Over Cab Sleeping

ben322

Member
I wonder if anyone has tried to configure a platform over the front cab of a high roof Sprinter. Take a look at the interior shots of the Winnebago VIA. something like the front sleeping arrangement could be used to increase capacity or move the sleeping upfront while leaving room for cargo/toys in the back. I saw this MH a a show and found the platform unique and might be configured to come down on a swiveled seat cushion for more stability.
 

businessgypsy

Curiosity fed the dog
I wonder if anyone has tried to configure a platform over the front cab of a high roof Sprinter...
Too funny, I'm working on drawings for this right now. The config I'm trying to work would be for a 60" x 80" aluminum square tube platform topped with extruded lexan (light weight/high strength) suspended on four gas shock lifts from the roof ribs. When not in use, it would swing up tight to the roof and towards the back to lock into place like a false ceiling. Pulled down, it would just clear the tops of the head rests and the loaded weight would be shared by four rubber topped stops attached to the wall ribs. A fitted surround would kiss to the contours of the cab area just about where the windshield meets the headliner. to make the cab look normal. to a passerby.

Might be too claustrophobic for some, but as a den animal I would be okay. Would also help shield light and sound from the cab area for a better stealth camper/boondocking unit. A roof vent would just about be in your face if you place your feet towards the front. Just got to make sure the future Ms. Businessgypsy field dresses at under 100lbs.:smirk:

Senior posters, shoot some holes in this plan, please.
 

Robert Foster

New member
I have a 07 Winnebago View H model which I'm thinking of selling in order to purchase a Sprinter to build out to be my daily driver. Trying to create an over cab bunk is something I've been considering too. The over cab bunk in my View is pretty tight by most peoples standards but works great IMO. There is only 18" between the bunk surface and the roof....should be able to achieve that much clearance in a high roof Sprinter. I'll be interested to see what brainstorming comes out with this thread.
 
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glasseye

Active member
Very interesting indeed. I'd never considered a lengthwise bunk up there. Sounds like it'd be quite a design/build challenge, though. :popcorn:
 

Hit The Road Jack

2006 Roadhouse Sprinter
Too funny, I'm working on drawings for this right now. The config I'm trying to work would be for a 60" x 80" aluminum square tube platform topped with extruded lexan (light weight/high strength) suspended on four gas shock lifts from the roof ribs. When not in use, it would swing up tight to the roof and towards the back to lock into place like a false ceiling. Pulled down, it would just clear the tops of the head rests and the loaded weight would be shared by four rubber topped stops attached to the wall ribs. A fitted surround would kiss to the contours of the cab area just about where the windshield meets the headliner. to make the cab look normal. to a passerby.

Might be too claustrophobic for some, but as a den animal I would be okay. Would also help shield light and sound from the cab area for a better stealth camper/boondocking unit. A roof vent would just about be in your face if you place your feet towards the front. Just got to make sure the future Ms. Businessgypsy field dresses at under 100lbs.:smirk:

Senior posters, shoot some holes in this plan, please.
Please post drawings, quite intrigued...:hmmm:...IMO this can and more than likely has been done in an alarmingly primitive fashion...:thinking:
 

ben322

Member
The Reimo is a great start but I was looking for something similar to the Winnebago that would sleep two, (at least on paper). When I saw the the bed angle down, I was intrigued. That unit is very stiff and appears to be a molded plastic shell. I suppose we could see if that would work as the Via is built on the Sprinter platform so the width is the same, (someone have access to a Winnebago Parts Catalog?). I was thinking that the height might be a little less, thus necessitating the need for a deeper drop, (possibly to the seat cushions). A sheet of Aluminum, (I like the lexan idea), with 1" box tubing as ribs with another AL sheet was my first thought but I can't weld AL, (I have a MIG and have never worked with AL). I would think that wood is too heavy and out of the question. Thoughts?
 
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Robert Foster

New member
Sleeping two in the over cab bed of a View is generally considered a no go over on the Yahoo Sprinter group...and my experience in my View agrees with that general opinion.

It is my understanding, and looking at the pictures supports this, that the Sprinter chassis delivered for the build up of the Via has no cab on it at all. It is a chassis in the purest form and the entire body is fabricated by Winnebago. The width of the Via cab has been widened significantly compared to a standard Sprinter cab.

That Reimo catalogue is interesting...is there an English version? The low tech hammock like bed on page 256 is a good reminder to me to keep it simple and flexible...I tend to get carried away with my designs.
 
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d_bertko

New member
I, too, would enjoy seeing some pix of these creative ideas.

My personal opinion:
I slept in an upper bunk when I was of college age. If you find yourself sleeping in an upper berth after that you're probably not enrolled---you're incarcerated.

I think high beds are great for 8-year-olds that like treehouses. Maybe ok for people who only go to sleep (and never, ever get up in the middle of the night...) Possibly ok for couples that do not like each other.

I already have to slouch a bit in my tall 02---hard to imagine either lowering the ceiling any in the day and also blocking door access at night.

OK, end of opinion.

We have a foldaway bench-high bed in the back of our van for us. I thought long and hard about how to sleep two extra guests. Our favorite solution is to put them up in a 9x10 cabin-wall tent with a queen inflatable bed. They get two folding chairs and a catalytic heater. I added a small dresser and a plywood floor once for a couple that were afraid of camping.

Dan
 

ben322

Member
Robert, you're probably right about the width above but I figure to use it longitudinally.

Dan, I think that's why I would try to incorporate a deeper drop.

The platform might not need to be as stiff if we rest part of it on the front seats, (especially if they fold flat). I had another thought. What if the space above the seats were used just to store the platform/mattress? Then the complicated drop mechanism could be eliminated in favor of some type of support, (in addition to the front seats)?
 

businessgypsy

Curiosity fed the dog
Please post drawings, quite intrigued...:hmmm:...IMO this can and more than likely has been done in an alarmingly primitive fashion...:thinking:
Alarmingly primitive is my favorite design motif!

Already exists...
Thanks for the link, an interesting take. Dreaming of something a little more permanent

...the Sprinter chassis delivered for the build up of the Via has no cab on it at all...
That's what I got as well, but I still think there's room.

...If you find yourself sleeping in an upper berth after that you're probably not enrolled---you're incarcerated...
Ha! Yep, this would be a big personal preference thing. Having lived on a boat for years, I like confined sleeping nooks. Just built one into my house. At 5'11", I don't have the height problem a lot of you face, and never met two other people I like enough to share a van with me and my significant otter.:smirk:

I've got next weekend scheduled to take this from napkin drawings to working drawings, but usually don't get in a hurry. You can ruin good chili that way. Be interesting to see what ben322 has in mind.
 

ben322

Member
My wife thinks I'm kicking around this idea in AL so I have an excuse to buy a TIG. :D: I might consider mocking one up in wood or schedule 40 to see if a particular concept would work over another. Specifically to test the drop mechanism or bottom support. The benefits, (for me at least), of going the bottom support route is not having to dismantle the nice Airstream finish work although if it looked like the VIA setup, I'd be satisfied.
 

d_bertko

New member
A design that has a ready-made bed lowering into place has a lot of advantages for ease-of-use. Think Murphy bed in a studio apt.

The drawbacks are that the mechanism needs to be substantial and elaborate and it needs a lot of ceiling room to store it.

A compromise might be to lower a frame and panel it with cross pieces for the platform. Four 60x20 panels might store in the cab overhead. If you go the other direction, you could store four 15x80 panels on the driver side wall. Easy enough to shift them forward two feet if you want to use the space over the front seats. I'd be inclined to put them on a driver side shelf and slip in crossbars to span to the passenger side.

My rear bed is made up of 15x80 sections. I generally leave one section ready as a bench on the drivers side. Adding a second section gives me a sofa/twin bed. Support for that is either drop-down legs or drop-in-place crossbars. The crossbars are only mildly annoying to step over and you're one step closer to a fullsize bed for night. You might consider a design that allows the flexibility of sleeping one as well as two persons.

Your preference may be for 60"w but you might find a narrower bed sufficient. It might allow easy side access by climbing up/down from the seat. I designed mine for 60"w (and use it for two twins) but we find 45"w fine and we gain a storage wall.

My system: http://danbertko.smugmug.com/Trucks/sprinter-interior/3439165_jwwnp#192931238_9bedo
 

ben322

Member
Dan, Nice work and really good looking welds! I like the idea of using sections which as you said makes storage much simpler. Much more to consider.
 

d_bertko

New member
Dan, Nice work and really good looking welds! I like the idea of using sections which as you said makes storage much simpler. Much more to consider.
Lucky for me I don't know how to weld.

The aluminum racks are actually Reese atv ramps from Lowe's. They are bifolds with locking slip-pin hinges and have a useful 1/4" lip. The Reese guys are into minimizing the aluminum, automating the welding, but still reaching the strength criteria. Idealized box extrusion for the rails and strongly laddered crosswise. Hence you get a 12.5 lb section with 650 lb rating. I think that means I can have a ton of fun in bed. (Trifolds and quadfolds exist but rivnets are very satisfying for customizing. My ramps could be cut to length if you don't need the hinging.)

The giant aluminum L-brackets that are my cantilevered supports are from Rakks and were meant for the architectural market as locker room bench supports. (Think about a football team whooping it up after a game...)

The moral for me is that it can be inexpensive to use other people's expensive engineering expertise.
 

Hit The Road Jack

2006 Roadhouse Sprinter
Pondering this retro-fit from the ground up...:hmmm:...IMHO, the driver/passenger seat should be the catalyst for an auxiliary sleeping area. Incorporating hydraulic lifts into cockpit seating could expand potential bedding without the need for a non-essential addition of weight & material from above. Naturally, stock Sprinter cockpit seating would have to be retrofitted for this conversion...:thinking:
 

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