Completing an "incomplete" vehicle (Cab/Chassis, Cutaway)

Joey G

Member
Split off from here to prevent a hijack...

So I've been toying with the idea of purchasing a new Ford Cab Chassis or Cutaway on which I'd like to mount a DIY camper box. As you probably know, these vehicles are shipped from Ford as "Incomplete" vehicles, with the intention of being sent to a Final Stage Manufacturer to have the box/flatbed/whatever mounted and the associated paperwork produced.

When I called the state (TN) to see what it would take to get it registered, they said it cannot be registered until it's "completed". Since it's never going to be sent to a Final Stage Manufacturer, this presents a problem. I assume TN isn't the only state that feels this way.

So how are people handling this problem? Is it possible to legally "complete" the vehicle (and paperwork) as a DIYer? Or do I have to buy a box truck/flatbed/whatever and start from there?
 
I am by no means an expert on this but, I have built several "special construction" motorcycles over the years and I would assume it to be the same process. Save all receipts showing where everything was sourced including materials used for your own handiwork. Then follow the title/registration process for a special construction in your state. I titled a handbuilt chopper in Tennessee back in the mid-nineties so I'm assuming it can still be done.

Bob
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
my understanding As already mentioned in another post: there is no way around a final stage manufacturer to get it certified as a complete vehicle. Easiest way to achive that, is to order your cab chassis through the dealer with the cheapest flatbed they have. You then remove it, sell it and install your camper.
 

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quickfarms

Adventurer
The cutaway is considered incomplete because there is no back wall on the cab. If you order the cab and chassis version it should be registered without an issue
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Register as a "motorhome" in VT by mail, no need for you or the vehicle to go there.

In fact inspection never necessary so long as you don't
 

skirunman

New member
My understanding is this is not a state registration issue per se, but a US Dept. of Transportation issue as per the code of federal regulations, here is a link to the applicable code https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/part-568. The vehicle will come from Ford with a VIN and door sticker that shows the vehicle as incomplete so I doubt it would be possible to register said vehicle in any state, including Vermont, but that is just my assumption. Ford also produces this manual to help final stage vehicle manufactures, basically upfitters that will complete the Transit cutaway or chassis, which has a lot more details on the process. https://madocumentupload.marketingassociates.com/api/Document/GetFile?v1=4309597&v2=053118010328&v3=60&v4=7c8afa73b3680173858a9823ca3ac442b78716f955cfe78809c78ed1&v5=False

Likely the best option is to order a cab chassis with a cheap flatbed that has already been upfitted and has door sticker/VIN from a final stage manufacturer. You should be able to order such a vehicle from a Ford commercial fleet dealer.
 
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john61ct

Adventurer
Fed regs only apply to commercial transport afaik.

I think you'd be OK with trying VT, only takes 5-8 weeks, never even heard of them asking for photos.
 

skirunman

New member
Fed regs only apply to commercial transport afaik.

I think you'd be OK with trying VT, only takes 5-8 weeks, never even heard of them asking for photos.
These fed regs apply to any vehicles manufactured, not just commercial transport, see https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/567.5

Someone should try to register an incomplete Ford Transit vehicle in Vermont, maybe it would work. However, I personally would never want to sell said vehicle, or try to insure it or get in an accident with it, as I think it would open a whole bunch of liability issues
 
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john61ct

Adventurer
Note I am not talking about vehicles that are physically "partially complete".

It is very common for VIN lookups to come up that way in the second-hand skoolie and shuttlebus

that were used for years even decades that way.

AFAIK the only significant problems DIY converters to RV status have, is locating cooperative insurance agents that cover in their particular state.

Especially trying to get an agreed-value comprehensive, rather than separately insuring all the conversion assets as "contents" being carried around.

I bet a conversation with Kelly Newsome at the Knowles Allstate office in Leesburg, FLwould be enlightening, she gives referrals all around the US 352-326-9300
 

john61ct

Adventurer
The VT "transferable registration" as an RV acts as your title

once the conversion meets your target state's rules, apparently they accept its RV / "motor house" designation.

That could in future be done in advance of transferring title to a buyer.

But that liability issue is always going to be there for DIYers, no matter the reg/titling paper trail.
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
The vehicle will come from Ford with a VIN and door sticker that shows the vehicle as incomplete so I doubt it would be possible to register said vehicle in any state, including Vermont, but that is just my assumption.
I have a 2020 Ram 5500 Cab and Chassis "Incomplete vehicle" and was curious about this too.

I asked both my dealer (whos info i would take with a grain of salt) and several older experienced friends about it...

All chuckled and said it doesnt mean anything, and its of no issue at all. I didnt believe this to be true in CA of all places.

Surprisingly, here in the communist state of California of all places, its a non issue. I registered and insured my truck easily and its still "incomplete"

As of now, i see zero reason to bother doing any additional paperwork.

Every state will vary of course, but if its a non issue in the insanely over regulated California, its safe to say many other states wont care either
 

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skirunman

New member
I have a 2020 Ram 5500 Cab and Chassis "Incomplete vehicle" and was curious about this too.

I asked both my dealer (whos info i would take with a grain of salt) and several older experienced friends about it...

All chuckled and said it doesnt mean anything, and its of no issue at all. I didnt believe this to be true in CA of all places.

Surprisingly, here in the communist state of California of all places, its a non issue. I registered and insured my truck easily and its still "incomplete"

As of now, i see zero reason to bother doing any additional paperwork.

Every state will vary of course, but if its a non issue in the insanely over regulated California, its safe to say many other states wont care either
Great to know and I'm happy to be wrong if this is of no issue in CA. I will be contacting DMV in Nevada to see if a non-issue. Sounds like it was an issue in TN though.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
In canada this would be an issue at an road side check. Having an incomplete sticker in the door jam will get you grounded on the spot.
 
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