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Old 04-28-2014, 02:01 PM   #1
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Rear Captains Chairs

I am currently in the early design stages of my SMB, which will be more people hauler than stealth camper as I have 4 small children that I drag all over Texas enjoying the great outdoors.

That being said I am tossing around the idea of building around 4 rear captains chairs to provide forward facing seating while preserving leg room and a center aisle to access the back where I plan to stack other amenities.

Does anyone have any experience with multiple rows of captains chairs, that would care to share pros and cons?

All advice is welcome as I am a newbie to the SMB world, other than drooling over the SMB and OutsideVan galleries....
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:59 PM   #2
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

We added a third captains chair on the passenger side just inside the barn doors of our SMB. I had it installed by Cyclevan in NJ, on a removable swivel base. I found the seat on CL for $100 and the pedestal, removable seatbelt and installation cost around $600. The swivel base was a waste of money as we have never used that function in our van, but depending on your interior build might be worth it. Having it removable is definitely worth it for flexibility of cargo carrying, etc.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:59 PM   #3
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

We also have 4 children. Our sprinter van is in production now. We wanted 6 front facing shoulder seats, but also wanted to have the sleeping room to camp overnight. We went with a sofa-platform bed in the back (2 shoulder belts) and 2 extra captains chairs in the middle. The sofa gives us 2 extra lap belt seats as well. It is a poptop so with the platform bed we can sleep all 6. On the downside, it doesn't leave a ton of room for other amenities (we have a small frig, small sink, microwave and a couple small shelves).
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:19 AM   #4
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

Am curious Buehrer if you considered just modifying a Splinter passenger model. I am interested in a similar configuration without the galley. I plan to just leave the back open for hauling things.

I'm also wondering how you are handling the A/C for passengers riding in the bac. I have read about leaking A/C units on the roof on other splinter forums and wonder if its even necessary on the 144' Regular Base models that take the penthouse. I don't need the A/C for camping, just for passenger travel.

I am researching the Passenger models for information about windows as well. I would prefer the windows to have screens for car camping excursions. I would guess that is a modification best handled by starting out with a cargo model.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:06 PM   #5
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

We really wanted to be able to camp, so we needed the sleeping room. To sleep 6 and also have the 6 front facing seats, we needed the pop top. Once we had that, we just sort of kept adding fun camping things. But for the most part, our design is for seats and sleeping, but in a camping setting.

We didn't get AC in the back. I am hoping that either the cabin air or open windows (we have all large awning windows which vent) will be enough. If it isn't, we may have to modify it later. I also never considered AC for camping, that seemed more like RV camping which wasn't was we are targeting. I didn't think a ton about it, although now you have me scratching my head. Maybe I will also scan the forum for AC on 144" bases.

The windows we chose were those full sized ones with awnings on the bottom. You can get three, as the position next to the sliding door isn't allow to open so you don't break it. They have a screen. Also, when stationary the pop-top seems to provide a lot of ventilation (based on the forum). When we ordered the van (which we did through sportsmobile) we ordered the cargo van without windows and are having sportsmobile install them. (The back door windows came from the factory, but I assume they don't vent.)
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:19 AM   #6
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

A couple of 12 volt fans for the sofa area in the back would help. They are cheap but effective. Make sure SMB puts in a couple 12 volt cigarette lighter outlets. With a poptop you get added roof insulation so that helps keep down the heat.Outlets are also great for powering games, laptops etc... You can buy splitters if necessary.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:59 AM   #7
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

that's a good point. my father in law has a really large rv so i asked him and he also said the little clip on dc fans are really helpful.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:38 PM   #8
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

I have a 2014 144" regular roof passenger van with MB factory roof air. I removed all the bench seats and installed four captain chairs. There is plenty of leg room, center aisle space and rear cargo space. All four chairs are removable but do not spin. The two forward captain chairs can be mounted facing the rear. Each chair is heavy.

The plan is to purchase/install a removable three-panel platform bed system 29" from floor (just below windows, where major horizontal steel member is located). This platform could be used for sleeping or for lighter cargo. The two most rear pair of chairs would be removed or would be fully-reclined before the most forward of the platform bed panel is placed. The platform would be full-width x 76" long.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:42 PM   #9
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Re: Rear Captains Chairs

We added very basic snap-up curtains for privacy at night time and shade in daytime. We leave them up most of the time, with the exception of the slider door window. We also have curtains for the front passenger and driver window. We purchased reflective panels for the front windshield from a Sprinter aftermarket vendor.

We located some inexpensive small carpets and runners at Costco and Sam's Club for the floors. They help quiet the van at speed. We installed black plastic cup holders and added a cubic table with removable butler's tray, which we move around depending on who needs the table.
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