Penske Box Truck Advice (GMC Savana Dually)

Van Living Forum

Help Support Van Living Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
Apr 24, 2020
Reaction score
Hey, I'm 6'4.

I've seen that BW says that he would never buy another RV again.
And that got me thinking, what about a box truck/box van?
Knowing that BW is an ardent Chevy/GMC fan. I was thinking of going for those Penske GMC Savana 3500 cutaway box vans/box trucks that i see going around a lot?

Just taking a glance, seems like a lot of them have the 6.0 liter vortec v8. One I saw had the 4.8. Personally, the one I would go for would be the 6.0. And of course since the ones I saw on the Peske truck sales site were mostly all 2017/2018 (at the time of this post) so they would of course come with the 6-speed transmission.

One of my concerns would be the translucent roof. But i would probably put insulation over that so the daylight changes wouldn't bother me. To make it clear, as of right now, I would be aiming for the Penske GMC Savana 3500 16 foot box truck, since according to the video, the inside height on the 16 footer is 6"6 inches unlike the 12 foot version which is not a dually and only 6'1 inches inside.

The ones i saw for sale all had for the most part about 120k-ish miles on them, give or take. That said, anyone know where to buy these things new instead of used? lol

Also to be clear, the 16 foot is he size of the box, not including the cab portion of the Savana cutaway.
samguy2000 said:
Hey, I'm 6'4.

That said, anyone know where to buy these things new instead of used? lol

You order one from the dealership. The cab and chassis are shipped to an upfitter that installs the box. You can order a taller box, side door, window cutouts and whatever else you want.
^^ What John said.

Your looking for a "Cutaway" or "Cab Chassis" framed for a Box. Try those search terms for all the options and upfitters near you. Bring plenty of cash for new.

FWIW, I've had a 2006 and a 2008 UHaul 3500 GMC, both at around 100k when I found them. Still have the 06 that was purchased in late 2014. Needed a rebuilt tranny when purchased so I planned for that. Otherwise only standard maintenance, brakes, tires, tune-up have been necessary.

I'd never buy a RV, to easy to build your own with much higher quality. Good luck with your project.
I was looking at 10-foot non-dually U-Haul box trucks back when I was first shopping. I'm 6' 0" and I could walk around inside with no problem, even with the roll-up door taking up about 6 inches. Some nomads keep the roll up door, some remove it and build a wall across the back with a swinging door. I've seen one with a horizontal split where the bottom half folded down to make a porch and the top half swung up to make an overhang. The U-haul trucks also have solid roofs.
how are those ceilings/roofs? they seem to be translucent. hence, mot built very strong/sturdy.
ok idk if it's just me but the ceiling/roof being translucent seems like it would be kind of fragile, you see what I mean?
On the trucks I bought the roof is all aluminum. Walls are a fiberglass and ply sandwich.

I know of a couple builds that had the translucent roof material. Those folks just covered it with aluminum sheets, riveted to the box top aluminum supports all around to include the cross support struts. Then through bolted the brackets for solar panels before insulating the interior.

Those are nice trucks and I wouldn't shy away just because of the plastic roof. I know they build them like that every day, so I'm not sure why you'd think they were fragile?
okay, so you're saying they covered it (on top, on the outside, where the elements hit it) with aluminum sheets? where would one get the supplies for that project?

Also, i found a local handyman who I've employed his services before. I asked him today, and he says he has a 2010 GMC Savana box truck, that is white colored, that he is looking for get rid of since he has a 2016 now. 

He says the one that he would sell has 190k miles currently on the odometer, "new" transmission at 152k. it's a 2010 GMC, so it should have the 6-speed automatic transmission. and of course the 6.0 liter vortec v8. He says he would sell it for $10,000. He says he has all service records. Dually, of course as well, since it is a GMC box truck.

What do you think of that one?
I bough a used Ryder cube van. 15 foot box with attic. I think it was 130k miles. Ryder took care of their trucks unlike uhaul.
It was in good shape. it had a governor set at 64mph so never went fast at least.
Big 460 motor.
It had the translucent roof. I put insulation in it, the pink fiberglass they say now not to use, and it was 5 inches thick at the center and about 3 at the sides and did a great job keeping it cool.
Moving trucks in general are built to be driven and abused. RVs are built to be parked and retired at 40,000 miles and to only appeal to the wife's interest in wallpaper choice.
I over-built it out and there was zero squeeks going down the road.
I suggest building it out as light as possible though. I went from 12 mpg empty to 10.5 built.
On the inside I had a 2 inch steel tubing in the ceiling and built it up with wood to the roof and sat the AC unit on that.
I got hit and it was totaled otherwise i would still have it. I was glad to get rid of it. $1,000/year insurance and 10mpg with today's gas prices it was not worth keeping.
I tow a trailer now. $20/year for the tag/license, no insurance and can be parked for years with no deterioration other than the tires.
good luck
Here is my box build with some of the photos of some of the projects that I did with it. Note that I built it twice, and for the second build, I bought another box truck to move into temporarily (I only mention it in case there is some confusion from the photos).
Ethan thank you for your post above with a link to your very detailed box truck conversion and challenges along the way. Links like yours, with pictures and detailed writing, help all of us when we may be in similar situations and vehicles. Nice job!