Val and others
In order to enlarge the sofa bed of our old B17, I first had to remove the closet and relocate the thermostat. Once the closet was gone the bed modification was easy. The original bed was a piece of ˝” plywood with a couple of plastic slides on the bottom. On the outside edge there was a single 1˝” x 1˝” support that ran the length of the bed. There was a leg to support plywood on one end and a rail mounted just above the storage door on the other. I removed the old bed assembly and reused all the hardware and rails. Next, I cut a piece of ˝” plywood approximately 12” wider than the original bed. I then built a ladder frame out of 1˝” x 1˝” wood that ran the length of the bed with a couple of cross beams to help support the bed when it was extended. I removed the wooden slide rail and made a new rail out of oak and trimmed the outside frame with flat oak trim to cover the end grain of the plywood. I reinstalled the plastic slides and nylon webbing (used as a stop) under this new bed platform. We bought a full size futon mattress and the bed was done (or so I thought.) After looking at my handy-work, I realized we could not get into the bathroom at night when the bed was in use. This could be a problem…
The design from Bigfoot
Industries by having a closet and sofa that would only extend just so far allowed access and privacy into the bathroom even when people slept. My solution was to remove the bathroom solid door and install a newly purchased accordion door in front of the bathroom door opening. I build a frame to mount the new door out of oak and installed the new door. This solution worked well and was a good compromise allowing access to the bathroom at night with better “privacy”. We still had to crawl over each other to get to the bathroom, but like I said it was a better compromise.
The last part of our bed modification and hardest was purely cosmetic. After I removed the original closet it just looked like there was “something missing”. Our B17 had an upper fold-down bunk above the bed where our 9 year daughter slept. Part of that fold-down bunk support was also the valance to the rear window. With the closet gone that valance just ended in “thin air.” The valance / support use to attach to the side of the closet. My solution was to take the parts from the original closet and fabricate a new SHALLOW closet. This shallow closet was good for storing small things only but it looked more finished. Just be careful not to hit your head on the closet at night. The hardest part of fabricating the new closet was getting the side wall made with all the correct angles, since the back wall of the trailer is at an angle as well. Using a level surface for the trailer and plumb bob makes it somewhat easier – remember to measure twice and cut once. Or in my case measure 5 or 6 times and cut 3 or 4, but you get the idea.
Unfortunately I did not take photos during the process. I have attached photos of the before and after for comparison. Hope that helps make your future modifications easier.
Here are the before photos...