Hydraulic/Hinged Bed? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-03-2008, 09:05 AM   #1
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So, this idea woke me up in the middle of the night, which is a dangerous time for any modification idea--especially when your camper is already in storage for the winter. Since I don't know if this idea would work, I thought I'd bring it up to the community and see if anybody has tried this or has any tips.

Storage is always an issue for us, and in my 13-foot Scamp, keeping the dinette down as a bed all the time makes it really hard to get into the dinette seat storage. It's almost so much a hassle that I haven't put anything in there for a while and I can't afford wasted space. And since I'm planning to take out the front couch and put in a front dinette, that limits my storage there as well. And then, last night, a possible solution came to me. My parents have a 24-foot aluminum travel trailer with a queen bed that lifts up on hydraulics to reveal quite a bit of storage underneath. And I wondered if something like that could be done in our campers. I envision taking out the fiberglass dinette seats and building a wooden box frame that the bed could sit on (with sufficient support for the weight) and then attaching plywood to the frame with a piano hinge (or whatever) and attaching hydraulic things to the sides, so the weight of the bed wouldn't crush the person trying to get into the storage. Obviously the idea needs some refining, but does it sound workable?

I found this picture online of the concept to give you a visual:
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:02 AM   #2
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It does indeed sound 'do-able' to me, but in our case, we store so much STUFF under the back bed that the LOSS of the tiny bit of floor space needed to mount these struts on/to would even be MORE of an inconvenience. This NEED for space is also the main reason why we don't/won't hack up the front seat/lower bunk to make a dinette. We almost ALWAYS cook/dine outside under our awning, rain or shine. We use ALL the storage space we can muster as anyone who has seen us 'set up' can well attest to, LOL!!
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:51 AM   #3
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There is no reason why it would not work. I built a Murphy bed by ordering the plans that came with the struts, etc.

Your only problem is getting the correct struts that will support the weight of your bed and I would suggest some kind of a strut from a vehicle, like the ones that hold the hatch back up or, Just have a Stick to hold the bed up, like what holds your hood up on your car and forget about the struts alltogether.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:55 AM   #4
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We made a front dinette for our Boler and a permanent bed. To keep the extra weight to a minimum we added a couple of storage boxes [his & hers] underneath. No reason to lift and then have to remake the bed again. When not needed they are hidden by a valence that matches the sheets and curtains. I found the plastic boxes at Wally's and when pushed in, leave just enough room for shoes at night so you don't trip on them when getting up in the dark.Two boxes also means there's no argument about someone using too much space. We then cut openings and added outside access ports to store outdoor kitchen and levelling jacks, power cords etc into the seat areas which have now been covered by the permanent bed.
This works for us. Hydrolics may be do-able for you. Be sure to take pictures.
Jim
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:08 PM   #5
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James, that is an even better idea.

If U R interested in putting in an outside door, the following link on Ebay usually has new doors posted in all sizes although none R posted 2day. Just send them a question or check back on a regular basis.

They often post RV stuff, furnaces, sinks, fridges you name it.

http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/member23443_...QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ


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Old 11-03-2008, 12:11 PM   #6
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James, You're just a Maverick with that 2 picture post!
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:42 PM   #7
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We made a front dinette for our Boler and a permanent bed. To keep the extra weight to a minimum we added a couple of storage boxes [his & hers] underneath. No reason to lift and then have to remake the bed again. When not needed they are hidden by a valence that matches the sheets and curtains. I found the plastic boxes at Wally's and when pushed in, leave just enough room for shoes at night so you don't trip on them when getting up in the dark.Two boxes also means there's no argument about someone using too much space. We then cut openings and added outside access ports to store outdoor kitchen and levelling jacks, power cords etc into the seat areas which have now been covered by the permanent bed.
This works for us. Hydrolics may be do-able for you. Be sure to take pictures.
Jim
I'll admit that putting holes in the outer shell makes me nervous. The plastic tubs like you've got are what I have right now and they're pretty convenient. But without some kind of access to the storage in the dinette seats, I'm just wasting space. But the idea of just having a stick (like under the car hood) is a good suggestion.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:11 PM   #8
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The main problem you'll have pulling this off in the typical egg is making it work with the curve. If you have the WHOLE surface area lift up, it'll fairly quickly end up binding against the walls somewhere. You can defeat that by only having a portion of the deck lift up (leaving either the outer edges or a U-shaped portion alone), but that defeats part of the purpose - and - largely prevents the use of a nice single-piece mattress for the bed.

mkw
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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The main problem you'll have pulling this off in the typical egg is making it work with the curve. If you have the WHOLE surface area lift up, it'll fairly quickly end up binding against the walls somewhere. You can defeat that by only having a portion of the deck lift up (leaving either the outer edges or a U-shaped portion alone), but that defeats part of the purpose - and - largely prevents the use of a nice single-piece mattress for the bed.

mkw
Grr. Yeah, that's one of the bugs I have to work out. Guess it's a good thing I have the whole winter to play with the idea...
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
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.....since our bed is made up all the time, when we need to raise the table section, my 'stick' is actually a piece of polished aluminum rectangular tubing from a neighbours wrecked outdoor gazabo. We have carved a series of slots in the underside of the table to make the stick not slide out from under the table (usually when I'm under it) when we raise the table (with the one piece foam matteress on top of it). The slots cut into the tables underside are in a row but spaced apart allowing the stick to be placed at different places under the table changing the height to which the table is raised. Next l'il project will be to add another series of white LED lights under there for better visability with these OLD failing eyes of mine.

I REALLY like the idea of the two storage boxes, IF I could find a pair to more exactly fill the under table area, I MIGHT be tempted to try them out!!
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:54 PM   #11
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Being a lazy person, whatever mattress I use has a single, fitted sheet on it and the lightweight poly blankets I use are just pulled over me -- No bed to make, just pick up whatever's on the floor.

I used plastic boxes for stuf under the bed (they make some really long ones for under-bed use) and I installed marine circular hatches in the sides of the underbunk storage, towards the front, for access to small stuf tucked away.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:09 PM   #12
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Hi Karen ... ah, yes, the continuing search for more efficient storage & access. We, too, leave our bed made up all the time, and wanted better access to the under-bench cubby space. Reluctant to cut holes in the hull, we opted for a compromise first seen in Joy A's Scamp 13 - small cabinet doors in the slanted front base of the benches. We had ours done during a visit to the factory, but any cabinet maker could make them to size for you. We store a variety of items there (long narrow stuff like spring rods used for drying clothes, small rolled tarp, our rolled "screen door", overstock of "dog pickup" bags ... just about anything. It is surprisingly handy. We don't store too much superfluous stuff on the side with the electrical widget ... a tangled cord makes D crazeeeee at set-up time. This has proven to be one of our most useful mods.

As mentioned in another post, we each have a long underbed tub for clothing - they stack to one side. The other side is a deeper, narrower tub which holds heavy staples like canned goods. It's kind of a 60/40 division of the space puzzzle under there and I had to remove the table leg to make it work. This isn't a problem, since we never use the dinette as such ... saved the leg just in case, tho. All tubs courtesy of WalMart - thank you, Sam W.

Good luck with your project if you decide to try the hydraulics ... you're braver than we are. Take care, L 'n D
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:25 PM   #13
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The main problem you'll have pulling this off in the typical egg is making it work with the curve. If you have the WHOLE surface area lift up, it'll fairly quickly end up binding against the walls somewhere. [b]You can defeat that by only having a portion of the deck lift up <strike>(leaving either the outer edges or a U-shaped portion alone)</strike>, but that defeats part of the purpose - and - largely prevents the use of a nice single-piece mattress for the bed.

mkw
How about leaving the last foot across the back (where the curves are) flat, and hinging up the whole rectangle forward of that? If the mattress is not cut too snug to the side walls, and it is not too heavy, it should lift OK, even though only 2/3 to 3/4 of the platform hinges up.

This idea reminds me of my bunk lockers aboard US Navy ships.
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:23 AM   #14
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Cut the plywood small and put same thickness boards around the outside 3 edges. Then use an old broom handle or some other stick to hold it up. You could leave the original cover off the right side. In the Escape, anyway, the left under seat is used for utilities and not recommended for storage.
However, you want to be carefull as to the weight of the stuff you put under there, you don't want to change your hitch loading.
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