Box Truck Modification - is this allowed?


#1

Hello,
We are in need of a pick up truck and are being given a box truck.
Is there anything that would prevent us from cutting off 2/3 of the box part of the truck to create our own version of a pick up truck?
I am not concerned about needing to weld or modify the box part but wondering more about the legality of doing this and if this may get us pulled over.
Thanks!


#2

This is a terrible idea . You will destroy the structural integrity of the box . You are getting a free truck with a box , just say thank you and maybe after a certain amount of time you can trade it for a pickup.


#3

Being the structural integrity of the box is there any legal issue that would prevent us from driving it in it’s modified state? The bax part is not a problem, we plan on getting it set up just the way we need it. This a maintenance truck for a non profit. The truck is being donated.


#4

You’re asking the wrong people. You should be asking your state Department of Motor Vehicles.

But if your state has no objection, I think it’s a fine idea, provided you have the knowledge to create a resulting structure with mechanical integrity. Box trucks are created as a full-frame chassis that will accept a variety of cabs and beds. They’re not unibody. The box is not part of the chassis. While strolling though truck sales lots I’ve seen rows of various truck chassis without boxes or beds just waiting for their chosen cargo or construction addition. Some become box trucks, some become stakebeds, some become campers, some become dump trucks, some even become the bucket trucks used by power companies. Companies specialize in creating these beds and systems for truck chassis. Toyota even used to sell truck chassis in the U.S… You may have seen some with campers on them.

In short, GM, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and other vehicle manufacturers don’t make box trucks. They make truck chassis. Other specialty companies make the boxes and other application-specific aft-bodies and mount them on the appropriate chassis.

For the record, I worked for a company that made tanks and pump systems for specific chassis. We’d get the chassis delivered, manufacture the tank and pumps systems, and ship the trucks. Potable water trucks were made using stainless steel. Others were usually made of aluminum. We had the welding and fabricating expertise to do whatever the customer needed.


#5

I appreciate the reply and information on the truck, that makes a lot of sense. I will reach out to the dmv as well just in case.
Thank you


#6

I don’t see the DMV having authority over this, the registration fee is likely based on GVW, there may be a different registration fee for flat bed VS box but that won’t stop you from changing the truck.

If you cut the walls they will need to be reinforced or they will be so loose they will eventually fail. Loose walls flopping back and forth may get you stopped for an unsafe vehicle.

You may inquire with your local truck-body dealer on exchanging the box for a used flat bed.

If fuel economy is a consideration you may discover that a box truck consumes much more fuel than a light truck.


#7

Could you try using it as is for a period of time and see if it might serve you needs better than a pickup? I don’t know your business; however, for most of the times I’ve used a truck as a truck, a box truck would have been a much better option than a pickup truck.

Leaving it as is would retain more of its value when a more appropriate vehicle is available. Once you chop it, you’re stuck with it.


#8

Now that this is a non-profit I think a box truck would be better than a pickup just to be able to use it when it rains. My feeling is if I donated it and then saw where they had cut the top of the box off I would reconsider future donations. If they called and asked if they could trade it for a pickup that would be fine.


#9

If the roof and sidewalls are separated driving the truck would be similar to serving creamed potatoes and gravy on cheap paper plates. Dinner would likely land on the floor and the load on the highway. The floor of the box is the only piece that would be stable.


#10

I can’t see where there would be a problem but really, it would look terrible. Plus I tried taking one of those boxes apart once and it is a mighty hard thing to do. Why not just take the whole box off and start over with a wood flat bed frame and sides. That’d be a lot lighter, more serviceable, and look better.


#11

a donation? so you cant sell it and get another and have the person donating it still get their deduction? you would think the box truck is worth something and take that money and get another truck for the same money?


#12

Seeing as how the box is a separate part, could you trade it for a pickup-truck bed, or something similar? How about a stake body? Somebody may want the box, which won’t be worth anything after you cut it up.


#13

In my opinion, any gift whether it’s a charitable donation or a Christmas present is not yours once given, and they can do anything they want to with it. If the non-profit needs an open bed and someone donates a box truck, there’s nothing wrong with making the donation useful to them.

This is the right answer. Those box truck boxes are basically a frame wrapped in relatively flimsy material. It’s kind of like a tent - the poles provide all of the structure, and if you cut any part of the pole out the whole thing collapses because the covering can’t support itself. At best the box covering is a really, really thin metal which will bow out if you put anything like mulch or gravel in it.

Best to take the box off and build your own pickup box out of wood.


#14

Maybe the walls and ceiling could be removed, leaving a flat bed truck. Then 2x4s could be used to build a stake bed. If you removed part of the walls, you would need to reinforce them like a stake bed anyway.

While you put a plan and drawings together, use the truck as-is and see if it meets your needs. You might find it is acceptable without modifications.

One more thing: the state police are often a good source for what is and isn’t legal to drive.


#15

I recommend that you keep it as a box truck, put on a trailer hitch and get a trailer about the size of a pickup truck bed with the same load capacity. Best of both worlds.


#16

Troll, that’s an excellent idea! I’m ashamed that I didn’t think of it myself!


#17

I see a lot of abandoned pickup truck beds, some converted into trailers. Do they come large enough?


#18

The OP didn’t indicate what size truck this is but generally cab and chassis frames are designed to accommodate “truck body” components like flat beds, utility boxes etc. The body mounts won’t align with those on a pick up cargo box. I have seen a couple of cab and chassis trucks cobbled with an 8 foot pick up box and they were two feet short, the cab and chassis frame is longer.

The local truck body dealer could probably exchange the box with a used flat bed in a few hours.


#19

Thank you for these great answers and ideas - greatly appreciated. I’ll update this post when I have news.