Attention CALIFORNIA Owners! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-08-2006, 09:56 PM   #1
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California Egg owners BEWARE. You may be spending too much on yearly registration! If your trailer is less than 16ft long, it can be registered as a "PTI" Permanent Trailer Identification. The plate is renewed every 5 years (I think) instead of yearly. It is obvious that some folks at the DMV don't know this. Have them look it up if you have to renew every year. It will save you $$$$

I just spent the better part of two days getting a 13ft Scamp I just brought back from New York registered because of a simple computer glitch at the DVM.

First, I went to the DVM at AAA yesterday. They had a problem with the VIN and told me I had to go to the DMV. But before sending me off, she thought maybe the vehicle "code" she was entering was wrong. It seems that the concept of a tiny fiberglass camping trailer derails a bureaucratic mind. ("No, it's not a motor-home, no it doesn't pop up, no, it's a trailer and it doesn't have an engine...etc.") I told her that I have another trailer just like this one and it was no problem to register. I told her I have the title with me and went out to get it.

Now this was at the AAA and when she saw the code on the registration, she told me that the "code" on my Trillium registration and it's "Permanent Plates" were for Pop-Up trailers only. She told me to keep it to myself and winked.

Today, I had the same problem at the DMV with the VIN. It wouldn't enter the computer properly. They made me drive to the CHP so that they could check my VIN. (for the FORTH time!!!) The folks at the DMV wanted to make sure that since the number on the trailer and the number on the registration forms from New York MATCHED, I should take it to the CHP to have them check it. If it was still CORRECT, then the CHP could CHANGE the VIN number!!! This is after the CHP Officer told them, that they don't deal with trailers under 5000lbs. But he agreed to check it out in case I was a desperate character harboring a stolen Egg. Now, THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE OVER THE PHONE. But no, the lady at DMV had given him 18 numbers of a 17 number VIN. So he agreed to help out.

The Officer was very nice. First thing he said was that there was nothing he could do that the DMV hadn't done already (three times, no less). He said that they could just assign a VIN number... (...as it matched the paperwork, so what was the problem???) But we stripped a bit more paint off the numbers and brushed them with a wire brush and steel wool and together, we examined the numbers from the frame with a magnifying glass and determined that yep, they matched!!!! I returned to the DMV and finished the transaction in all of three minutes. (After a total of 5 hours, yesterday and today!) Our Taxes, hard at work.

Ah, but I digress.

The point to all this is that in the midst of getting this bureaucratic monkey drill done, the question of what a Scamp was came up again. ("No, it's not a motor-home, no it doesn't pop up, no, it's a trailer and it doesn't have an engine...etc.") I took a chance and told her about the Trillium and it's registration under PTI. She looked it up and went to get her supervisor who said "NO, NO, NO, THAT'S ONLY FOR POP-UP TRAILERS! Luck would have it that the fellow in the next window (who didn't seem to be doing much of anything) had overheard the conversation and spoke up, stating that camping trailers under 16ft got Permanent plates. The supervisor disagreed and left to call "Arnold" in Sacramento and the lady helping me just looked it up it the rule book and sure enough, the fellow who had nothing to do but listen in on us was right! THREE CHEERS FOR BUREAUCRATIC LOLLYGAGGING!

That fellow saved me $33 today and a bunch over the next 5 years!

Check your registration out and let me (and them) know what you find out.

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Old 08-08-2006, 10:22 PM   #2
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If your trailer is [b]less than 16ft long, it can be registered as a "PTI" Permanent Trailer Identification.
That's why my 13' Compact Junior got "PTI" plates, and my 16' Fiber Stream got standard plates.
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:23 PM   #3
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hmnnn...

California DMV is about as fun as root canal work. I have had other ridiculous problems with them, but all my trailers under 16 feet and 3k pounds have gotten PTIs. No questions or trouble.

I even bought my second trialer FROM a chp woman.
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:39 PM   #4
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hmnnn...

California DMV is about as fun as root canal work. I have had other ridiculous problems with them, but all my trailers under 16 feet and 3k pounds have gotten PTIs. No questions or trouble.

I even bought my second trialer FROM a chp woman.
the funny thing is all the ones that left california now work in lasvegas when i moved there 15 years ago it was get in line at 6am to get a set of plates by 3pm im sure im back home in illinois 15 min and im done
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:39 PM   #5
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But no, the lady at DMV had given him 18 numbers of a 17 number VIN.
What is this now with [b]17 digits???
My line for VIN = FS-78-1041, [b]eight digits.
I have a line for Manufacturer ID# = 03-1667, [b]six digits
I also have a line for PA# = 10720, [b]five digits (what's a PA#?)
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:45 PM   #6
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We make apointments via the internet here now. I have not spent more than 20 mins waiting with this system,

At least, not in lovely Norco, which is always packed to the gills with walkins.

The one in Blythe is fun. I had something to do at DMV but also knew I was driving to Arizona in a couple weeks, so I waited to do my DMV biz then. Figured it would be less painful.

They fought over who was going to help me, they were so happy to see another human...
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:04 PM   #7
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Name: jim
Trailer: Casita 2000 17ft. Liberty
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The trailer is registered PERMANENTLY. I have had the PTI plate for several years and not heard from the DMV. It's a 13' footer'
The DMV performs a very complicated service and I always felt the were a big help with my lack of expertise.
They earn their money when they deal with clueless unprepared people. No offense meant to our FGRV members of course.
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:19 PM   #8
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Actually, it's not permanent, even tho they describe it that way with the word.

You have to renew every 5 years, at a lower fee.

California PTI info

1/2 way down the page or so

I have never never owned a trailer for that long. I never had to renew one.

The DMV site and code matches what I was told at DMV and by the CHP I bought the second trailer from. And there is a date on my registration.

edit cause I am a dope and put in the wrong link... unless you like farm equipment
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:30 PM   #9
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Drect quote from the camping trailers section

"Trailers

What trailers are subject to Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI)?

All trailers except park trailers and trailer coaches are subject to PTI.

NOTE: A camp trailer or fifth-wheel trailer (depending upon maximum length, width, or size) can be registered as a trailer coach, or camp trailer. Camp trailers are subject to PTI, but trailer coaches are subject to annual registration and excluded from PTI.

Will fees be charged for a trailer?

Yes. There is a Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) fee for the original registration. You will receive a permanent identification card at the time of initial registration/conversion.

The PTI is renewed every five (5) years

Approximately 60 days prior to the expiration date, you will receive a PTI renewal notice requesting the fee. Return the fee in the envelope provided. You will receive a notice of acknowledgment for the payment.

Upon conversion to PTI registration, you can:

* Retain the existing trailer plate, or
* Request a new permanent trailer identification plate."
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:33 AM   #10
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I was told by the DMV that any trailer with permant plumbing that could be lived in did not qualify for a PTI plate. They did not count a porta potty or just a sink water system. They also said that you could not non op a camp trailer with plumbing without paying penalties when you go to relicence. Do not know if this is true or not but that is what they told me when I tried to get a PTI on my Fiber Stream. They never said anything about trailer lenght.
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:44 AM   #11
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Here is Ca. dmvs definition of a Camp Trailer It specifically mentions the 16 foot limit. Nothing about plumbing. It may imply it doesn't have plumbing by saying it is for camping or recreational purposes.

and here is thier definition of Trailer Coach

Doesn't mention a THING about length.
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:56 AM   #12
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When I got my first 17í Casita I was sent a PTI plate; Didnít know about it and didnít ask for it.

When I bought my second 17í Casita, I took it down to DMV and asked for the same PTI plate I was given with my first Casita. The agent said, I donít think you qualify, but letís take a look. He brought out his tape measure and measued the over-all length. It measured (yep) 17í. He said, ďI wish I could help ya, but it has to be UNDER 16í to qualify.Ē

My current 17í Casita is registered as a standard Travel Trailer.

PS: A friend of mine in northern California bought a new 17í Casita last year and DMV gave him a PTI.

DMV seems to have consistancy issues. In my case the guy was knowlegable and did a good job.

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Old 08-09-2006, 12:02 PM   #13
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Here is Ca. dmvs definition of a Camp Trailer It specifically mentions the 16 foot limit. Nothing about plumbing. It may imply it doesn't have plumbing by saying it is for camping or recreational purposes.

and here is thier definition of Trailer Coach

Doesn't mention a THING about length.

I guess I need to jump in here, too. When I went to register my Fiber Stream in Eureka, the lady at DMV was only concerned about length - 16' and under warranted the 'permanent plates'. She didn't even measure it - just walked the length of it and said 'Yup, 16 ft.'. Nobody said anything about 'self-contained'. Now that I'm in WA I'm not even going to mess with the plates until they expire. The Jeep got WA plates, but not the trailer. You'd sure think the DMV would have some standardization, wouldn't you? but having just retired from State 'service' I sure don't miss the B.S. - from any State Dept.!!!

I'm sorry I missed the Bullard's Beach camp this year - I saw a couple of you on the road as I headed up the coast on July 18. Maybe next year!
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Old 08-09-2006, 12:51 PM   #14
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When I got my first 17í Casita I was sent a PTI plate; Didnít know about it and didnít ask for it.
Mike, the price of DMV fees in California, you might have been better off to keep the first Casita.
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