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  View original topic: Z-Bed / Westy Bed Questions
pbrown Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:10 pm

Please teach me about the z-bed in Westys. I'm converting a passenger van to a camper. I'll be using custom cabinets. I need to track down a Westy zbed to replace the full width version I have now. My question is this -- were there differences through the years, besides color, or will the bed from an 1980 be the same as a that from a 1991? I just need to know which year donor vans I should be looking for.

Thanks,

16CVs Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:05 pm

First things first. The factory beds are not "Z beds" The Z bed was a conversion from a factory stationary seat to enable it to fold open like a factory bed. The term "Z" comes from VW as they used to list their aftermarket non factory parts with a "ZVW" type number. Hence a "Zbed"
There that's done! There are quite a few different factory beds.

A standard passenger van has one- It has a wooden front and bear claw latches on the sides of the seat and lock onto a Pin on the body and have a little rubber cover for the pin when down. This style bed is mounted in a van with just plain flat panels.

A Carat has a narrower bed which is similar to the above bed, but is used with styled plastic panels and requires a plate welded on the body and a spacer top and bottom. Still has the bear claw latches as well as the wooden front.

A Westfalia Weekender ( Pop Top van with jump seat no kitchen) or Multivan has a seat that is self supporting and uses no body mounted latches or bear claw catches. They also have a floor and It has a pull rod coming through the front which unlocks the seat and has cut out handles on the underside to help pull the bed open. The only other change is that a Multivan and some weekenders have a styled plastic front panel either in brown ( wkndr ) or Gray ( Multvn)

A Westfalia Camper has the same style bed as A Multivan/Weekender except that it is Substantially narrower and always has a wooden front and floor and can be in 3 different trims.

So just asking for a "Zbed" could end with something you really don't want. When buying one ask for pictures and know your application.
I learned this all the hard way, I bought what was supposed to be a Multivan seat, based on the pictures from an ad, Verified that the seat I was buying as in the ad. When it arrive it was a Passenger van seat and worthless to me. I paid good money for it, and the seller was not easy to deal with. So learn from my headache. Specify exactly which seat you want when buying one.

Stacy

pbrown Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:21 pm

Thanks for that info.

I did a bit more research on the Westy camper seat. According to Sewfine, the 80-84 was a flat seat and back and the 85-91 was slightly bolsterd. The seat frames on the newer had a place for a wire to attach for the bolsters.

I guess then that I should be looking for a 85-91 Westy full camper seat.

Thanks again,

crazyvwvanman Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:43 am

Quite a few 84 came with the contoured bed/bench cushions, same as 85+ did. You should change your ad.
All that stuff has gotten much harder to find. If already making your own cabinets it isn't that much work to make your own bed/bench using just the 2 hinges from a camper bed.
The hinges are really the key to it and the rest is just wood. The full campers with smaller bed like your ad shows are the hinges you probably want.

There are a couple more factory rear bed variations besides what Stacy mentioned. 5 different full width variations, none of which fit your bill and their hinge sets are different, even the ones that look a lot the same.

Mark


pbrown wrote: Thanks for that info.

I did a bit more research on the Westy camper seat. According to Sewfine, the 80-84 was a flat seat and back and the 85-91 was slightly bolsterd. The seat frames on the newer had a place for a wire to attach for the bolsters.

I guess then that I should be looking for a 85-91 Westy full camper seat.

Thanks again,

alaskadan Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:34 am

If you are making custom cabs then you have the ability to make the bed whatever width you want. Though with a steel framed bed it would require welding. I scrounged a pair of bed hinges from a rotting bay westy in the woods. I made custom aluminum cabs with no cab on the passenger sides so the bed is wider. I welded up a steel angle frame for the base cab and mounted the hinges to the sides of it. This also allowed for loose cushions that aren't permanently attached to the base, cloth on one side and vinyl on the other for hauling wet or dirty stuff.

pbrown Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:15 am

I found this ad for hinges. Are these what I need for my project?

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1850593

I wasn't aware that the bed platform sections were just wood. I would imagine that there is some metal structure to prevent flexing. Does anyone have a photo of the bottom side of the seat? I'd like to see how that knob/latch works.

I'm planning to have Rhino Design do the cabinet work. I would image that he can build the bed as well if I provide the hinges. I like the idea that the bed could be custom width.

I can do any metal fab work. I have good welding equipment and know how to use it.

https://rhinodesignstudio.com/

Thanks Everyone,

dougnlina Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:19 am

I made a wider bed than the westy version using these bus depot hinges
https://www.busdepot.com/98553

I suggest mocking it up first to get the geometry correct as the plans that come with them are designed for a bay window. I also had to accommodate a raised hatch (1.8T). This kit is nice as the bench base can be flipped up from the bed position to be look out the back couch. Photos are pre-upholstery of course



?Waldo? Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:28 am

pbrown wrote: I found this ad for hinges. Are these what I need for my project?

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1850593

I wasn't aware that the bed platform sections were just wood. I would imagine that there is some metal structure to prevent flexing.

I disassembled a westy bench/bed and it was just plywood, foam, and upholstery.

The hinges that dougnlina linked from busdepot are the same hinges except brand new and for 1/2 the cost! :lol:

I used the same hinges in my 15 ALH mTDI automatic in order to have the bed at the height of the raised engine lid.

pbrown Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:55 am

The BusDepot hinges say that I need to build up the engine lid area. I really don't want to do that. I'm hoping that the ad I linked to are the Vanagon specific versions that allow the stock height rear deck.

I'm learning a lot while I sit here on the West coast surrounded by wild fire smoke. 2020 is starting to feel very Mad Max. Maybe I should start adding armor plating to the van.

crazyvwvanman Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:01 pm

I wouldn't buy anything from the Pirates of Pahrump.....


Mark


pbrown wrote: I found this ad for hinges. Are these what I need for my project?


...

16CVs Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:50 pm

Current Samba Ad:
Z Bed from 1986 Syncro Vanagon Price: $200.
Original grey tweed fabric in excellent condition. Can provide pics.

There you go, The infamous "Z bed" One size fits all. Judging from the ad it is from a "L" model. Which would have Card board flat panels.
If they didn't have the "Z bed" Moniker maybe people would describe what they came out of.

Stacy

?Waldo? Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:03 pm

pbrown wrote: The BusDepot hinges say that I need to build up the engine lid area. I really don't want to do that. I'm hoping that the ad I linked to are the Vanagon specific versions that allow the stock height rear deck.

I'm learning a lot while I sit here on the West coast surrounded by wild fire smoke. 2020 is starting to feel very Mad Max. Maybe I should start adding armor plating to the van.

When I looked at the ad from ZSI in Pahrump, I thought they were for the bay hinges, which result in a higher bed. Very useful for engine conversions with a raised engine lid or for added storage. Regardless, if you want the Vanagon westy hinges, then busdepot sells those also:

https://www.busdepot.com/251898561

Still considerably less expensive than what ZSI is charging for used ones.

pbrown Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:34 pm

Nice find on the BusDepot hinges. I have them in my shopping cart.

That Westy bed in the ad is in New Jersey and I'm in Seattle. I did email the seller but shipping may not be practical.

Thanks,

pbrown Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:11 pm

I changed the thread title.

I emailed BusDepot asking about the latch and seat foam availability.

pbrown Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:09 pm

Update:

I have seat hinges. Looking at them and with info from my Bentley, they appear to attach to the engine deck just behind the seat. I've not looked yet but I suspect that I need to add provisions for a couple of M6 bolts. Perhaps rivnuts? I have a Syncro so access the backside of this area is difficult.

I also purchased the Westy kick panel from GoWesty. I've seen in photos that there is a metal rail that sits on top of this panel. I'll have to think about this.

Can someone please provide the measurements for the seat back and bottom wood parts? I've seen the widths at 46" and 47.5". I need the X and Y dimensions. I'll use 19mm Baltic birch for the material.

pbrown Fri Jan 29, 2021 5:11 pm

Can someone please take some measurements from the two large wood seat boards that make up the Westy bed? These are the plywood parts that the upholstery attach too.

Thanks,

joetiger Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:15 am

pbrown wrote: Can someone please take some measurements from the two large wood seat boards that make up the Westy bed? These are the plywood parts that the upholstery attach too.

Thanks,

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=414383

pbrown Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:46 pm

I made a bit of progress. I was able to locate a complete Westy bed. It's in rough shape. I'm taking it apart and will document the measurements.

The link posted by joetiger does not have the measurements needed. Thanks for posting that. I'll add them to that thread once I have it all documented.












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