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Old 06-27-2011, 07:49 PM   #1
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Bolting sofa down

Nothing is ever easy! So what do van converters do when the mounting points of a major component (like a sofa bed) line up with the frame rails of the van?

I have my sofa bed in the van (an Atwood manual frame) and have been playing with positioning. I'm setting the interior up like a RB50 layout. I think I have it where I want and to the best of my measurements, the mounting points on the sofa frame are directly over the van frame where it comes closest to the body. There might be 3/4" for me to get my fingers between the body and frame under the van.

I'm thinking my options will be something to the tune of shorter bolts or as extreme as a body lift but that opens up other issues. Shifting left/right won't work and I would have to shift it over a foot forward to make a difference. I thought I would confer here before I get my brain in a knot!

Thanks!
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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Re: Bolting sofa down

You don't want to just bolt it down anyway, you need the spread the load, for when it is pulled up, like in an accident. So Personally if they are over the frame rails, I'd take some flat steel stock, drill a hole in that, and weld the bolt to the steel stock. That way you have spread the load, and given your self an easier way to hold the bolt. You can also weld 2 layers of flat stock together to make the contour of the underside of the van.

Here are 2 I made, although I threaded the bracket holes and put a bolt on afterwards since I had access. Left one is the front mount and smaller since it takes less load, it only covers one crease in the floor. Right is for the rear, covers 2 creases and also has a lip to fit under a body brace.


Rear one


Front
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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Re: Bolting sofa down

Quote:
Originally Posted by SheepShagger
You don't want to just bolt it down anyway, you need the spread the load, for when it is pulled up, like in an accident. So Personally if they are over the frame rails, I'd take some flat steel stock, drill a hole in that, and weld the bolt to the steel stock. That way you have spread the load, and given your self an easier way to hold the bolt. You can also weld 2 layers of flat stock together to make the contour of the underside of the van.

Here are 2 I made, although I threaded the bracket holes and put a bolt on afterwards since I had access. Left one is the front mount and smaller since it takes less load, it only covers one crease in the floor. Right is for the rear, covers 2 creases and also has a lip to fit under a body brace.
Thanks for the ideas and images! Looks like the underside of a Ford van is easy to work on. Along with the floor, Chevy van have heat/sound shield everywhere. There is basically a double floor.

Was conflict with the frame rails the reason you did this?
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:12 PM   #4
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Re: Bolting sofa down

zuren,

Which sofa did you end up going with? Have a link?

frosty
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:44 PM   #5
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Re: Bolting sofa down

Quote:
Originally Posted by zuren

Thanks for the ideas and images! Looks like the underside of a Ford van is easy to work on. Along with the floor, Chevy van have heat/sound shield everywhere. There is basically a double floor.

Was conflict with the frame rails the reason you did this?
The Ford has heat shield running on one side of the van, I pulled it off to do that side. But access to everything under the ford is very easy. I only did this because the seats have the seatbelt built into them and in the case of an accident didn't want the bolts to pull through the floor.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:33 PM   #6
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Re: Bolting sofa down

Sheepshagger,

Do you happen to have a photo of your seat? Also wondering what type of seatbelts you are using and how they bolt to the seat?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:00 PM   #7
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Re: Bolting sofa down

Those brackets were made for some Toyota 2nd row seats, all info is in this thread
viewtopic.php?t=6042

My rear bench / bed seat is held down in exactly the same way, you can see it in some of the pic's in that link. The seat belts on the bench seat are all mounted to the frame of the seat, but they are only lap belts, they came with the seat and have the anchor built to go round the bench seat frame.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #8
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Re: Bolting sofa down

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostyone
zuren,

Which sofa did you end up going with? Have a link?

frosty
I went with Superior Seating Inc. out of Elkhart, IN:

http://www.superior-seats.com/

Here are the specs:

- Lectra model - 50"
- Manual fold
- Manual slide (front to rear adjustment)
- Headrest option (removable)
- Armrest option (folding)
- Add-a-back (folding)
- Additional custom cushion to match to the upholstery (total bed platform = 74"L x 50"W)








The Good:
- Good, responsive customer service
- Relatively short wait time (about 2 weeks)
- One of the only sofa manufacturers I found with narrow width seating (46", 48", 50", etc.)
- Freighted to my door on a pallet with good packaging

The Bad:
- I ordered a 48" sofa. The sofa and Add-a-back that arrived were 50" while the additional custom cushion was 48". I had wavered between 48" and 50" so I took this error as a sign from a higher being and accepted the wider sofa. Superior Seating is working with me to make a new cushion that matches the rest of it.
- The mounting is going to be more challenging than I thought.
- They use what I believe to be an Atwood Mobile Products frame: (http://www.atwoodmobile.com/seating/sea ... frames.asp - 2nd image down) As you can see, there won't be a lot of underseat storage.

I kind of included some margin of error and dealing with issues since this was a custom order.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:37 PM   #9
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Re: Bolting sofa down

Back on topic...

What would be the negative reasons (if any) for drilling all the way through the floor AND the frame rails of the van and using longer carriage bolts?

The only thing I can think of is some vibration transmitting through the bolts to the sofa frame since the rubber frame-to-body mounts are being bypassed. The sofa will be sitting on the rubber flooring in the van and I could take steps to minimize this when bolting it together. I don't think there will be a ton of flex between the frame and body of a van to worry about but I don't know.

After more thought, the next top option in my mind is a 1" body lift using hockey pucks with steel bushing inserts as described here (http://members.cox.net/rockncj/Body_Lift/). It has been a long time solution for Jeepers.



This would be a cheap solution until I got something made and probably the least invasive. I would just need to watch linkages, cables and my fan shroud (depending on how that is connected to the van).
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