Structural: attach bed platform to the walls? - Page 2 - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 01:06:AM Thread Starter
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I really like this, very similar to what I had in mind (33" is my target height). My cargo box is much shorter (130" WB), so I can attach the "front" edge of the side wall. Yet, I think it is an awesome idea to reinforce 1/2" plywood with aluminum angle all over the perimeter. I would also space the wall away a bit from the sheet metal with washers/spacers to suppress sounds and allow for protrusions and curvature of the upper walls.

As far as the bed surface, I think I could go down the same route as the sides: 2 sheets of 1/2" plywood reinforced with aluminum angle secured with 8 bolts and wing nuts for easy removal.

Thanks a bunch for the idea!

P.S. One day I will learn to to weld and just use aluminum all throughout.

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Originally Posted by Inkog View Post
I'd at least use rivnuts to provide a bit more strength to the holes in the sheet metal. Plusnuts are overkill where you not worried about pullout. 2x 3/4" ply for a platform would be overkill also, and quite heavy. I used 1/2" ply, a bit of aluminum, and Ikea bed rails. The rails aren't the lightest, but they are inexpensive (~$10). I needed my bed 34" off the floor so I couldn't go directly to the walls for support.
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 01:06:AM
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Is Tolex pretty rigid or does it have some flex or stretch to it? It looks like it conformed nicely to the surface of the door jamb.
It's kind of like upholstery vinyl you'd buy at a fabric store, but often thinner and more flexible. It has a bit of flex, but not a lot. It conforms to contours, but you can't stretch it much. I've made a lot of guitar amps using it. There are thicker and thinner types, and well over a hundred colors and textures. Purple snakeskin might look nice in your van...
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 01:35:AM
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Is Tolex pretty rigid or does it have some flex or stretch to it? It looks like it conformed nicely to the surface of the door jamb.
It has a little bit of stretch, but not nearly as much as the church pew fabric does. I did heat it up with a heat gun to get a bit more stretch in a few places. It definitely is flexible enough to go around curves like those you see at the back of the van.

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 02:44:AM Thread Starter
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One more question. Why use rivnuts/plusnuts when it is possible to access the existing holes from the inside? Isn't it better to use a large washer on the back side to distribute the load? Drilling corresponding holes in plywood would be harder, but doable.

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Originally Posted by Inkog View Post
I'd at least use rivnuts to provide a bit more strength to the holes in the sheet metal. Plusnuts are overkill where you not worried about pullout. 2x 3/4" ply for a platform would be overkill also, and quite heavy. I used 1/2" ply, a bit of aluminum, and Ikea bed rails. The rails aren't the lightest, but they are inexpensive (~$10). I needed my bed 34" off the floor so I couldn't go directly to the walls for support.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 10:41:AM
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Originally Posted by Anton Solovyev View Post
One more question. Why use rivnuts/plusnuts when it is possible to access the existing holes from the inside? Isn't it better to use a large washer on the back side to distribute the load? Drilling corresponding holes in plywood would be harder, but doable.
You're not likely to have access to the inside once you start paneling, insulating, and/or building cabinetry. Rivnuts are easy to install and add a lot of strength to the sheet metal.

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 12:09:PM
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Originally Posted by Anton Solovyev View Post
One more question. Why use rivnuts/plusnuts when it is possible to access the existing holes from the inside? Isn't it better to use a large washer on the back side to distribute the load? Drilling corresponding holes in plywood would be harder, but doable.
That is how I attached L-Track to the walls, through a 1x4. The wood overlaps the width of the L-Track and provides a place to wood-screw the paneling onto that.

Here's what it looked like before adding everything.

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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 10:16:PM
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Yes to attaching bed frame to wall. In my passenger van, bed rails are mounted just under the windows in holes I drilled. Bit collar's were necessary to prevent drilling through the outer sheetmetal as well. Two holes and Rivnuts on each side of IKEA bed rail were used, four rails total for a Full size bed. It's solid, wife and I weight 300 combined, but had our kids with us and no sag at all. Carpeted 3/8" plywood, rails are less than 20" apart so no sag between them. I'll upload pics to visualize.
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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 12:48:AM
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Just finishing up doing what OP described — doubled-up 3/4" plywood "rails" on each side of the van. Tall enough to bring the bed up to where described (see the Hot Tamale build thread on this forum).

The rails are about 7" tall. You can of course make yours less than 7" if you want less height.

I use plus-nuts to hold them to the walls. Used existing holes but did decide to drill an additional hole in each upper corner (so four new 3/8" holes I added to the walls) to keep them firmly upright.

I should have a photo of them installed by this weekend.

Here are two photos though:

• One with them partially installed to test putting a bed across with wife for weight (yes, they are plenty strong). You can just see them and some of the bolts just below the bed on either side.

• And a photo of the two just before finishing them with poly-acrylic.
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 03:37:AM Thread Starter
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Oh, thanks, that's super helpful. So the construction is solid, no risk of pulling anything out of the walls.

I figure if I use regular bolts with fender washers (larger diameter), it would be even stronger than plusnuts.

Oh, BTW, the area where you have the rails attached, is slightly curved, right? Did you have to add some washers along the lower edge to account for that? Also, I think there has to be a small cut made to allow for a protruding door "hinge" (or maybe not, since yours is a longer body).

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Originally Posted by JKCalhoun View Post
Just finishing up doing what OP described — doubled-up 3/4" plywood "rails" on each side of the van. Tall enough to bring the bed up to where described (see the Hot Tamale build thread on this forum).

The rails are about 7" tall. You can of course make yours less than 7" if you want less height.

I use plus-nuts to hold them to the walls. Used existing holes but did decide to drill an additional hole in each upper corner (so four new 3/8" holes I added to the walls) to keep them firmly upright.

I should have a photo of them installed by this weekend.

Here are two photos though:

• One with them partially installed to test putting a bed across with wife for weight (yes, they are plenty strong). You can just see them and some of the bolts just below the bed on either side.

• And a photo of the two just before finishing them with poly-acrylic.
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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:31:AM
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I used 2*8's to get the height I needed, so I could sleep in the widest part (the bolt holes are pretty low), I have a high roof, only two bolts in each, with Plusnuts in Factory holes. For the bed I used Harbor FRT, ATV Ramps, it took me two ($99 each), to have 4 sections that fold up (Queen), I put very thin floor underlayment (plywood) on the ramps. with underlayment under that to stop vibration, I just put a deck screw in each corners, for easy removal. The ramp is rated at 1500 lbs, so very solid and is pretty light. I loaded it up with boxes when helping someone move. Sorry Pict is upside down.
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