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California Title and CDL Requirements: M35A2

bajajoaquin

Member
29
5
8
Location
San Diego
I’m looking at buying a Deuce in the near future. I’m in California. A listing I saw had a truck titled as a non-historic vehicle and the ad says that no commercial drivers license is required. However, my understanding is that a CDL is required for any vehicle with 3 or more axles and is over 6,000 lb GVW.

Years ago, I remember a thread about a legal analysis of this and couldn’t find it. However, I decided to just get a CDL anyway as it’s not that big a deal. While studying for it, I came across the requirements for commercial vehicles requiring smogequipment, etc. Since I need to take the skills (driving) test in the deuce, I’m not sure it would pass, even though it’s not a commercial vehicle.

Any detail on the California situation? Is there a thread that covers it? I searched but didn’t see one.

The seller can say what he wants, but is there any truth to the claim that no CDL is required? Where would I find documentation of that? (Truck is titled as a Jeep)
 

flyfishtrailer

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
525
995
93
Location
Cool, CA
There have been a ton of threads regarding registering military vehicles in California (or not as the state is trying really hard to not allow it to happen). The CDL requirements are for 3 axles or more, but the weight is under 26,000 not 6,000. The air brakes bring a next level into the equation. Simple class C doesn't have an air brake endorsement, so you would need a class B with that endorsement. As far as the truck, a bobbed deuce would be fine, although with the new diesel law that kicked in you will never get anything other than historic, or if equipped as one, an RV. If it is a really old truck (I think the cut off is 97 and under) you may be able to a smog exemption but do your research before you take my word. There is not an exception for military vehicles in the hands of civilians. I feel bad for the HMWWR guys as they now have no prayer of ever getting an on-road registration in this state.
 

bajajoaquin

Member
29
5
8
Location
San Diego
According to the California Commercial Drivers Handbook, it’s 26k unless it’s three or more axles, then it’s 6k.

Do you have links to these threads? I searched and didn’t find them.

IMG_7137.png
 

KN6KXR

Well-known member
221
539
93
Location
Felton, CA
I took the test in my M936A2 which weighs about 37k. For what it's worth the DMV didn't seem to care that the vehicle wasn't commercial. At the time it had Michigan Antique plates and registration as I was still in the process of getting CA Historical Vehicle status (I told them as much). They just checked the plate, looked at registration and wanted to see my insurance. That's it.

They were a bit stiff generally until I explained to them, several times, that I just wanted to be legal in case of an accident. I'm not looking to change careers and be a truck driver. I just want to be as legal as possible in case some idiot cuts me off on the way to a parade or car show. The law says more than three axles so here we are...... Once they understood this things were fine. For a minute I think they were thinking I was trying to pull some shenanigans on them. Try to get a CDL and drive for a living without using a regular truck.

You don't need a CDL for air over hydraulic brakes (a lot of tow trucks are this) but you do for full air brakes (like my M1087 which is 2 axles). You certainly do for 3 or more axles regardless of braking system. That's what the CA DMV says.

If for some reason you are driving "out of class" and get in an accident, even with insurance, things will not go your way. In the eyes of the law you shouldn't have been there in the first place. I have real world experience with this and know it for a fact.

There's a ton of folks who will tell you a bunch of reasons you don't need one. Perhaps they will volunteer to be a test case?
 

bajajoaquin

Member
29
5
8
Location
San Diego
I took the test in my M936A2 which weighs about 37k. For what it's worth the DMV didn't seem to care that the vehicle wasn't commercial. At the time it had Michigan Antique plates and registration as I was still in the process of getting CA Historical Vehicle status (I told them as much). They just checked the plate, looked at registration and wanted to see my insurance. That's it.

They were a bit stiff generally until I explained to them, several times, that I just wanted to be legal in case of an accident. I'm not looking to change careers and be a truck driver. I just want to be as legal as possible in case some idiot cuts me off on the way to a parade or car show. The law says more than three axles so here we are...... Once they understood this things were fine. For a minute I think they were thinking I was trying to pull some shenanigans on them. Try to get a CDL and drive for a living without using a regular truck.

You don't need a CDL for air over hydraulic brakes (a lot of tow trucks are this) but you do for full air brakes (like my M1087 which is 2 axles). You certainly do for 3 or more axles regardless of braking system. That's what the CA DMV says.

If for some reason you are driving "out of class" and get in an accident, even with insurance, things will not go your way. In the eyes of the law you shouldn't have been there in the first place. I have real world experience with this and know it for a fact.

There's a ton of folks who will tell you a bunch of reasons you don't need one. Perhaps they will volunteer to be a test case?
Your motivation matches mine. I’ve wanted a deuce for a long time, but was put off by the CDL requirement. Thought about a motorhome version to avoid this but it just sidetracked me for years. Now that I have a place to park it, I’m looking to finally get one. (It’s hard to find parking for one when you live at so cal beaches.) As part of that, I want to be legal.
 

williamh

Well-known member
433
589
93
Location
SanDiego Ca.
Your motivation matches mine. I’ve wanted a deuce for a long time, but was put off by the CDL requirement. Thought about a motorhome version to avoid this but it just sidetracked me for years. Now that I have a place to park it, I’m looking to finally get one. (It’s hard to find parking for one when you live at so cal beaches.) As part of that, I want to be legal.
I’ve had multiple duces in ca. ( still do ) and have been stopped multiple times for different reasons. Never been asked about dl class , trying to register anything that’s diesel that’s not def (ca compliant ) is gonna b a no go. Could try for historical plates but that’s gonna be iffy , tried to get the funvee done in ca. flat no effin way. Went with outta state tags , (dirt legal) don’t recommend but you can get away with a lot if it’s not a daily driver , had my m35 without a plate for 20+ years without a plate on it.
 

sue

Active member
413
323
43
Location
tulsa OK
Half the “fifth wheel” travel trailers or over 10,000 lbs. how many three axle
motorhomes or there on California hiways right now?
A California “dmv hand book” is not the vehicle code.
not saying it’s false, but just sounds a little fishy?
 
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