Vandwelling - Living in a Vehicle

The (old) Rig

Year: 1990

Make: Chevy
Model: G10 Van
Purchase Price: $900 + $300 Lawn tools

This is my planned home, a chevy cargo van, with bare interior. It has less than 70,000 miles on it, new tires, and runs pretty good.  Known problems are a rear electric light harness needs replaced, bad slider door, windows hard to roll, and springs need beefed up.  Seats are uncomfortable but usable.  I plan to paint the whole van white eventually.

At first it wasn't apparent, but the more i look, the more the van is rusted.  I dont think i will be able to slow this progression down much.

I plan to convert the van into an living space, similar to a B class RV.  I plan to live in this as my home while getting my life and finances in order.

If you want to help with the cost of converting this into a home, just check out my other posts :)

Mechanical Repair Costs:  
Rear Taillight Harness:  $9
New Slider Door:  TBD
Body Rust: $50 (Estimated)
I plan to use Rust Converter as a temporary solution.  Later I will cut some rust out and patch it using scrap metal and screws.  Cover with fiberglass (already have some) and body filler.  Primer it.  There is more of this than i thought, but hopefully i can slow the worst spots down.
Springs: $46 plus labor
Tune Up: TBD

Conversion Plan:

Target Completion Date (max): September 2013 (8 months)

Conversion Steps (subject to change, not necessarily in order):
  • Insulation
  • Flooring
  • Bulkhead/Passthrough
  • Electrical/Battery
  • Bed/Futon
  • Galley/Sink/Plumbing
  • Shelving/Storage
  • Ventilation
  • Roof Rack/Solar Panels
Conversion Cost To Date: Total - $1089
(Recent Changes in Blue)
  • 1 Sink: $14
  • 2 Cabinet Facings/Doors: $6
  • 1 Roll 9" Knockoff Reflectix Insulation: $17
  • 6 4'x8' Foil Backed Styrofoam Insulation Panels: $47
  • 1 Fantastic Fan 8000R Vent (link): $112($98+$14 shipping)
  • Dicor BT18341 1/8" x 3/4" x 40' Butyl Tape (link): $8
  • 1 Tube Silicone Caulk: $1
  • 40 18"x18" Carpet Tiles: $10
  • 5 Gallon Carpet Adhesive: $5
  • 4 Drawer Slider Rails:  $2
  • Igloo Cooler: $16 
  • 25 2"x3" boards:  $65
  • 5 2"x4" boards:  $25 (est.) 
  • 5 4'x8' Whiteboard Paneling:  $72
  • 1 Strip FRP Molding:  $3
  • 4 boxes of screws (self tapping and regular): $50
  • 2 4'x8' treated plywood:  $30 (est.) 
  • 1 39" x 75" x 8" Memory Foam Mattress (link): $146
  • 2 5 Gallon Cans of Elastomeric Roof Paint (link):  $42 (only need 1 for 2 coats, ignore the reviews which are for house roofing not metal van roof :P)
  • 2 Duracell (Deka) 6volt 205ah Golf Cart Batteries (link):  $230
  • B&D VEC1093DBD Smart Battery Battery Charger (link): $109
  • 4 Guage cable, 2 feet: $4 (est.)
  • 1 pair Crimpers and electrical terminals: $25 (est.)
  • 1 400watt Cobra Inverter (link):  $27
  • 1 Digital Voltage Display (link):  $13
  • 1 Roadpro Tornado Fan (link):  $21(this moves a lot of air, but is very very loud, think twice on this)


  1. Nice looking van! I'll be watching your progress ith interest.

  2. It's been several years, I am still using this van to this day, though the build has gone through 5 iterations or so haha! Not bad for what I put into it!

  3. Hi, I saw your stand up frig and was wondering, how you power it? Thank you, Rachel

    1. Hi Rachel! I was powering it off 225 AH of batteries and a 800 watt inverter. Barely. I still have the fridge but I switched to a true 12 volt dc fridge here:
      While smaller, it is way more efficient (i use a 400 watt inverter and it never uses near that much) and I highly recommend it! Still going strong 4 years in.

    2. If you did want to run that larger fridge, i believe its a kenmore 99763. I'd recommend 300 ah of batteries, 300 watts solar and 1000 watt inverter, and a timer device that lets you cut power to it at set intervals.