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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been very interested in a campervan for the family, but there don't seem to be any campervans that seat 5. Things on the want list.
  • short wheelbase
  • 5 seatbelt seats
  • shower/toilet - cassette toilet. No black water tank.
  • full time beds - the James Cook westfalia is nice but would ideally not have to break down beds each day. But I'm thinking this might be the route to go.

This weekend I was looking at Travatos but so expensive and longer than I'd like and only 4 seats in the G, but it has the feel we'd want. The new Aktiv looks interesting with the lack of black tank and its styling, but longer and expensive. The La Strada Avanti M is close to what I'm imagining- fiat short wheelbase high top with dinette, bath, stove/sink and sleeping in the back. But 4 seats and it's a eurovan so we can't get it over here. It's frustrating how diverse a selection of vans they have in Europe but we don't get them here. I understand the idea of a minimalist build but that isn't the route we'd want to go.

I've been throwing around some designs and ideas to figure out if what I want is even possible. I'm hoping to get some advice on how feasible this is. Or has it already been done? Maybe there's a vehicle like this out there already? Thanks for any help.

This is what I'm thinking right now - take the Avanti M, add a single seat by the door on a swivel base and shorten the kitchen area. I mocked some ideas up in 3D.


http://www.lastrada-mobile.de/en/car/family/AVANTI_M/3.51.3.39.html
 

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2014-159 HR in CT
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The 5 seatbelted seats are almost a Mission Impossible, especially if you want them strictly legal and insurable.

Is there a way to add seatbelts to the Travato G bench seat by the slider, instead of replacing it? If you were building a DIY conversion, you might find a way, but a finished product makes it less do-able, IMHO.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@proeddie, the Travato bench seat by the slider has no back. It's really a cushion sitting on the fresh water tank. So I don't know if there'd be a way to add seatbelts there. And I wouldn't be comfortable putting one of my kids in a side facing seat with no back. But that's a really interesting idea. I wonder if Winnebego or anyone else has made a safe mod like that. The Travato is a 159" and maybe even a 159" extended so I hadn't seriously considered it.

You bring up making it legal and insurable. That'd be really important to me since I'd want to use it as a daily driver and haul my kids around. I was going to call a local shop that installs abilitrax, the seating system. But that sounds really expensive and at that point my DIY budget starts getting out of budget range. If one installs back seats, does that have to be reported to the insurance company, dmv, etc?

Thanks for the thoughts, Proeddie. I'm going to keep looking for other options, solutions. I'm hoping someone has seen one that might fit.
 

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The less you tell anyone about anything the better off you are ;)
 

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I am in the process of adding seats to my 136. Certification is a must for me with kids sitting back there but it comes at great cost. I hate to say this but if I were you I would get a sprinter with the crew seat option. It will give you more room in the back and lessen the pain to put aftermarket seats in.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was looking at the sprinter but originally wrote it off because of the cost and reading about issues with the diesel/def system. Plus the promaster seemed perfect...except for no second row seating options. konaguy, what system are you using to add the seats? Are you paying an up fitter to do the work? Thanks.
 

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Doesn't the Promaster have an option to seat 3 up front in the cab? Can you order a Travato with that seating option plus 2 at the dinette seat = 5 with seat belts?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@lilbox, that's an interesting idea, but I believe the 3 seat option would negate the swivel seat action on the two front seats. They wouldn't be able to rotate and be usable at the dinette. Also, we looked at the Travato and it's really nice but MSRP was 90K+, twice what we'd want to spend on a vehicle. It's also a long van, not the 136 making it impractical in our case as a daily driver.
 

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Also, we looked at the Travato and it's really nice but MSRP was 90K+, twice what we'd want to spend on a vehicle.
Just an FYI, I just saw a 2017 Travato K at an RV show on sale for $79K, and that's before any "discussions". I do understand you other concerns about length, even though it's not that much longer. My 159 works fine for daily tasks and parking.. the extended is about 14" more.

ed
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks Proeddie. That's really good to know. I've heard that then you can usually talk them down from 20-25% more. It just doesn't have that 5th seat and it's not 136. And I do kind of want to build my own thing :) There's something about starting off with an empty palette and doing what you want with it. But it's still tempting. As many of you have mentioned, going to shows, walking through RVs can yield a lot of great ideas.

I have been studying the Travato and how they mount their seats. They do a pretty nice job. There's a strong structural steel frame they bolt into the promaster. It looks like it not only supports the seat but protects the passengers from all the "furniture" in the back in case of an accident or something. This seems like a good design. I put together some images that I found helpful. Maybe others will find this useful as well. Right now I'm thinking of welding up a frame, in the same way winnebego does and bolting this through the floor to another plate. Then the seats would bolt or be welded to this frame.

BTW, what's the height of that step, from the front seats down to the van floor. I'm thinking the frame would be that tall, then a floor built on it. The eurovans seem to do that.

 

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Nice. First like that I've seen. You certainly are thinking this through and have plenty of design/function challenges.
 

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See a new rv made in Canada that can seat 4 person with a super design that is close to what you can see in Europe made of very hight quality and craftsmanship see: panoramicrv.com
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Roblee, it's fun planning it all out. I'm taking it slow.

And Konaguy that is awesome. Recently I've been down on the promaster because it doesn't offer seating in the back. Installing it myself won't work because of my own concerns about safety and insurance issues, but I went to see a Ford Transit today to see if my design would work in that. Was thinking the wagon with seats and headliner. The dealer didn't have a wagon, but showed me a bare van and said they had local shops that could put seats in safely and get the van titled as a wagon. So I'm thinking I could do the same thing to a Promaster since I find the Promaster more desireable for a few reasons (FWD, Looks, Price, etc.). Seeing your seat install Kona has me ever more excited to look into this option. Thanks.
 

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Novacaine31,

There is a swivel for double bench seat but, its made in Europe (UK). Sorry I don't have a link, it may be worth some google time to track it down.

Freedman Seating http://www.freedmanseating.com (same company that makes the flip and fold seat in Konaguy's build) makes a single fold down seat that could be place up against your stove/sink galley.

Additionally maybe have a look at Safaricondo made in Canada http://www.safaricondo.com/en/

Cheers,

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Dave, those are some great ideas. Thanks! I googled the seat swivel and found them in England but only the version with the driver on the right side! http://www.kiravans.co.uk/scopema-r...-double-seat-swivel-uk-right-hand-drive-model So close. Going to see if I can find one that is made for the rest of Europe/US.

And the little bench fold up is an interesting idea as well. I called a truck place near here yesterday. It's the place the local Ford dealership uses for adding seats to their vans for crew builds. They said they can put in a 3 seat bench. But I'll need to swing by and see what they can do. I also want to make sure it's all certified, etc.

Looking at that Kiravans website makes me drool. I wish we had one of those near us here in the states :)

And I stumbled upon this video of a campervan that is almost exactly what I'm wanting to do. But it shows 4 seats and they don't have the second bed installed. https://youtu.be/dAEaQy4gQhw

https://soulcampers.com.pt/#SKIP
 

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Wow that video has my plan done with propane and a pair of seats in the dinette. I measured an could do the bath too in my 136 but opted for just a porta-pottie for now. My bed is a bit wider at 54” and collapses to a sofa too. Nice plan and interesting ideas.
 

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The UK has several companies that make 136" class Bs, there is even a 118" class B.
 

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Say Hey, Ken here. See if there's a Accessibility Converter near you . An outfit that does wheelchair conversions to vans . #1 , they know how to mount things right and #2 they may have a load of take out seats they would like to get rid of .
 
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