Hello All. My first post. Here is my simple custom GMC Cube Van conversion.

The Wanderer

Observer
I bought a 2007 GMC 6.0L gas Penske Rental Truck a few years ago and added some simple changes to turn it into a rustic, but comfortable "stealth" camper van. I cut a door between the cab and the cargo bay. I then built a solid queen size bed, a small propane stove and two RV roof vents.

The space under the bed is used to store all my clothes, camping gear, food and kitchen things in large
heavy-duty stackable plastic containers.

I then took a trip to Fairbanks AK in it and have been going full-time ever since.

I intentionally kept it very simple, no plumbing, no A/C or heater. It is basically a big, comfortable metal tent, but I love it. I have been living full time now in it for 3 years and I have never been happier.

Peace

1Penske03.jpg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/91848136@N05/sets/

2016.jpeg2010.jpeg
 
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The Wanderer

Observer
Here are a couple of my pics from a my travels.

I have a large 10'x10' piece of nylon screen that I can attach to the back roll-up door with magnets when bugs are a problem. Works great. It is like having a huge screened in back porch. Worked fine with the Alaska mosquitoes.

3-Lake Columbia Ark 2.JPG

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Camping spot for the night in the Texas panhandle.

5-Sleeping Place For The Night.JPG

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On my trip to Alaska on the Can-Am highway.

9-Canadian Rockies - Overnight camping spot.JPG
 
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12husky

Adventurer
Its great seeing something so simple being used and enjoyed. A good reminder to KISS and get out there!
Have fun with your travels
 

The Wanderer

Observer
I know that many will find it too simplistic and crude, but it fits my design requirements quite well:

- Simple and cheap to purchase and to customize.

- Easy and cheap to maintain.

- Able to slip in to places most campers aren't allowed to park over night unnoticed, i.e. truck stops, rest areas, shopping center parking lots.

- Able to live off the grid for longer periods.

- Easy to remove and to sell as a used commercial truck latter.

- No generator.

- Fun!

I admit that this isn't for the family camper or RV, but it fits my needs very well.

Peace
 
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AFSOC

Explorer
Very cool, welcome to ExPo. I like your simplicity and understated approach.

Careful spending too much time on ExPo though. Before you know it, we will convince you to forget the last three years living in the CubeVan as is and do a complete rebuild using some much needed "overthinking".

Please post up some experiences and locations visited while using the Penske as home. Do you work from the road or pick up odd jobs to perpetuate life on the road?
 

The Wanderer

Observer
I noticed your signature and it reminded me that I built this simple camper with what I learned from walking 1/3 of the Appalachian Trail (about 800 miles) a few years ago.

Anyone that has walked the AT will tell you that you only carry what you need to feel comfortable. The rest is just more to carry, to store and to worry about. I learned so much from my hike.

To be honest. I built this truck as a big comfortable metal tent! LED battery lighting. Heavy -20 deg sleeping bag for my bed cover. Bucket toilet. It fits me very well. Even in Alaska.

Peace
 
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The Wanderer

Observer
Thank you! I have to constantly fight with myself when it comes to "complicating" my life and my camper. The question I have to ask is, do I REALLY need this change? Usually I don't.

Again, I understand that this is not everyone's camper, but it fits me and makes me very happy.

I was up along the Canadian border this summer when it was SO hot and right now I am down in central Florida for the warmer weather. That stops the need for heat or A/C. I travel where the weather takes me.

Check out some pics from my Alaskan trip two years ago:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/91848136@N05/sets/

Peace
 

The Wanderer

Observer
Two more pics from my journeys.

Camping spot on the Can-Am Hwy.

IMAG0005.JPG

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View for that night.

IMAG0004.JPG

I never had to worry about the bears either! I just locked the back roll-up door.
 

Overland Hadley

on a journey
Welcome to ExPo! I like your rig.


I know it is a simple build, but I would be interested in some more info.

What kind of MPG do you get?

Any problem with water leaks?

How did you go about cutting and sealing the pass-through from the cab to the box?

How bad is the dust coming in the back door? Did you do anything to further seal this area?

Is it just 2wd, no rear locker?

Anything you would do differently if you were to do it again?
 

The Wanderer

Observer
A few last things to consider:

- These vehicles are available everywhere and this chassis is used for so many commercial and RVs today.

- Cheap to maintain since it is a LT Duty (1.5 ton) van chassis.

- Built solid since it is a rental moving truck.

- Can get oil changed at almost any quick change places.

- Stealth has it's advantages...

- Not very expensive to buy and customize to your needs. It has been used by racing people for years.

At least this makes sense to my simple mind. *smile*
 
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The Wanderer

Observer
Welcome to ExPo! I like your rig.


I know it is a simple build, but I would be interested in some more info.

What kind of MPG do you get?

The 6.0L gas gets about 12 MPG which isn't great, but I rarely drive far per day. I have changed the way I drive now.
I now drive about 50-100 miles a day or until I feel like stopping. I don't have a destination. The journey is what I am
here for.


Any problem with water leaks?

No. The only tricky part was adding the roof RV vents. This truck has a very thin fiberglass roof, so you have to add support inside to make sure you don't get leaks. I was VERY careful here, so after 3 years, no leaks anywhere. (Knock on wood.) I did have a small one when I bought the truck in the cargo bay on the side wall, but a little RTV along the aluminium trim rails outside fixed it.

How did you go about cutting and sealing the pass-through from the cab to the box?

That is the really great part about this model truck! No seal or gasket needed. The cargo wall is the same wall at the back of the cab! So I used a circular saw with a carbide blade. No gap between the cab and the cargo bay. Just one
3/8" sheet of fiberglass impregnated plywood wall. Easy.


How bad is the dust coming in the back door? Did you do anything to further seal this area?

Now, this was a problem. Especially on the dirt roads in Alaska. I finally had to put up a cheap
sheet of plastic with magnets to seal the roll-up door during the driving. I'm not that crazy about
the roll-up door (noise, dust), but the view out the back is just amazing.

Plus, Again, keeping it simple (KISS). To modify the door is more work, effort and cost than I can justify right now.


Is it just 2wd, no rear locker?

It is 2WD. 4-speed electronic automatic trans.

Anything you would do differently if you were to do it again?

I honestly don't think so. I have now removed the bike rack in the photos and put a comfortable
living room chair in the spot. I stopped carrying my kayak all the time to give me more room.

I have considered a trailer (motorcycle/boat/small car) many times, but the extra hassle of parking,
loss of stealth, and cost has convinced me that I don't REALLY need it. *sigh*
I hope that helped.

Peace
 
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The Wanderer

Observer
Very cool, welcome to ExPo. I like your simplicity and understated approach.

Careful spending too much time on ExPo though. Before you know it, we will convince you to forget the last three years living in the CubeVan as is and do a complete rebuild using some much needed "overthinking".

Please post up some experiences and locations visited while using the Penske as home. Do you work from the road or pick up odd jobs to perpetuate life on the road?
To your question about work. I don't work and I'm not retired. I work as a computer programmer. I work on contract jobs, work long hours staring at a computer screen, eating bad food and putting up with stupid people. I then save my money and when the contract ends, I become a bum until the money runs out. Then I hustle to find me another job somewhere as a contractor.

I must admit that this time it is getting harder for me to "get back in harness". Not because of lack of work, but because I don't want to go back to that life again. I am liking this lifestyle too much.... *smile*
 

Rbertalotto

Explorer
Three years in a Cube Van........Would make a good book title.

No stove, no refrigerator............you eat out every meal?

No toilet, no shower, no sink........How is this handled for over three years?

I love the idea and would really like to hear more about your lifestyle.

Thanks for sharing.........
 
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