Friday, May 29, 2015

Van Build: Interior Cabinets Part II

With the fridge enclosure and kitchen cabinet set in there, I had to make sure the seat would fit properly side to side, and front to back. I soon realized that the seat was made to fit with the base centered to the seat itself. If I slid the seat base over all the way to the wheelhouse, there was a 4 1/2 inch gap, between that and the inside wall. That also means that the seat overlapped the cabinet by as much. I had ordered the 46"x52" sofa bed, the narrowest available. It was obvious that I had to move the seat back and bottom over, and leave the base as close to the right wheel well as possible. So it was off to the metal fabrication shop for some stock. At first I decided to get some smaller stock and just extend the brackets.
It worked for the seat back, but not the seat bottom. It was too flexible when you sat on it, and was torquing the frame brackets too much. Back to the metal shop. This time I had a large 1/4" thick piece cut that spanned between the seat bottom mounting brackets, and extended another 6". This gave the seat bottom the rigidity that it needed. I installed the metal stock, measured over 4 1/2 inches, then drilled some holes. I bolted it all together. Now the seat sits nicely, and cantilevers over the wheel house. I have just enough room for the cabinets. You can see in the above image the metal installed on the seat back. The seat came with some brackets that bolt to the floor. Rather than go with just a nut and bolt, I wanted to be able to remove the seat without crawling under the vehicle. Quick bolts are the answer. I got mine here: [url][/url] For some reason they only sell them in 3 packs, so I had to order six. Maybe the other two will come in handy. I added some sheet metal under the van to reinforce the floor and drilled some holes. Next up was to build the extend-a-bed. They do sell these at the same place as the sofa bed, but I figured that I'd end up rebuilding that one too and couldn't justify the extra cost versus a piece of foam.
I liked the idea of using some square steel tubing to make the bed extension, and the closet base. This had the benefit of being able to maximize the storage underneath. If I built it modular, the seat extension could also be removable, just bolted to the floor plywood using some nut-serts. That's what I did on the bed extension, I bolted the closet base down to the floor with bolts and nylon lock nuts.
Look at all that storage!
The above image shows the bed, the extension and the closet platform ready. I adhered white marine grade vinyl to the side wall in preparation for the closet install, which will be built in place.
Here is another pic of what will be the back of the cabinet. I wanted to keep the inside of the cabinets white, so I applied white marine grade vinyl to the insulation with 3M 90 spray adhesive. I used foam backed headliner fabric for the rest of the walls.You can also see the sofa bed in the reclined position.
Here are the vertical dividers and the front panels, insides painted white, ready to be installed.
I used L brackets and screwed the dividers to the body of the van in the upper inner reinforcement, and down to the plywood. Like I discussed earlier I had a left over sheet of laminate, which I used contact cement to adhere on the cabinet fronts. Plus doors from some used cabinets, cut to fit. At first I tried to hinge the rear closet door, but realized it would interfere with the couch. I bought some aluminum angle metal for tracks and made the doors slide instead.
I made a counter top out of particle board, but will be sending it out to be professionally laminated. For $160 bucks I had any color of choice. Can't really beat that doing it myself.
We were so excited by this time we couldn't wait to get out in the woods and try her out. We threw in the Yeti cooler (just happened to fit in the fridge cabinet) and headed into the aspens for a quick overnight!
It was great to finally camp in Jupiter. The road was really muddy and we got to use the 4wd

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