International Step Van

Hello, my name is Rodger. I will be sixty this February and I have been a full-timer for about 8 years, boondocking about 95% of my time. Originally, I worked construction as a carpenter, working out of and traveling in a Class A motor home with my wife of 10 years. Our home was in California but we both enjoyed traveling. In 1995, her MS had advanced to the point I could not work full time, so we decided to sell our home and go full time, working when I could. We had a few dollars from the sale of our home to help, but we still had to be very frugal. We didn’t want to reduce our quality of life so we started cooking from scratch, eating foods in season and following the sun. It’s hard to be unhappy when the sun is always shining and there is no lawn to be mowed!

In 2000 my wife could no longer travel, so we settled in eastern Oregon. I worked as an assistant manager for a mobile /rv park. When she passed away in 2003 she had taught me one of life’s most important lessons: live your life today, tomorrow may not come. Trying to live that way, I sold everything (which paid most of the medical bills) and filed bankruptcy. I met this older gentleman that had a 1966 International Metro step van for sale. It had a 152 cubic inch 4 cylinder, 92 horse power with 3 speed transmission. It is about 14 feet from bumper to bumper–picture a postal truck. I checked it out, paid $800.00 for it, and hit the road again. My little home gets about 18 MPG and I only put about 6, 000 miles a year on it.

Van Modifications:
In order to make it more livable, I made these modifications:

  • I built a cabinet with drawers that is also a couch and opens to a single bed.
  • I bought a really good ice chest for food.
  • I put a 3 x 5 window on the passenger side. It is a typical 3 x 5vinyl slider. I just cut a hole in the side of the van to fit the window, and installed it with self-tapping metal screws with rubber washers and caulking. The window extends outside the van 3/4 of an inch. I wanted to maintain my stealth so I had a thin piece of metal cut to cover the window. It is the size of the window plus 1 1/2 inches all the way around plus another 3/4 inch to be bent at right angles. I soldered in its corners so that when I was done it looked like giant cookie sheet. I put a piano type hinge on top so it could not be seen from outside when closed. The 1 1/2inch added all around is needed so after the hinge is on, it will not bind when opening. Also, the added 1 1/2 on each is to hide the diagonal braces needed for when the awning is up. I then painted it to match the rest of the van. When it is down (it locks from inside), it looks very natural and most people don’t even notice it. It looks like I could sell hot dogs when it’s up! The cover helps to maintain my stealth parking ability, so that when I stop for th night it looks like a normal delivery van. I also keep the van clean with no stickers or writing on it, which also helps it be stealthy.
  • When I stop, I don’t want to put anything on the ground, so I built a 5×5 patio that drops down when the back doors are open. The van has two doors in back, each 2’6″ wide, which open out. I had apiece of aluminum cut to 5′ wide by 4′ deep, and hinged on the 5’side. I attached it to the floor inside the van so that it drops down when the back doors are opened. Two hooks on the bottom of each door hold the deck up. To add shade, I mounted a typical RV window awning (works like old- fashioned window shade) above the patio. It has a metal cover (painted white) that it disappears into, maintaining my stealth. I covered it with a green canvas awning to make it nice for napping or grilling.
  • I also replaced the uncomfortable driver’s seat with a very nice office chair. Because it is on wheels I can leave it inside or roll it to the patio.
  • I built more cabinets on the passenger side under the window with a fold out desk and a one-burner propane stove top for my morning coffee.
  • Installed two solar panels and two batteries.

It’s taken awhile, and is always a work in progress, but the van has become a very nice little home. I was able to get almost everything either free or at a good price used, except the two new solar panels for the two batteries and small fold down flat screen TV. I don’t have a cell phone or computer, I might get a computer but do not want to have any monthly bills.

Making Money:
I found I don’t like to work for someone else so my hobbies are incorporated into my income. I have three main ways of making money:

Perfect Fit Group Perfect Fit Group REPC760902 - Express / Savana Van Step Bumper, Assy, Black, Steel, W/O Parking Aid Sensor Holes
Automotive Parts and Accessories (Perfect Fit Group)
  • This Replacement Step Bumper is made specifically to repair the original.
  • Partslink: GM1103143
  • Replaces OEM:
P.I. Auto Store 110-120V AC to 12V DC Power Inverter / Adapter / Converter 10 Amp. For Air Compressor,Tire Inflator, Electric Seat Warmer, RV refrigerator, Car TV, Vacuum cleaner, and more.
Speakers (P.I. Stores)
  • Make great use of all your 12V devices by being able to power from household wall supply. This converter will connect to 100V ~ 240V AC and convert to 12V DC female...
  • Will power all 12 Volt devices rated to 120 Watts. Output rated current 10Amp. Max limited current 15amp
  • Built in safety features include Overload Protection, Over and Under Working Voltage Protection and Short Circuit Protection. CE, FCC & Rohs approved
  • Heavy Duty Cable 18AWG. Total reach 9 Ft. Premium quality over-moulded connector. Can be used with further power extensions
  • Compact and portable, Robust and Reliable. Keep at home or take away on your road trip or camping trip
Make Auto Parts Manufacturing Make Auto Parts Manufacturing - ECONOLINE VAN 92-14 STEP BUMPER, Black, Steel, w/o Rear Object Sensor Holes - FO1102271
Automotive Parts and Accessories (Make Auto Parts Manufacturing)
  • Free Shipping
  • 1-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty.
  • High Quality
  • Products by Make Auto Parts Manufacturing are perfect fits for your vehicles.
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL, METRA, SCOSCHE FORD 1987 - 1991 ECONOLINE VAN CAR RADIO STEREO RADIO KIT DASH INSTALLATION MOUNTING W/ WIRING HARNESS
Car Audio or Theater (AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL, METRA, SCOSCHE)
  • DASH KIT:FM-K534 Single DIN Installation Mounting Kit. This dash kit allows you to replace your vehicle s factory stereo to improve the overall sound quality of...
  • WIRE HARNESS: FWH- 594 Wire Harness. When replacing your factory radio with an after-market car stereo, a wire harness is a must for a quick installation. It eliminates...
  • CUSTOMIZATION:Choose your free air freshener (assorted colors)
  • NOTE:Locate your vehicle in the application guide. Cross-reference your vehicle s make and model to determine which installation parts are required to complete your...
  • PLEASE REFER TO COMPLETE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION BELOW
International International Charge Air Cooler, Fits FedEx & UPS Step Vans & Trucks with International Navistar Chassis
Automotive Parts and Accessories (International)
  • Please confirm the OEM part number for direct match
  • Must be shipped to a commercial, nonresidential, nonfarm address
  • One year warranty covering manufacturer defects
  • If item is returned, it must be within 14 days of receipt and UNUSED and with original packaging intact and in new sale condition. Postage/Freight will not be refunded.
  • Sourcing and selling NEW high quality heavy truck parts. Email us with any questions or for items you may be trying to find at sales@dieseltruckpartssupply.com

Related posts: