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Old 01-02-2021, 10:02 PM   #1
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Chateau Ben / Convertible Bench ideas sought for for E350

Argh After discovering that no-one in the US makes one-piece* full-width convertible bench beds** and Travois is out of stock, I just spent all day at junkyards, convinced that I needed to find a chateau bed for my E350 build***.

After two hours wrestling with some bolts (long story) I got one half-removed, but thought I'd check-in for yall's informed opinions (I know you've all spent time thinking about them).

The one I may finish removing tomorrow is from a late 90's E-series conversion van, and measures approx 53 inches wide and approx 62 inches long. This is too short for me to sleep on. I thought it would be 72 inches long like my current semi-stock van with SMB top. Apparently not too short for some critters to have been sleeping on it, so it'll suck to even have it our garage for a week.

Before spending another half day unbolting, bringing it home / getting re-upolstered, I thought I'd see if you experts have any tips for a U.S. (and preferably non-backlogged) source a 72 inch+ 3-person bench for the rear of a ~05-13 E350 EB. Or, if in the process of re-upolstering a Ford, any of you had improvised the back panel to make the bed longer.


Notes:
*One-piece, as opposed to the 2-panel converting benches that have a freestanding third panel extension that discounttruckvan, https://shop4seats.com/van-seats/sofas-and-benches.html , et al. sell. I'm talking about the European-style all-in-one, of which there are apparently 8+ manufacturers in the UK alone. PS DTV and S4S are 3-4 months out on production-- not sure if that's normal.

**Sorry for a new post on a topic that has been covered in umpteen threads, but I think I've read every post with key word "chateau" on here, ford trucks, and expedition portal. For those who haven't, here's what they say: the bed was present in '91 to ~'96 Ford Chateau's (e150?) and also 2002-2003 (e350?). Confusingly, converting beds are also in conversion vans from other years (and in Chevy's), and it's not clear to me whether the brackets and measurements are the same as the OEM beds. The bench from today (and my SMB) were bolted down about 42 inches apart).

***This is def putting the cart before the horse b/c I haven't sourced the van yet, and am still thinking of buying an existing SMB (or ideally a 4x4 E350 v10 with pop top but little to no cabinets / mods downstairs, plus a 110v non-rooftop AC... if Santa is listening)
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:56 PM   #2
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When I called a month ago Travios Canada had the RNR in stock, not sure if they would ship to you though.

Here is another option to consider:
https://www.wildernessvans.com/product-category/seats/
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:19 PM   #3
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So I was looking at Wilderness beds site last night, and saw this disclaimer on all their wide beds:
"These seats are best suited for children and youth due to the height of the seat belt."

I'll revisit the measurements, but do you know any different?

And on Tavois, thanks for the thought. Talked to them (LA and BC) Thursday -- no joy-- "wearhouse pretty much empty of everything"). No eta on the next shipment either, which I was comiserating with someone else on here about.
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Old 01-03-2021, 01:37 AM   #4
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Based on the video, it looks like the shoulder straps are really low and it could be uncomfortable? Might sit somewhere behind the shoulder for some.
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Old 01-03-2021, 10:25 AM   #5
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Have you checked with ExpoVans? MG had a couple seats a few months ago. I bought a 3 person one.
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Old 01-03-2021, 09:57 PM   #6
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Thanks-- will check.

Also, man! This whole thing is such a learning curve. I just measured and anything higher than a 17"seat-surface height is going to have my head touching the ceiling of an E-series. This rules out a lot of the european-style benches.

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Originally Posted by Nrobert10 View Post
Have you checked with ExpoVans? MG had a couple seats a few months ago. I bought a 3 person one.
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Old 01-03-2021, 10:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scuba View Post
Thanks-- will check.

Also, man! This whole thing is such a learning curve. I just measured and anything higher than a 17"seat-surface height is going to have my head touching the ceiling of an E-series. This rules out a lot of the european-style benches.
I'm 5'9 and the high top is the single best feature of my entire van, nothing else even comes close, not my swivel seat, maxxfan or even 4x4. I don't know how you taller folks deal with it.

It's one of the reasons we opted for a high roof Transit, which ours is currently stuck in a railyard waiting for some unicorn of a train to bring it out west.......
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:34 PM   #8
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Hi,
For whatever it may be worth...I have been working on an idea for replacing my Gaucho bed/couch. Not quite sure what a chatau type is? Maybe you havr a photo?
Anyway, because I need to get to both batteries and my water tank ( which of course, are under the bed??) I came up with the idea of getting what is basically a “ legless” cot as the base since it’s much lighter than the current heavy plywood bottom of my sofa-bed. Then topping it off with a
Memory foam mattress that folds up into 3 in a stack. I think
the whole works would be easier to lift, and done a lot easier than folding up the entire bed piece at once. The cot frame would be aluminium, so very light....but I may have to have it made. Ah well, what we do for comfort. These mattresses come in a variety of widths and lengths, so you might want to
take a peek. They’re on Amazon under a variety of name brands. Just a thought.....
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:53 PM   #9
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Garage
I'd call Van Specialties in Tualatin Or also. They may have one for you.
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Old 01-11-2021, 08:09 AM   #10
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I agree about the hi-top. It's the reason it took about 20 years for me to finally find my van. Extended length, raised roof conversion vans were pretty rare. I am not a fan of pop-tops.

I used to sleep on the rear folding seat/bed in my old E150 conversion van, but it was definitely tight for me at 5' 10". I generally had to sleep diagonally. I'm not sure a 72" wide option exists since the vans aren't really that wide.

Since you have to reupholster the cushions anyway, maybe get the frame out of the salvage van, weld in the additional width you desire, then make new cushions?
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