone had experience with buying a bus either in Florida or from another State and taking it back to Florida to convert to a RV?

I am sure this has been brought up before but being a newbie I did not see much about it.

When I contacted the State of Florida they state I would need a CDL license because a bus is a bus until it is converted. I would also have to register it as a bus. If I bought it out of State I would have to get a temp tag from that State.

When I contacted another State(SC) where I at one point saw a bus I thought would be a good project I found they would let me get a temp tag but was only good in the State and the vehicle could not be taken out of the State and I would still have the CDL requirement as I hold a Florida drivers license.

I am sure others have been through this and I have seen where some people have just slapped a tag on a bus and driven it home but with my luck I don't think that would be a wise thing to do.

I had liked the idea of converting a bus since I got rid of my bounder some years ago and this is the first obstacle I see that I would have to find a way to work out. Anybody done this before me that can offer advice?
Thanks
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grantgoold
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 05:53:30 AM »

I have heard many folks say "strip the interior of seats,place a porta potty, folding cot and a hot plate inside, get the bus inspected by the DMV and have them registered the new bus as an RV". Worked for me in CA.

Good luck!

Grant
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Grant Goold
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 06:02:31 AM »

I had heard that was one possible way.

I don't know how the person I am buying the bus would feel about me removing the seats to do that since some of the buses are located in County Government lots but I may resort to that.

I am a retired low voltage guy so I would have no problem sticking in some wiring for a light or 2 (Florida says I need some 110 wiring) and plumbing (a porta potty). Didn't say anything about a cot but easy enough to ad a bed!

Thanks
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 06:43:56 AM »

When I bought mine in New Jersey and registered it in Montana, all I had the dealer do was title it as an RV.  It was previously titled a commercial bus.  All the sellers did was check the box on the temp title and registration that it was a motorhome.  When registering it, the question about converting never even came up.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 07:57:35 AM »

The bus I bought from Easter Bus Sales was already titled as a motorhome.  Easter had removed a bunch of the seats and the remaining 8 or 9 pairs of seats were all unbolted except one pair of seats at the very front.

This certainly wouldn't work for a bus purchased from the government.
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 07:59:05 AM »

A few ideas, alone or combined:

Hire a busnut with a CDL to drive it to your place.

Find a bus broker for your state that knows what he/she is doing to get the registration changed to RV. The government people cannot be trusted to tell you what to do in this obscure, rarely used situation. They are conditioned to go the long and hard way, say no, or make stuff up. After all, who is going to punish them for telling you wrong?

Dealer plates in your jurisdiction? Whatever the motor vehicle dealers do to temporarily drive their purchases from place to place.

Get a tow truck and have it towed home.

Of most importance, be sure it is insured properly if it is driven home. Even if you have to insure it for a month as a bus and hire a driver, still cheaper than if something goes wrong.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 09:12:17 AM »

I bought 1 bus from Az and 1 from Mo. Both times I bougth a permit to move about 15.00 each. I was told I could run them back to Pa with the permit. Of course I did not get stopped, so maybe I was in the wrong.  Goodluck   Tom Y
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Tom Yaegle
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2009, 09:38:19 AM »


Povertyhill -

(What an appropriate handle for a busnut!!)

Save yourself the grief - buy one in FL that's already converted.  If you don't like the floor plan or colors, it's a lot easier to change than start from scratch.

The market's in the toilet right now, you can get some great deals for about 1/2 - 2/3s of asking price - look for the newest chassis you can find.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2009, 11:56:40 AM »

I bought my bus out of state.. The bus came from Virginia Beach, Va and I live near Charlotte, NC.. I rented a car and drove the 7 hours up there...went to the Virginia Tag/Driver's license Office with title in hand and proof of insurance and purchased a 3 day temp tag for a few bucks. I was told by them that I could drive it in any state till the 3 days ran out. I was also told that I could drive the bus without a CDL as long as I didn't have over 9 people in it or hauling anything that wasn't part of the bus. I drove the bus back to North Carolina with all the seats in place without any problems. Once I got back to NC, I went to the NC-DMV and purchased a tag for a "Private Bus" for less than $30. Seemed kinda low for a 38,000 pound beast. I asked them about a CDL and again was told that I did not need the CDL unless I carried over 9 people or hauled any type of material that was NOT part of the bus. Meaning I couldn't use it as a church bus,  moving van, to haul supplies, freight, lumber, etc.. Basically the bus is registered as a private bus which means I can't haul anything.  Not sure if I was given the wrong info by the V-DMV and the NC-DMV but it all worked out for me in the end.
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2009, 01:52:06 PM »

I asked them about a CDL and again was told that I did not need the CDL unless I carried over 9 people or hauled any type of material that was NOT part of the bus.

They told you wrong.

You need a CDL if the GVWR is 26,001 or higher, even if all of the seats are out, until you get it registered as a motor home.
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2009, 03:25:23 PM »

I was told the same as jlink. I even stopped in a weigh station somewhere and was told I did not need to stop.   Tom Y
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Tom Yaegle
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2009, 09:17:58 PM »

I asked them about a CDL and again was told that I did not need the CDL unless I carried over 9 people or hauled any type of material that was NOT part of the bus.

They told you wrong.

You need a CDL if the GVWR is 26,001 or higher, even if all of the seats are out, until you get it registered as a motor home.

I was told by 2 different people that work for the DMV and one officer at the Southbound Scales on I-85 at Belmont and they said that "IF" I hauled anything in my "private bus", only then I would need CDL's. Thats why they stressed not to haul anything but myself...no people, no furniture, no lumber, no stored boxes, not even firewood.. You say both DMV people and the officer at the scales told me wrong???. You may be right..but could you lead me and the others that were also told wrong to where you got the right info? I was even told I could leave the seats in.... they didn't care about the seats...they only cared if people were sitting in them.  I've searched and searched and can't find anything in writing concerning the State of North Carolina regarding a non-commercial, empty private owned bus, and CDL's. I've already got mine home anyways but sure there are others that may need to read those laws you have since there is so much bad info floating around with the NCDMV..  Thanks...

Jimmy
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2009, 09:38:56 PM »

The knowledge as to how to get through this bureaucratic ignorance and red tape is valuable and allows those with the knowledge to earn an income.

You won't get anyone sharing the dirty details of your particular jurisdiction with you on here.

Focus your do-it-yourself ambitions on bus maintenance and conversion, find an experienced bus broker and PAY for the knowledge.

Or, keep asking questions at the DMV, draw attention to yourself and this hobby, and screw it up for all that follow.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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Povertyhill
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2009, 04:36:45 AM »

Thanks everyone for the input.

We did talk to one bus broker and he said talk to the DMV. We didn't go back needless to say since he knew we had already.

We are going to take our time and work it out.

Hope we didn't start a whole lot of controversy over it but thought someone might have dealt with it here in Florida in the past.

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blue_goose
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2009, 05:42:28 AM »

I am sure that here if Florida that you can find another bus nut that will help you get the bus home.  Just a CDL won't be all you need to meet the law, you also need a P endorsement if you have anyone else in the bus with you.
I don't know about Florida, but when I bought my bus NC didn't ask to see it before they gave me the title as a Motor Home. 
You can always buy the bus, get the title changed to motor home then go after it.  Be sure that you do get insurance before driving anything.
If I can be of any help we live in Polk City Fl and have the proper license to drive the bus.
Jack
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2009, 12:39:28 PM »

Most likely if you don't get stopped or in an accident nobody will ever ask you for a permit or license. I was told this by a cop that they dont't look at busses very hard for anything.
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2009, 04:44:22 PM »

Quote from: blue_goose
I am sure that here if Florida that you can find another bus nut that will help you get the bus home. 

Thanks, and I may just have to ask if it comes to that.
I am taking my time to learn and get a good feel for the different types of buses as I see many different types and am on a budget so that is why I was thinking of converting a County School bus or similar bus as long as it had the proper rear end gear ratio for highway travel.
Quote from: blue_goose
Just a CDL won't be all you need to meet the law, you also need a P endorsement if you have anyone else in the bus with you.

I am going to try to avoid getting a CDL. I thought about it at one point but decided if the same vehicle is a motor home and not a bus and it is not required then I should just worry about making the changes as soon as I can to make it a motor home.
Quote from: blue_goose
I don't know about Florida, but when I bought my bus NC didn't ask to see it before they gave me the title as a Motor Home. 
You can always buy the bus, get the title changed to motor home then go after it.  Be sure that you do get insurance before driving anything.
If I can be of any help we live in Polk City Fl and have the proper license to drive the bus.
Jack
Thanks for the good advice and I would never drive any vehicle nowadays without insurance.
Again thanks for the advice Jack!
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RJ
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2009, 07:15:56 PM »



. . . so that is why I was thinking of converting a County School bus or similar bus as long as it had the proper rear end gear ratio for highway travel.



FYI - Skoolies, especially dog-nosed ones, are extremely difficult to obtain insurance for as a conversion.  You will also run into resistance at many an RV park because of the "hippie" connotation that's associated w/ skoolies of this body style.

OTOH, a transit body style skoolie doesn't suffer the same stigma, so that might be an option.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2009, 07:29:35 PM »

For all North Carolinians:  There was some info stated previously that you do not need a special license for a motorhome.  PLEASE NOTE:  the following info is taken verbatim off the back of my NC Class B license. 

((((Class B: Any single vehicle that is exempt from CDL requirements with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds of more, and any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 pounds.)))) 

Note: there is NO designation of motor home exemption.  As few-and-far-between the license checks here in NC are, if you do get checked, and the officer has had a bad day - you will be cited for improper licensing!  Be careful.
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74 MCI 8
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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2009, 07:32:35 PM »

Same here in Ontario.

Class of licence has to do with weight, not type of registration.

A busnut typically needs a Class "D", with a "Z" endorsement for airbrakes, or better.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2009, 08:20:28 PM »


For all North Carolinians:  There was some info stated previously that you do not need a special license for a motorhome.  PLEASE NOTE:  the following info is taken verbatim off the back of my NC Class B license. 

((((Class B: Any single vehicle that is exempt from CDL requirements with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds of more, and any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 pounds.)))) 

Note: there is NO designation of motor home exemption.  As few-and-far-between the license checks here in NC are, if you do get checked, and the officer has had a bad day - you will be cited for improper licensing!  Be careful.


Time to do your homework:

Go to NC's DMV website, look up the vehicle code book, and determine what the phrase "Any single vehicle that is exempt from CDL requirements" means.

Translation into a question:  What vehicles are exempt from CDL requirements?

Also paw thru the pages and find out what the definition of a motorhome or recreational vehicle is, while you're at it.

Then go to the license types section and find out what licenses are actually required for an RV.

Have fun!!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2009, 11:24:33 PM »

I asked them about a CDL and again was told that I did not need the CDL unless I carried over 9 people or hauled any type of material that was NOT part of the bus.


They told you wrong.

You need a CDL if the GVWR is 26,001 or higher, even if all of the seats are out, until you get it registered as a motor home.


I was told by 2 different people that work for the DMV and one officer at the Southbound Scales on I-85 at Belmont and they said that "IF" I hauled anything in my "private bus", only then I would need CDL's. Thats why they stressed not to haul anything but myself...no people, no furniture, no lumber, no stored boxes, not even firewood.. You say both DMV people and the officer at the scales told me wrong???. You may be right..but could you lead me and the others that were also told wrong to where you got the right info? I was even told I could leave the seats in.... they didn't care about the seats...they only cared if people were sitting in them.  I've searched and searched and can't find anything in writing concerning the State of North Carolina regarding a non-commercial, empty private owned bus, and CDL's. I've already got mine home anyways but sure there are others that may need to read those laws you have since there is so much bad info floating around with the NCDMV..  Thanks...


From the Feds (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration-licensing/cdl/cdl.htm):

"THE DRIVER

"Drivers have been required to have a CDL in order to drive a CMV since April 1, 1992.

"The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed and issued standards for testing and licensing CMV drivers. Among other things, the standards require States to issue CDLs to their CMV drivers only after the driver passes knowledge and skills tests administered by the State related to the type of vehicle to be operated. Drivers need CDLs if they are in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce and drive a vehicle that meets one of the following definitions of a CMV:

"Classes of License:

"The Federal standard requires States to issue a CDL to drivers according to the following license classifications:

"Class A -- Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

"Class B -- Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.

"Class C -- Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials. "

Now, a guardhouse lawyer will jump on the "interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce" part, and say that it doesn't apply to the coach that you just bought.  However, under the law, transporting the coach itself is "commerce" -- it is a commercial vehicle until the minute that a title is issued to it as a motorhome.  It doesn't matter whether or not it's for hire, or what the actual weight is on the scale.  The number of seats only determines whether you need a Passenger endorsement on your CDL to legally drive it. 

This is the LAW.  Luckily, a lot of the time, we can skate around it because of COMMON SENSE on the part of the officials we meet.  However, if you get an Earn While You Learn nugget State Trooper, or a weighmaster bucking for the next pay grade, they can make your day a memorable and unpleasant one.
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blue_goose
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« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2009, 04:29:20 AM »

If you drive a Motor Home with a dealer tag you have to have a CDL.  It isn't a motor home when it has a dealer tag.
Jack
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« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2009, 05:13:48 PM »

RJ, 

I have done my homework.  That's why I went and obtained a class B endorsement on my license.  Your interpretation of our laws here in NC by reading them on line does not back up what I have been told by several law enforcement personnel including the NC DOT.  I'd rather get my info from the person that can cite me, without having it interpreted in court and handing the government more of my hard earned money. Roll Eyes 
It only cost me a few dollars, and a little of my time to prevent fines and towing fees.......       
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Povertyhill
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2009, 05:00:38 AM »

Quote from: RJ link

FYI - Skoolies, especially dog-nosed ones, are extremely difficult to obtain insurance for as a conversion.  You will also run into resistance at many an RV park because of the "hippie" connotation that's associated w/ skoolies of this body style.

Actually I am surprised that more people do not use skoolies to convert! Since you can find many that are bluebird stubbies as well as short nosed Int..

When I talked to my insurance company their concern was for the registration being a motorhome and not a bus. But since you mention it I will question them further to be sure my information was correct.

I have seen some real nice conversions and so I guess I am surprised that some still consider them a hippie mobile just because they used to watch the Partridge family years ago..

Thanks again for the advice from everyone.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 05:03:19 AM by Povertyhill » Logged
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