Platform Bed Installation

FarOutNight

Our Ford Transit DIY camper van conversion is build mostly around the mountain bikes and the platform bed is no exception. We wanted a permanent raised bed above the “garage” (over the bikes and other stuff); no need to fold/unfold the bed at night & it creates a lot of storage room under the bed.

 

To provide enough clearance for the mountain bikes, there is 40″ height between the floor and the lower frame of the bed. (38″ or 39″ inches is probably enough. Check with your own mountain bikes!)

ford-transit-camper-van-rv-mountain-bike-clearance

 

The platform bed is 76″ long x 72″ wide. We have an Ikea matress that is 75″ long x 54″ wide x 4″ thick; the unused portion of the platform will be use for storage cabinet.

We were quite aggressive with the width of the platform: it is wider than the floor and the frames above, so we’re up for some challenges when we will build the walls! But this way, the living space is maximized.

bed-installation-van-conversion-width-length

 

To maximize the living space between the bed and the driver & passenger seats, we installed the platform bed the most rearward as possible. It leaves 80″ of usable space for the kitchen and the “living room”.

bed-installation-van-conversion-14

 

 

TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 16-20 hours

 

TOTAL COST : 220-300$ USD

 

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click and commit to buy one of the product linked, we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Buying through our affiliate links is a great way to say thanks if we were of any help in your van conversion! Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.

 

MATERIAL:

 

TOOLS:

If you don’t see the tools list just below, turn your ad-blocker off and reload the page!


 

Disclaimer

We’re not woodworkers. We’re not well equipped in tools. So this is not a “How-To”.  This is just how we did it with our limited knowledge & limited access to appropriate tools. There are probably standards, but we’re probably not following them . That being said, we’re very satisfied with the final result and we are proud of what we accomplished!

 

 

First of all, this is what we have in mind
van-layout-3d

Our actual layout,  for now… interactive 3D model is here

 

Legs

The platform bed legs are made of 1″ thick russian birch plywood. The legs are really stiff; there is no flex at all (¾” thick Russian birch would probably have been enough). Each leg is attached to the van frame by two fasteners that are screwed into Plusnut (Buy from Amazon) (see our post about Plusnut here).

bed-installation-van-conversion-3

Squeaks Eliminator 2000

To ensure there will be no squeak at all, wood must never be in contact with metal. We therefore left a gap between the legs and the van walls; the gap is created by the Plusnut flange and two fender washers (Buy from Amazon).

bed-installation-van-conversion-4-squeaks-eliminator

Horizontal Frames

Each pair of legs are connected by an horizontal frame. Horizontal frames will increase “lateral” stiffness (left to right) and provide “vertical” stiffness to support our weight; having stiff frame allowed us to reduce the platform thickness (we used 3/8″ thick Russian birch plywood) and shave some weight.

bed-installation-van-conversion-1

 

 

The horizontal frames are a composition of a 5/8″ x 4″ frame and a 5/8″ x 2″ frame. We found this arrangement to provide plenty of stiffness for our need; there is barely no deflection when we hop on the bed.

bed-installation-van-conversion-12-ps

There is an additional frame in the back of the van. There is not much loads here so we started with one 5/8″ thick x 2″ height, but to get the stiffness we wanted it finally ended with three 5/8″ thick x 2″ height glued together.

img_20161028_175711

Squeaks Eliminator 3000

Relative movement between components produces squeaks. Even where you think there is no movement…

Therefore, we screwed & glued every wood frame together (the platform is not glued to the frames because we want it to be removable). The glue provides the bonding, the screws hold everything together while the glue cures (the screws could be avoided if we had fancy woodworking tools!).

bed-installation-van-conversion-13-ps

We use #4 screws (1″ length) (Buy from Amazon) and Titebond III Waterproof Wood Glue (Buy from Amazon):

titebond-iii-exterior-wood-glue

 

The Platform

We used two 3/8″ thick, 4′ wide x 8′ long, Russian birch plywood sheets. We trimmed the sheets to get the bed width and length we wanted (72″ x 75″) and fastened them using 1/4″ flat head bolts, nuts and fender washers that we countersunk.

bed-installation-van-conversion-7

 

bed-installation-van-conversion-10

nice & smooth

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

We now have used the platform bed throughout the summer and it is working as intended: it is very stiff and does not squeak. Yay!

The 4″ thick ikea mattress is very comfortable too (if you like firm mattresses) … very neat for a 150$ mattress!

At the time of writing these lines, we still have to finish the wood with Danish Oil or Varnish to add some protection. We will also eventually add a decorative frame at the back & front of the bed.

 

 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, or learn everything about The Van.

 

 

STAY IN TOUCH!

Join 5,000+ followers via Facebook, Instagram or e-mail:

 

 

 

ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan and we are now selling our house to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

14 comments

  1. Comment by Loup Garou

    Loup Garou Reply November 1, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Looks good!

    What IKEA mattress did you get. The link doesn’t work.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply November 1, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Thanks!
      We have the MEISTERVIK foam mattress, full size. It is only 4¾” thick so it is on the (very) firm side.

  2. Comment by David

    David Reply November 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Man, you guys are the inspiration!

    ?: what program are you using for your solid models?

    ?: Can’t remember if it was you guys or ?, but are you not snowboarders as well? Snowboards = winter surfing = close to water surfing = my other passion (besides skiing/mountain biking.

    Sooooooooo, where are you all planning on stowing the snowboards? I am looking to do something similar to you but w. space for 3 boards (10’/9’/? for last size) along w. the bikes and skiis.

    My modus operandi is to carry all at all times. You never know when you are passing by a once-in-a-life time unknown break going off (can you say malibu @ 4′ w 4 riders…not quit unknown but the quality), or MTB trail, or epic pow day. Grab and go!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply November 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Grab and go… i like how you think!

      We’ll be carrying 2 snowboards and 2 splitboards; they will be located under the platform bed, on the left side of the van just beside the bikes. Not sure how the boards will be stored yet, but i don’t expect it to be very challenging to figure out. The challenging (?) part will be to think of a way to efficiently drain the water from the melting snow.
      Snowboards location

      You can have a better view looking at the interactive 3d model here.

      We planned for about 65-70 inches length for storage, so our layout would not work for surf boards (or skis).

      Happy shredding!

  3. Comment by Mike

    Mike Reply January 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Quick question for you, Ford says max cargo length for the LWB EL is 172″ what are they actually referring to as you said you only have 80″ for the kitchen area?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply January 17, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      I don’t know how they measured 172″?! I just measured and got 162″ from the back of the driver/passenger seats to the back of the van… so 162″-76″ = 86″ remaining for kitchen/living room (there is some inches lost here and there).

      Check the “Van Comparison” table at the end of this page for real-world measures:
      http://faroutride.com/ford-transit-camper-van/conversion-planning/van-selection/

  4. Comment by Brandon

    Brandon Reply June 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    What’s the max amount of weight you think this could hold?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply June 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Good question! I’m not gonna try it :p

      • Comment by Brandon Hise

        Brandon Hise Reply June 15, 2017 at 5:00 pm

        Would you say two adults totaling 350lbs?

        • Comment by Antoine

          Antoine Reply June 16, 2017 at 7:46 am

          We’re at about 320lbs total i think, so 350lbs should be fine!

          If you doubt, you could use 1/2″ plywood in lieu of 3/8″ (or build thicker horizontal frames).

          cheers!

  5. Comment by Mark

    Mark Reply June 16, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Would a queen sized foam mattress fit

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply June 16, 2017 at 9:02 am

      The platform is 72″ wide (a bit less after you add the wood paneling) and a queen mattress is 60″. It will fit, depending if you build a side storage like we did. After we added the storage, we can fit a 54″ mattress.

  6. Comment by Aaron Traxinger

    Aaron Traxinger Reply August 15, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    First thanks for the inspiration. We are ordering our Transit in October (to hopefully receive it by March). You have taken all the hard thinking down several notches for me. Which is good because we plan on building while still holding full time jobs. I plan to buy a few things off Amazon and will gladly go though your links.

    My question:
    I see some people use legs and others (like traipsingabout) just mention supports on the wall. In all your thought process why did you go the legs route?

    If you ever make it to Bozeman, MT I hope you say hello and let us show you our favorite trails.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply August 15, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Aaron,
      It’s quite simple, the Transit just don’t have support at bed level (at OUR bed level, at least); its just a thin sheet metal without any attachments points. The legs are just an extension to reach two existing holes where we inserted plusnut, they actually are not touching the floor! Having a Sprinter, we would have done like traipsing about… love their build! It’s a big inspiration for us.

      Hope that helps!
      We would love to ride your local trail, just wait for us :p

      Cheers,
      Antoine

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go top