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Buying a HDT have conversion questions


dzlnut

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I am buying an HDT with a 46 inch sleeper

 

 

I have to put the microwave and refrigerator in the storage area under the mattress in order for it to fit in the sleeper

 

 

also is this type of refrigerator acceptable to meet the requirements in order to register as a motorhome? ( see link below)

 

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/voyager-12v-cooler-warmer-48-can-capacity/75122

 

 

Does this type of porta potty meet the requirements?

 

Can it be stored in the storage area under the mattress?

 

 

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/go-anywhere-portable-toilet/23903

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You don't say what state you are trying to register in, but looking at your profile you are from CA so I will assume you are trying to register there. I would not try to register it yourself (unless it is already titled as a motorhome somewhere else). I would use a service that has a relationship with the DMV. There are several threads on the forum discussing this. Bracken Tax and License in Ontario is who I and several others on the forum used. There is a lot of paperwork involved for the conversion and the DMV employees are not always educated or knowledgeable about the conversion process.

 

Here are the applicable code sections:

 

Code of Federal Regulations - Title 49: Transportation
49 CFR 571.3 - Definitions
Motor home means a multi-purpose vehicle with motive power that is 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.
Health and Safety Code § 18010 "Recreational vehicle" means both of the following:
(a) A motor home, travel trailer, truck camper, or camping trailer, with or without motive power, designed for human habitation for recreational, emergency, or other occupancy, which meets all of the following criteria:
(1) It contains less than 320 square feet of internal living room area, excluding built-in equipment, including, but not limited to, wardrobe, closets, cabinets, kitchen units or fixtures, and bath or toilet rooms.
(2) It contains 400 square feet or less of gross area measured at maximum horizontal projections.
(3) It is built on a single chassis.
(4) It is self-propelled, truck-mounted, or permanently towable on the highways without a permit.
Vehicle Code § 362 House Car
A "house car" is a motor vehicle originally designed, or permanently altered, and equipped for human habitation, or to which a camper has been permanently attached. A motor vehicle to which a camper has been temporarily attached is not a house car except that, for the purposes of Division 11 (commencing with Section 21000) and Division 12 (commencing with Section 24000), a motor vehicle equipped with a camper having an axle that is designed to support a portion of the weight of the camper unit shall be considered a three-axle house car regardless of the method of attachment or manner of registration. A house car shall not be deemed to be a motor truck.

 

I list the CFR as a reference. The cooler/refrigerator and the port-a-potty you list should be sufficient to meet the requirements for "refrigeration or ice box" and "self contained toilet". There is a specific form (one of several required for the conversion) that the CA DMV will require on which you have to list all the things done to your HDT in order to convert it to a housecar (what CA calls a motorhome). I don't remember the form number off the top of my head. I have all the required forms saved on my home computer , but I am currently at work. If you are interested, I can show you all the needed forms.

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There are at least 4 things you should do before attempting to register a HDT in CA as a non-commercial vehicle:

 

1. Study Chad's first paragraph and do exactly as he suggests.

2. Become thoroughly familiar with all the vehicle codes that Chad has listed.

3. Discuss in detail with your local CHP and DMV everything that Chad listed.

4. Purchase a vehicle that is easy to modify to meet California requirements. Some HDTs are much more difficult to convert than a Volvo.

 

I registered my Volvo VNL 610 in CA and it took me 6 months to learn enough to get it registered in 2004. They will require you to modify the HDT so that it cannot be used to haul commercially. This includes the removal of glad hands and holland hitch as a minimum. You will basically need to be lucky to find any state employee who is remotely familiar with the process. You will need to be prepared to "kiss some ass" before they will even direct you to a person who can help you. Then you will need to kiss some more ass. The supervisor at the Oxnard DMV refused to discuss changing registration because she thought the vehicle was too large and become a danger for other vehicles on the road. There are many more terrible experiences I could list, but you should be getting the picture. I ended up going to 5 different DMV offices and having many telephone discussions with CHP and DMV personnel in Sacramento before getting it done. Personally, I would not go through it again, and would not have finished the first time, had I not already purchased the Volvo.

 

My understanding is that the process has become more difficult in the past 10 years.

Good Luck, you will need it!

 

Joe

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I have studied all the vehicle codes pertaining to a motorhome / housecars to ease the process of registration I will remove the glad hands and stock 5th wheel hitch even though there is no law requiring that they must be removed.

 

 

wow it sounds like you had quote the ordeal to get your truck registered as a housecar

 

I am going to be using a registration company to do the registration work, the person I talked to says that she does the HDT conversions all the time and the registration change gets approved the first time she goes to the DMV

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  • 3 months later...

This includes the removal of glad hands and holland hitch as a minimum.

Removing the Glad Hands makes no sense because you can legally have an air over hydraulic braking system on your 5th wheel. Removing the holland hitch is logical, even though it can be used to pull a 5th since the pins are the same, but why would you want to.

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i just registered in ca last sept. I read somewhere that in California you must also only have a two axle truck to be a house car. all three axle trucks are considered commercial. I do not think that there is a requirement for a fridge.

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I have done this and it is super easy. First, you HAVE to have a Two Axle Truck. No if ands or buts in California unless you slip one through somehow. No Commercial Hitch, I have a portapotty in mine, My Fridge is a coleman battery/120AC unit, microwave bolted to a shelf. Just use the service provided by the folks out of Ontario (im drawing a blank on the name). They will set you up with an inspector. They will come over go over your modifications and its done. They will handle all of the paperwork.

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I have done this and it is super easy. First, you HAVE to have a Two Axle Truck. No if ands or buts in California unless you slip one through somehow. No Commercial Hitch, I have a portapotty in mine, My Fridge is a coleman battery/120AC unit, microwave bolted to a shelf. Just use the service provided by the folks out of Ontario (im drawing a blank on the name). They will set you up with an inspector. They will come over go over your modifications and its done. They will handle all of the paperwork.

 

The name is - Bracken Tax and License, Ontario, CA.

 

However - apparently things have changed this year.. :(

 

See the thread started by "Crazy Cooter" (Oct. 30, 2014) - " 48" Sleeper too small for RV conversion?"

 

Go to post #26 of that thread, again by CC on Feb. 16, 2015. (Or just enter "Teresa" in search)

 

CC indicated he called Teresa at Bracken. the day before his post. (which would be Feb 15, 2015)

 

According to CC's post -

Teresa states, "As of right now, there is no known way to convert an HDT to a motorhome in CA"

 

Besides Bracken being the "go to" source for licensing over lots of years - IIRC Teresa has a Volvo 670

 

This would be worth a follow up call by Chad to Teresa for details - and a topic for discussion at the West Coast Rally, or an FYI thread - as well as info for The Guide.

 

 

 

.

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This would be worth a follow up call by Chad to Teresa for details - and a topic for discussion at the West Coast Rally, or an FYI thread - as well as info for The Guide.

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

I have been meaning to call Teresa at Bracken and speak with her about this, I just haven't gotten around to doing it. I will write myself a note and try to get in touch with her next week to get an answer as to what has changed.

.

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Here is Jack's list of Pro's and Con's:

 

Pro’s of Singling

• Better Fuel mileage.

• Less length – less parking space required.

• Tighter turning radius.

• Less wear and tear on parts, fewer u-joints to go bad, one less drive line.

• Fewer brake parts to maintain and replace.

• Fewer air lines to develop leaks.

• Fewer air bags to go bad and need replacing.

• More room for tool boxes built into a bed.

• Perhaps less costly to build a hauler bed.

• Fewer Aluminum wheels to keep polished.

• Fewer tires to check air pressure each day.

• Less PressurePro sensors to buy.

• Higher resale value/easier sale as RV hauler.

• Easier to insure and register in some cases (depending on insurance company, and state of registration).


Cons of Singling

• Less weight carrying capacity.

• Costs about $2000.

• Aggravation of ensuring the driveline angles are correct.

• Potential complications with the ABS and traction control systems, which can be a pain to correct.

• Can not use as commercial vehicle in most cases.

• Less brakes - although braking might be more effective because of tire contact area vs weight on tire patch.

• (Maybe) less traction. Will vary based on circumstances.

• Shorter “bobbed” tail may not look as good to some.

 

Jack, I just have a comment on these two items from your list:

• Less length – less parking space required. (This would only apply if you are not going to carry anything on the bed. If, for example, you are planning on a smart car, the bed length will be the same no matter how many axles you have under it.)
• Tighter turning radius. (This could vary greatly based on where you place that single axle. Forward axle position - shorter turn radius, mid position - probably close the the tandem turn radius, rear position or further back - wider turn radius.)

 

This read is a must for everyone planning on building your truck out to fit your needs.

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  • 1 month later...

Doing a search and found this thread. I'm looking into going the HDT route and my main worry is getting it registered and insured in "California". I will be going to the WCR and will get a lot of info there, but I would like to know if I can reg. it before buying. I have the word out to a couple of GMs I know at dealerships locally to keep a look out for one for me and if they come up with one that I cant refuse I want to be able to jump on it.

Thanks

Dennis

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