Reclassifying Cargo Sprinter as an RV in California?

baboonia

New member
I'm helping a friend build a motorhome out of an '06 long (158") and tall Sprinter cargo
van.

The (used) van purchased was a commercial vehicle. It will soon have kitchen,
toilet, bed,etc.

Has anyone in this group taken a converted cargo van to DMV for motorhome
classification?

If so, what was the process? How did it go?

I'm told the registration and insurance is much less for an RV vs a commercial
cargo van.
 

sikwan

06 T1N Can
https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showpost.php?p=20203&postcount=16

From what I remember about my ordeal, I made the DMV appointment (only way to go), explained that I needed to change my classification in front of the counter, drove my van around to check out lane where it was inspected, the two inspectors wrote up the paper, I went back to the same counter and then said it would be in the mail. I also had to turn in my plate and registration.

Easy, painless, and worth it! :thumbup:
 

BULBASOR

Active member
Yes, Sporstmobile too reclassified the cargo van as an RV and BULBASOR has the RVIA oval badge on the back so when I transferred his registration from Texas to California they classified him as an RV type CAMPER VAN. the insurance is very inexpensive.

Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) All applicable codes are followed for installation and testing of propane, electrical and plumbing systems.


To qualify as an RV there are a couple of requirements:

I THINK it MUST have either a STOVE, or a HEATER, electric or gas, and I THINK it's also required to have a WATER system, or a REFIGERATOR. I'm still scketchy on the requirements but i know thare are some minimum things required.
 

BaywoodBill

pre-Yuppiedom
18010. "Recreational vehicle" means:

(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, that meets all of the following criteria:

(1) It contains less than 320 square feet of internal living room area, excluding builtin 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 either self-propelled, truck-mounted, or permanently towable on the highways without a permit.

28060. (a) No person shall sell or offer for sale a new recreational vehicle or new camper which is equipped with cooking equipment or heating equipment, and no dealer or person holding a retail seller's permit shall sell or offer for sale a used recreational vehicle or a used camper which is equipped with cooking or heating equipment, unless such new or used vehicle or new or used camper is equipped with at least one fire extinguisher, filled and ready for use, of the dry chemical or carbon dioxide type with an aggregate rating of at least 4-B:C units, which meets the requirements specified in Section 13162 of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) The operator of a recreational vehicle, or a vehicle to which a camper is attached, which recreational vehicle or camper is equipped with a fire extinguisher as required by subdivision (a), shall carry such fire extinguisher in such recreational vehicle or camper and shall maintain the fire extinguisher in an efficient operating condition.


http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl648/dl648pt6.htm

I think the key words are those I have turned green,.
 
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kmessinger

New member
You have to certify that the vehicle has been converted for human habitation. Sec E of California form Reg. 265a (required with the pink slip and current commercial plate) states "Definition: Human habitation is living space which includes, but is not limited to: closets, cabinets, kitchen units or fixtures, and bath or toilet rooms."

Apparently they are a little loose on the "bath or toilet rooms" as SMB completes many units with just a porta-potti.

Unlike most things here in California, this looks fairly easy.

Regards,
Keith
 

BULBASOR

Active member
Right, there is a requirement that the unit must have some sort of plumbing that is within health code standards for "habitation" so I'm almost positive a water system is REQUIRED and that is considered adequet for a porta pottie as long as a fresh water system is also available. I think there is a requirement for food strage too but I think they allow ice chests? I'm not sure, but I was told a reefer of some kind is REQUIRED.

I'm scketchy on it, but I know you can't just throw a bed into your van and get the classification. It will not fly.
 

BobInSprinter

New member
My experience with California DMV in getting my 144 cargo van registered as an 'automobile', the registration code changed from 'VN' which is commercial van to 'VA' which is 'automobile varied other autos', it probably should have gone to automobile VC which is van camper. I did have to fill out a form, I think it was CA DMV 256A. In terms of contents of the van, I started with a bare cargo van and tried once with a mattress thrown in the back, no go. Next I put in a cooler, bed platform with mattress, and a used bathroom vanity with a sink (hooked up to nothing) and cassette toilet. That worked. I realized after at least two hours there with one of the senior DMV employees conferring with the director, they also spent a long time reading their giant reference book, that there are not specific requirements. It mostly came down to my signing the form saying that I declared this a camper. They had no formal inspection process or checklist of contents. The form where you declare 'human habitation' mentions : closets, cabinets, kitchen units, or fixtures, and bath or toilet rooms. Pretty loose, mostly it just has to look like a camper van, not a delivery van with a mattress on the floor per my first try!
 

HarryN

Active member
The part that I have wondered about is parking in a neighborhood, which sort of has an HOA. I want to make sure that a van that I purchase will be able to be parked on the street as my daily driver and not kicked out because it is called an "RV".

For that reason, sometimes I wonder about starting with a passenger van and stripping out the interior and just leaving it listed as a passenger van.
 

erik.wahlstrom

Active member
The part that I have wondered about is parking in a neighborhood, which sort of has an HOA. I want to make sure that a van that I purchase will be able to be parked on the street as my daily driver and not kicked out because it is called an "RV".

For that reason, sometimes I wonder about starting with a passenger van and stripping out the interior and just leaving it listed as a passenger van.
I'm dealing with exactly this issue right now. We'll see how my appeal goes. One thing I learned is that, at least in WA state both crew vans, and a passenger vans are "Passenger Vans" on the registration. If you have a choice pick a crew as your starting point.
 

RVBarry

Member
For that reason, sometimes I wonder about starting with a passenger van and stripping out the interior and just leaving it listed as a passenger van.
Hi, I've read that the Crew Van is considered a passenger van by some insurance companies and DMVs.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Quaint ... i looked at my Washington Title and one of the annual registration certs.

My passenger wagon's Body Type is listed as "SV"
... which is simply not listed as one of the two-letter codes in the DOL's manual: https://www.dol.wa.gov/business/vehiclevesseldealer/docs/DealerManual.pdf
(page 23).
(no, it's definitely not "SW" for station wagon)

--dick
p.s. in WA, if you take out all of the rear seats, it's no longer a passenger van ... they require both a window and at least one seat back there.
 
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HarryN

Active member
Quaint ... i looked at my Washington Title and one of the annual registration certs.

My passenger wagon's Body Type is listed as "SV"
... which is simply not listed as one of the two-letter codes in the DOL's manual: https://www.dol.wa.gov/business/vehiclevesseldealer/docs/DealerManual.pdf
(page 23).
(no, it's definitely not "SW" for station wagon)

--dick
p.s. in WA, if you take out all of the rear seats, it's no longer a passenger van ... they require both a window and at least one seat back there.
Do you happen to know if the over / under 10,000 lbs aspect matters?

In my case, there will be a second row of seats for the grand daughters anyway.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Do you happen to know if the over / under 10,000 lbs aspect matters?
In my case, there will be a second row of seats for the grand daughters anyway.
Here in Wa, it's the invoice dry weight which matters ... as long as you're below 6001 pounds, it's simple
(my 118" wheelbase is 4901 pounds as was shown on the dealer's invoice. My GVW is 8550)
Above 6000 pounds things get complicated depending upon "Use Class"
In the document i linked to, this is covered on pages 26 and 27.
If you're a PAS use class, i think you're home free. (i am not a lawyer nor registry official).

For the truly bored, you can prowl around RCW 46.16.070
https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.16.070 (that was a reference in the above document. Useless.)
So a dab of searching coughed up this: http://leg.wa.gov/CodeReviser/RCWSelectedTitles/Documents/2019/46.pdf
...that's the entire 422 page Title 46 motor vehicle section. A quick scan indicates that the "weight" only affects Trucks. (and vehicles for hire). If you're a passenger van (and the Crew fits that), the weight shouldn't matter (but may affect your annual license fee).
... after doing MORE reading, the above opinion still stands ... it only affects Trucks (etc).
At the very worst, if the dry weight is over 6000 pounds, it only means that the registered GVW has to be at least 150% of that.
(my passenger Sprinter has no entries in any of the Truck boxes .. .no GVW, etc etc)

--dick
 

HarryN

Active member
Here in Wa, it's the invoice dry weight which matters ... as long as you're below 6001 pounds, it's simple
(my 118" wheelbase is 4901 pounds as was shown on the dealer's invoice. My GVW is 8550)
Above 6000 pounds things get complicated depending upon "Use Class"
In the document i linked to, this is covered on pages 26 and 27.
If you're a PAS use class, i think you're home free. (i am not a lawyer nor registry official).

For the truly bored, you can prowl around RCW 46.16.070
https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.16.070 (that was a reference in the above document. Useless.)
So a dab of searching coughed up this: http://leg.wa.gov/CodeReviser/RCWSelectedTitles/Documents/2019/46.pdf
...that's the entire 422 page Title 46 motor vehicle section. A quick scan indicates that the "weight" only affects Trucks. (and vehicles for hire). If you're a passenger van (and the Crew fits that), the weight shouldn't matter (but may affect your annual license fee).
... after doing MORE reading, the above opinion still stands ... it only affects Trucks (etc).
At the very worst, if the dry weight is over 6000 pounds, it only means that the registered GVW has to be at least 150% of that.
(my passenger Sprinter has no entries in any of the Truck boxes .. .no GVW, etc etc)

--dick
Thanks I will need to spend some time reading that.

It could be tight to hit that dry weight / GVWR in some larger van versions, at least for Ford Transits.


I will have to look up what it means for the larger Sprinters as well.

I am starting to notice a number of 3 ton limits on roads lately as well, so I suppose that I need to figure out that area.
 

MTGJR1

Active member
I am starting to notice a number of 3 ton limits on roads lately as well, so I suppose that I need to figure out that area.
As a matter of curiosity, are those country roads with bridges? 3 tons doesn't allow a trip from the lumber hard in my old pickup.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
The 4901 4501 (bad memory on my part) was the shipping weight to the dealer.
It's a number i've never seen on spec sheets.
(i suppose you could subtract the "payload" from the GVW and arrive close to it)

Here's the text rendition of my dealer invoice (hence wholesale prices): 4501 as shipping weight.
Once on the road i passed through a closed-but-operating Oregon weigh station and we totaled about 5725 pounds.
(two people, half-tank of fuel, camping gear)
--------------------------
DAIMLERCHRYSLER VANS LLC
PLANT: DUSSELDORF
ZONE: 71
DEALER: F0104
VEHICLE ID NUMBER: WDRPD14435582xxxx
INVOICE NO.: 5-VA6-70584792
INVOICE DT: 08/17/05

SHIPPING WT. 4501
PAID FOR BY: DCS TRUCK FINANCE
SAE HP 23.9

Equip Description Factory Wholesale Price
------- --------------- ----------------------
VA6L51 F/LINER SPRINTER 2500 HC WAGON 118"
PBM Jasper Blue Metallic 814.00
C7AA Premium Cloth Bucket Seats 348.00
ACL Accessory Group 53.00
AGH Maintenance Group 152.00
AJP Power Convenience Group 608.00
AMJ Auxiliary Front Heating Group 706.00
BAQ 115 Amp Alternator 90.00
CMB Heated Driver Seat 136.00
DGJ 5-Speed Auto W5A380 Transmission NO CHARGE
EX8 2.7L I5 Turbo Diesel Engine NO CHARGE
GEC Front Left Side Slider Window 292.00
GEW Front Right Side Slider Window 292.00
GXK 2 Additional Keys 68.00
HDC Rear Auxiliary Heater 402.00
HGM Front Insulation 175.00
LEG Additional Rt/Lt Parabolic Mirrors 52.00
NHM Speed Control 219.00
RBF AM/FM Compact Disc Radio w/Chgr Ctrl 260.00
2TB Customer Preferred Package 2TB
22B Customer Preferred Package 22B 247.00
007 DESTINATION CHARGE 880.00

msrp retail total 35,281.00
------------------
--dick
 

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