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Sprinter RV's & Conversions Talk Common features found in Sprinter RV's and Conversions.


 
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:08 PM   #1
Pclassidy
 
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Default 3500 sprinter as band tour band

Hey Guys,

I just bought a 2009 Dodge 3500 sprinter. Please forgive me if a lot of these questions have been answered, I have dug deep through the forum but wasn't able to find anything specifically about building stacked bunks in a van, specifically tailored for a touring band or musician.

Here are some examples I have seen from professional conversion companies -

5 stacked bunks -

4 stacked bunks -

Questions -

I found a shelving unit from Sams club that is 77x24, which is roughly the size of a small tour bus bunk. I was thinking about using the shelf as the frame for the bunks, and then laying in foam mattress pads

-Do you guys think this will sturdy enough?

-How should I affix the shelving unit to the van. I was thinking about bolting into the studs in the sides of the van below and above the window. I am unsure if this will be secure enough for people to be in the bunks while the vehicle is moving.

-I would also have to cut the bottom left leg of the shelving down to accommodate for the wheel well, which I don't think will compromise the strength of the frame, but would love thoughts.

-Is there a better way to do this with something that is prefabbed? I know a lot of people have used wood, but steel seems like it would be stronger and take up less room.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: 3500 sprinter as band tour band

Depending on how "nice" you want it to be, wood makes more sense. Anyone can work with it, it's lighter, plenty strong enough, easily customizable. Plain old 2x4's and 3/4 ply will be more than adequate with the right design. If you want it to look better, you can wrap it with fabric of your choice and staple in the back/underneath like upholstered furniture. Or use that "deck restoring" thick paint and a roller, in any color you choose.

Because it's a band, you must be a musician, which we all know means you are 1/2 a paycheck away from being flat broke (coming from a recovered musician ).

Paying for someone's labor to modify your van will cost about 5-10x more than the materials.

One suggestion for a cheap but semi-custom set of bunks would be to find some twin size bunkbeds (two sets) and cut them down to fit, and cut the wall side to the contours of the van. Craigslist is your friend. You have about 67" across, so two sets of 24" bunks would give you 19" of aisle more or less. Is your keyboard player a big fat dungeons and dragons aficionado? He may not fit in the aisle. If you are a neo-hipster banjo'n'beard band, or metal band, we can assume you are all wafer thin from malnutrition or speed and this will not be a problem. If some band members are 5'6" or less, then you might be able to do one set of bunks cross-ways.

Many Sprinter band van rentals feature an equipment compartment accessed from the rear only, and a sleeping platform above it that is accessed from inside the van. That's only good for two bunks, though. You need about 7' for the bunks, so it's possible to have 4 bunks plus cargo area and a bench seat (for seatbelted driving) in a 158.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: 3500 sprinter as band tour band

Oh, to answer the original question; yeah, those steel racks will be more than strong enough. You could even build a free-standing contraption that wouldn't need to be bolted to the van. It would need removable braces across the top to prevent the racks from tipping toward each other, and the van walls would prevent them from tipping out. And a top brace would prevent them from lifting off the floor. All these braces would be installed with the racks already in the van; rubber cushioning between metal racks and van body, push them apart tightly with a reverse clamp against the van walls and then drill and install cross braces. This might actually be cheaper and faster than a DIY like I mentioned above.

Also, people shouldn't be laying down in the bunks when the vehicle is moving. Not that it stops anyone from doing it.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: 3500 sprinter as band tour band

What is a "band tour band" anyway?
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: 3500 sprinter as band tour band

Ha, I meant to write Band Tour Van... whoops.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: 3500 sprinter as band tour band

Thank you so much for the info Bill. I am thinking I am going to mod the racks. A couple more for ya.

-Are the studds on the walls of the van the strongest point to bolt to, or is the floor a strongest point? I want to make sure the racks are as close to being a "part of the van" as possible.
-What kind of bolts would you recommend using to secure the racks to the studds and or floor?
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: 3500 sprinter as band tour band

3/8" bolts through the floor with backing washers or plates is recommended.

1/4" or greater rivnuts in the wall and roof beams is a good place to start.
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