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Need Registration Advice


Quahog

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I'm looking for advice on how to get around an issue with regard to vehicle registration in the State of Texas and the length of my new fifth wheel. It has a manufacturer specified length of 42'6" total while the pin box to bumper measures 40'9". Because this exceeds 40', the DMV is telling me it must be registered as a "mobile home" and that any time I want to move it, I must apply for a temporary tag. That's insane.

 

If you folks know of a way to get around this, please fill me in. I'm open to registering it in another state if that's legal and there is no other way around the issue.

 

Thanks for any and all constructive suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

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Never heard of this before in Texas. There is a maximum of 65 feet total overall length, but I've never heard of a 40 foot limit on the 5er. I will tell you that there are many, many RV's that are over 40 feet registered in Texas.

 

Everything I read says something similar to this:

 

The maximum trailer height is limited to 14 feet with a maximum width of 8.5 feet. The maximum trailer length is unspecified and the law reverts back to the restriction noted above, “the combined length of the towing vehicle and the towed vehicle cannot exceed 65 feet.”

 

I'd ask the clerk to point you to the actual language that she is basing her decision on, or I'd go to another DMV.

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You are correct. This has been an ongoing issue in TX for many years. For some reason they refuse to change the regulations.And they also refuse to register as a semi-trailer which if you look at the laws is what a 5th wheel really is in TX.

 

The only way around it is to lie. I hate to say it that way, but there it is..... Put down 40' on your application. Also ignore the 8' wide limitation - because practically all modern trailers are wider than that.

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There's a reason that the nominal length on many fifth wheel trailers is often not the actual length, and that is that several states, including Texas, still have laws on the books limiting travel trailers of any type to 40' or less. In the case of our Teton, the factory reported in the 2002 Teton catalog that the overall length for the model that I later bought was several inches in excess of either 41' or 42'. But the stated nominal length is 40'. The decal next to the door says "40' ASPEN".

 

Since the manufacturer stated that the trailer that I now own is a 40' model, that's what I told the clerk at the Assessor/Collector's office.

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Thank you everyone for all the replies. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I've been at the hospital all afternoon waiting for my daughter to get discharged.

 

I think I found where they're getting this "requirement" from. It's in the Registration Manual, Section 9.3, page 9-7 under "Travel Trailers". It states:

 

"Travel Trailers

Transportation Code, Sec. 501.002, reads in part, as follows:

(30) “Travel trailer” means a house trailer-type vehicle or a camper trailer:

  1. (A) that is a recreational vehicle defined under 24 C.F.R. Section 3282.8(g);

  2. or <emphasis added>

  3. (B) that:

    1. (i) is less than eight feet in width or 40 feet in length, exclusive of any hitch installed on the vehicle;

    2. (ii) is designed primarily for use as temporary living quarters in connection with recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use;

    3. (iii) is not used as a permanent dwelling; and

    4. (iv) is not a utility trailer, enclosed trailer, or other trailer that does not have human habitation as its primary function."

If you read further, it defines Recreational Vehicles to be:

 

  1. "Recreational Vehicles

    A recreational vehicle is defined under Federal Rule 24 C.F.R. 3282.8(g) as a vehicle, which is:

    • built on a single chassis,

    • 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projections,

    • self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck, and

    • designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use."

Perhaps I am reading more into this that is intended but I think the DMV is getting hung up on the latter part of the "or" statement.

Like the rest of you, I'm totally perplexed by their interpretation. I have to wait for my paperwork to come back but once it's here, I'm going to look for any way possible to avoid this nonsense.

Thanks much to all for the replies!

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I'd go register in South Dakota.

myself like they said I'd hate to lie and them finding out.

Texas wants to try and make us go back every year to get inspection.

I'm not happy about this either. So I'm going to South Dakota

 

If I didn't have my permanent sticks and bricks residence in Texas, I would. They still haven't sent back the paperwork so until they do, I'm in a holding pattern trying to figure out my options.

 

Thanks

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Texas wants to try and make us go back every year to get inspection.

I'm not happy about this either. So I'm going to South Dakota

That is simply NOT TRUE. There are provisions in the TX code to not have to inspect a vehicle if you are out of state. There is a simple self-certify process in the online registration to accomplish this. It takes a matter of "perhaps" 10 seconds to accomplish.

 

There may be reasons to domicile in SD vs. TX. But inspection is not a good one in my mind.

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Just registered my fifth wheel two days ago from foxboro mass. Just check the box "out of state". and when you return to the great state of Texas get it inspected. No big deal.

 

I understand that I'll be a South Dokata resident and my rig and wife will be a Texan still.

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I know Texas is supposed to make it easy, but I just don't want to be part of the process.

Also figure they will keep making it more of a challange. I also understand whay Texas is doing it.

Soon as I enter I have to go looking for a inspection station that's not always easy to do.

That's from my experince so I choose to change.

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Soon as I enter I have to go looking for a inspection station that's not always easy to do.

 

That is incorrect. There's a grace period of three days after your arrival at your destination before you must have the inspection completed. It does not have to be done as soon as you enter the state.

 

 

From the Texas DMV's web site for the new procedure, http://twostepsonesticker.com:

 

If you renew your vehicle registration using the out-of-state self-certification option, a remark will be placed on your vehicle record indicating that an inspection is still due. Once you return to the state, you must complete a Texas vehicle inspection within three days of arrival at your home, duty station, or destination.

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Texas has made the entire process super simple. It is really not much of an inconvenience. But it does still require an inspection once you return to TX. SD does not. But then again, no health insurance is available in SD, so I'd rather be in TX. Each to their own.

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Texas has made the entire process super simple. It is really not much of an inconvenience. But it does still require an inspection once you return to TX. SD does not. But then again, no health insurance is available in SD, so I'd rather be in TX. Each to their own.

 

Good I don't need health insurance lol. I agree each their own. Just stated it's not easy to find an inspection station in Texas for rv, most rv repairs don't places do it.

 

 

That is incorrect. There's a grace period of three days after your arrival at your destination before you must have the inspection completed. It does not have to be done as soon as you enter the state.

 

 

From the Texas DMV's web site for the new procedure, http://twostepsonesticker.com:

 

 

Three days grace wow of course how will they know how many day's right, it's still not always easy to find a inspection station is what I was saying. Unless you have a soulution on that.

I don't feel like I'M completely incorrect all the time, even though wife thinks so. lol

And I have read the new procedure still not impressed I guees..

Thanks for your help

 

Life long Texan

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I had no trouble finding an inspection station. In fact, it took me only a few minutes using the DMV provided location tool. I was able to take my rig to the Firestone station right around the corner 20 minutes and $7 later, I had my Texas Safety Inspection done.

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We have had absolutely no problems with Texas residency and full time. Just registered my 5er over the Internet and it was easy. Inspection last year was as simple as a quick trip to a dealer. That said, I would pick the state you like and go with it.

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Getting back to the original thread, here's the update: I finally received the paperwork on the new trailer. On the MCO (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin), it clearly states the length, width, and square footage. Since the length exceeds 40' and the square footage exceeds 400 square feet, the DMV is being adamant that it must be registered as a mobile home. They even provided a number for me to call. First call to that number resulted in the clerk telling me "This is not a mobile home. The DMV has to register it". She went on to say "you would not believe how many calls about this I receive every day!"

 

So I have two different departments sending me to the other. Since the MCO has all the info right there in black and white, I'm scratching my head as to how to describe the rig as something different. I asked the lady if she had any thoughts on how to get this issue resolved and she recommended I engage a Title company, which I have contacted. Still waiting on their take and whether or not they can help me.

 

I'm just blown away by all this because I know there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of similarly sized fivers in the state of Texas that have all successfully navigated these waters.

 

That's all my hand wringing for today!

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I'm just blown away by all this because I know there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of similarly sized fivers in the state of Texas that have all successfully navigated these waters.

 

That's all my hand wringing for today!

I've been through the same thing for years with various trailers - all of which exceeded the specs for an "RV". EVERY wide body trailer - which is almost all of the trailers manufactured of any size - do not meet the specs. I was in the same situation as you in the past - even to the point of not being able to move the trailer because the temp tag expired and there was NO WAY to get a legal registration or title. If you follow the "law" your trailer has no way to be titled in TX. The advice I received from all the "agencies" was to simply put down the smaller numbers. I know that is hard to stomach but it is what most people do and I've not seen any issues with it. Legally, the best fit is for a "semi trailer" but they simply will not do that. Unless things have changed.

 

I'll be interested to see what you finally do to resolve this.

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I've been through the same thing for years with various trailers - all of which exceeded the specs for an "RV". EVERY wide body trailer - which is almost all of the trailers manufactured of any size - do not meet the specs. I was in the same situation as you in the past - even to the point of not being able to move the trailer because the temp tag expired and there was NO WAY to get a legal registration or title. If you follow the "law" your trailer has no way to be titled in TX. The advice I received from all the "agencies" was to simply put down the smaller numbers. I know that is hard to stomach but it is what most people do and I've not seen any issues with it. Legally, the best fit is for a "semi trailer" but they simply will not do that. Unless things have changed.

 

I'll be interested to see what you finally do to resolve this.

 

 

Jack,

 

Thank you for your reply. I'm still trying. The biggest concern I have is how to describe the rig in terms of size that fit within the limits when the supporting documentation clearly states otherwise. Let me ask you... when you ran into your issues, were you also trying to apply for the title along with the registration? Since this is a new trailer and the DMV requires the MCO for the title application, I'm really struggling to find a way around this.

 

I'll keep y'all updated when I successfully get this done!

 

 

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Success!!! Using the forms suggested by a local dealer and visiting the same office he uses, I managed to schmooze my way through the transaction and left the tax office with my registration and plates in hand. What a relief after weeks of going back and forth with the DMV, et al. Bottom line: It came down to what length was described in the VRT-141 form. I originally put 40 feet there but the system wouldn't accept it so the lady said "do you want to try 38 or 39?" to which I said "sure". That worked and from that point on, the rest of it went smoothly.

 

It's really screwed up when you have to fudge your way through things like this to get an acceptable conclusion.

 

Thanks all for your help and advice!

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