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Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ?
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epowell
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:17 am    Post subject: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

This is my current rear bench - the back rest folds forward, it is not a Z- BED therefore the resulting "bed" is only about 4.7 feet long... I would like to extend that by about 1 foot minimum.

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I like this AW (shown in quote below) idea a lot, but I am concerned that building it would be time consuming, and end up with a heavy construction (1.6 NA remember).

On the other hand I love the brown seat and it would be a pity to get rid of it...

I am now thinking of some ways to extend the bed by about 1 foot... and I came up with this idea... have a look at this drawing. Does it seem doable - ? Any feedback?
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The idea is:
1) obvious first the bench folds forward
2) then you just pull out the extension sheet about 1 foot, which is attached to the back of the folding bench.
3) the extension sheet is held on each end by 2 pieces of box iron (with one side cut off - leaving it "u" shaped). The extension sheet can therefore be pulled out, and as long as about 6 inches of the sheet remain still inside the box iron holders, then the extension should hold weight.
4) the u-shaped box iron holders would be bolted to the back of the seat - and the extension sheet could have slots cut in such a way that the bolts would run thru the slots, and the slots would be just long enough to prevent the extension sheet from being pulled out too far.

I kinda like this idea because it would be MUCH more simple and light than the AW idea. And it would not eliminate so much storage space.

...would this work?




joetiger wrote:
That bench seat is perfect. I know they're not super popular, but I like the simplicity. Why not do an Adventurewagen style bed? They used the forward-folding seat and built a platform behind it that folded out over the bench.

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(Pictures borrowed from this thread. https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=543716

This ad also has several good photos of how it works:

http://www.vwvanagoncamper.com/1990-adventure-wagen-auburn-ca/

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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

Quick armchair engineer answer: yes, it'll work!

I foresee possible inherent weakness across the long front edge of the "slide-out".
Easy enough to minimize by adding metal channel across the full width of that edge,
increasing load bearing potential while maintaining the brilliant simplicity of your design...

Go for it! Cool

- Dave

PS: What's your plan for the gap between the seat & firewall...???

PPS: It could involve something like this to pull forward AND back to cover the gap:
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epowell
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

dhaavers wrote:
Quick armchair engineer answer: yes, it'll work!

I foresee possible inherent weakness across the long front edge of the "slide-out".
Easy enough to minimize by adding metal channel across the full width of that edge,
increasing load bearing potential while maintaining the brilliant simplicity of your design...

Go for it! Cool

- Dave

PS: What's your plan for the gap between the seat & firewall...???

PPS: It could involve something like this to pull forward AND back to cover the gap:
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Hi Dave -
Thanks for this inspiration... I came up with a new design based upon this kind of "futon-style" expandable platform.

The idea is to fold the seat down and then EXPAND (pull out) the platform over the seat and then rest the extended edge of the platform on a ridge of wood attached to the kitchen unit (on the dr. side), and on the pass. side perhaps a fold-down leg on a hinge.

When I need to get into the engine I just lift the entire platform off and out of the van since it won't be fixed/screwed in place.
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

That drawing shows the slats with about 1/3 overlap in the extended position. Once you have a van in front of you it should be clear that it isn't possible to have much if any overlap with the extended length you desire. It would be more of a hinged setup in the end I think, though the sliding alternating slates could still be part of it. I guess that is what your side view shows, with almost no overlap.

For weight and space used the stock Westy bench/bed is a pretty efficient way to go. Same wood pieces and pads for both the bed and bench function. Easy to deploy, good under bench storage.

Drive it down to San Diego and I'll fix you up with a Westy bed unit. I have more than I'll ever use.

Mark
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epowell
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:36 am    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

crazyvwvanman wrote:
That drawing shows the slats with about 1/3 overlap in the extended position. Once you have a van in front of you it should be clear that it isn't possible to have much if any overlap with the extended length you desire. It would be more of a hinged setup in the end I think, though the sliding alternating slates could still be part of it. I guess that is what your side view shows, with almost no overlap.

For weight and space used the stock Westy bench/bed is a pretty efficient way to go. Same wood pieces and pads for both the bed and bench function. Easy to deploy, good under bench storage.

Drive it down to San Diego and I'll fix you up with a Westy bed unit. I have more than I'll ever use.

Mark


That's a very generous offer Mark Smile In fact, the plan is to drive down to CA Summer 2020. What I am going to in Sept. when in Vancouver is work on the rust, fluids changing, and kitchen cab. unit > IF I have extra time after that I can perhaps do something with the bed situation - if not then in the meantime I will just for now use the bed as it currently is and lay down a bit diagonally.

Regarding the above drawn "extended-slats-platform" design the amount of total overlap when the bed is fully extended will be 8cm/3inches. And directly underneath the overlapped area will be a vertical 2x6. My guess is that that will be stable enough for anything that I will be getting up to back there Wink

The weight of the big brown metal stock bench is a slight concern, however I really love the look and feel of the thing. Andrea and I can't tolerate any kind of cloth seats, or carpets > any thing that can absorb dust, smells, or old energy... so everything must be either varnished wood or vinyl covered. The goal is that for every part of the van it should be possible to take a damp cloth and clean with one quick swipe.
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epowell
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:24 am    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

crazyvwvanman wrote:

Drive it down to San Diego and I'll fix you up with a Westy bed unit. I have more than I'll ever use.


One thing without question that I will need will be a "swivel seat base". I love my swivel seat!!
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:08 am    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

Yeah, I have a bunch of those too. Easy enough to weld one in when you visit.

Mark
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:13 am    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

crazyvwvanman wrote:
Yeah, I have a bunch of those too. Easy enough to weld one in when you visit.

Mark


Aha! You mean those need to be WELDED in??

...anyhow we'll have to get down there for sure Smile

You don't have any old hightops (while we're at it Very Happy )?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

Looks like what you envisioned. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
Looks like what you envisioned. Very Happy


Yeah - I had to change the design along the way - in particular how to support the extended futon edge. For a while I was at a loss because there was not enough room to make the fold down legs I had planned on using.... so I decided to use the stability of the kitchen unit, and drill a deep hole into that and put a stick of wood thru that and the futon edge (I would like to use a piece of metal actually but couldn't find one handy).

Next, I was really stumped on how to support that far edge near the slider door --- so I just sat there and looked at it... ... ... and it occurred to me that if I cut a groove in a stick of wood and pressure fit it in - it would not fold out sideways and actually offer total stability - and be super quick to install.... WORKS PERFECTLY! Extremely stable! I'm quite proud of this one..... Smile

One suggestion to anyone who tries this is not to make the slats too tight... and do not screw them down too tightly. It is quite difficult otherwise to get them to fit back together again when you collapse the bed. Also it is necessary to add something to outside rear edge to prevent the whole futon from sliding away when you collapse (push) it from inside the van.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Making long bed from (early) folding rear bench ? Reply with quote

Here are two ideas I dragged out from previous posts. One high and one low. I currently use the low number 2 version, but it's not quite like the drawings. The second extension now fits under or perhaps behind is better. The drawing of how they are hinged together at the bottom is correct--it's just that the outer panel is hinged to the engine deck now. There are two turn buttons on each side that keeps them together. What this allows me to do is fold the pair up and support them with a post. If I unfold both, then there are two oak rails that go underneath with a single post each which hold them up. This replaces the 3/4 ply curvy "T" shaped support in the drawing. If I want, the rail has the ability to project 6" beyond and support an extra piece of ply. This gives me 80 of length, which is a full or double size. If I want the bed to be all the way to the back of the car and I use the BD hatch tent, then both flaps are folded so I have full use of the floor space while the bed is being used. Great for dressing. The other deal here is if I unlatch the turn buttons, and let the second panel fall vertically it supports the first panel at about a 7 angle. Perfect for making a seat. Now I take the 6" extra piece and put it behind and above the "seat" for a back rest.

The same hinged 3" thick mattress is used for both versions, but now we also have a 2" memory foam topper as well.

One other feature is the first panel/"seat" portion can hinge up and make a back rest for a rear facing lounge area. For the drive-in movie version, both panels form the back rest at any angle I want. They are held together with the oak rails.

And last but not least, the second flap panel comes off quickly by pulling the two loose pins and attaches to brackets which clip to the outside of the slider giving me a kitchen/bar/work shelf. It's pouring rain here now, but I can get pics of their very versatile arrangement in a day or so if you'd like. The rear heater and ECU don't have to be relocated either if you don't want. I just happen to use my car as a hauler and daily driver and wanted as much interior cube as possible.

Sorry about the shot of the pull out interlocking rails, but it came as part of the quote. You've already seen this idea which would work well for version 1. Oh, and I've scrapped the idea of reworking the middle seat as what I have now fills that purpose. !0 in 1 tools always are useless and never perform even a single one decently. In this case all 7 iterations are wonderful and get used.

[quote="DuncanS"]This is the system I used and swapped it out into the numerous T3's I owned over the years. It worked great. One of the nice things was all the way from New England to Florida to Disney World, the kids could lie up there and see out. This was in the days before seatbelt requirements and electric chair type restraints for toddlers. Their older siblings played Parcheesi on the floor of the' 57 25 window. Never had a middle seat in any van I owned longer than the time it took to yank it out.


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Another idea is one we use on boats where pull out doubles are wanted. Alternating T section slats engage one another and pull out to provide a platform of the necessary depth. I my case, I didn't use this idea as I often carry heavy loads and worried the slats might not be up to the job. But they work great for sleeping where the mattress carries the load across small gaps.

[quote="DuncanS"]
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The first pic shows the tailgate. Note it is double thickness with a piano hinge. The underside hinges out making a platform that extends 28" beyond the back. A BD rear hatch cover coverers the unit while sleeping. The second photo shows an early shot of the foam insulation, but you can see the seat is gone. There is now a double layer of ply like the tailgate hinged to the wood and the forward edge of the engine platform which can also hinge out for the bed if we don't want the open back. This way we get a full length bed either in or out which give a lot more interior space. This is version 2.
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I never need the rear seat for sitting on in the car anymore so it's in storage. Long range plan is to whack down the center two seater and get rid of most of the weight and make it so it easily mounts at the firewall or can sit on the ground outside.

I don't have my rear seat in anymore as now it's just my wife and me and the seat out saves quite a bit of weight and gives a great deal more useable interior cube either when carrying crud or camping. I added a jump seat behind the PS, but it lives in the garage unless three somebodies need to all be aboard at the same time. One of the great things about the T3 or any including splits and bays is their versatility. In my opinion they are all Multivans. Car, truck, tool van, storage facility, Christmas present hiding units, touring sight seeing bus with all the windows, bread rising unit when left in the sun, motel and camper. I tell people it's everything except..................a Ferrari.

And the closed cell spray foam was cleaned up years ago and panels reinstalled.

Have fun, Duncan
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