I'm building a wall + door frame for the first time to cover the opening of a box van with the rear door ripped out. The van is not sitting level; the tires have blown out on the right side so it's on a slant.

Everything I've been told and see online says to use a level to make sure each stud is square/plumb (and I can understand to use a level if you're also working with a somewhat level to the earth floor or ceiling, but since the truck's opening is tilted, how is that supposed to work?

I exasperated/got into an argument a builder who knows how the truck is sitting with my questions, I just can't wrap my head around it.

  • How about you let the air out of the left side tires, then do your measuring/leveling? – Daniel Griscom Jun 30 '19 at 12:16
  • The truck has actually sunk into the ground on one side. I would have it towed to flat ground but it's stuck in park. – pommie Jul 1 '19 at 1:08
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because This is about modifying a vehicle, not home improvement. – Chris Cudmore Jul 30 '19 at 19:12
  • No one plumbs individual studs with a level. Carpenters plumb walls. In this case, put the wall how it best serves the intended purpose. Plumb isn't really relevant. – isherwood Mar 26 '20 at 21:26
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because This is about modifying a vehicle, not home improvement – FreeMan Mar 22 at 16:01

If the tyres are blown out then its sitting on the rims, damaging them and whatever hard surface it is resting on.

You should purchase a pair of axle-stands per axle on the vehicle. The stands should be of sufficient capacity to support the whole vehicle when finished.

Lift the vehicle onto the stands by using a vehicle jack. Two stands per axle, so you need 4 or possibly 6 stands in total.

Do not get under the vehicle while it is on the jack, but once its fully on the axle stands then you can work underneath it.

NOW you've done the equivalent of a builder pouring a flat floor slab to work from, and you can progress the rest of your build.

If this seems too much effort, then consider that you may be attempting a task that is currently beyond your skill level at this time. Consider involving the assistance of other people.


Assuming that the box on the truck is square and not racked then just use a tape measure to insure the studs are parallel to the sides of truck walls.

I.E. for the first stud place the top of the stud at 15 1/4" inches from the top of the truck wall and the bottom of the stud is 15 1/4" inches from the bottom of the truck wall. And so on across with your studs at 16" on center if that matters to you. ( i think since it is a truck that will be moving, bouncing i would opt for studs at 12" on center and lot and lots of cross bracing and fasteners.)

The same applies to how far the studs are from the back of the truck box opening, cut two studs so they fit in the top and bottom tracks ( top plate, bottom plate ) at both sides snugly, fit them into place and then slide ( gently tap ) the top and bottom tracks until you measure that the studs are straight in line with side of the box opening and then screw the top and bottom tracks into place.

It does not need to be perfect but it does need to be the same on both sides.

If the box is racked ( equal measurement of the opening diagonally from corner to corner both ways ) then use a jack and some jack stands or blocking to level the truck. If the box is still racked then you may need to "manipulate" it some.

Personally i would not worry about leveling the truck and just get the box as close to square as you can i use the method i have instructed above.

  • The opening is not actually square due to the steel covering the bumper extending up part of it. I tried to get it as square as possible measuring 16" from the top corners (the widest corners). The truck itself won't be on the road ever again, but the wall just needs to be strong enough to handle one or two relocations. – pommie Jul 1 '19 at 1:10

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