Bespoke 1987 Chevrolet G30 HiCube Truck Camper Conversion
This Chevy G30 HiCube truck, currently registered with RV plates in Alabama, was an ex-US Airforce truck (with original paperwork) so has been well maintained throughout its 35 years. Having only been used as a base vehicle, it currently sits at just over 35,000 miles.
This bespoke handcrafted conversion is fitted with top spec appliances, allowing you to go off grid indefinitely without needing to worry about power. After my partner graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering he chose to convert a number of vans over the last few years. So far this one has been tested over a few thousand miles around the US, mainland Mexico, and Baja California and now is looking for a new home! Viewing/collection in San Diego, or delivery of the van can be arranged.
– 3 x 7 gallon fresh water tanks, making for easy refilling up to 21 gallon capacity.
– 1 x 7 gallon waste water tank to minimize storage space taken up by grey water.
– We have also made use of two 5 gallon potable water tanks, which come with a separate pump/faucet for refilling water bottles if going off-grid for an extended period.
The sink has a cold water kitchen tap and impressive water pressure supplied by a 12v marine water pump. A further 12’ hose with an adjustable pressure shower head can be found under the bed, allowing the same water supply to be used outside the back doors. The van also comes with an adhesive bracket for the shower head and a pop up shower tent for privacy whilst washing outdoors.
– 200AHr Renogy AGM battery
– 175 Watt flexible Renogy solar panel
– Renogy 30 amp DC/DC charge controller w/ MPPT charges the batteries fully after just a short drive. This unit also trickle charges the vehicle battery using solar so there is no chance of being stranded anywhere waiting for a jumpstart.
– 700 Watt Renogy inverter providing 110v to two outlets and anywhere else in the van via an extension cable. The wall outlets also have USB ports.
– 3 x twin 12v usb sockets (one beside the bed) plus the cab has been upgraded to be capable of fast charging while driving
– 2 x 12v cigarette lighter sockets installed
– 110v compressor fridge (with freezer shelf)
– Maxxair Fan
Renogy Bluetooth monitor allows you to monitor the power coming through the solar panel, the alternator, and the status of the batteries via a mobile app.
No mains Hookup is needed for this van, she runs perfectly off-grid. The 110v 2.3cu.f Midea fridge/freezer, remains on 24hrs a day, and the batteries rarely dip below 75% even first thing in the morning. We have been travelling for months without having to worry about power consumption, staying parked for up to a week at a time.
The decision to use a movable 2 burner gas hob allows for large amounts of counter space at all times when not cooking and the flexibility to either cook indoors or outside the van entirely in good weather! The Coleman two burner stove was bought new for the trip and was selected due to the availability of compatible gas canisters across the US and Mexico.
The maxxair fan fitted above the kitchen area is perfect for extraction during cooking. It also provides a great source of air-conditioning with its own thermostat, with intake and exhaust functionality.
The unique shape and built in storage can be configured to suit all kitchen/utility needs. Soft storage bins under both the bench and the bed are perfect for clothing etc. and there are a number of other cabinets around the living space. The Thetford Porta Potti 365 can be stored under the bench seating or pushed into the underbed storage area out of the way.
A hinging table mounted on the wall opposite the bed can either provide a side table for the bench seat or – tabletop for multiple people sat on the bed. This also makes it perfect for working in a more comfortable setting. The van comes with a wireless projector which, when hung on a shelf above the bed projects perfectly onto the opposite wall.
With the floor, walls and ceiling fully insulated with PIR board, the van holds heat extremely well in colder weather and has been easy to cool even throughout Mexico. Multiple auxiliary fans are also stored under the bed for extra airflow if desired.
We opted for two small windows in the back door and a large skylight (approx. 18×36”) allowing lots of natural light in the day, and made insulated window covers for each of these and all cab windows. This, combined with the lockable grate door from the original military build was the most secure way to build out the back, affording peace of mind when leaving the vehicle parked up, no matter how remote.
Strip LEDs under mounted along the bench and bed area provide nice mood lighting and the dimmable spotlights overhead are touch controlled for added convenience.
1 fixed full double bed, 54”x75” with a brand new 9” memory foam mattress. Underneath the fixed bed is a huge amount of storage space, usually home to all of our scuba diving gear, longboards, Indo board and a full-size spare wheel, a bottle jack and tools with lots of extra space!
The cab is clean and seats are in good condition for the age of the van. Waterproof seat covers also supplied as seen in the photos. Both a rear reversing camera and a blindside mirror camera are installed with a display in the cab which can toggle between the two with the click of a button.
The bodywork of the vehicle had a few dings and scrapes but is in overall good condition, especially in comparison to vehicles of the same age. Some of the paintwork could do with a touch up and the plan was to have it resprayed or wrapped, however, due to selling I thought I would leave that up to the buyer as color preferences vary. Also, personally I have loved how stealthy the van is in its current state, and never worry about leaving it anywhere and attracting undue attention, even all over mainland Mexico!
The van had a full service in November 2022 at 31,000 miles including:
– AC conversion kit to R134-a
– Power steering lines and seals changed
– 6 new tires this year (+ spare)
A new power steering pulley; tensioner pulley; and new free bearings have been installed along with a new serpentine belt, battery tray and radiator cap as preventative maintenance whilst on the road.
Rear brake shoes and oil seals in the rear differential were changed at approximately 32,000 miles and the brake fluid completely flushed and renewed.
Most recently, we had the truck checked out by a mechanic, informing that we wanted it definitely fit to sell with minimal future mechanical maintenance required. Various components in the steering system had normal wear and tear for an older vehicle that had just driven through Baja and he said there was a chance that they would need replaced within the next year or two. So we paid to have new tie rods (and rod ends); control and pitman arms; sway bar bushings and a transmission mount installed.
The whole build was documented on Instagram account (isaac_cal96) if you want to see any of the stages in more detail! It’s on the highlight named “Chevy Build”.