Advice about driving an unregistered RV and RV buying in general (1 Viewer)

meatcomputer

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Dec 21, 2015
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Western mass
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Stoaked to have my first post, I've been lurking here for a bit now and I'm happy y'all exist.

I seem to have found myself in a pretty ideal situation.

My friend's uncle who I am close with lives in upstate New York. He has an RV built on a 1994 ford e-350 van with 30,000 miles on it. Hardly been used, gets driven ~once every 3 months because he wants to make sure it still works. I checked it out, no rust, looks to be in good condition. He hasn't gotten around to using it ever and would sell it for 1000 dollars to me as it's just sitting on his property and has since made a "successful" woodworking business which takes up all his time so he has no intention of using it seriously now.

Here's the problems. The car has no title, but it definitely does not have an active leinholder.
I am close with this guy so it's definitely not one of those "give me your money and then I'm going to leave town with $1,000" kind of situations.

I want to live out of this thing. Redo the inside, live rent free.

I have land to put the RV on ~400 miles from upstate in western Massachusetts. Part of me wants to try and drive it that distance, unregistered, without a title, leave in on the land and live out of it while I get all the bureaucratic things figured out. Also the guy offered to let me pay him once the RV safe in western Massachusetts and all figured out bureaucratically. So really my only risk is the cops. What kind of trouble would it mean for me if I got pulled over then? am I better off not even considering driving an unregistered untitled vehicle? is there some easy way to get a title that I don't know of, seems vaguely complicated.
 
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Dmac

Nomad
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Dec 25, 2008
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outside omaha
I'd try calling the DMV and asking them what it would take to get a title. Or just slap in-transits on it and drive it the 400 miles and work on getting a title later depending on what the DMV says.
 

Eyegor

Newbie
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
34
Location
New York
You will be definitely stopping at least once for gas and won't be exceeding the speed limit, trying to be ignored and all. Best guess, approx. 8-10 hr. run. This time of year, you could do it one night, assuming everything goes fine. As someone who owns and drives an 87 RV "goes fine" is always a maybe at best. Your chance of getting caught if you travel at night is fairly low. I think you would probably make it. Assuming you have a valid DL, I would have a Bill of Sale drawn up and signed by the seller. This way if you do get pulled over you have ID, a good story and proof of ownership. Might work.
Worst case scenario, you are looking at V&T (Vehicle & Traffic) Law violations with the accompanying court dates and fines. Plus $$$$ for having the RV towed. Possible but very unlikely you could wind up losing your DL. This is for NY. Not familiar with MA.
Two things: Before you buy take a long look at the roof, both inside and out. If there is ANY sign of water damage, think long and hard. 2nd, take a good look at the tires. On most RVs they don't wear out, they age out. Think cracks, dry rot, etc.
Good Luck and let us know what you end up doing.
 
OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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Western mass
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You will be definitely stopping at least once for gas and won't be exceeding the speed limit, trying to be ignored and all. Best guess, approx. 8-10 hr. run. This time of year, you could do it one night, assuming everything goes fine. As someone who owns and drives an 87 RV "goes fine" is always a maybe at best. Your chance of getting caught if you travel at night is fairly low. I think you would probably make it. Assuming you have a valid DL, I would have a Bill of Sale drawn up and signed by the seller. This way if you do get pulled over you have ID, a good story and proof of ownership. Might work.
Worst case scenario, you are looking at V&T (Vehicle & Traffic) Law violations with the accompanying court dates and fines. Plus $$$$ for having the RV towed. Possible but very unlikely you could wind up losing your DL. This is for NY. Not familiar with MA.
Two things: Before you buy take a long look at the roof, both inside and out. If there is ANY sign of water damage, think long and hard. 2nd, take a good look at the tires. On most RVs they don't wear out, they age out. Think cracks, dry rot, etc.
Good Luck and let us know what you end up doing.
Thanks, the guy I'm buying it from suggested traveling at night, I'm wondering why that's the best idea. I don't drive much but...I feel like a RV rolling through late at night when there's no cars out is way more suspicious than it would be if I'm rolling through with a good amount of traffic. Also I have valid cali plates and as of now the RV has no plates, think it'd be worth my while to stick the cali plates on?
 

klaiash

Rambler
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
33
Location
Ventura
If you drive it straight to Mass after buying it, I personally wouldn't worry. I know that on the west coast, you can move the vehicle around (not drive it all over hell, but move it) without registration for the first 30 days of ownership or something without fees, but whether a cop wants to be nice or not is on the shoulders of your luck (I have horrible luck and haven't had any problems with this). If you're too uncomfortable nonetheless, check your local dmv and see if they have a temp reg you can get on the low $ (usually bout half the cost or less of full registration) to move it legally for 30 days or so. Alls I know is that I've gotten away with moving a car across state lines numerous times, long as the cop or whoever understands you bought it at point A and are headed straight to B. Especially if you have a bill of sale indicating the recent purchase date to back up your story. Which honestly, if the other guy is cool about it, you could leave the date on the BoS blank on the actual day of sale and then add a date to the BoS at convenience (say, a day or two before taking it cross state). I haven't had reg/insurance on any of my cars in the past couple years, since I always junk 'em after a year or so of driving, when they break down. One time I had a cop pull me over, see I had no reg/insurance and tell me good luck not getting pulled over again and off he went (I haven't been pulled over since). I've seen others do it, too. Just think of yourself as invisible and wah-la~! Good luck, mate.
 

Eyegor

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Dec 24, 2015
Messages
34
Location
New York
If it was me, I would not put Cali plates on it. While it would be less suspicious at first glance, if you are pulled over, you have now made an overt act to hide the true nature of the situation. Any good will you might have from the Officer is most likely shot. Likewise, if you happen to drive by a unit that has the automatic license plate readers, it will alert the officer that the plates are on the wrong class of vehicle.
As for traveling at night, cops are traditionally busier and in most areas there are less on duty. Combine that with the fact that you can't see plates well and registration or inspection stickers at all and running at night seems like a better deal. Like commercial trucks, RVers are on the road at all hours of the day and night. As an example, when schedules allow, I like to drive my rig through the night. Less traffic and more interesting things will be heard on the radio.
Only you can decide if the risks are worth it. Getting a replacement title can be a pain, but is not impossible. I've done it on a Cherokee once. Likewise, you may run into trouble in MA having unregistered/uninsured vehicles on your property. I don't know. You may be only delaying the inevitable.
 
K

Kim Chee

I deleted myself
So if he's that cool and all, why not propose that you live in the rv at his place until documentation is squared away? Maybe you can squeeze in some side work while working on the rv and paperwork?

Hell of a lot better than getting your rig towed and dealing with that crap.
 
OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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So if he's that cool and all, why not propose that you live in the rv at his place until documentation is squared away? Maybe you can squeeze in some side work while working on the rv and paperwork?

Hell of a lot better than getting your rig towed and dealing with that crap.
Not possible, I got commitments in western mass and I'm trying to be less of a flake/less of a person who says their going to do something and then jump from the thing I said I was going to do when something better or more interesting presents itself.
 

Dmac

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@meatcomputer , Besides getting a Bill Of sale, In-Transits and Having a valid drivers licence, It might be a good idea to have a friend follow behind the RV when you move it. To kind of block the lack of a back licence plate, and in case anything happens.
 
OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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Wait! would I be pretty much set if I got one of those police radar detectors? I know next to nothing about them but would that be a way to get me out of trouble? do those work well?
 

Dmac

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I don't think that a radar detector would be worth the money. You are not planning on speeding are you?
 

TMG51

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Burlington, VT
Most states don't require a title to transfer ownership of older vehicles. For 20+ years old I wouldn't be surprised if you don't need the title. Check with the DMV. From what I perused quickly of NYS, I see only mention of vehicles 10 years old or newer:
https://dmv.ny.gov/brochure/information-and-instructions-about-your-certificate-title

For a one-time drive to get it back to Mass, I would not hesitate doing so illegally. For the long term, check with MA DMV and see what is required to register the vehicle in your name (e.g., you may need a bill of sale but not a title - have a bill of sale signed at the time of purchase).

The radar detector thing is silly, stop being silly.
 
OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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I just found land so now I just gotta haul it out in a few weeks. I'm so excited,already having so many dreams and nightmares about this thing.
 
OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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**Update**

The RV ended up not working out, it had been sitting too long and would involve way to much work both bureaucratically and physically. I did however just find a chevy express cargo van and put my savings into getting it. The back is already gutted and I'm hopefully going to post a picture when I'm at it again. Found a farm to keep it at and work on it for the next 3 weeks, Im really excited.
 
OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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***Update 2***
Don't make massive craigslist purchases when you're really stoned, I ended up buying a really nice chevy express at a good price from this guy who ran a palm reading store....big mistake. The van drove amazing and was great in a lot of ways but that guy had no fucking clue what was going on when it came to DMV paperwork. He told me it was a really quick easy process to get a replacement title and to transfer ownership of this corporate vehicle from the company and to myself. Bullshit, After 3 weeks of him driving me to the conneticut DMV, us waiting there and then finding out that yet another one of the million bearucratic pebbles was not in the right location and would have to be restacked another day, It got so ridiculous that he offered to give me all my money back. So I waited and after 5 weeks from the purchasing date he finally gave me my money back and I was, once again, at square one.

So I went back to that swamp that is craigslist and searched for more sketchy people to buy vans from. I must have looked at 5 or 6 and every single seller would say the same shit

"You could drive this to california right now"
"It'll pass inspection this instant" and
"Oh that's only surface rust. "
Bullshit

I had one guy try to sell me a dodge sprinter with an entire exhaust system which had gaping rusty holes all over it. In the process of looking at another van some local teens grabbed my bag and made a run for it. I was really stressed and pissed off that day so I was able to channel all these bad feels into an all out rage induced chase, where I eventually got my bag back.

So after 2 more weeks of searching I find this mechanic guy whos trying to sell me a van and actually seems like a decent human being. It was a 1993 4.7 L ford E-150 van and it felt right.

kw8g2zn-jpg.32300

and the carpety interior
i4locd3-jpg.32301

And the horrible rust under the carpet which I only discovered after buying it.
vrfjze3-jpg.32302

Grinded the bad metal out repainted and put some aluminum sheetmetal on top.
nanr0ev-jpg.32303


I made the subfloor out of 1/2in plywood and covered the inside with reflectix.
bbflayj-jpg.32304

I added furring strips to put the cedar panels on.
hjzjdi8-jpg.32305

Here's the panels
vqrpf7r-jpg.32306

Covered the exposed door sheetmetal with wood after foam insulating the inside.
oiihkd9-jpg.32307

There's so much more to write, but my computer is about to die, ill post more when I get back to a power source. This last picture is from about 1 week ago with the begining of the cieling and wheel wells installed. I'm stopping here because my computer is about to breathe its last breath.
 

Dmac

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outside omaha
Man what a bunch of bureaucratic crap to deal with on the title! I will not buy a vehicle without a clear title, unless it is for parts. On the plus side, the rust wasn't too bad and the cedar siding looks great ! Keep us posted please.
 
OP
meatcomputer

meatcomputer

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Western mass
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Man what a bunch of bureaucratic crap to deal with on the title! I will not buy a vehicle without a clear title, unless it is for parts. On the plus side, the rust wasn't too bad and the cedar siding looks great ! Keep us posted please.
I dont know what the fuck I was thinking on the first van. As long as I've seen people buying cars on craiglist I always hear "dont by a car without a clean title" which automatically makes me curious about what its like buying a car without a title. The guy instead gave me all the paperwork signed by him and the company to get the new title which seemed sufficient but every single time we went to the DMV there was a small insignificant problem with the way the form was filled out. But I got my money back and this new van is way cheaper and better imo.
 

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