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State vehicle requirements
#1
Here is all the state codes pertaining to things such as lift, mudflaps, exhausts and such. the research in this write up was done by a former member, Kyle Cuzzort, years ago and I couldn't find the thread so I'm creating a new one. I omitted the emissions part as that is no longer valid.

Oh it is very long.

There is an awful lot of confusion out there regarding what is and is not legal in the State of Alaska. Everyone seems to have heard something from someone about some law in some state that probably doesn't apply here. So, I thought I'd simplify some things. If you'd like, you can skip through the quoted sections.

Firstly, I'll start out with everyone's favorite question, "How high can I lift my 4x4?" The laws are actually surprisingly simple, but the legalese is scary. It should be noted that there are no maximum-tire-size limits. Frame heights are pretty much the de-facto standard on how high you can lift your 4x4. The law states:[INDENT]13 AAC 04.005. Disconnection or Alteration of Equipment (a) For a vehicle intended to be operated on a public roadway, no person may disconnect or alter, except as is necessary in the repair or replacement of parts, equipment required by this chapter, unless the equipment is by nature designed and intended for disconnection or alteration; (b) No person may operate a motor vehicle upon a public roadway which violates the following limitations or prohibitions: (1) a motor vehicle may not be modified or altered from the original design so that any portion of the vehicle, other than the wheels, has less clearance from the surface of a level roadway than the clearance between the roadway and the lower most portion of any rim of any wheel in contact with the roadway; (2) a motor vehicle may not be modified to position the lowest portion of the body floor more than three inches above the top of the frame, or to result in a maximum frame height or body floor height greater than 24 inches for a vehicle of up to 4,500 pounds GVWR, 26 inches for 4,501 - 7,500 pounds GVWR, or 28 inches for 7,501 - 10,000 pounds GVWR. © No motor vehicle may be operated on a public roadway that has been modified, altered, manufactured, or is carrying a payload in a manner which adversely affects the steering, braking, or stability of the vehicle. (d) A vehicle operated on a public roadway that exceeds the minimum or maximum specifications of subsection (b) must be in compliance with this section by 3/31/93. (e) For purpose of this section(1) "frame" means the manufacturer's main longitudinal structural members of the chassis of the vehicle, or, for vehicles with unitized body construction, the lowest main longitudinal structural members of the body of the vehicle; (2) "frame height" means the vertical distance between the ground and the lowest point of the frame midway between the front axle and the second axle on the vehicle; (3) "GVWR" means the gross vehicle weight rating as defined in AS 28.40.100 (a)(9); (4) "payload" means anything added to a vehicle that increases its unladen weight.[/INDENT]Time to simplify that up a bit.

Look on the door jamb tag on your 4x4. It will tell you what your GVWR is. Then go under your rig, between the front and rear tires. Find the lowest part of the frame (if you have a unibody (like a Jeep Cherokee), find the lowest part that looks important), and measure how far it is to the ground. Then compare that to the numbers given above.

Some of you might be thinking "Oh, crap!" right now. The logical thing to do would be to lose a little bit of lift and go with a body lift. But if you noticed, that was covered as well. The law is written to eliminate anything larger than a 3" body lift. If you get sneaky, you can compare the body mounts to a part of the frame that rises higher, and be legal. However, greater than a 3" body lift just plain isn't safe, so don't do it.

So, now you've passed the frame height test. What about your headlights?[INDENT]13 AAC 04.020. Headlights(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a motor vehicle must be equipped with at least two headlights, one on each side of the front of the motor vehicle. The headlights must emit white light to the front of the vehicle, comply with the requirements and limitations set out in this section, and be mounted at a height of not more than 54 inches or less than 24 inches.[/INDENT]Here's where things start to get interesting.

For starters, the law is very ambiguous. It doesn't say whether you measure to the top or the bottom of the lights. While I'm sure that you could probably argue your case in court (after you've received a citation), it would probably be better to try to keep your lights under 54" to the top. Keep in mind that headlights don't have to be mounted in their factory location. You can mount them on a bumper or a bull bar.

Also, take note that the law plainly states WHITE light. That specifically prohibits any form of blue-tint headlight. High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights found on modern luxury cars do, in fact, emit white light. Don't convert any vehicle that didn't come with them to HID lighting, however, because factory systems have a complex arrangement of weights and motors to level the beam at all time. No aftermarket 'kit' has such a system, and only serves to blind other drivers.

One other thing that's commonly overlooked is mud flaps. The figure that I commonly hear used is that 75% of the tire must be under some form of flare, and there must be some sort of mud flap. That's not exactly true.[INDENT]13 AAC 04.265. Antispray Device(a) No person may drive a motor vehicle unless it has a device which effectively reduces the wheel spray or splash of water or other substance to the rear of the vehicle. (b) The device required in (a) of this section must be installed and maintained so that the device placed behind a wheel extends downward to a distance of 14 inches from the surface of the ground when the vehicle is standing on level ground. [/INDENT]That's actually pretty simple. You don't need any flares, you don't need anything behind the front tires, you only need mud flaps that cover the rear tires down to 14" above the ground. One thing to keep in mind is that most vehicles come from the factory with their mud flaps very close to that figure; even a very minimal lift may put you in violation. Some vehicles (such as my FJ40) didn't come from the factory with mud flaps at all, and are in violation of the law unless the owner puts on some form of anti-spray device.

But then there is this
No where in the Alaska Administrative Code (AAC) does it state that tires have to be covered. But if you read the Alaska Statutes (AS) there is this

Quote:AS 28.35.253. Anti-Spray Devices Required.

A person may not drive a motor vehicle on a highway unless the vehicle is equipped with fenders, mud flaps, or other anti-spray devices adequate to prevent the vehicle from being a hazard to other users of the highway.


That pretty much sums up Alaska's lift laws. But what about upgrading the performance of your vehicle? How about that nice Flowmaster muffler with the throaty growl?[INDENT]13 AAC 04.215. Noise Prevention; Mufflers(a) A motor vehicle must be equipped, maintained, and operated so as to prevent excessive or unusual noise and the escape of fumes into the vehicle. A motor vehicle must be equipped with a muffler or other effective noise-suppressing system in good working order and in constant operation. No person may use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device, or modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which amplifies or increases the noise emitted by the engine of the vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle for use on the highway or a vehicular way or area. A person may not alter an exhaust particle emission system built into a motor vehicle to decrease its effectiveness. (b) The engine and power mechanism of a motor vehicle must be equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.[/INDENT]Ouch. Sorry, everyone, pretty much every performance muffler increases the noise output. That makes pretty much every one of them illegal. You probably wouldn't have any problems with a mild muffler, but if issued a citation, there is no way around it.

Well, what about other methods of increasing the performance? You could install some headers, a nice cam, possibly a bigger carburetor…
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#2
My big complaint is the vehicle lift law. It states "body floor or frame" cannot be higher than ..24,26,28 inches (according to your GVWR). I got dinged on this a while back.. 2003.

I had a dodge ram with 8 inches of suspension and 39 inch swampers. the frame measured 27.75 (inches). I had a GVWR of 8800 lbs. I thought I was in the clear but the fairbanks police officer measured to the body FLOOR. which measured 36 inches.
needless to say:
I was slapped with the fine.
The magistrate did not even know what the difference between a GVWR and a GVAW was.

Anyone with ideas to get around this? here are my thoughts:

  1. Dont argue with the cop, hold your temper. I was dumb and 19 when this happened to me.
  2. bolt on a lower "crossmember" for highway driving to lower the frame requirement . -remove when you get to a trail.
  3. sheet metal from the lower portion of the body running across the gap to the frame. . (This is where they measured on me).
  4. Argue that the surface that which was measured was on uneven (non certified level ground) if you believe the cop is measuring improperly. Do this after the cop writes you a ticket or fix ticket..Why?- to make a legal argument in court.
Anyone have other ideas?
I have a 1 ton running gear setup swapped in place of a 1/2 ton running gear setup..
Can that change my GVWR?
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#3
BIGBOY has an 11,000# GVWR. Frame heights don't apply.Big Grin
Chassis cabs are awesome.

The mudflap rule is it must extend to at least 14" from the ground.
Pretty much all fullsize 4x4 pick up trucks made these days must legally have mudflaps because the rear bumpers are more than 14" off the ground.
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#4
jealous,,, I am .

well I will be talking to oli about frame and body floor arrangements when i get teh moneyTongue
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#5
Pete you can get your GVWR changed. I don't remember the details for it but you have to get it inspected by someone and get a certificate. DMV should be able to point you in the right direction.

One issue is that it states either the frame or body as a reference point. then it states the lowest portion of it. You could make an argument that the frame is lower and thus it should be measured not the body.
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#6
The "OR BODY" was put there to deal with unibody vehicles. It's constantly misinterpreted by LEOs who don't seem to understand the difference.
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#7
All this "jargon" was chinese to the magistrate. sorry if i offended anyone with that non politically correct term.
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#8
This is why there are lawyers.

Quote:1) "frame" means the manufacturer's main longitudinal structural members of the chassis of the vehicle, or, for vehicles with unitized body construction, the lowest main longitudinal structural members of the body of the vehicle

So with this statement and the statement of frame or body it could be interpreted many ways. I'm not an expert on this and I would agree with you Ole but who knows how a cop or judge interprets it.
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#9
anyone willing to get a ticket and all pitch in for a lawyer to argue the jargon and get it on paper for all ?
that was a run on sentence...
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#10
Oh and to add to the antispray device section. I've had a few fix-it tickets for them and put flaps on temporarily to get out of it. I had an argument once that with a cop doing the inspection about the tires being under the vehicle. No where in the Alaska Administrative Code (AAC) does it state they have to be covered. But if you read the Alaska Statutes (AS) there is this

Quote:AS 28.35.253. Anti-Spray Devices Required.

A person may not drive a motor vehicle on a highway unless the vehicle is equipped with fenders, mud flaps, or other anti-spray devices adequate to prevent the vehicle from being a hazard to other users of the highway.

So again it's how the cop and judge interpret the law not us.
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#11
akram Wrote:This is why there are lawyers.



So with this statement and the statement of frame or body it could be interpreted many ways. I'm not an expert on this and I would agree with you Ole but who knows how a cop or judge interprets it.


Why do we put incompetent state workers in place?
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#12
ak_petey Wrote:
  1. bolt on a lower "crossmember" for highway driving to lower the frame requirement . -remove when you get to a trail.
(e) For purpose of this section(1) "frame" means the manufacturer's main longitudinal structural members of the chassis of the vehicle, or, for vehicles with unitized body construction, the lowest main longitudinal structural members of the body of the vehicle

A crossmember wouldn't work because it's not the main longitudinal structural member.
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#13
Semi-trucks, when not hauling a trailer, do not have any coverage above the rear tires, only rear mud flaps. No fender flares should be OK unless the cops start ticketing all the semi-trucks as well.
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#14
Bulldog Wrote:[/LIST]
(e) For purpose of this section(1) "frame" means the manufacturer's main longitudinal structural members of the chassis of the vehicle, or, for vehicles with unitized body construction, the lowest main longitudinal structural members of the body of the vehicle

A crossmember wouldn't work because it's not the main longitudinal structural member.


hmm looks like i am going to have to air down upon inspection.
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#15
with a little airing down ... and gettign my GVWR changed I think I can get from down to 28 inches from 29-30 inches of clearance. Im curious as to where I need to go to get this done. Im thinking DOT off of Peger... maybe the DMV. but they will probably tell me I am in the wrong place...
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#16
Getting your truck's GVWR changed will require certification by a truck builder. I imagine no truck builder is going to increase your GVWR just because you changed your axles out. I'm sure frame strength is part of the equation. Tire load rating would also be considered in the GVWR as well, but a lot of the bigger tires today have a high load rating simply because of the increased air capacity and not the ply rating. By certifying your vehicle, the builder is putting their reputation on the line that your vehicle is capable of the new GVWR. I know Bob's Services and Truckwell of Alaska are two truck builders, but they are located in Anchorage. Like Ole said, you can check with DMV and see if they can point you to a local truck builder.
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#17
Bulldog Wrote:Getting your truck's GVWR changed will require certification by a truck builder. I imagine no truck builder is going to increase your GVWR just because you changed your axles out. I'm sure frame strength is part of the equation. Tire load rating would also be considered in the GVWR as well, but a lot of the bigger tires today have a high load rating simply because of the increased air capacity and not the ply rating. By certifying your vehicle, the builder is putting their reputation on the line that your vehicle is capable of the new GVWR. I know Bob's Services and Truckwell of Alaska are two truck builders, but they are located in Anchorage. Like Ole said, you can check with DMV and see if they can point you to a local truck builder.

Like Mel said, not Ole.Smile
But yes it can be done. I used to do it. Build trucks that is. The actual paperwork part of it was done by the guy I worked for. I just did the heavy work.Wink
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#18
does anyone know what they look for to increase the GVWR?
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#19
Bump for the newer guys.
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#20
Clarification request:
doesnt a vehicle with a GVW over 10000 lbs not qualify to run on most rs2477 (historic) trails?
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#21
I have heard this and been told this but I haven't found that yet. Not saying it is or isn't true but I haven't found an official answer.
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#22
I believe it would be found through DNR and what they allow on rs2477 trails
now this is just a weight, not a weight rating. Just wanted to make that clear.
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#23
I am in the process of starting a thread with information concerning RS2477 trails. And part of that is researching this subject.
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#24
sweet. lets get back on track with the lift law stuff/concerns
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#25
Oh and as for another question you asked about before. Getting your vehicles GVWR changed isn't as easy as just saying I put 1-ton axles under it and 1-ton drivelines. As someone else thought before. Again I am not an expert but it has to do with your frame strength and more. I would think that it would take a heck of a lot of fabrication and redesigning to get your GVWR changed. In my mind it wouldn't be worth it.
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#26
yeah, all that extra work could be put in for making a buggy for offroad strictly only purpose.. (my chosen route)
I did a little research too and came up with the stiffening of the suspension for heavier weight, beefed up frame, larger volume tire, heavier duty axles etc.
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