How to Make a Passenger Van Into a Cargo Van

by Leonardo R. Grabkowski
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Cargo vans, often called commercial vans, are very useful for businesses. If you are just starting out and cannot find an affordable cargo van, it may benefit you to convert a passenger van into a cargo van. You just need to learn what components to remove and how to go about making the conversion.

Step 1

Gather all tools and park your van in a suitable workspace, free from distraction. Turn the engine off and disconnect the van's battery; you may have to remove some electrical components, depending on the equipment your passenger van has.

Step 2

Remove the second and third row seats. Most cargo vans are seatless, with the exception of the two front seats. Most second and third row seats in vans are mounted by floor mounts rather than bolts, as the front seats are. You will need help lifting the seats from the van once they are detached; the seats are quite heavy, particularly bench seats.

Step 3

Remove the carpeting from the van. This is optional; however, carpet tends to be inefficient for most cargo purposes. Carpet rips, tears and gets dirty too easily. Use a carpet knife to remove the rear carpet and leave the carpet in the front seats if desired. This will keep you from having to remove the front seats.

Step 4

Remove rear center consoles and cup holders, if the vehicle is equipped with them. It is usually not necessary to remove the interior side panels, as they generally don't protrude far enough to take away cargo space.

Step 5

Line the rear compartment of the van with some type of floor covering. You can use a traditional rubber floorboard or a simple sheet of wood or metal. The goal is to cover up the seat brackets in the rear of the van, as they may hinder cargo during transport. You can also line the rear floor with a spray-in liner, such as a Rhino liner. Spray-in liners are similar to bed liners in pickup trucks and are very durable. Seek a professional to install your spray-in liner if desired.

Step 6

Disconnect and remove any electronics in the rear compartment, such as TVs, radios and DVD players. These items provide excellent convenience for rear passenger vans but are useless in a cargo van.

Step 7

Remove the rear side windows and replace them with sheet metal. While this is completely optional, it will prevent heavy equipment or cargo from damaging or breaking the glass. If you don't want to remove the windows, you can apply a protective cover to the interior portion of the glass, such as bars.

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