Ambulance Camper/ Expedition Rig Conversion FAQ

iggi

Ian
Looks good!

Is the base a tri-fold? As in it all folds up on the bench?

Thanks!

My current set up. 3/4 in plywood supported by 2-3 inch diameter pvc tube and pop up brackets ( on sink side). It folds on top of bench. Sleeps 3 adults or two adults two kids.
 
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eporter

Adventurer
I had similar but just a bi-fold as I had no window. I also wanted to be able to use it as a single bed, so it worked in either half or full open. I do like the trifold. I used some RV table legs and a fold down wood flap to support it. Bridging over to the pass side is nice, but I trimmed mine down so I could squeeze past the setup bed.
 

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Lenross1

New member
Looks good!

Is the base a trim-fold? As in it all folds up on the bench?

Thanks!
Yes it all folds up onto bench top lid. Lowest section (plywood piece furthest to the left in picture) is bolted to top lid. Added a strut to bench lid to help it lift up. It is heavy. Plus I didn’t want it to slam down on little fingers. Gaps cut in the middle are so I can easily grab in the middle. You can see how good I am with the plunge router. Sumbich took off on me. Lol.

Positives
Sleeps 3. 4 with fold down bench by rear double door (for one kid)
Stout. Does not move at night.

Negatives
Heavy. Not the easiest to maneuver.
Raises bench seat by about an inch and half. So bench seat with memory foam cushion puts your head close to the overhead cabinet. I am 5’9” and my head will touch cabinet.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
:D

I’d likely have done something like that if my squad bench wasn’t long gone when I bought the rig.


The plastic panels along my P/S wall are cracked and beat up. I need ideas on what to replace it with. The original panel was 9’x5’ and nothing I’ve found is wider than 4’x8’. Things I have considered:

Baltic Birch - 5’x5’
Door skins - 4’x8’ or 3’x7’ +/-
Plastic... not many options, they want to sell me black abs... NFW. 4’x8’ is the largest I can get locally. And no one wants to bring in a single sheet that’s larger than 4’x8’... if I want a truck load, then they’ll talk.

Aluminum? (Cold and loud)
Wood? (Soft & warm... durable?)

Thoughts?
 

Coachgeo

Explorer
...Thoughts?
IMHO though this thread has gotten bastardized/convoluted, IMHO why make it worse. Folks.... maybe consider starting a thread on your topic instead of continuing to degrade what is suppose to be just an FAQ thread? (answers to most common questions)
 
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iggi

Ian
@Lenross1 @eporter Thanks for sharing your bench to bed setups. Seeing the pics motivated me to think harder about how I want mine setup. Scratched around on paper a bit and then built this quick prototype tonight out of some junk lumber.

As someone else mentioned, it's nice to be able to grab a quick nap without adjusting anything and I want the bench to remain as stock a possible. Plus I want it to be a fairly comfy couch.
End of a long day I really don't want to have to shuffle a full mattress about or flip two halves from one side to another.

So here's what I came up with:

I built the two frames shown the pic. Each will be hinged to the corner of the bench and since the lid overhangs the bench, they will fold completely out of the way.
The factory bench pad will be replaced with a roughly half a twin mattress.
The other half will be mounted to a sheet of plywood and upholstered.
When in bench mode this will be the back rest. In bed mode of course it'll just be flipped down on top of the frame and secured tightly to the other half the mattress.
I didn't fab it up but there is room for a smaller flip out support in the middle and I'll need to make a middle support for the cabinet side.

It might be hard to tell from the pics but the captains chair will have to come out as it's in the way of the bed.

If a person wanted a queen size width then adding two drawer slides per frame would allow them to extend further than there is room for across the bench.
I may add the slides anyway so that the bed can become two singles. I'll be doing a fair bit of climbing trips and especially for ice season I won't be able to expect that my non-romantic climbing partners always sleep outside.

I'm going to post this and further updates in my own build thread so it's a bit easier to keep track of.

Cheers,
Ian
 

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eporter

Adventurer
Check out some of the folding shelf brackets for nice, minimal, super-solid additional supports. Some support hundreds of pounds. I’d planned on adding some on my drivers side to make a coffee table in couch mode, and to then support a wider bed.

You could probably do similar to support a second bed against the drivers cabinets, and with fold down RV legs on the pass side.

 

patoz

Expedition Leader
iggi, I like the swing out design for the supports and that's one I haven't seen before, but it makes sense and it's simple to do.

I was leaning towards the slat design because I wanted to be able to make a single or double bed as needed. A slat design can be configured to make a single or double by using two sections or three sections, but it gets sort of complicated.

I like your design! (y)
 

iggi

Ian
Thanks @eporter Great idea. I'd already ordered a couple sets of brackets for my desk/table.
@patoz Thanks, I was favouring the slat design as well but it seemed complex to build the triple extension and I would have had to remove the gas struts that hold the lid open.
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Thanks @eporter Great idea. I'd already ordered a couple sets of brackets for my desk/table.
@patoz Thanks, I was favouring the slat design as well but it seemed complex to build the triple extension and I would have had to remove the gas struts that hold the lid open.
Yeah, that is one of the problems I ran into also. I have a full length space about 6" deep below the top of the bench, and it would be perfect to carry items like a rifle in a hard case or all of your bedding and pillows, etc., so I definitely don't want to lose that.

I'm even thinking about expanding on your idea and making the supports out of aluminum tubing, and designing them so the 'leg' opposite the hinged side can telescope out further in order to accommodate the double bed option. What I would like to end up with is a 36" wide single bed or a 54" double bed, with room to walk past it or access the cabinets on the driver's side with the bed deployed.
 

iggi

Ian
Building the frames out of square tubing would be good. Easy to make them telescoping. I'm just able to work with wood faster than metal.
Alternately a couple drawer slides could make the wood frame extendable and still rigid.


Yeah, that is one of the problems I ran into also. I have a full length space about 6" deep below the top of the bench, and it would be perfect to carry items like a rifle in a hard case or all of your bedding and pillows, etc., so I definitely don't want to lose that.

I'm even thinking about expanding on your idea and making the supports out of aluminum tubing, and designing them so the 'leg' opposite the hinged side can telescope out further in order to accommodate the double bed option. What I would like to end up with is a 36" wide single bed or a 54" double bed, with room to walk past it or access the cabinets on the driver's side with the bed deployed.
 

eporter

Adventurer
This would be a great use of 80/20 aluminum framing. Cuts with a chop saw and bolts together. Lots of people have built out whole vans with it. Gotta keep up the ambo build quality!
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
That 80/20 aluminum framing is good stuff to work with, and it's what I'm planning on building my roof mounted solar panel rack out of. It would also be good for the bed supports and more versatile than just plain wood or aluminum tubing. Now, if it wasn't so dang expensive!!
 

iggi

Ian
Oh man... I'd forgotten about 80/20 That opens up some options for sure. and a big yes to keeping the quality up. Nothing like unfinished plywood and 2x2's to ruin the look of everything.

This would be a great use of 80/20 aluminum framing. Cuts with a chop saw and bolts together. Lots of people have built out whole vans with it. Gotta keep up the ambo build quality!
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Oh man... I'd forgotten about 80/20 That opens up some options for sure. and a big yes to keeping the quality up. Nothing like unfinished plywood and 2x2's to ruin the look of everything.
Here is another system you may want to take a look at, and it's much cheaper than the 80/20 stuff. It uses PVC coated 1" steel tubing with various connectors and attachments. I think you could do more with the 80/20 system, but for bed supports or a cargo rack I think this stuff would do just fine. I haven't checked the crossbar diameter of the Yakima rack system bars yet, but I have a suspicion this Fastcap stuff may work with that also.


516705 516709

https://www.fastcap.com/product/fastpipe
 
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