It has taken considerably longer than I would have liked but I have now reached my first milestone, that being to get the truck to a stage where it can be registered.
Unlike other states in Australia, in the ACT it is not possible to register a cab chassis truck; the vehicle must have a “function”, according to our Road Transport Authority (RTA).
In late 2010 I had met with the head vehicle inspector at the ACT RTA, Roy McDonald, to discuss with him the proposed purchase of my truck and the modifications planned for it. We covered off what was required, engineering wise, and talked about the Vehicle Standards Bulletin related to body building for trucks (VSB6), as I would be building the subframe.
I wanted to register the truck as a motorhome, simply because it’s much cheaper doing that. The big problem here is that I was told that for the truck to be registered as a motorhome it had to look like a motorhome; no real surprise there I suppose. Realistically, that is something that is going to take quite some time to achieve so I looked for other options to get the truck registered. The simplest solution offered was to make it look something like a flat bed truck. Roy was very helpful here, not forcing me to have a solid deck on top of my subframe. I was also informed that mudguards, mudflaps and lights for the rear needed to be added and that the rear rail of the subframe had to be white in order to meet the minimum RTA requirements. Unfortunately, flat bed trucks are considered commercial vehicles and cost much more to register.
With the subframe completed and all of the specified items fitted, I took some photos of the truck then headed off to the RTA to confirm that there would not be any unexpected issues. Roy looked at the photos and told me that I also needed to add side rails to my subframe, for safety reasons, but that was all; everything else was fine.
I booked the truck in for inspection for the following day, at a cost of $131.60.
In other states you can go directly from your residence to the RTA, or to a repairer, if you have a confirmed booking. Alas, that is not the case in the ACT, where you need a $94.00 permit to drive an unregistered vehicle to any location; and the permit is only valid from 7am to 7pm!
I love living in the ACT, but this constant grab for money by our RTA is ridiculous! Actually, it’s a real pain; but what can you do?
Anyway, with a valid permit for the day I headed off to the RTA for my 8am appointment to get the truck inspected.
The inspection took about 30 minutes and was quite thorough. I had fully expected this, given the major modifications that had been carried out on the truck. I was relieved however that nothing in the engineering report was questioned.
For those that may not know, engineering reports and vehicle modification plates are state based. Just because something is approved in Queensland does not guarantee that it will be accepted in any other state of Australia.
I had done my due diligence before getting any work done by ATW, ensuring that the engineer that they were using to certify their work was on the ACT’s “approved engineers list”; he was.
The single wheel conversion had DOTARS approval, which is an Australia wide certification, so there was no concern about this modification.
For no apparent reason, Roy had changed his mind and informed me that I could register the truck as a motorhome, saying that he was convinced that it was a “motorhome under construction”. His only proviso being that I completed the project in a timely manner (within 12 months). I had fully expected that I would have to register the tuck as a commercial vehicle, which is far more expensive, so this was obviously a very nice surprise.
This confirms my theory that if you make yourself known to the RTA, and discuss your plans with them, you can build a rapport that can work to your advantage; it definitely did for me.
Long story short… my truck is now registered!
The next step in this project is getting a new exhaust system designed and manufactured; it’s already booked in!