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Moresmoke

Definition of an RV

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Been lurking here for a while...

According to my state (North Dakota) DOT office, it is not possible to title a hdt as a motor home here. So I have been researching to see how to make my desire for a real truck happen.  Many of the rules and regulations state that a recreational vehicle is exempt, but I can't find a clear definition of what a rv is.

Can anyone point me to a definition of recreational vehicle in the federal codes?

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North Dakota Century Codes

Title 39

39-01-01 Definitions

30.
"House car" or "motor home" means a motor vehicle which has been
reconstructed or manufactured primarily for private use as a temporary
or recreational dwelling and having at least four of the following
permanently installed systems:
a. Cooking facilities.
b. Icebox or mechanical refrigerator.
c. Potable water supply including plumbing and a sink with faucet
either self-contained or with connections for an external source, or
both.
   d. Self-contained toilet or a toilet connected to a plumbing system
with connection for external water disposal, or both.
   e. Heating or air-conditioning system, or both, separate from the
vehicle engine or the vehicle engine electrical system.
      f. A 110-115 volt alternating current electrical system separate
from the vehicle engine electrical system either with its own power
supply or with a connection for an external source, or both, or a
liquefied petroleum system and supply.

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This is the reply I got from the state:

This converted vehicle cannot be titled and licensed as a motor home.  The North Dakota Century Code definition of a motor home is a vehicle that has been manufactured primarily for private use as a temporary or recreational dwelling, s semi-tractor off the manufacturers assembly line is not intended to be used as a recreational dwelling or private use, a semi-tractor is intended to be manufactured to be used as a commercial hauling vehicle.

 

Thank you

Motor Vehicle Division

I am trying to figure out what the legal difference would be between a 1 ton pulling a camper and a hdt pulling the same trailer.  Both are over 10000 gcvw, the 1 ton is treated as a rv no questions asked.

By the way, ND is open to converting a school bus to a motor home, obviously intended to be a school bus by the original manufacturer.

I was kinda surprised by the response I got due to the pretty lax nature of the other motor vehicle laws here.

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I haven't had any issue up in ND.  I'm there from May to Nov and I bobtail everywhere.  We are licensed out of SD though and as a motorhome.  Can you license it as a private truck?  Not tractor- but truck?  

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12 minutes ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

I haven't had any issue up in ND.  I'm there from May to Nov and I bobtail everywhere.  We are licensed out of SD though and as a motorhome.  Can you license it as a private truck?  Not tractor- but truck?  

I can register and insure as a truck without a problem. The only options on truck registration here is farm or not and weight. No distinction between private/commercial/tractor. Registration fee is not unreasonable.

I am just trying to dot my t's and cross my i's before I spend money. I really am not worried about using it in state, I just don't want to get into trouble as we travel around the country.

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However you get your truck registered in North Dakota, that has to be accepted by the other 49 States and the District of Columbia under the Full Faith Clause of the Constitution where every state has to respect the laws of another state.  That covers registration and licensing.

Road use laws, length, width, weight are the domain of the sate where the road is.

Our Volvo was registered as a Private Truck in South Dakota for 10 years and never wished we had a motorhome or housecar registration instead.

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Registering the HDT as a private truck will get you the same outcome as those of us that have registered our HDT’s as motorhomes.  That outcome being, you are not registered as a commercial vehicle.  

The only real difference between private truck and motorhome registration in our world is scales.  When you come to a scale and the sign says “all trucks must stop”, if you are registered as a private truck you must stop.  If you are registered as a motorhome you don’t have to stop.  You still might get chased down and stopped by law enforcement for not stopping (as has happened to me) because to them you still look like a truck, but once you show your motorhome registration you should be sent on your way.

If ND only allows private truck then go for that.  It is actually easier to register this way because you don’t have to add anything to turn your HDT into a motorhome.

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The signs for scales that state "All trucks..." are implying "All motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce and have a weight rating over 26,000 lbs", which is generally defined (depending on the state or federal regulation)  by:

-A vehicle, or combination of vehicles, which either has a weight rating over 26,000 lbs, or has a gross combination weight rating over 26,000 lbs inclusive of a towed vehicle with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 lbs, and is being used for compensation or the furtherance of commercial enterprise.

 

So...no, a vehicle registered as a private truck does not need to stop at the scales within the context of how people on here own and use their HDT's.  In general, if you don't need DOT numbers, you probably don't need to stop at the scales.  In some states, you can register a pick-up truck as either a car or a "truck".  But it's still just a private vehicle not involved in interstate commerce.  By your advice, someone with a light duty truck would have to pull into the scales on their daily commute to work just because their license plate says "Truck" on it.  I can't imagine the DOT officers at the scales being amused by that daily exercise :)

 

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What I am trying to wrap my head around is according to IRP and IFTA, any three axle vehicle must comply when crossing state lines, but RVs are specifically exempted.  Maybe I'm just over thinking things.

I did find the following in CFR 49 571

Recreation vehicle trailer means a trailer, except a trailer designed primarily to transport cargo, designed to be drawn by a vehicle with motive power by means of a bumper, frame or fifth wheel hitch and designed to provide temporary residential accommodations, as evidenced by the presence of at least four of the following facilities: cooking; refrigeration or ice box; self-contained toilet; heating and/or air conditioning; a potable water supply system including a faucet and a sink; and a separate 110-125 volt electrical power supply and/or propane. “Recreation vehicle trailer” includes trailers used for personal purposes, commonly known as “sport utility RVs” or “toy haulers,” which usually have spacious rather than incidental living quarters and provide a cargo area for smaller items for personal use such as motorcycles, mountain bikes, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, canoes or other types of recreational gear.

This definition is much the same as the motor home definition.

From what I have been reading, the key word is personal use, not private. Wal-Mart operates a private truck fleet, they only haul loads for the company, but must follow CMV rules. Members of the Walton family can operate a personal MH just like the rest of us so long as it's use has no business connection.

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6 hours ago, Shifted said:

By your advice, someone with a light duty truck would have to pull into the scales on their daily commute to work just because their license plate says "Truck" on it.  I can't imagine the DOT officers at the scales being amused by that daily exercise :)

It happens.  I was chased down for not pulling through the scales with a pickup pulling an empty 16' flat trailer.

That said, I've yet to pull through with the camper rig, as listed in my signature.

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15 hours ago, Shifted said:

By your advice, someone with a light duty truck would have to pull into the scales on their daily commute to work just because their license plate says "Truck" on it.  I can't imagine the DOT officers at the scales being amused by that daily exercise :)

 

In CA you do have to pull into scales with a pickup (sometimes):

DO THESE VEHICLES HAVE TO STOP AT THE SCALES?

PICKUP -- It depends on the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), unladen weight, and bed of the truck.

GVWR under 11,500 pounds, unladen weight of less than 8,001 pounds, and open box-type bed not exceeding 9 feet in length -- NO.
GVWR 11,500 pounds or more, unladen weight 8,001 pounds or more, or not equipped with an open box-type bed not exceeding 9 feet in length -- YES.

Any HDT registered as a private truck would have to stop at all scales in the state of CA.

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Actually, the site that you quoted specifically says "However, all California weigh stations have signs stating: "No Pickups."" Here is the site for other people to read for themselves:

 

http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/trucks/weigh-stations.html

 

Obviously, there is a lot more to it than you're implying.  I'm not an expert on California law.  So, unless you are, and can reference the specific code/law that applies to privately owned and operated Class 8 trucks used for non-commercial purposes in California, within full context and understanding, then we may want to wait for someone who does have that level of familiarity to comment on it.  If I had more time this morning, I would look it up, but I've got a few other things on my plate :)

My original point was that in general, being registered as a truck versus a motorhome does not put you into a different use class with respect to interstate commerce, so it does not affect whether or not you are required to pull into a commercial vehicle weigh station.  Obviously, there will be exceptions, like when there is signage saying "All vehicles over X GVW, including RV's".  Or, potentially in CA where they have very different requirements and definitions for vehicles, even privately owned ones that are not used for commercial purposes.

 

There are so many blanket statements made on here about the legalities of operation that it's important for us to be specific and accurate for the sake of the new owners who are trying to figure out the truth, not an internet commando's belief system.

 

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1 hour ago, Shifted said:

There are so many blanket statements made on here about the legalities of operation that it's important for us to be specific and accurate for the sake of the new owners who are trying to figure out the truth, not an internet commando's belief system.

And that's just the way it is when we have so many states making up our country.  Fortunately, states respect each other's laws.

And also fortunately, we do, in fact, have experts on law here, one of which you just picked on.  

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This illustrates my question in the first place.

With the CA numbers above, my one ton plus TT are over 11500 GVW. I have never stopped at or been given a second look at a scale. Because a 1ton and TT are considered a normal RV.  As most of you know, a HDT and TT is not a "normal" RV.

The only time I see me using the truck bobtail would be local to home. I know where all the scales are and don't plan on visiting them. Yes, there are the mobile patrols, but around here, for the most part, you have to be doing something stupid to get pulled over.

The scale rules vary by state, anywhere from 10000 to 26000 GVW. Some are signed, most are not.

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1 hour ago, Shifted said:

I'm not an expert on California law.  So, unless you are, and can reference the specific code/law that applies to privately owned and operated Class 8 trucks used for non-commercial purposes in California, within full context and understanding, then we may want to wait for someone who does have that level of familiarity to comment on it. 

LMAO :D This oughta be good. Go for it Chad....just remember, you are the nice one. I'm the asshole and bully (I'm sure they have posted other names, I just don't care and therefore I have forgotten).

 

Shifted, did you even bother to read the link you posted? Anything other than "No pickups"? Like maybe the part that says  "If the pickup has a GVWR of 11,500 pounds or more, an unladen weight 8,001 pounds, not equipped with an open-box type bed not exceeding 9 feet in length, or the pickup bed has been removed and a utility body or flat bed has been mounted, then it no longer meets the definition of pickup in CVC Section 471; it is then a "motor truck" under CVC Section 410 and required to stop at the weigh stations."   Isn't that what Chad posted?

Oh yeah, and by the way...... A Class 8 truck is NOT a pick up and most of us, in this forum, don't drive pick ups.

 

 

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From the above link:  (In CA)

  

260.  

(a) A “commercial vehicle” is a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.

So my interpretation of this is that any truck (with out a pickup box) would be deemed a commercial vehicle in California.  Which would then lead to the discussion of registration, fuel tax, etc for someone from out of state.

Hence why I am confused about how to do this legally, without the option of a motorhome title.  As I mentioned before, North Dakota makes no distinction on the registration of private or commercial, it merely says "truck".

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2 hours ago, Moresmoke said:

From the above link:  (In CA)

  

260.  

(a) A “commercial vehicle” is a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.

So my interpretation of this is that any truck (with out a pickup box) would be deemed a commercial vehicle in California.  Which would then lead to the discussion of registration, fuel tax, etc for someone from out of state.

Hence why I am confused about how to do this legally, without the option of a motorhome title.  As I mentioned before, North Dakota makes no distinction on the registration of private or commercial, it merely says "truck".

....and that section poses the other multi million dollar question. Why does any vehicle with an open top bed have to pay commercial weight fees even though we only use them as passenger vehicles that occasionally haul personal cargo not for hire? Class action lawsuit anyone?

Another good question for Chad and Phil.... Is the rule of a tractor only being able to have "x" amount sqft. of cargo carrying surface on it, CA or federal? Another good reason to have a motorhome title.....

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The "private truck" registration available in most states is quite different than California where EVERY truck including El Camino's and Ranchero's are commercial or at least plated commercial.    That IS the reason a MH or Housecar designation is so cherished in California.     The scales are only part of the equation, over a particular gross weight emission regs are also an issue.     The "private truck" from some other state MAY or MAY NOT be subject to emission regs depending on interpretation.     This is why a MH is preferred, all MH's are welcome regardless of size and shape, towing an RV a private truck "should" be welcome as well but, if you unhitch the status of your truck changes.

 

Chad has had several conversations with folks at the CARB regarding these matters.    In most states the differences between a MH or private truck may be minimal, in a few the difference is significant.     Consider where you plan to travel in how you register and where you register your vehicle.      That said, I think Chad mentioned that transitioning California in a truck hauling an RV trailer gets an exemption from CARB rules?     Not sure about this but, you MAY have to buy trip permits to transit a state if registered as a truck?        Again not sure about the trip permits in a truck with no state or federal DOT numbers?       IRP and IFTA are commercial so a private personal vehicle should not have to buy permits but, each state is their own sovereign so they make the rules good or bad.

 

Steve        

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Re emission regs - It would appear a CA private truck not registered as a "motorhome" is exempted under CARB if you stay coupled to your trailer and do not bob tail:

The following are the sections regarding recreational vehicles or motor homesfrom the final regulation order:

 

 

FINAL REGULATION ORDER
AMENDMENTS TO THE REGULATION TO REDUCE EMISSIONS OF DIESEL PARTICULATE MATTER, OXIDES OF NITROGEN AND OTHER CRITERIA POLLUTANTS FROM IN-USE ON-ROAD DIESEL-FUELED VEHICLES

 

Division 3: Air Resources Board


Chapter 1: Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Devices

 

Section 2025. Regulation to Reduce Emissions of Diesel Particulate Matter, Oxides of Nitrogen and Other Criteria Pollutants, from In-Use Heavy-Duty Diesel-Fueled Vehicles.

 

 

(c) Exemptions

This regulation does not apply to:

(1) to (9)

(10) Motor homes for non-commercial private use;

 

 

(d) Definitions

For purposes of this regulation, the following definitions apply:

 

(1) to (42)

(43) “Motor Home” means a single vehicular unit designed for human habitation for
recreational or emergency occupancy and built on, or permanently attached to, a
self-propelled motor vehicle chassis, chassis cab, or van, which becomes an
integral part of the complete vehicle or a vehicle that exclusively tows a trailer that
was originally designed for human habitation for recreational or emergency
occupancy.

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5 hours ago, Big5er said:

LMAO :D This oughta be good. Go for it Chad....just remember, you are the nice one. I'm the asshole and bully (I'm sure they have posted other names, I just don't care and therefore I have forgotten).

 

Had to laugh at Shifted post also when I read him asking if Chad knew what he was talking about.
Oh come on Phil your not so bad, well maybe not as nice as Chad. LOL

.

 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Shifted said:

Yep.  Experts.  You guys aren't even close to being that.  But you did a great job of making my point.

And, you point is contradictory in one post you say one thing is the next another?     So what exactly IS your point? 

 

Steve

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1 hour ago, Shifted said:

Yep.  Experts.  You guys aren't even close to being that.  But you did a great job of making my point.

That's curious. The last civil trial I testified in I was certified as an expert witness...at a few hundred bucks an hour.  And depending on the topic , but especially this one,  I think Chad and I am a lot closer to experts than you.

Also,  I am with Steve, what is your point? You said one thing and then posted a link that contradicted what you said. I'm having trouble locating your "point". 

Edited by Big5er

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