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Old 09-15-2020, 11:18 AM   #1
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Bed Lift

Hello,

I'm in the process of a full re-do on my van (E 350 w/ Fiberine Bubble top).

I have decided that the the best way to make a garage under the bed that can house two mountain bikes on occasion when I'm on long trips and don't want to leave $12k of bikes sitting on a rack in urban setting is to make it so the bed in the van can go up and down.

I've looked at the HappiJac ( https://happijac.com/bed-lifts.html ) and it will really be a PITA to make work in van that doesn't have straight walls that taper to the top like a E-360 w/ hi-top since it has the cross and side posts for the chain and drive drive shaft... not to mention it is a pretty pricey bit of kit that looks to be pretty damn heavy and probably a better solution for a Ford Transit or Sprinter with more straight vertical walls (or an RV / trailer like it was originally designed for).

After quite a bit of searching on the internet and seeing what some folks have done, it seems linear actuators are the way to go with some sort of a track setup on the four corners of the bed for guides/stability.

Has anyone here done this? I would love to hear comments on how you built it!

TIA!

My goal is to have the bed lift to a fully extended height of 40" off the floor of the van, and then when not using the area under the bed for bike storage, I could lower the bed down 18" to get more head room while in bed.
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Old 09-15-2020, 12:15 PM   #2
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I have similar "not leaving $20K of bikes on a rack outside" concerns and thus thought about a bed lift in lieu of a fixed elevated bed. My main concern is adding all of that complexity to the van and still having to crawl up into the bed when I'm parked in a Walmart or something and still have the bikes inside. Plus, I'm already going to be pressed for storage and a bed lifting mechanism will limit how much stuff I can store under or around the bed.

Anyway... just some stuff to consider.
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Old 09-15-2020, 12:21 PM   #3
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Garage
How about a hard shell cover for the bike rack?
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhally View Post
How about a hard shell cover for the bike rack?
Something that advertises, "Hey! Look! Something valuable here!!!"

That's a hard "No", to put it mildly. Add various adjectives to that response.
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:24 PM   #5
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Just to add to the mix - I haven't seen this done widely, but it has been done. Check youtube if you haven't already. I've seen a few high-end builds that actually lift the bed from a powered pulley system that lifts from above.

Covers are OK for bikes, but if you have $12k in bikes, you want them inside if at all possible. I had two mountain bikes stolen off the back of my van while I was asleep (woke up right as they pulled them off). Fortunately they were worth a lot less than $12k and the police recovered 1 of them, but it's something that has stuck with me for a long time. The biggest issue for me with mounting them outside is that it's super hard to find a good way to lock them. Most racks don't have great attachment points for u-locks and any cable/chain lock can be cut in seconds.
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:39 PM   #6
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Of course any lock can be cut, but I use one of these chains plus a u-lock, and lock it to my receiver hitch.

https://www.planetbike.com/the-chain/
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:42 PM   #7
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Yeah... that's basically what I used and they cut the chain in <30 seconds. It was wild And of course the u-lock did nothing once the chain was cut. Since then I did purchase a waterproof cover for the bikes when carrying them. I figure this gives the added step of them having to deal with getting it off to see if/how the bikes are locked.

I was definitely unlucky. Never would have guessed that Chico, CA has a massive bike-theft problem. Only learned that after they were stolen and found the FB group dedicated to recovering all of the stolen bikes haha.
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:44 PM   #8
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I've dreamed of doing a similar setup. Haven't really researched a design yet, but interested to see what you come up with.
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Old 09-15-2020, 04:40 PM   #9
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Bed lift planned for mine. I have not sketched it yet but with the framework of the high roof I figure I'll have adequate anchorage for the upper part of it and the bottom fastened to the plywood flooring. I'm planning a cheap and easy approach with vertical 2x4s and IKEA bed sections in a moving framework actuated by a boat trailer hand crank with pulleys at the four upper corners.

My wife purely hates to hear me say it, but I HAVE A PLAN!
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:38 PM   #10
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I have given some thought to the idea of bed lifts and to certain degree they have me puzzled.

The idea that is most often proposed is when the bikes are in the van the bed will be up. Does this mean the bed "up"is usable or not in the bikes below the bed configuration? In a high top van I suppose there is a reduced height bed scenario where one could possibly sleep on the bed with the bikes below but what is the available above the bed height?
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