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Old 10-30-2014, 04:00 PM   #1
stroomphy
 
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Default Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

Hello everyone,
I am a Canadian guy married to a French girl currently living just outside of Paris. We just bought a 2001 MB Sprinter 313CDI, Westfalia James Cook that in 2007 got the additional Iglhaut-Allrad 4x4 kit. We bought it in Austria from a guy that did a 3.5 month trip Vienna-UlanBaatar.

We are stoked. We also plan to quit France in the spring heading toward Mongolia.

In analyzing my security concerns, I have decided to try to turn the 3-person rear folding bench into a lock-box. The intent is to be able to lock up valuables, notably the computer in this space.

Any one out there with any ideas?

Chris

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Old 10-30-2014, 09:40 PM   #2
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GA Westy
 
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

Thats a really good idea! Maybe you can use a cylinder plunger lock like this - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...JTWKNOEID6GBGC and mount it somewhere near the latch. Basically, once the plunger is deployed, it blocks the lever and prevents the door from being opened. I haven't looked at my bench seat so see how this can be done. Just a thought.

Love the 4x4. Is that a kit?
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:30 AM   #3
OldWest
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

1. If your rear seat is like ours, might need to reinforce the front of seat as ours is just a plastic surround.

2. Can get a digital top lid safe and mount inside the rear seat area. May need to remove rear seat to install the bolts to the safe through the bottom of seat frame. Would need to break open safe or remove entire rear seat.

3. Can install some type of padlock latch to bottom of seat lid with other end to metal frame near driver side. Haven't seen a nice store bought one, but could use ashort cable.

4. The German James Cook forum may be a good place to post.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:46 AM   #4
OldWest
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

Someone here found an ice chest which fit perfectly at the bottom of the clothes closet. Might be a place to put a locking compartment.

If you have the below kitchen floor storage alley, could close off the rear storage access area, put a "hidden" top lid storage container on wheels and cabled to vehicle, and a smaller storage compartment behind the sliding door area access door in front of the "hidden" container.

Could add cabinet locks to all doors. Wouldn't stop anyone, but you'd know someone had broken the storage area.
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:50 AM   #5
stroomphy
 
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

Thanks guys, all great ideas. Keep 'em coming.

Ultimately the solution needs to be able to engage easily and be effective. If it is too onerous a process - disconnect this, attach that, slide here, install here.... - then it becomes something never done. Too many of my colleagues on the PanAm lost their stuff through smash and grab actions precisely because they couldn't be arsed to hide their stuff for a quick visit to a tourist site or to the grocery store.

The 4x4 is a kit from the German company IGLHAUT-ALLRAD. It is an amazing kit - not cheap - that turns my 5 speed Sprinter into a hi/lo range full-time 4WD, with a 4 inch lift, 265/75R16, LSD, and locking differentials, skid plates, upgraded brakes, and a powerchip for the motor. I didn't do the addition, I bought the van that way. Check them out here: http://iglhaut-allrad.de/en/about-us.html They are one of two (that I have found) companies that are actually certified by MB to modify their vans.

More photos of my Westfalia here: http://bipbipamericas.blogspot.fr/p/cookie.html
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:42 PM   #6
OldWest
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

Not as secure but maybe a sligh, deterrent:
For daily use, most computers have a little metal tab to secure a locking combination or keyed cable. The other end of cable can wrap around the rear seat frame on driver's side (steel frame has lots of places to wrap computer). If awning window doesn't leak and if not too hot/cold outside/inside, can slide computer (in a padddd sleeve) between rear seat and driver side plastic wall. The bottom of plastic wall covers the heating duct and is not perfectly flat, so may need to glue some padding. This would be for in-use security primarily.

There are also small lockboxes with security cables. Good for small items. Some are large enough for small notebooks. Often marketed to college dorm students.

PacSafe wire mesh storage bags are designed for travelers. They cover a backpack or other luggage and are then cable locked to something. Not as secure as a lockbox but a quick way to add some security to a backpack tossed inside rear seat.

Finally, there are small padlock combination type lockboxes (like real estate agents use on houses) which store house keys. Some are slightly larger and can hold a credit card. Could be something to use on outside of van to hide an extra key if swimming.
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

The best security advice is to keep all valuables out of sight and to avoid the appearance of hidden valuables, e.g., a blanket over a "lump" that looks like a computer bag.

Unfortunately the Sprinter locks aren't very secure; you'll see lots in New York for example with additional exterior locks, and there are several available through Reimo and other European sources. If I were going overland, not sure if I'd want these things or to avoid the added attention they might attract.

In terms of smash-and-grab, the big weakness in the Sprinter T1N is the front corner window. I would likely reinforce it with something real or real-looking, along the lines of security advice 2/3rds the way down this page: http://www.xor.org.uk/silkroute/equipment/choosevan.htm. You could make some very real-looking metal grids for those windows and just velcro them in place when you thought it was necessary...

Ted
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Old 11-13-2014, 05:22 PM   #8
stroomphy
 
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

Finished. Quite a job without a metal shop ...

Parts:
lock (for mailbox) 24mmx19mm, with two keys
Bar, iron, 1mx8mm
2x angle 30mmx30mmx15mm
2x angle 50mmx50mmx15mm
bag of self taping metal screws
bag of wood screws

The lock comes with a single flange for locking up the mailbox. I had the neighbour cut and weld a second flange making it 2x long, or 30mm for each side. Thus a 90 degree twist of the key gives me 3cm of throw at the bar-end.

Drilled a 19mm hole in the metal seat support, but only 12mm hole in the plastic in front ...thus the key passes but you cannot see the lock behind the plastic. The lock I had was 24 mm -the largest i could find in the shop - but you can find a 30mm long lock on amazon that would permit the lock head to pose in the plastic seat front.

The metal bar was cut, the two half different lengths to account for the offside setting of the lock in the 'center' of the bench. The LOCK SIDE was trimmed to provide a flat attachment to the lock flange - say 10mmx4mm. The bar end was tapered, rounded, was supported by a small angle screwed into inside of seatbox to permit 10mm of the bar to protrude. this gives 20 mm in which to pose the 'locking' angle that is screwed into the seat bottom AND to permit the bar to 'throw' under the side overhang of the seat base.

Posing the 50mm Angle iron that is mounted under the seat bottom was complicated. There is no entry into the seat so lining up is done blind. Without a handy midget to stuff inside the seat - my solution was to build a few layers of 2-sided foam tape on the angle bracket, slide the bracket onto the lock-bar -in the imagined final position - and close the seat. By carefully 'unlocking' and sliding the bar out of the bracket, you can open the seat with the angle bracket hanging in place. Small adjustment for 'height' of the hanging bracket - on my setup LEFT I had to remove 1.5ish mm of the seat to counter sink the hanging bracket. Side RIGHT needed to use 6mm of hard rubber spacer. While the bar supports on both sides are at the SAME axis as the lock, there is the angle of the metal bar to account for in the throw of the flange.

Seems to work well. Lets see if it is durable.

The point of all this is to provide a measure of security. Any knucklehead with a oversized flathead screwdriver can wrench the thing apart. It is a place to put OUT OF SIGHT (as mentioned above in another post) and to keep smash-and-grab minutemen out of our stuff.

I should probably also remove the sticker showing how to lift the seat - no need having the bad-guys believing that the seat lifts up.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg parts.jpg (162.4 KB, 74 views)
File Type: jpg lock A.jpg (73.6 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg bar.jpg (93.0 KB, 67 views)
File Type: jpg Finished A.jpg (116.9 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg Finished B.jpg (125.2 KB, 79 views)
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:32 PM   #9
grozier
 
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Default Re: Turn rear bench seat into locking cupboard

Well done.

Agree on removing the sticker. Could even replace with an ISO caution triangle and battery symbols as a diversion. It's a logical place for batteries, not laptops.

Ted
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