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Meg 05-16-2017 12:14 AM

Chevy Express advice!
I'm about to embark on vanlife with my boyfriend, and we are looking at buying a Chevy Express cargo van to build out with a very (very) limited timeframe - we are giving ourselves one week. He's a carpenter and can work quickly, and we'll keep it quite simple (bed, small cooking area/work area).

For those of you who have built out a short wheelbase Chevy Express, what has been the best orientation for a bed? And, any advice on the layout?

Any help would be amazing.

mkguitar 05-16-2017 12:24 AM

if you are tall the bed has to be fore/aft.

if you are not tall and go sideways- there will always be a climb-over.

building out a van can be daunting- youtube has helpful videos for layout and design.

insulation is crucial for temps and sound

figure my bed is 16" above the floor and 72" wide- if it were higher ( to make better storage underneath, like bikes) then the bed would be narrower as the walls slope in.

fresh, black and grey tanks are central to keep the weight balanced.

mine has a genny where the spare tire would mount...also a propane tank with extra steel around it in case of rear-end

swivel front seats increases your living space- but plan on living outside where there is more space, esp if you don;t have a raised roof like a manufactured class B

rather than an awning a 10x10 popup tent can make for nice shade outside, get screen walls

mine is a pleasure-way lexor TD on a long chev 3500


booster 05-16-2017 01:12 AM

Could you even get the parts you need in one week?

Mat Mobile 05-16-2017 05:32 PM


Originally Posted by booster (Post 57290)
Could you even get the parts you need in one week?

Yes and no.

I think they just want to build boxes, put a mattress in the back, a coleman stove and a cooler.

So there's time enough because you don't really need any parts.

It's a great way to start... just not very luxurious. Been there done that!

Lightfoot 05-16-2017 07:43 PM

You might want to check out Bob Wells' Chevy Express van build videos on YouTube. He's a long-time full-time vandweller. The link is:

mkguitar 05-16-2017 09:12 PM

another thing...if you are not getting a raised roof, probably the best location for your "galley" is just inside the rear doors, so you can stand on the ground while preparing meals and not have to take everything out and set it up on a table- kinda of like the teardrop trailer galleys.

put your ezup over head if it is raining.

manufactured B's have propane/ lp gas detectors, smoke and carbon monixide detectors- think about that...they also have fire extinguishers.


Ron J. Moore 05-17-2017 01:00 PM

If I were to build, I would look at the Fold Up Bed - like is shown in the Hymer RV, this allows you to carry bikes inside...doesn't give off the appearance of camping. Ron

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