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Man Builds Tiny Ford Ranger House Truck for $500

This is a tiny Ford Ranger house truck that was built in one month for only about $500 in materials.

It was built using about 90% recycled materials using a 2000 Ford Ranger as the chassis. Inside, you’ll find a bed, bench, and storage.

Joe, the owner/builder, was able to build it himself in about a about a month. He has a camp shower and uses local and public restrooms and showers as he travels. Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thank you!

Tiny Ford Ranger House Truck

Tiny Ford Ranger House Truck 001

Images © AClarino/YouTube

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Images © AClarino/YouTube

Video: Joe’s DIY Ford Ranger House Truck


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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Elizabeth Rubio
    January 18, 2016, 3:41 pm

    I admire the ingenuity, ability and industriousness of Joe and folks like him who construct their visions and live their dreams. Good going, Joe!

    • Alex
      January 18, 2016, 3:47 pm

      Me too, thanks Elizabeth!

  • DB
    January 18, 2016, 4:01 pm

    Looking at it he appears to have seriously overloaded the truck, to the point where it looks like he has almost no weight on the front axles. Or his suspension is totally shot. Either way it looks extremely dangerous.

    That truck only has a payload of 1260 pounds, it’s not meant to carry a box camper and this is probably heavier than they are. I don’t understand why people do this. Quite aside from destroying the truck there’s the whole safety side of it. Is it simply ignorance or is it flagrant disregard ?

    • DB
      January 18, 2016, 4:15 pm

      I think I see helper springs on the rear in that video. And they don’t seem to be helping, which makes me suspect the overloading is even worse than I first thought. And of course helper springs don’t increase payload capacity so it’s even worse in that too.

    • Alex
      January 18, 2016, 4:21 pm

      Good point, I wonder… what could be done to help the truck support the load?

      • DB
        January 18, 2016, 4:33 pm

        Nothing really. It’s simply that wood, while being cheap and easy to work with, is also heavy. He says it’s 2×4 construction with ply, plus clapboard, and interior paneling, and insulation. That all adds up, even before factoring the furnishings, supplies, etc.

        I’m just guessing it’s grossly overloaded from the pic and info though. And experience seeing a lot of the same over the years. It’s easy to think you’re building light when you easily lift each piece while building but fail to think of adding all them up in the end.

        About the only way to make it lighter would require expensive aluminum framing and sheathing instead of wood.

        • Alex
          January 18, 2016, 5:51 pm

          Aluminum framing would’ve been a good idea for sure. I was wondering if the suspension/springs could be upgraded to better handle the weight? Maybe, right?

  • Lebron
    January 18, 2016, 5:17 pm

    I would be interested in knowing how he sealed the roof at the hinge?

    • Alex
      January 18, 2016, 5:48 pm

      Great question, I’m not sure, Lebron! Can anyone else here chime in on this for us?

    • DB
      January 18, 2016, 8:00 pm

      I can say how I’d do it. A single piece of rubber roofing membrane with a bit of extra for flex at the seam and not glued across it. Being largely salvage built he might have had some waterproof tent fabric or something handy, or that might be where he splurged on bought material. It looks like a single seamless roof treatment from what you can see of it.

    • DB
      January 18, 2016, 10:06 pm

      Actually seeing all the tyvek house wrap he used elsewhere I wonder if that’s his roof covering too ? The roof is white so, maybe ? Could work short term, but UV will hurt it inside of a year. Under the truck and for the pop-up wall it will last a little longer.

  • JJ
    January 18, 2016, 6:19 pm

    Maybe a sway bar in the front could help ?

    • DB
      January 18, 2016, 7:53 pm

      A sway bar would add weight, which might bring the front down and help some, but it also adds to the already overloaded capacity. A cement bumper might be just as effective 😉

      Also in reply to Alex from our thread above, I can’t see a Reply link there. My long winded replies broke something didn’t they 😉

      I think there are already helper leaf added to the rear (end of video, looking at tyvek under the truck). They can only do so much, and as noted they add (a little) weight, further reducing payload capacity. That payload limit is a factor of the frame strength, axle size, etc. and can’t be increased without building a whole new truck. All you can do is reduce weight. He does seem to have removed the stock bed, which should have gained (guessing) a couple hundred pounds. Yet it’s still riding way low. Serious problems somewhere. I’d love to know the weight of the tiny house, I’d guess around 1500 pounds, maybe more.

  • Darcy
    January 18, 2016, 10:35 pm

    omg! I have nothing nice to say so I will go outside and wash my ford ranger .

    • Theo
      January 19, 2016, 7:18 pm

      I don’t have anything to say either. But I’m just going to leave my Jeep Wrangler dirty.

  • jim sadler
    January 19, 2016, 10:59 am

    I favor building on a trailer frame rather than putting the burden on the truck. For example boat trailers can be very heavy duty and often can be cheaply purchased. The disadvantage of a trailer is the toll can be excessive if you must use toll roads. And those tolls are by the axle so if you have a really heavy duty trailer with a triple axle it can be expensive. On the other hand, when you reach a destination you can unhook the trailer meaning that you do not have to move the rig to use your truck for local hops. Further, you can also use the truck or van bed for storage.

  • Ken
    January 19, 2016, 11:49 am

    I agree, it is looking a bit dangerous. Explanation for those you don’t understand how:
    If you have too much weight on the back then it lifts the front wheels up, without enough weight on the front the tires will not have good traction, steering becomes weak and you can crash.

    Let’s hope he stays off curvy or mountain roads.

  • ,Joyce
    January 19, 2016, 12:15 pm

    This reminds me of my grandparents truckhouse that they built in the 40s. They lived in it for quite a few years. Guess the need for a THOW is genetic since I grew up living in a tent all summer then in a tiny trailer in my teen years. Lived in a big house while bringing up my kids then escaped to a 26 foot trailer much to my kids dismay. Could not live in something with a foundation. I found the truck to be a little dark and cramped. My grandparents home was light and efficient but not cramped considering the lack of RV items then.

  • Matthew
    January 25, 2016, 12:50 pm

    I think it is great for him to be truly free and travel this beautiful country and meet people and enjoy life. As far as the payload of the truck it could probably use an extra leaf in the Springs or some good strong shocks, but doesn’t appear to be overloaded to the point of being hazardous on the road. Some people just look for things to gripe about because they are afraid to get out of their shell and live. I love to get out and travel and visit different places and love to see others living free as well.

  • Anna
    January 31, 2016, 6:07 pm

    I like the idea! Im sure my 02 Ranger would love to take me on a road trip with a house like that onboard. Popup roof is nice.

  • DALE
    February 15, 2016, 7:11 pm


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