Platform Bed Installation

Last Updated: November 1, 2021

Platform Bed Installation

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Our Ford Transit DIY camper van conversion is built 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 (but 36″ is actually probably enough. Check with your own mountain bikes!).

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The platform bed is 76″ long x 72″ wide. We have a 5″ thick foam mattress (full size: 74″ x 54″); the unused portion of the platform will be used for storage cabinets (faroutride.com/bedroom-storage).

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.

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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”.

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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 a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc.) we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.

Portrait-FarOutRide-Van

MATERIAL:


Go Pro (An alternative to DIY)

If you’d rather be assembling and skip the building part, or if you’re in the market for pro-looking aluminum gear, there are a few options to consider:

Transit van Bed System Flatline Van Co Aluminum
Transit bed system (features, install, etc.) on FlatlineVanCo.com
Sprinter van Bed System Flatline Van Co Aluminum
Sprinter bed system (features, install, etc.) on FlatlineVanCo.com
hanging-solo-stowaway-bed-aluminum-transit-sprinter-promaster-van
Stowaway bed (adult/kid) on FlatlineVanCo.com

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

 

Alright now, let’s install a bed in our van!

Legs

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

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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 Crossnut flange and two fender washers (Buy from Amazon).

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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 a stiff frame allowed us to reduce the platform thickness (we used 3/8″ thick Baltic birch plywood) and shaved some weight.

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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 any deflection when we hop on the bed.

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There is an additional frame in the back of the van. There is not much load 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.

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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!).

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

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The Platform

We used two 3/8″ thick, 4′ wide x 8′ long, Baltic 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.

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nice & smooth

 

We then protected the wood with Danish Oil (Buy on Amazon) and added decorative frame at the back & front end (the frame is attached to the platform bed with L corner braces). Here is the final result:

Faroutride Kitchen 2

FarOutRide Garage Van Conversion

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

Hey, it’s us from the future! After 4 years of Vanlife, the platform bed is doing great; nothing to report! That includes two full winters of chasing the snow for skiing (faroutride.com/winter-vanlife) and we didn’t get mold or anything, thanks to our air heater that keeps us warm and DRY (air moisture is around 35-40% during winter!).

If there is ONE thing we could change, we would lower the platform to around 36″ (instead of 40″) above the floor, to increase the clearance above the bed.

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About-Us-Narrow

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then, and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!