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View Full Version : Captains Chairs for 2014 144" passenger van


dynaco1
01-17-2014, 12:06 PM
We recently replaced the three factory bench seats, floor brackets and factory floor covering with four new reclining/removable captain chairs in the passenger compartment. The drivers and front passenger seats were recovered as well as the seat pedestals. Floor was recovered. All material and workmanship was provided by Midwest Automotive Designs, which is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter approved up-fitter and body builder. I removed and retained the vinyl factory bench seats and floor brackets before driving to Elkhart, Indiana.

I am pleased with my finished product. Midwest Automotive Designs did offer to make more improvements and to add luxury items to my otherwise simple design. After we take a couple family trips, we may have them add more luxury items, like gloss lacquered wood trim, electronics, power jacks, tables, etc.

While visiting, I saw lots of 2014's in-production (and waiting in parking lots for their turn to move inside). Most were darker paint 170's. There were some non-camper luxury passenger units and some luxury-looking campers described as a "Weekender RV". The upholstery and lacquered-wood workmanship is superior to anything I have seen in person.

It appeared many of the Sprinters had locally-installed Pro Air LLC brand split air conditioning systems. Pro Air is is also based in Elkhart and has service centers nationwide, which is very appealing to me. If I do order high roof in the future, it will probably be with an aftermarket HVAC system, like a Pro Air system. My 2014 Passenger Van has MB factory roof A/C.

dynaco1
01-17-2014, 12:10 PM
Midwest Automotive Designs fabricates their captains chairs in-house. I was told captains chair bases in 170" projects, are typically spaced 25" from front-to-back, beginning from the back side of the driver's seat pedestal. Because we had no plans to install a third row of captains chairs nor a sofa, I wanted the same spacing in our 144". This allows someone to recline nearly flat without hitting the knees of the passenger to the rear. The chairs we selected have quick-release bases just in case we need to move large cargo with little notice. Speaking of cargo, I asked that the four rear-most cargo D-rings be re-installed in their original stock position.

My kid passengers normally use their own personal electronic devices so it was decided we would not install a television monitor or wireless headphones. For 12V power, we purchased 12V cig lighter extension cords with integral switches, which we plug into the rear cargo area power sockets (cords purchased at RadioShack). We bought small inverters for each kid. When they need to recharge iPods, each kid has his own dedicated 12V power source and inverter. Yeah!

Next on our agenda are darkening privacy curtains (not blinds)and drink holders, like the ones in our old Eurovans. Anyone have suggestions for curtains?

dynaco1
01-17-2014, 12:16 PM
We desired ample leg-room for adults and enough luggage storage space for a two week trip. We got what we wanted. All four chairs recline, slide forward and back but do not rotate (most rotating chair bases are not quick-release). My wife requested the chairs be removable so that prior to a family vacation, we could install a temporary queen-sized platform with mattress after to two rear-most captains chairs are removed. We are a family of four.

In my pictures, the seats look silver or grey. In fact, they are a satin black color.

I am searching for high quality drink holders to mount on the walls. Anyone have any ideas?

nash
01-18-2014, 12:21 PM
I have 4 kids too and your setup would be perfect, what was the cost?

dynaco1
01-18-2014, 12:49 PM
Nash

Do not feel comfortable sharing what we paid on the forum. Suggest you contact MAD. Tim (the owner) had pricing readily available for us and it was very fair. If you live far away from Indiana, you may be able to buy the captain chairs and install them yourself or have a local conversion shop do it for you. It was a ten hour drive each way for us.

We also contacted SportsMobile in both Indiana and Texas and Outside Van in Oregon. Everyone was very nice. We tried to work with Chalmers, who is only 20 minutes from our home in Kansas but they were too busy to help at the time.

CheckMax
12-05-2014, 06:58 PM
FYI - I just called MAD to inquire about a package similar to yours. I was told by Chuck that they only sell systems and I could start with their $84,000 van.:crazy:

I've left a message with Tim per your post to determine what's possible.

Your set-up looks great. Do those seats have a footrest when they recline?

pfflyer
12-05-2014, 08:18 PM
Very nice. Have you taken the seats out yet and are they heavy or easy to handle? I would like to replace the crew bench with chairs like yours. I would imagine even if they are heavy they have to be easier than a 3 person bench. How much do the bases stick up with no chair. My van is used mostly for cargo and the bench seat stays in the basement. Rare occasions I would like to have 1 or 2 more passenger capacity without lugging that bench in and out.

I don't know if these are fancy or not but this is what I use. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Q86IQQ/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 They fold up when not in use so when you are in cargo mode.

dynaco1
01-21-2015, 04:32 AM
I can install or remove the captains chairs myself. The most difficult procedure is getting the floor receiver plate aligned with the spring loaded latching hardware on the chair base. It's a heavy duty anchor design and it takes some practice. The floor plate hardware does stick up half an inch or so above the floor in my van.

joj2k
09-26-2015, 01:30 PM
We recently replaced the three factory bench seats, floor brackets and factory floor covering with four new reclining/removable captain chairs in the passenger compartment. The drivers and front passenger seats were recovered as well as the seat pedestals. Floor was recovered. All material and workmanship was provided by Midwest Automotive Designs, which is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter approved up-fitter and body builder. I removed and retained the vinyl factory bench seats and floor brackets before driving to Elkhart, Indiana.

I am pleased with my finished product. Midwest Automotive Designs did offer to make more improvements and to add luxury items to my otherwise simple design. After we take a couple family trips, we may have them add more luxury items, like gloss lacquered wood trim, electronics, power jacks, tables, etc.

While visiting, I saw lots of 2014's in-production (and waiting in parking lots for their turn to move inside). Most were darker paint 170's. There were some non-camper luxury passenger units and some luxury-looking campers described as a "Weekender RV". The upholstery and lacquered-wood workmanship is superior to anything I have seen in person.

It appeared many of the Sprinters had locally-installed Pro Air LLC brand split air conditioning systems. Pro Air is is also based in Elkhart and has service centers nationwide, which is very appealing to me. If I do order high roof in the future, it will probably be with an aftermarket HVAC system, like a Pro Air system. My 2014 Passenger Van has MB factory roof A/C.
Hi,
how much it cost to install a captian chair/

Thanks

dynaco1
09-26-2015, 01:38 PM
It was 1.75 years ago. Pricing will have changed. Suggest you obtain a quotation.

Killahro
12-03-2015, 07:52 AM
So hello. I was wondering it sounded like you drove to this place to get the work done. Were they ready for you? How many days total to do the seat install? I got a quote in Houston for $2000 a captain installed. Is that too high? Because I was thinking of 8 captains. New floor wood $2000.

dynaco1
12-04-2015, 01:46 AM
All good questions.

I planned ahead of time, sent a deposit and reconfirmed my scheduled appointment a few months before hand. I would think it might take a few days to properly install eight captain chairs and wooden flooring. Don't plan on a quick getaway; each seat requires a minimum of four bolt holes be drilled through the floor....without interference....more difficult than you might think. I imagine leaving your Sprinter with the shop for a month would be more to their liking.

Eight is a lot of captain chairs to cram into one van. Captain chairs are fairly large and heavy and a quantity of eight are unlikely to fit well unless you have an extended 170. Even then, it will be tight with less space for luggage or cargo.

No idea if $2000 per chair is low or high. It all depends on the material, trim, type of seatbelt harness, accessories and the cost of installation labor. I have seen some fancy heated chairs with electric leg lifts. $2000 seems high for a basic chair, installed.
Supply and demand may determine the final price adjustment.

Killahro
01-03-2016, 05:51 AM
Thank you for the response. Since we have made a few trips, I really do not know the path I will go with the captains or the floors. I like the floors I have now. Just sweep and Swiffer. All done. I installed a 40 inch Tv and it really is a game changer. Its so big that you cannot sit in a captain chair because your too close. If we drive 2 hours in a one day just doing normal stuff. I hear silence from the back seat. And the possibilities of what I can do and connect to the tv....endless. I can snatch a Pay Per View fight out of the sky, movies in theatres, and watch them all in the Sprinter for free....