I started off making it with a jigsaw, but that didn’t work so well. It was far from perfect. Then I tried using a jig-like compass for the saw that would keep it in alignment but it would bend the blade and go off course.
I was stressed and frustrated and then I posted some question on Reddit and someone recommended a scorp. Something like an awl for scratching but I didn’t take it serious but then he said there’s a video and I saw it and thought I would give it a try.
I had some scrap pieces of aluminum lying around and put something together using that, a draw handle and self-tapping screws. It’s kinda like a compass.
The first circle took me about 3 hours (if I remember right) of going round and round. But I ended up with a perfect circle. You can see the metal dust on my gloves.
The 2nd one took maybe around an hour. What I did was sharpen the end of the scratching screw. I made it real sharp. The first one I left as is. It was much faster and I was excited I got two perfect circles. I thought for sure my round windows would be all crooked!
There is one screw near the wood handle that cuts and a longer screw that goes through 3 layers of aluminum.
They do have hole saws but you are going to pay for a big one. Maybe $50+. The advantage of doing it this way is you can choose the size. You can choose many sizes if you want.
This is my dream rig. I was looking for a few years for a step van and there were a few I was considering and all were usually old USPS trucks. I was looking at 1987 Chevy P30’s (6.2 diesel), the 2002 Freightliner MT 45 (24 valve Cummins), the 2003 Workhorse P42, the 2004 M Line (Mercedes 4 cylinder) and a few other Chevy P30’s in the late 90’s.
I wanted a diesel and I preferred the look of the P42, but also looked at all the above models and test drove an ’87 and that one I also liked. I think I preferred the dually’s and the 2002 and 2004 models were single back wheels. I had to search high and low to find this. None were anywhere close to where I live. I spent a good year and a half looking.
There were some close calls, like one time I flew all the way out to Bellingham, Washington to buy one and then I had some difficulty getting all the money out of the ATM in the same day to buy it which apparently annoyed the seller. He said he had to go back to Seattle for school since it was a Sunday and then he suddenly ghosted me. Totally stopped answering emails and calls.
To get this one I had to travel 2000 miles all the way to North Dakota from New Hampshire to get it and this was the first vehicle I ever bought.
Where do you get these?
All these old USPS vans start at auction sites like Govdeals, Govplanet and other auction sites and this is the first place to look. Then some people get them and resell them so you can also look on Craigslist and Marketplace. I found mine on Marketplace who got it from someone who bought it from someone who bought from someone who got it through an auction. The USPS won’t sell directly to consumers.
Things I’ve done on it:
No experience fixing cars, trucks etc up. Just want to learn how to do basic maintenance.
Changed the oil/oil filter
Changed the fuel filter
Changed the air filter
Changed the transmission fluid/filter (it has a 4L80E trans)
Fixed the door lock
Fixed the sliding window lock
Removed a ton of rust especially from the rear end painted and then did an oil/wax coating