My 2003 Workhorse P42

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.

Playlist on my van:

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, next year a diy fluid film with mineral oil, lanolin and citrus solvent
  • Removed the liftgate (sold finally after a year or two)
  • Removed the back roll up door (also for sale)
  • Changed the PMD (pump mounted driver which is a common problem on 6.5 diesel engines)
  • Replaced the fuel filler dish
  • Cleaned many of the electrical grounds
  • Changed the glow plugs which was a big pain and 1 got stuck
  • Changed the wiper pulse module. They turned on by themselves one day and wouldn’t shut off.
  • Changed the wiper fluid tank and wiper fluid motor as that stopped working.

On my to do list:

  • Change differential fluid
  • Figure out ABS light speed sensor issue
  • Fix valve leak, ehhh

Stuff mechanics did on it:

  • Replaced the sway bar links
  • Alignment
  • New front tires (commercial tires are pricey!)
  • Installed shifter cable (I should of done this!)
  • Adjusted plates in the steering so they said
  • Fixed turn signal, bright lights lever by replacing some spring
  • New shocks

More posts on my step van.

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