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Modified truck legality issues

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by josh86k10, May 5, 2007.

  1. josh86k10

    josh86k10 1/2 ton status

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    I just had a 20 minute discussion with campus police about all the ways my truck was illegal (they started it), so I figured I'd do some investigating. They were nice enough guys and they didn't end up writing me a ticket so I can't complain, but I have some questions that they couldn't answer or that I feel they gave me the wrong answers to.

    Bumper height laws I understand. They had to dig out the little book-o-laws to find the number, but we came to the consensus that 31" to the bottom is the magic number in TN. But the gray area is what constitutes a bumper. Currently I'm running a cut-down stocker in the rear. I'm gonna end up building one either way, been on the "to do list" for quite a while now. Is there a snow balls chance in hell that if I put my drop hitch back on I'll be legit for a while? They say no, but it's a helluva lot stronger than the stock bumper. They also said that the new bumper had to be OSHA approved, obviously my homemade one won't be, but are 90% of the aftermarket ones? They also said that it had to be full width (one of the issues aside from height of my current one). Mine will be, but if this is true then how do Jeep wranglers and VW beetles get around the law? In the interest of departure angle is some sort of bolt-on drop-down bar legit? Is my angled front bumper legit?

    Next, they got upset about my zero-rates up front. I explained the difference between it and a normal block, but I think I went over their heads, talking about center pins and thick leaves and whatnot. They are legal though, right? Are they still legal even though I've got my axle moved 1.5"? I neglected to mention that detail to the officers.

    They didn't mention it, but what about hydraulic assist? It should be legal as long as it's just assist, not full hydro right?

    They also said that there couldn't be more than 6" between the frame rail and the axle tube. I know that is BS, there's more than that stock. Hell, I'm only running 6" springs I can't be too far from legit in that aspect. When I tried to talk some sense into them, they decided maybe it was from the bumpstop to the axle tube. Is there a bumpstop law? If there is that's easy enough to fix, but I've never heard of such a thing.

    I'm running bushwacker's so I dodged the mud flap/ fender flare garbage. They did't seem to notice/ care that they were substantially chopped.

    They also got upset about my beadlocks. I know that by them being recentered they are technically not legal (but they didn't know that they were recentered). But they said all beadlocks are illegal. Then what about non-recentered beadlocks factory on hummers and aftermarket hutchinson's and the like? I dodged that one by explaining the difference between a regular beadlock and an internal beadlock. Again blank stares. If these were professionally recentered by USA6x6 or Stazworks would they be legal? They weren't but I could use that in the future, if they did realize that they were recentered.

    I think that's all that came up, I'll post up if anything else comes to mind. In the end they only "warned" me about the bumper height and bump stops, everything else I convinvced them was legal after all. Thank god for personality/ bull****ing skills, if they would've written me a ticket for all the crap they wanted to, I'd never get out of debt. Oh, they pulled up behind me in the Vet school parking lot while I was trying to eat my filet-o-fish sandwich before heading into the library :doah: .

    Here's the truck in question:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. SCOOBYDANNN

    SCOOBYDANNN 1/2 ton status

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    i dont have a lot of time but most of thats sound like BS, then again, Im in Texass, but still.
     
  3. MattK

    MattK 1/2 ton status

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    These are pretty specific questions that pertain mainly to your state alone. TexasPoliceCentral.com has an index of Texas laws (including the traffic codes). Perhaps you should try to find a similar site for TN or go pick up the book itself.
     
  4. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    Like has already been stated, you need to research your state laws as all states differ in their approach to these issues.
     
  5. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Its not OSHA you have to worry about......


    And here we go again.
     
  6. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Am I the only one who is surprised that people lift and drive trucks as DD's without checking first? I have a truck, I would guess that everyone here does. Mine is legal in my state. It seems lately that a lot of guy here simply lift them and then find out the hard way.
     
  7. gmc4cw

    gmc4cw 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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  8. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Hey, can I borrow a quarter from you?
     
  9. gmc4cw

    gmc4cw 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    :haha: :doah: My wife just called and asked me to bring a roll home for laundry, should I pick one up for you?
     
  10. josh86k10

    josh86k10 1/2 ton status

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    I didn't mean to open a can of worms. The websites you provided were indeed helpful, and i appreciate your efforts. It does leave me wondering where they came up with 31" however. Before modifying the truck I did speak with local law enforcement (where I used to live... a small town in TN) and was told that although there were bumper height restrictions he was not sure of the number and that as long as the truck was safe and I didn't go around "driving like an idiot" there shouldn't be any problems. For the past 5 years that has worked out fine. It was not until today that any officer has shown any concern one way or the other, consistant with the consensus that the laws were loosely enforced. I am willing to address the bumper height issue as well as install extended bumpstops in order to be in compliance (though none of the websites I have found mention the bumpstops- including tennessee.gov, at least that I found yet, I'll keep looking). Perhaps he was confused and was trying to refer to the body lift laws and should have said between the body and the frame... in which case I'm good as I am not running a body lift. My concerns are over the items which were not addressed on tennessee's website nor the websites provided above (ie zero-rates, manufacturer/style/width of bumper, etc). The wheel thing I'm not overly concerned about as I have another set of wheels/ tires that I normally run on the street, but it would be useful information for pavement between trails. Bumper height is easy enough, body lift is not an issue, but specific mechanical questions are difficult to find the answers to. State websites don't seem to address them, and I'd just ask a cop, but it's difficult to get a reliable answer when the average person doesn't understand what the hell you are talking about and thus simply assumes that since its not factory it must be illegal. Thanks to all those with useful information.
     
  11. dhjunkie

    dhjunkie Registered Member

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    motor vehicle laws

    Motor vehicle laws vary from state to state. Main concerns with all states are bumper height laws, head light height and wattage laws, tire and rim laws, frame height laws (mostly to do with lowered vehicles). All of these laws primarily deal with safety.

    Bumper height laws are somewahat self explanitory, but differ from state to state. This came into being from us bad truck owners able to go over and into the occupant section of a car without coming near the cars bumper.

    Head light height and wattage laws- Again the height differs fron state to state, but the wattage is a federal law stating that its 55w low 60 watt high. Also dependin on the state there can be a 55w fog lamp mounted below the bumper centerline (question?- modifed bumper height law or OEM? :) )

    Tire and rim laws - Tires and rims must meet DOT specifications/certifications (federal law) Most beedlock rims do not have this cetification and therefore are illegal. Now this is not saying that they are perfectly fine on the street but thats the letter of the law. It is also why most implement tires have "not for highway use" on them.

    Frame height laws- again state by state issues. I have seen articles about the bottom of the frame rail must be no more than "X"inches from the ground. Mainly There are laws stating that the lowest part of the frame cannot be any lower than 2" from the lowest part of the rim. This is mainly for the asphault draggers when they blow a rubberband and skid uncontrolably into other cars and K-barriers

    The best thing to do is go to your local department of motor vehicles or local highway patrol and get a book of vehicle codes and laws.

    For California and some other states I know of, if you have larger than stock tires you need flares AND mudflaps, but only the hard up cops will ticket you on this.
     
  12. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    That's one problem. Another problem is a lot issues when it pertains to topics like this require us to break out the book and begin looking them up. A lot of this stuff will not come off the top of the head. Sure, there are basics that tend to be common knowledge, but it's a perishable skill at best.
     
  13. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I usually call the state highway patrol for any legality issues. Just what I do :whistle:
     
  14. Randy92782

    Randy92782 1 ton status

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    here in MO they determine the height of your bumper by the GVW or w/e it is. that's why 3/4 and 1 ton is different from mine. but if the truck didn't come out 1 ton and it has 1 ton stuff under it would that change things? i'm sure it wouldn't. kinda a confusing topic but to be honest i still think they go off what it was originally. same as the beadlocks. your truck didn't come equipped with them but you can still run them? idk half the laws they have out there nor will i ever know them all. just too many. i just go with what i got and will have to face the consequences of running it illegally. one thing i know is the laws will never stop poppin up but i know when my arse gets pulled over i don't have to hurry and put on my seat belt. i always wear it even though the cops don't believe me.
    my .02 on a touchy subject
     
  15. josh86k10

    josh86k10 1/2 ton status

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    This is certainly an option, though I suspect that the person on the other end of the phone will know little about vehicle mechanics especially with regard to specific off-road modifications (unless they also happen to be a four-wheeling enthusiast). And that's okay, that's not really their job. But I suspect they will likely not understand my questions, and simply reply with the blanket if it's not factory its not legal (or similar) response as that is the safest response with the least liability given their position. If it becomes necessary I will certainly persue other avenues of information gathering and am currently doing so in addition to posting here. I simply thought that it was worth a shot to tap into the vast amount of knowledge on this website in hopes of gathering any pearls of wisdom available.

    *This is not directed at anyone in particular despite the quote*
    I realize that no one here knows me personally, and that some of you will assume I am either an idiot and/or have a blatant disregard for the law. I assure you that neither is the case. In the grand scheme of things, the events of today are likely to be of little consequence as the bumper issue will be resolved within the ensuing weeks, and unless I can find reliable evidence to the contrary, I'm in violation in no other laws. Furthermore, I drive responsibly and wheel responsibly only in legal areas. I can assure you that I am not the source of any negative connotations of our hobby. Hell, I've even given speeches in college classes about the importance of practicing the principles of tread lightly. I was freindly to the officers and hold no resentment towards them. I simply am seeking more information and figured that CK5 would be a valuable asset to its acquisition.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2007
  16. 454k30

    454k30 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    that was campus police busting on you. Might as well do as most students and tell them to F themselves. Or buy them a case of beer and call it even, well it worked at CSU anyway! The thing I have noticed from living in cali is that all of these laws apply more to who is enforcing them then rather what they actually are. Here in the socal deserts we get away with all sorts of LA rule breaking. I'd just keep driving it as is and if the same campus fuzz gives you grief just tell them about all the corrections you made to make it legal. yeah your a liar but damnit they're campus fags.
     
  17. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah, you could tell them that you pay their salaries by going to school there. And if it becomes a harrassment issue, see about contacting someone in the school's administration. They shouldn't expell you for the truck you drive. When it comes down to it, a college is a business and you would be an unsatisfied customer... worth a shot.:rolleyes:
     
  18. MattK

    MattK 1/2 ton status

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    At that point I'm sure they'd be kissing your feet[​IMG]:haha:
     
  19. daleearnhardt01

    daleearnhardt01 1/2 ton status

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    Well some campus police departments are real police that are accredited like here at VT. Our police force has the same power as the state police does. Just because they are "campus police" doesnt mean that they arent real police in some cases...

    They are just enforcing the law like any other police dept would.
     
  20. josh86k10

    josh86k10 1/2 ton status

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    To the best of my knowledge UTPD has the same authority as Knoxville PD. They just spend more time writing parking tickets, writing accident reports in the parking garages, and issuing DUI's is all. And, of course, playing on the computer's in the various libraries/ computer labs around campus. Hell, that's probably why they came into the parking lot in the first place :D.
     

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