Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-15-2020, 11:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 56
Bed Lift


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 ( ) 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!


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.

sierraoneill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 12:15 PM   #2
Senior Member
IanF's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Croydon, PA
Posts: 213
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.

IanF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 12:21 PM   #3
Senior Member
dhally's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SE Washington
Posts: 888
How about a hard shell cover for the bike rack?
2009 E250 RB 5.4L "SilVan"
dhally is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 01:20 PM   #4
Senior Member
IanF's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Croydon, PA
Posts: 213
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.
IanF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 01:24 PM   #5
Senior Member
nyyankees588's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: PNW
Posts: 211
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.
nyyankees588 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 01:39 PM   #6
Senior Member
BrianW's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 3,758
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.
BrianW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 01:42 PM   #7
Senior Member
nyyankees588's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: PNW
Posts: 211
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.
nyyankees588 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 01:44 PM   #8
Senior Member
pjpvi's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 1,123
I've dreamed of doing a similar setup. Haven't really researched a design yet, but interested to see what you come up with.

- 2005 EB50 6.0PSD - SMB 4x4
pjpvi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 04:40 PM   #9
Senior Member
campism's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Richmond VA
Posts: 238
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!
The finally-getting-underway project.
campism is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2020, 05:38 PM   #10
Senior Member
1der's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 2,499
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?

Beastie 3: 2002 7.3 EB Cargo: Agile TTB, CCV Mid Top, Custom Walk Through, Lots of stuff added.
1der is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Sportsmobile Registry




Add your Sportsmobile
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:22 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.