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Old 01-17-2022, 11:05 AM   #1
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Oversize Element

Hi everyone, I have taken a lot of information from this forum over the last year and appreciate all of the helpful posts!

Last year, my wife and I bought a 2012 E-150 passenger van to make weekend adventures easier for our family of four plus two dogs. We are not planning a van conversion with kitchen, bathroom etc, just a more outdoor-capable passenger van for weekend trips around Arizona and California.

So far, we have removed the second and fourth row seats and replaced the fourth row with a DIY sleeping platform between the back windows. We also added a tow hitch (mainly for our bike rack) and replaced the factory stereo with an LCD carplay unit.

Our plans for the van are:

-Roof bars and hard shell roof tent

-Easy to clean floor (possibly loncoin or vinyl planks)

-Easy to clean/durable seats or seat covers that don't collect dog hair

-Cushion/cover for the sleeping platform (right now it is just a hand-cut piece of memory foam covered by a sheet)

-Suspension upgrade and/or wheels/tires (the van survived 20+ mile trips on dirt roads this year with stock suspension and highway tires, but is very shaky)

-Install backup camera (has anyone installed on the bumper and run wires under the vehicle along tow hitch wiring rather than on the license plate frame with wires inside the van?)

-If possible, easier to remove second row seat (right now, all seats bolt through the floor, a quicker install/removal option for the second row would be helpful when family visits)

If anyone has recommendations in the Phoenix, AZ area for upholstery shops (for seats/bed cover) or mechanics for vans (for suspension/general maintenance), I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for the great information and community!

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Old 01-17-2022, 12:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Cmartaz View Post
Hi everyone, I have taken a lot of information from this forum over the last year and appreciate all of the helpful posts!

Last year, my wife and I bought a 2012 E-150 passenger van to make weekend adventures easier for our family of four plus two dogs. We are not planning a van conversion with kitchen, bathroom etc, just a more outdoor-capable passenger van for weekend trips around Arizona and California.

So far, we have removed the second and fourth row seats and replaced the fourth row with a DIY sleeping platform between the back windows. We also added a tow hitch (mainly for our bike rack) and replaced the factory stereo with an LCD carplay unit.

Our plans for the van are:

-Roof bars and hard shell roof tent

-Easy to clean floor (possibly loncoin or vinyl planks)

-Easy to clean/durable seats or seat covers that don't collect dog hair

-Cushion/cover for the sleeping platform (right now it is just a hand-cut piece of memory foam covered by a sheet)

-Suspension upgrade and/or wheels/tires (the van survived 20+ mile trips on dirt roads this year with stock suspension and highway tires, but is very shaky)

-Install backup camera (has anyone installed on the bumper and run wires under the vehicle along tow hitch wiring rather than on the license plate frame with wires inside the van?)

-If possible, easier to remove second row seat (right now, all seats bolt through the floor, a quicker install/removal option for the second row would be helpful when family visits)

If anyone has recommendations in the Phoenix, AZ area for upholstery shops (for seats/bed cover) or mechanics for vans (for suspension/general maintenance), I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for the great information and community!


Your use case sounds very similar to ours, except we are currently a family of 3 and 0 dogs (but hopefully soon 1 or 2 pups). We are also going to try damn hard to keep our MTB's inside the van, rather than on a rack on the outside.

Our plan is to sleep 1 person in the "garage" next to the bikes, and 2 people in a roof top tent. We ordered a Cascadia Mt. Hood 60" (biggest they offer).

Would love to see the bed platform you have in the back in place of the 4th row! I assume it's a smallish platform for 2 kids? And what are you plans for the empty space between the 1st and 3rd rows? I am thinking we will be removing the 3rd and 4th rows because we want to be able to easily reach our kid while driving.
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Old 01-17-2022, 12:28 PM   #3
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Thinking swivel seat bases maybe ???

Loncoin is not that easy to clean due to the raised buttons and will get easily marred by the pet claws. Flat durable vinyl with a carpet works pretty well.
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Old 01-17-2022, 01:01 PM   #4
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If you’ll be considering an Awning in your mix of projects, you could consider the attachable room enclosure to compliment it.
For the seats, you can order OEM replacement seat covers made out of a leatherette material - then have an upholstery shop match that look for your bed cover (don’t recall the name(s) but I know there are at least two outfits that sell OEM replacements - Google it and they’ll appear)

EDIT: Try these for replacement Seat Covers
https://www.theseatshop.com/collecti...350&foam=false

https://www.autoanything.com/seat-co...A4635A0A0.aspx

https://www.autoanything.com/seat-co...A4631A0A0.aspx
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Old 01-17-2022, 05:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by motovan_mn View Post
Your use case sounds very similar to ours, except we are currently a family of 3 and 0 dogs (but hopefully soon 1 or 2 pups). We are also going to try damn hard to keep our MTB's inside the van, rather than on a rack on the outside.

Our plan is to sleep 1 person in the "garage" next to the bikes, and 2 people in a roof top tent. We ordered a Cascadia Mt. Hood 60" (biggest they offer).

Would love to see the bed platform you have in the back in place of the 4th row! I assume it's a smallish platform for 2 kids? And what are you plans for the empty space between the 1st and 3rd rows? I am thinking we will be removing the 3rd and 4th rows because we want to be able to easily reach our kid while driving.
I tried to add a picture to my post, but don't see it. Here is a link to the picture that I uploaded, hopefully this works: https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...1&d=1642440887

We added one more board in the middle of each support after taking this picture. The platform is very simple, made entirely from 2x4s. Each support sits between the bolts for the back seats. There is enough room underneath to slide a kayak and paddle board and enough room on top for both kids to sleep.

We plan to leave the space between the front seats and third row open for now so that we have the option to add back seats if needed. Right now, there is a dog bed there and it is where we keep our cooler on trips.

Good luck with your van, I think that you will have plenty of room for a few bikes and one person to sleep after removing the last two rows.
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Old 01-17-2022, 05:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 1der View Post
Thinking swivel seat bases maybe ???

Loncoin is not that easy to clean due to the raised buttons and will get easily marred by the pet claws. Flat durable vinyl with a carpet works pretty well.
We might take you up on a swivel base for the passenger seat. Do you have a link or more information to order?

Thank you for the feedback on loncoin, we are looking for something waterproof that would be easy to vacuum. We have a Honda Element with coin style floor and it has been much better than carpet, but it does show wear. One other option that we have thought about is a Vantred cargo mat (https://bedrug.com/product-detail/VT...hoCQj4QAvD_BwE).
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Old 01-17-2022, 05:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Twoxentrix View Post
If you’ll be considering an Awning in your mix of projects, you could consider the attachable room enclosure to compliment it.
For the seats, you can order OEM replacement seat covers made out of a leatherette material - then have an upholstery shop match that look for your bed cover (don’t recall the name(s) but I know there are at least two outfits that sell OEM replacements - Google it and they’ll appear)

EDIT: Try these for replacement Seat Covers
https://www.theseatshop.com/collecti...350&foam=false

https://www.autoanything.com/seat-co...A4635A0A0.aspx

https://www.autoanything.com/seat-co...A4631A0A0.aspx
Thank you for the links, I will take a look.
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Old 01-17-2022, 07:12 PM   #8
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Swivel bases through me;
www.BlingMyRig.com

This current batch is sold out - more coming for April (maybe abs etc yo add a few to this January batch but no guarantee)
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Old 01-23-2022, 10:03 AM   #9
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I think that I figured out how to add pictures:



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Old 01-23-2022, 12:14 PM   #10
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Nice! Picture is working for me.

So did you take the OEM captain's seats from the 2nd row and move them to the 3rd row?
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