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Buying a van to live/camp in

- Sun, 18 Jun 2017 14:36:31 EST y5SfCHsj No.35225
File: 1497810991017.jpg -(146409B / 142.98KB, 640x478) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. Buying a van to live/camp in
Greetings, /vroom/. So I'm finally at a place where I have a halfway decent chunk of change saved up and I'm considering buying a van for the purpose of living in it. Yes I've already done a lot of research on this, I know it's not going to be easy and likely there will be a lot of trial and error involved. That said, the main purpose of this thread is figuring out where to get a used van for as little money as possible that will still fit my needs. This thread can serve as a van-dwelling general thread but that's my main concern.

A bit about me and my situation; I live in the US (Texas if we're being specific) and I'm wanting to move to Houston in December after I get out of school. I'm looking at the van as something of a short term dwelling because I feel like it would be incredibly difficult to live in a van in Texas in the Summer. It gets pretty hot here but hey, maybe one of you might have a solution to that. I have a gym membership so showering and whatnot shouldn't be an issue.

Specifically, by the end of this summer, I should have roughly $5000 saved up. I can either buy a van at that point or attempt to save up a little more between then and December. Realistically I could probably save another $500-$1000 in that time, probably not enough to make too much of a difference tbh. Anyways, I've been looking at some options on Craigslist. I'm also considering looking into police auctions as well, not sure if that'd be a waist of time or not. I'm flexible on the type of van: main things I'm looking for are reliability and no huge damaged areas. It could be a cargo van, a conversion van, hell even an old school Astro van. So long as it runs well and has a decent amount of space, I'm not too picky.

Any tips on where I should go? Or is there anything else for that matter that maybe I'm not factoring in? I'll be checking back on this thread regularly and look forward to any help I can get.
Isabella Nocklespear - Sun, 18 Jun 2017 18:15:11 EST kLBxN1J0 No.35227 Reply
you can get some of the old gmc svannahs with all wheel drive which is cool, I'd definitely lean towards one of the GM vans though. Don't buy a minivan
Cornelius Bardhall - Mon, 19 Jun 2017 02:35:43 EST EhMMTWxy No.35228 Reply
Forget police auctions it is just a scam. They sell the decent shit and make actual money on it and then auction the total shit because you don't get a real chance to go over it with a fine tooth comb at an auction. Half the time, they won't even crank them at police auctions. Not to mention the ensuing 8 fucking hours of paperwork to actually buy something. Police/Gov't Liquidation auctions are horrible.

Craigslist is aight. Just make sure someone who is a mechanic can come along to spot shit and all. 5-6k will get you a decent vehicle. Avoid the modern vans like a Metris or those Ford Toransit vans things. Astro vans are kinda lame and break a fucking ton. But can be easy to fix. Dodge is a shit. The econoline Fords with the 300 Inline 6 are awesome. The Chevrolet 1500's are cheap due to poor cargo ratings and last well.

Box trucks are the absolute best though. When I used a vehicle as a living space, I ripping the bed off an 80's c20 Chevrolet, built a big ass box on the back of it like a house with studs and shit and then wrapped it in an aluminum shell that I salvaged from scrap metal piles. Once welded together and caulked over the welds, shit was water tight as fuck and still solid. Rebuild the engine and transmission and it was bulletproof with a big and useful 6.5x8x5 cube. Bed was at the front going sideways, some cabinets overhead, a small fold down table on each side and just some storage bins laid around. Built a hatch door on the back that I could lock from inside and out and called it a home.

I've heard some guys swear by used ambulances but I'm highly skeptical. Just don't buy an RV or Camper though. Those things fucking suck.

Biggest tip is make sure you have a place to get mail. Warrants for missed jury duty are a bitch. That gets all kinds of heat drawn on you as living without a permanent residence is frowned upon by basically everywhere at least in the US in my experience. You also need an address to get a license in most states, which is a pain in the fucking ass. Look around RV forums for clubs that host addresses. Most DMV places won't accept PO boxes which is fucking gay. It pays to have friends who will collect your mail and shit.
Lillian Blatherhall - Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:13:13 EST y5SfCHsj No.35229 Reply
OP here. So far, great stuff! Y'all already have given me a lot to think about. I also heard that you can possibly get RV insurance for a van setup like this which is apparently cheaper, anyone have any experience with this?
Esther Mammledock - Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:52:20 EST 7j0KOkY4 No.35231 Reply
I pretty much want the same thing except I live in the UK.
Walter Wondledadge - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:26:57 EST vXyF9w0b No.35236 Reply
1498109217090.jpg -(290973B / 284.15KB, 1280x854) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
I pretty much do the same thing, except out of a car.
OP, get:
  • DC to AC inverter/converter
  • an electric and/or wood chip stove
  • extension chords
  • a sleeping bag (I have a Wiggys)
  • glass jars with lids to store food/spices
  • a water purifier (i have a Sawyer)
  • tools to fix your van/car
Godspeed OP.
David Segglelidge - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:53:05 EST 4FZuRF88 No.35240 Reply
OP here again, just found this for sale a town over for just under $4K. Rebuilt transmission, quite a few miles on the engine but I feel like that's not as much of an issue if the transmission is new. It's inside my price range and it'll give me some cash left over to start customizing it to fit my needs. The guy selling it claims to be a mechanic/van dweller themself so it seems like a winner. Gonna give them a call tonight, any questions I should ask in particular?
David Segglelidge - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:55:08 EST 4FZuRF88 No.35241 Reply
1498150508310.jpg -(48974B / 47.83KB, 600x450) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
Forgot the pic, it's an old econoline. From the pics, it looks like it's been kept up pretty well.
Ebenezer Honeyhall - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:39:33 EST Xwuhb6h4 No.35243 Reply
1498153173701.jpg -(738889B / 721.57KB, 1440x2560) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
Look up that particular year/model online and check for common issues that arise from it.. And ask why he is selling it (and try to decipher if his reasoning is legit)
Walter Pazzleham - Thu, 13 Jul 2017 00:51:45 EST mr2oW8Je No.35296 Reply
How many miles? Don't buy if it's high miles, not for 4k. I'd been looking on craigslist for a month and vans are extremely overpriced and go fast here, so I ended up getting a well maintained early 90s minivan for $1200, minivans go for a lot cheaper than normal vans here you're getting more bang for your buck. I pulled out all tge seats except the ones in the front and propped a mattress in and drove the thing to 2 states away to crash in, worked well, but yeah if you are gonna live in the van full time I would get a high top, and if you're in a desert area of Texas noleather seats and working a.c. a van like that is hard to find though for a reasonable price so if you see one on craigslist call and go look at it with cash on hand immediately, just don't get too impatient and excited and buy a piece of crap, don't buy anything with over 150k miles, and if your running out of time get a minivan instead of a crappy full-size van you can always sell it and get a better one when the time comes and they're readily available
Walter Momblegold - Sun, 30 Jul 2017 00:20:03 EST EUv5Djrj No.35318 Reply
Why not buy a old short bus? Tons of room in those things.
Fanny Marrystadge - Sun, 30 Jul 2017 05:33:32 EST LFbnmztE No.35319 Reply
School buses have a 45mph governor on them generally. And never more than 55 mph. Also, due to bus barns and maintenance, school buses are kept in service for so many years that they only get dumped when they are so beyond saving that the cost of buying a new bus is cheaper than repairing the old one.

You also have heavy truck grade everything on them making them a bitch to service and upkeep. A new set of tires would be well over 1200 dollars alone for shitty regrooves. That isn't even mounted either. Plus, school buses are complete turds in addition to all the other bullshit.
Lydia Benkinham - Tue, 01 Aug 2017 01:05:03 EST NxNS3g7i No.35328 Reply
> Plus, school buses are complete turds in addition to all the other bullshit.

Can you elaborate on that?
Sidney Nedgecocke - Sun, 06 Aug 2017 15:28:09 EST FVvEeN+k No.35337 Reply
Just look for an 80s Chevy G30 with a V8. Parts are cheap, easy to work on, and easy to modify. They come in van, full size van, and the rare but epic Hi-Cube (yep, High fuckin cube!) and they're solid fucking steel.
Sidney Nedgecocke - Sun, 06 Aug 2017 15:32:59 EST FVvEeN+k No.35338 Reply
They're usually broken in the old ones. There was a trick for breaking them while driving that the drivers used to do all the time. Also, if it's not broke, just upgrade. That said, busses are not cost effective like you stated. Unless you plan on taking a band on tour with you, or otherwise bringing a crew to help with expenses, you're better off getting a box van or a flatbed dualy trruck and building onto it. Even if you can't weld, laying fiberglass is fucking easy... an if fiberglass is too expensive, just use a layer of wire mesh and some cotton duck cloth.

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