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Old 07-25-2016, 09:46 AM   #1
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1969 31' Sovereign
Azle , Texas
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Smile Texas travel trailer inspection

Hello to all,
I need to get a 69 airstream inspected, need registration, and transfer the title to myself.
It has been in storage for years and has never been through inspection. So my question is what do I need to do to get this trailer to pass ? The 12 v lights are not working. (this is do to no battery, I assume). What do i need to make it an operational brake system ? Tires and wheels are original, but in good condition. I do have the title and a bill of sale from the second owner who never transferred title to his name. original owner has signed off on the title though.
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:01 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Go to the TXDOT website. You should be able to download the requirements for trailers. As I recall, they are not concerned whether it is a travel trailer or cargo trailer, if it weighs over 4500lbs gross wt., then it has to have a safety inspection before you can register it.

As I recall, you will need working brake, reverse, and signal and clearance lights, the electric brakes need to be functional, and you will have to have an operational break-away switch. Safety chains are also a requirement.

You will likely have a bit of a headache with the titling of the trailer. There is a form that is required by TX for any vehicle sale (also available from their website). Chances are very good that your seller is going to have to properly transfer the title to himself before he can transfer it to you. This might be a big problem if the original seller is lost, gone, dead, or otherwise unresponsive.

good luck!
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:01 AM   #3
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Texas travel trailer inspection

You will need to hook it up to a tow vehicle and see if the brakes work. This includes the break away brake pull switch.
The running lights also, and license plate light....turn signals, brake lights, back up lights. ALL LIGHTS.
Once all those are working, due to the age of the tires, REPLACE THEM NOW.
Then go get inspected at any authorized state car inspection location that does trailers.
You will have to have that piece of paper to transfer title and get tags.
You will also need a weight ticket from a scale for the weight of the trailer.
Then, paperwork in hand, go to the county DMV and fill out the proper transfer paperwork and pay the fees to pay sales tax, transfer title, and get trailer license plate.

That should cover it all.
And it will be a hassle due to previous owner not transferring title. You will have to do whatever they want to get it to you.



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Old 07-25-2016, 10:09 AM   #4
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As far as getting everything working, the exterior lights get their power from your tow vehicle, not the house battery. The electric brakes also are powered by the tow vehicle, but when the break-away switch is activated, the braking power comes from the house battery.

Your first mission should be to check with the DMV to find out how much trouble you are going to have with titling the trailer. Once you have started the ball rolling there, get yourself a wiring diagram for your '69 that shows how the signal lights are wired to the unbilical. If the trailer has its original wiring configuration, be warned that it is NOT compatible with modern plugs, and you will either need to reorganize the wires in the plug/umbilical, or create an adapter to translate from your vintage wiring assigment to your modern tow vehicle.

If you have original tires on your trailer, they are not in good shape, no matter how good they look. Make your first trip with the trailer to the Tire shop.

good luck!
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:24 AM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Belegedhel is right about the title problems. You need to address them first.

You do not need the inspection to get a title, only to get license plates.

You can get a one-trip permit to move it without an inspection, although the lights still have to work.
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:35 AM   #6
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You have your work cut out for you. Like the previous posts said, get the DMV requirements. If you are a heavy-duty DIY person, then you have some serious time you will need to invest. If not, your best bet is to get in the queue at a qualified RV service center. While you are waiting in the queue and then while the modifications/repairs are underway, you are going to have to get the person from whom you bought the trailer to contact the previous owner, transfer the title, and REGISTER the trailer unless it is disabled and you can certify that it has not been towed on a public street or highway. You will get asked that question unless you have a current registration, and lying about it can generate some really hefty fines. That means the person from whom you bought the trailer is going to have to pay sales tax and registration fees. THEN, once the State of Texas has recognized the old owner as valid, transferred the title, and issued the new registration, he or she needs to sign it over to you (on the back of the registration). At that point, you need to get the inspection and do the transfer and registration. This will take some time, and if the person from whom you bought the trailer is unable or unwilling to transfer the title to himself and do the registration in his name, you may need an attorney.

If you have the registration from the last official owner, you can go back to him and offer to pay him to officially transfer the trailer directly to you. That will save a great deal of hassle and money. If you don't have the last official state registration/title, you are about to be in for an interesting experience. Presuming the trailer has a license tag, you can approach the county tax collector and request to have the official ownership data on that tag. I did this once on a trailer and discovered that the tag was for a light cargo trailer rather than for a travel trailer. The owner of the trailer for which the tag was registered had reported the tag stolen. I ultimately went back to the seller and requested my money back. He refused, and when I explained that I would gladly go to court where the decision would be on record and the DPS would note that he was in possession of stolen property, he suddenly decided to refund my money and sell it to some other poor sucker. To do all of that I paid an attorney to write him a letter. It got his attention.

Texas changed the law and requirements to stop stolen trailers from being registered with just a bill of sale and to avoid the tax evasion that was endemic as well as a reaction to unsafe trailer-related accidents. The person who sold you the trailer could have stolen it, or bought it from someone who stole it. If you do not have a chain of title transfer and registrations, then the burden of proof is on you to prove that the trailer is not stolen. That is where an attorney will be needed to get all the documentary proof that the previous owner took possession and neither he nor the previous owner paid legitimate, required taxes or fees. The state is supposed, and in the case of significant value, will go after the chain of previous holders with fines and penalties. It is actually a LOT less expensive for the previous owner(s) to go through the title transfer and registration process than to have the Attorney General file suit against them. I hope you got a real deal on the trailer because you are about to spend some money rectifying their laziness or tax evasion as well as the repairs and upgrades.

The bottom line is that you do not actually own the trailer yet because the person who sold you the trailer did not own it. Titled property ownership can only be transferred with the permission of the State of Texas. In the case of motor vehicles and trailers over 4,500 lbs., one requirement of that transfer is to pass an official state inspection and receive an attesting certificate. Another is that you and all previous owners have paid sales taxes and registration fees.
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neerseer View Post
Hello to all,
I need to get a 69 airstream inspected, need registration, and transfer the title to myself.
It has been in storage for years and has never been through inspection. So my question is what do I need to do to get this trailer to pass ? The 12 v lights are not working. (this is do to no battery, I assume). What do i need to make it an operational brake system ? Tires and wheels are original, but in good condition. I do have the title and a bill of sale from the second owner who never transferred title to his name. original owner has signed off on the title though.

If it has a Texas title , it already has a weight on it so no weight ticket will be required , and Texas has no requirement that trailers have back up lights. Stop turn and tail must work as well as factory installed marker lights. The brakes and breakaway switch must be working as well . Some sort of 12 volt battery will have to be on or in the trailer and wired to the breakaway switch. The tires need to have decent tread and hold air . Texas has no requirement as to how old the tires are .
If it's a signed undated open title , there would not be any reason to ever mention the party you got the trailer from.
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:48 AM   #8
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interesting

Interesting, sounds like Texas has about the same 'state inspection' as Virginia. Do they require the state inspection sticker to be visible on the 'A' frame in front of the propane tanks ?
In Virginia we pay a property tax on the AS every year based on NADA book value. That's paid to the county or town, not the state.
Its never really paid for.

Have a good one.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:19 PM   #9
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You need a document from a certified inspection. Station saying it passed. My inspector checked the lights, turn signals and stop lights. Looked at my truck insurance, checked the trailer vin and passed it. The safety inspection with VIN allows you to register the trailer, also you will need documentation of ownership to get a new title. The state may require you to get a certified weight - plan on the certified weight.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:40 PM   #10
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Victoria , Texas
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I have been through two Texas inspections without a breakaway switch. Both inspection stations are RV dealers and both of them told me that the breakaway switch is recommended but not required. I have one which I intend to install before I tow it again.

You can get a permit from your county tax office to tow the trailer for repairs. If I remember, it's $10 for three days or $25 for a month.
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Old 07-25-2016, 03:50 PM   #11
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1969 31' Sovereign
Azle , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loden View Post
You have your work cut out for you. Like the previous posts said, get the DMV requirements. If you are a heavy-duty DIY person, then you have some serious time you will need to invest. If not, your best bet is to get in the queue at a qualified RV service center. While you are waiting in the queue and then while the modifications/repairs are underway, you are going to have to get the person from whom you bought the trailer to contact the previous owner, transfer the title, and REGISTER the trailer unless it is disabled and you can certify that it has not been towed on a public street or highway. You will get asked that question unless you have a current registration, and lying about it can generate some really hefty fines. That means the person from whom you bought the trailer is going to have to pay sales tax and registration fees. THEN, once the State of Texas has recognized the old owner as valid, transferred the title, and issued the new registration, he or she needs to sign it over to you (on the back of the registration). At that point, you need to get the inspection and do the transfer and registration. This will take some time, and if the person from whom you bought the trailer is unable or unwilling to transfer the title to himself and do the registration in his name, you may need an attorney.

If you have the registration from the last official owner, you can go back to him and offer to pay him to officially transfer the trailer directly to you. That will save a great deal of hassle and money. If you don't have the last official state registration/title, you are about to be in for an interesting experience. Presuming the trailer has a license tag, you can approach the county tax collector and request to have the official ownership data on that tag. I did this once on a trailer and discovered that the tag was for a light cargo trailer rather than for a travel trailer. The owner of the trailer for which the tag was registered had reported the tag stolen. I ultimately went back to the seller and requested my money back. He refused, and when I explained that I would gladly go to court where the decision would be on record and the DPS would note that he was in possession of stolen property, he suddenly decided to refund my money and sell it to some other poor sucker. To do all of that I paid an attorney to write him a letter. It got his attention.

Texas changed the law and requirements to stop stolen trailers from being registered with just a bill of sale and to avoid the tax evasion that was endemic as well as a reaction to unsafe trailer-related accidents. The person who sold you the trailer could have stolen it, or bought it from someone who stole it. If you do not have a chain of title transfer and registrations, then the burden of proof is on you to prove that the trailer is not stolen. That is where an attorney will be needed to get all the documentary proof that the previous owner took possession and neither he nor the previous owner paid legitimate, required taxes or fees. The state is supposed, and in the case of significant value, will go after the chain of previous holders with fines and penalties. It is actually a LOT less expensive for the previous owner(s) to go through the title transfer and registration process than to have the Attorney General file suit against them. I hope you got a real deal on the trailer because you are about to spend some money rectifying their laziness or tax evasion as well as the repairs and upgrades.

The bottom line is that you do not actually own the trailer yet because the person who sold you the trailer did not own it. Titled property ownership can only be transferred with the permission of the State of Texas. In the case of motor vehicles and trailers over 4,500 lbs., one requirement of that transfer is to pass an official state inspection and receive an attesting certificate. Another is that you and all previous owners have paid sales taxes and registration fees.
OK The title and plate registration are legitimate. That owner has signed the title several years ago. apparently he (owner of title) bartered the trailer to the other party in exchange for some construction work on his house. Then. i acquired the trailer. i personally know both parties so there is nothing stolen here. Just some paperwork to get straightened out.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:05 PM   #12
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1969 31' Sovereign
Azle , Texas
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a grateful streamer

Thanks to all my fellow texians, you're the best as usual !

I was really needing the great advice.


Grab a cold one and go tubing.
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:44 PM   #13
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1971 31' Sovereign
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If you have a title signed by the owner, the only other form you need is a VTR-130 which is available on the Texas DMV website. The inspection is pretty basic. They can install a breakaway switch which has it's own battery power.

I went through the same scenario with my 1971 Sovereign. It really wasn't a big deal. By the way, go to your county tax assessor's office to take care of the title transfer.
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:08 PM   #14
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Not mentioned here is the Texas requirement to inspect the tires. My trailer had two tires with tread separation and it flunked. Two year old Maxis LR Es. After a trip to Discount Tire, it passed inspection. I was lucky they were not discovered on the the side of the highway somewhere.
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