Panel Bed Installation in 144

Cwar

New member
My wife and I bought a 2016 Crew Van 144 this past November. The plan is to use the rig for family camping trips (we have a 7 and 9 year old), for cycling events, around town and occasionally hauling loads.

Since delivery in late November I have been slowly converting it for camping use. Projects completed or in progress include:

• Insulation (Noico and Thinsulate). A shout out to Hein for the insulation and great service!
• Installation of an Espar D2 (under passenger seat)
• Stereo system upgrade (new deck, front and rear speakers, and subwoofer)
• Walls (with the help of a skilled buddy) the walls are plywood, 1/8” foam, and marathon fabric. This project is still in progress.

Now to the subject of this post. We wanted to go the panel bed route so that we could still use the van for cargo. Plus, we will put bunks for the kids below the panel bed. After doing some research I decided to go with Overland Sprinters (http://www.overlandsprinters.com/). From the get go, Eric at Overland Sprinters was super helpful. He was responsive and answered a lot of questions even though I told him I might make my own beds. Ultimately, I ordered from him. We ordered the 40” height bed rails, but I ordered the 44” height bed platforms because our walls are on the thick side. With the plywood, foam, and fabric they are almost ½” thick. The 44” platforms were a better fit because the walls slope in quite a bit and when stacking them on top of each other for storage, the 40” height platforms wouldn’t have worked.

After talking with some other folks who had installed these, I decided to keep it simple and install the bed rails with two bolts at the back and two bolts at the front of each rail (see pictures). I also decided to use Plusnuts rather than Rivnuts. Time will tell if this has enough strength, but so far so good. With that said, my wife and I together weight about 250lbs, so we aren’t putting a ton of weight on it. After we use this setup more I’ll post again with my impressions.

A few other steps we took for the install:
• Powder coated the bed rails and platforms.
• Used thumb screws for securing the bed panels to the bed rails.
• Used these between the panels and bed rails to keep them from vibrating and scratching the rails.
• Used ½” plywood on the platforms covered in marathon fabric.

I think the bed from Overland Sprinters is a great way to go if you want something at a reasonable price and you are willing to do the installation.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2789.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2791.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2796.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2788.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2787.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2812.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2885.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2888.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2891.jpg
http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2893.jpg
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
... I also decided to use Plusnuts rather than Rivnuts. Time will tell if this has enough strength, but so far so good. ...
I love the basic design of the rails and attachments. :thumbup:

It appears that 4 ea. 1/4" fasteners are used for each side rail rest? Most of the loading will be shear. Plusnuts rather than Rivnuts will be fine even if y'all gain some weight as the years fly by. (Trust me. That can happen. :bash:)

Again, assuming 1/4-20 common fasteners.


The comment above the table in the link said:
(1/4-20 fastener used for personal test.)
Note: These values seems awfully low to me. For example, I can't imagine a 1/4" bolt failing at these loads. To test, I just screwed a plain old hex-head 1/4 x 3 1/2 screw into the bottom of my workbench, with about 2 1/2" left visible, and the head holding up a long piece of angle iron. Then I hung weights on the angle iron. When that got boring, I squeezed my toes in on top of the angle iron too, got my balance, and bounced a few times. The angle iron deformed a little, but the bolt didn't show the least sign of strain. This totalled about 225 pounds not counting the bouncing effect -- way over the 160 pound rating shown below.
Even using the 1/4-20 160#.
Tensile 160 x 4 = 640# per side rail. 1280# total. Assuming a distributed load of socially acceptable adult bodies sleeping, or even otherwise engaged, there should never be a problem.

Added for 5/16 (at thread root).

Tensile 270 x 4 = 1080# per side rail. 2160# total (over a ton).

Scroll lower down to Shear strengths of bolts by diameter
http://www.derose.net/steve/resources/engtables/bolts.html#smallbolts

:cheers: vic
 
Last edited:

Zukbro

New member
Looks great! Getting ready to install mine this weekend if I can find the time. Do you have a pic of how you used thumb screws to secure the frame to the rails?
 

EmptynestNW

New member
That looks really great!
I have the same system installed but don't have the coverings done yet.
What material are you using on the underside of your panels?
 

Cwar

New member
Looks great! Getting ready to install mine this weekend if I can find the time. Do you have a pic of how you used thumb screws to secure the frame to the rails?

I will post pictures in the thumbscrews tomorrow.
 

Cwar

New member
The plywood used for the bed panels came the a black coating with a texture on one side. I'll see if I can get the name.
 

Cwar

New member
So, unfortunately, I don't have a name for the plywood. A buddy of mine picked it up and he was told that it was a limited run an that the ply was designed for an auto-show where GM was going to use it for stage building. We bought it in Bellingham, WA so if you are in that area I can get you the name of the lumbar yard and maybe they still have some.
 

Cwar

New member
Also, for those interested in putting bunks in for your kids, here is what I have going so far. Similar to what SprinterPaul did. Eventually, I may look to have aluminum bed panels built out for their beds and secure one side to the wall. For now, it's just wood and free standing, though they are secured to the floor using nylon ratchet straps. This is somewhat temporary as we prepare for a three week road trip in a few weeks and I'm under the gun to get the rig ready.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq108/cewarren/Spinter - Bed Install/IMG_2976.jpg
 

Top Bottom