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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the planning stages of a custom build and I've created this blog (http://craigspromasterrv.blogspot.com) to document my experience. Here's a few questions from my latest blog post:

I'm about a week away from buying a Promaster van to convert and I'm concerned about the following legal stuff and need some answers before I buy:

  1. What will it cost to insure? Because of the size/weight of the van I believe it's classified as a commercial vehicle by the DMV. I'll call my insurance company ASAP to find out how much will it cost to insure before, during and after the conversion process? I'm looking a the base van costing approximately $35,000 and then I'll be adding about $15,000 worth of additional stuff. What happens if someone steals my van during the conversion process, will the installed items be covered?
  2. Does the DMV care that I've converted my commercial van to an RV? Does it effect smog testing requirements. Will the extra weight of the appliances and other items added to the van cause it to be in a new weight class? Will more seat belts be required?
  3. This van is bigger than my VW Eurovan and won't fit in my garage. Will I have any legal issues if I leave it parked in my driveway? I see RVs in my neighborhood parked in driveways so I assume it won't be a problem but I'll check anyway just in case.
 

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2014 Ram Promaster 2500 159" diesel
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I'm in the planning stages of a custom build and I've created this blog (http://craigspromasterrv.blogspot.com) to document my experience. Here's a few questions from my latest blog post:

I'm about a week away from buying a Promaster van to convert and I'm concerned about the following legal stuff and need some answers before I buy:

  1. What will it cost to insure? Because of the size/weight of the van I believe it's classified as a commercial vehicle by the DMV. I'll call my insurance company ASAP to find out how much will it cost to insure before, during and after the conversion process? I'm looking a the base van costing approximately $35,000 and then I'll be adding about $15,000 worth of additional stuff. What happens if someone steals my van during the conversion process, will the installed items be covered?
  2. Does the DMV care that I've converted my commercial van to an RV? Does it effect smog testing requirements. Will the extra weight of the appliances and other items added to the van cause it to be in a new weight class? Will more seat belts be required?
  3. This van is bigger than my VW Eurovan and won't fit in my garage. Will I have any legal issues if I leave it parked in my driveway? I see RVs in my neighborhood parked in driveways so I assume it won't be a problem but I'll check anyway just in case.
1. Call your insurance agent.
2. Call your DMV for your state.
3. Call local gov. on parking rules.
 

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Craig,

Welcome! I was looking at your blog and wanted to mention the basement I built into mine for a few reasons.

1) to allow me to pick up 4x8 sheets of plywood or 2x4s at the Depot and transport without messing up the finished insides.

2) to allow me to store a 4' x 8' model train layout in the basement and slide it out for display with a hitch extender to support the extended end of the layout.

3) to store stuff like tables, chairs, etc under the living space.

I'm only 5'5" so I didn't miss the headroom. My basement subtracts 6" from the overall height - still plenty of space to stand up!

Pics and info at my website, listed and linked to in my signature.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #4
call,call,call

1. Call your insurance agent.
2. Call your DMV for your state.
3. Call local gov. on parking rules.
Yes I plan to make those calls. Trying to get an answer from the DMV should be interesting.

I had hoped there would be others in this forum that have already been down this road and would share what they've learned.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Subfloor storage

Craig,

Welcome! I was looking at your blog and wanted to mention the basement I built into mine for a few reasons.

1) to allow me to pick up 4x8 sheets of plywood or 2x4s at the Depot and transport without messing up the finished insides.

2) to allow me to store a 4' x 8' model train layout in the basement and slide it out for display with a hitch extender to support the extended end of the layout.

3) to store stuff like tables, chairs, etc under the living space.

I'm only 5'5" so I didn't miss the headroom. My basement subtracts 6" from the overall height - still plenty of space to stand up!

Pics and info at my website, listed and linked to in my signature.

Ed
Ed, I like the subfloor storage option, I'm 5.7 so I've got a little extra room too. I'll take a look at your site.

thanks,
Craig
 

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Yes I plan to make those calls. Trying to get an answer from the DMV should be interesting.

I had hoped there would be others in this forum that have already been down this road and would share what they've learned.
What state you live in determines how it's registered (commercial, pleasure vehicle, camper) and what the insurance companies can get you for.

I live in NH and while I occassionly see a 10 wheeler or tractor combo with commercial plates on the road most of them have regular old passenger plates or apportioned plates. I have no idea if the state charges more for commercial plates (I would think so) but I simply registered and insured mine as passenger/pleasure vehicle (that's how the dealer made the registration forms out without any input from me at all) and most everyone else in NH does the same from what I see on vehicles on the road. Now if you are in a state that insists all pickup trucks and vans without windows are commercial I guess you don't have much of a choice unless they will allow you to change it to an RV when it's done. They may want to inspect it first.

Unless we know what state you live in it's pretty difficult to give you any real advice unfortunately. If you happen to live in CA there are lots of members here that can help you though, I'm sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What state you live in determines how it's registered (commercial, pleasure vehicle, camper) and what the insurance companies can get you for.

I live in NH and while I occassionly see a 10 wheeler or tractor combo with commercial plates on the road most of them have regular old passenger plates or apportioned plates. I have no idea if the state charges more for commercial plates (I would think so) but I simply registered and insured mine as passenger/pleasure vehicle (that's how the dealer made the registration forms out without any input from me at all) and most everyone else in NH does the same from what I see on vehicles on the road. Now if you are in a state that insists all pickup trucks and vans without windows are commercial I guess you don't have much of a choice unless they will allow you to change it to an RV when it's done. They may want to inspect it first.

Unless we know what state you live in it's pretty difficult to give you any real advice unfortunately. If you happen to live in CA there are lots of members here that can help you though, I'm sure.
Thanks. I am in California, any other Californians been through this?
 

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Yes I plan to make those calls. Trying to get an answer from the DMV should be interesting.
I wouldn't call. The odds of finding someone at the DMV thats knows the rules and regulations is slim. The highway code, or whatever your state calls it, will be online and searchable. Search for the answers to your questions and you will be better informed than the DMV.

As for the weight class, unless you load the van over and above its maximum weight rating then it won't change weight class. If you do load it over and above the maximum, then you picked the wrong van to start with. You must stay within the GVWR. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. If you are pulling a trailer, the weight of your van, contents, people, trailer, trailer contents, etc. cannot exceed the GCWR, Gross Combined Weight Rating.

With regards to insurance, if you are going to convert it within the first few months, and add about $15K in stuff, then add $15K to the purchase price and tell them thats what you paid. The hassle of trying to get the value changed after the fact negates any savings of not insuring it for full value right away.

Parking... most counties and cities have bylaws regarding this. In many cases the catch phrase is that the vehicle can be moved quickly and easily under its own power. That prevents people from parking RV trailers for months on end, and having cars on blocks in the driveway. If you live within city limits, the rules are probably more strict. Again, these bylaws will be online and searchable.

I just went through the other answers before posting and saw you are in California..... so yeah, there will be rules in place for everything. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Trying to find a home for propane

Not much room underneath. I used some 8 inch vent pipe to see if the tank will fit.....then made a template for the tank mounting bolts. Then I read the NFPA 1192 regulations about propane....Should have read that first, my solution wasn't legal. I'll try again tomorrow.
 

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