Stepvan Build Thread


New member
I just bought my 1989 Chevy P-30 and I'm turning it into a camper for full time living and to travel around the US. I choose to do it with a stepvan because they are cheap, have a lot of space for there size, its a square box unlike a bus, and they are really cool! I also choose to get one with a 350 since they are tried and true, parts are available at any auto parts store or junkyard, and I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for parts like with diesels. I definitely pay for it on the mpg side but I plan making methodical moves with it and using a bike and public trans. That being said I have never done anything like, I have some auto mechanics and basic carpentry in my background but majority of this will be uncharted territory for me. Then more advise the better!

There doesn't seem to be much information on stepvan builds so I thought I would document my build.


Picture taken in the Columbia River Gorge on my drive back to the Washington coast

I bought her in Idaho City this summer for $3000
It has
350 chevy with 123,000 miles
Turbo 400 tranny
12.5 ft box

I am first preparing the truck for longevity before adding anything to it.
There is a list of mechanical issues that need attention as expected with a 27 year old vehicle. New radiator hoses have been installed. New power steering pump, front contorl arm bushing, repacked front wheel bearing are come soon. There is also a small oil leak and diff leak that will receive attention.

I have applied corroseal to the external rust areas. Now I'm using a wire wheel to take down the interior metal before I apply a rust treatment primer and rust-oleum to protect it. all interior metal will be covered in the end but i want to make sure it is protected.


grinding floors.jpg


Expedition Leader
I'd recommend replacing all the brake lines while you're at it.

It should make for a good build... I'd look at Ambo builds for ideas as they are similar in size.


Expedition Leader



Step vans are a great platform to work from, provided you can find one in decent shape.

Ive casually considered one for a build. Certainly be MUCH easier to fit out than a van. Straight flat walls help a ton :sombrero:


Engineer In Residence
I like the possibilities. The 350 mileage won't be terrible as long as you drive slow. Anything over 50 mph has rapid loss of efficiency. The square cross section and tough body will serve you well. Don't go cheap on sound and thermal insulation. It is key to enjoyable driving and living, so make sure to do the cab well.


my all time favorite van of all time!

we had a step van for years a 1972 4spd manual,292" inline six,never let us down
miles and mile in baja,we still miss it biggest mistake in selling a vehicle i ever made.
found a old picture might give you inspiration !

Les lqhikers


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Welcome, looking forward to your build. I've got a soft spot for step vans for some reason. I think it was because my dad worked out of one in the early 70's and I thought it was the coolest thing.

,we still miss it biggest mistake in selling a vehicle i ever made.

I also, miss my delivery van, 1965 IH Metro, and wish I never sold it. I could never even come close to finding something in the same shape for what I sold it for.

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