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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions

 > Permanent Bed in an RT

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lizzie

Unaka NC &Sopchoppy FL

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Posted: 01/07/10 06:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A recent post about a "swing-up" bed for a Class B started me thinking about the bed situation again. I'm sure that someone has posted about alterations to the bed in their RT. Ours is a 1996 190V and we leave the bed made up all the time. Has anyone come up with a ways to make this more comfortable and/or effecient? lizzie

booster

Minnesota

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Posted: 01/07/10 06:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are just finishing up a permanent bed for our 07 190P Roadtrek. It will be totally clear underneath, front to rear, side to side, with hinged covers for access. We have a latex, custom shape mattress on order from a marine mattress manufacturer, that is promised to be as comfortable, or more, than a home mattress. I should be able to post complete pics by the end of the month when the mattress shows up. All the parts of the bed are done and painted and I will be putting them all back in this weekend.

larryb346

Missouri

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Posted: 01/07/10 09:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a 03 p200. We purchased a innerspring mattress and installed it cross wise after removing the couch cushions. It fits perfectly and is as comfortable as a house bed, easy to make up since it's one piece and regular fitted sheets fit.
We had never used the rear couch area nor had we ever eaten at the rear table so the loss was not as important to us as a good nights sleep. The area under the bed makes a large storage area.

ryegatevt

New Hampshire

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Posted: 01/08/10 06:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We leave the twin bed configuration set up all the time, with memory foam toppers. The beds are comfortable, roomy enough, and are always available for seating. We leave the big table at home and set up the small table from the front between the beds if needed. Up front we use a small plastic folding table which we can slide behind the driver's seat when not in use.


Steve & Bev
2005 Roadtrek 210
Tess, our Sheltie


lizzie

Unaka NC &Sopchoppy FL

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Posted: 01/08/10 12:06pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Booster. When you get done will you send photos? PM me if you like. It sounds like you are doing what we would like to do. We have never used the back table either, presently have a memory foam topper over the couch seats. There must be a better way! lizzie

booster

Minnesota

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Posted: 01/08/10 12:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

lizzie wrote:

Booster. When you get done will you send photos? PM me if you like. It sounds like you are doing what we would like to do. We have never used the back table either, presently have a memory foam topper over the couch seats. There must be a better way! lizzie


I will be putting up a full set of pics here as soon as it is finished.

booster

Minnesota

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Posted: 01/09/10 06:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No mattress yet, but I put the finished bed back into the 07 190P Roadtrek today. It all went back in well, with no real issues. Looks like it can be taken out in about 45 minutes and put back in about 90 minutes.

Here is what the it looked like with the power sofa taken out, lots of room here.

[image]


Trying to decide what level is can be a challenge. The frig, counter top, cabinets, floor, etc, were all on different levels. I chose the counter top, as that is what we had been using to level the van in the past. I put it up on jackstands with the stands set so the van was level to the countertop. That way I could just go for level on everything, without having to compare it to any other measurements, and not worry about the suspension compressing or other errors. I did a lot of setting of lines, levels, etc to try to decide what point to use as a starting reference for the bed. I settled on using the wheelwell covers in line with the carpet change on the floor. 1.75" up from the tops of the covers (1" tubing, 3/4" plywood) looked to be about the right height to get good clearance under the bed, and to land at the right level on the bolster frames.

[image]


The frame is made out of 1" square, 14 gauge (.084) wall steel tubing. The challenge was to get totally clear under the entire bed, without any supports in the middle, or other areas, that would be in the way. We also wanted to be able to access the area under the bed easily from inside the van, so a hinged lid got put in at the front of the bed frame. The fixed section of the frame is held to the wheelwell covers with 1/4-20 machine screws into tee nuts (the plywood is counter bored on the underside to clear the screwheads). There are two screws on the top of each side, and 3 into the furthest rear face of the cover on the passenger side. The drivers side of the fixed frame is mounted to the seatbelt attachment thread at the very rear of the van. A separate frame was used for the hinged lid, which is supported by the hinge (3" X 1/16"), which is also structural, in the rear, and on small aluminum angles attached to the bolster frames on the front.

[image]

Here is the fixed frame on the drivers side,

[image]

And on the passenger side,

[image]

This is half of the hinged lid,

[image]

And the support for the hinged lid frame on the bolster frame,

[image]

Rear mount of the fixed frame on the passenger side,

[image]

And on the drivers side to the seatbelt mount,

[image]


The plywood is 3/4", lightweight, oak veneer (really thin veneer). We wanted to use maple, or ash, or even birch faced, but I couldn't find any of the lightweight stuff that was anywhere near flat enough. The stain is pickled oak, which is not to bad a match, and it doesn't show anyway. This lightweight plywood seems to be pretty strong, but it has lots of core voids, and the lightweight inner plies don't hold screws very well. I made cardboard templates for all the pieces, a main rear section, hinged lid, a smaller fixed piece for each side from the wheel well to bolster frame, and the new hinged lids for the bolster frames. The plywood is attached to the metal frame with 10-32 thread oval head machine screws, and to the wood sections with #10 oval head sheet metal screws.

The cover and side piece on the driver side bolster had to be relieved by 1/4" to get it to level. The other side was right on level.

[image]

With the center lid open,

[image]

With the bolster frame lids open. The are considerably smaller than the originals in length, so the main section of mattress could be straight across the van in that area, and the bolster mattress sections smaller for easy handling.

[image]

This is the passenger side bolster frame. We had removed the inside water tank last year to use it for storage (works great). The pvc tube is a piece of central vac tubing (thin wall and light) that is just the right size to hold the awning crank and support, so it isn't constantly in our way.

[image]

Everything closed from the rear,

[image]

And from the front,

[image]

We didn't want any lips, screws, or anything else hanging down at the very rear, to prevent hanging up on things and limiting storage height. We also needed to reinforce the very rear of the bed, as the plywood is not strong enough by itself to bridge that long of a distance. I added a reinforcement that attaches to the edge and under the plywood and extends above the plywood. It is made of 1/8 X 3" steel, which is strong enough, but still flexible enough to follow the curve of the back of the bed (curved to give minimum gap to the rear doors). It is held onto the plywood with #8 X 1" oval head sheet metal screws, and supported on tabs under the plywood which are screwed through to #10 T-nuts on the top of the plywood.

Back brace in place,

[image]

To make it flush on the bottom, the tabs, which are welded to main brace, are recessed into routed pockets in the bottom of the plywood.

[image]

There is now a lot of space underneath. It varies from about 13 3/4" high in the front to 14 3/4" high in the rear, reduced by 1" in the tubing area, which doesn't start until 28" from the rear. I would guess we have 3-4 times the space we had with power sofa in place.

[image]

[image]


The main mattress will run from the rear to the front of the main hinged lid, and will be made to match all the curves of the sides and rear. It will go straight across at the lid, which lines up with the sides of the bolster lids. Smaller mattress sections will be on the bolsters, like the originals, only smaller. The main mattress will be 4.5" latex pillowtop (net about 5") and the bolster sections out of cheaper urethane foam. Since we will also be using the bed as our TV watching lounge, we will be getting some removable, upholstery fabric, covers for the mattress. It should work well, as we use Travasaks for sleeping.

The mattress guys want a full sized template to make the mattress from, so you use 40# wrapping paper taped together and marked to your exact shape, and send it to them.

[image]

The cold (-20 F) weather here made it so I didn't want to pull the van out to paint the parts (huge condensation when brought back in), so we had to make a defacto spray both to protect it. The metal parts are painted with automotive epoxy primer with finish coat of Rustoleum Hammertone finish. I was pretty impressed with the hammertone out of a rattle can. It flowed out and textured very well, and hardened nicely. The hammertone is very nice for concealing welds and grinding marks.

[image]


It took about 40-50 hours of work to make the bed, and total cost, without the mattress, was under $150. Much of the cost was for stainless fasteners and nickel plated hinges, but at least I now have some stock with the leftovers.

lizzie

Unaka NC &Sopchoppy FL

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Posted: 01/09/10 06:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is absolutely awesome and far, far beyond our capabilities. Obviously you are a real professional! I hope you will post the photos and information somewhere they can be seen and appreciated. Lots of great ideas here. lizzie

booster

Minnesota

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Posted: 01/09/10 07:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks, Lizzie.

We did go a little over the top on it, but sometimes that is the fun part!

The whole thing could be done MUCH simpler, and out of easily made wood parts. You give up the fully clear, high area a bit, and no hinged lids, but that is not all that bad, and a lot better than stock.

A plywood deck, with some wooden legs to the floor in the areas there is no support already there, and cross braces of doubled up plywood or other wood, and you are there. No need to make new covers for the bolsters, or curve the back.

Someone on here did an all wood conversion of this type a while back, and posted some very good pictures and narrative. You probably want to try to track it down.

On edit--here is the other thread

Wood bed conversion

ernie1

Sacramento,California,USA

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Posted: 01/10/10 05:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Booster,
That is an awesome job of merging the metal work(tubing) with the wood so that it provides the necessary support and helps open things up underneath. It's done neatly and professionally looking and will not impair the future sale of your unit but will probably enhance it. I especially like the finish you put on the metal you added. Too many times I've seen people approach projects like this with less than desirable results cosmetically. Did you do the welding yourself? Nice job! It's something I would do and approach in the same manner. Unfortunately, I have a PleasureWay and already have the twin bed configuration so I'll have to look for another project to keep myself busy during the remainder of this winter.

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