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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to come up with a layout that seats/sleeps four people for our family.

Looking for seats for the kids that can fold down and be the forward part of their bunks. (Idea borrowed from folding seats in our Subaru that when folded down allows enough room to sleep) We have found these 3rd row folding seats from a Suburban/Yukon that have integrated seat-belts.

See attachment.

One issue is that they are pretty low to the floor. The Suburban/Yukon must have a footwell for these. I imagine we'd need some type of raiser/platform to mount these onto.

Is there a better way to do this?
 

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Since there is no way you are ever going to get the installation of those seats certified, I’d just go to a welding shop and have them make me two brackets as high as you think will work and H-D enough to bolt those to and then to bolt through the floor adding a piece of plate stock to spread the load. Nice looking seats.
 

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We share the same issue(s), more heads than beds. We solved(ish) the rear seating dilema with a 3- lap belt, sleeper sofa that we had installed at Van Specialties is PDX. That said their install was nothing more than as described by RD above, the unit is bolted through the floor for plate reinforcements at the fastners. Not NSTB crash-safety tested or approved but this is what we are left with as there isn't, to my knowledge, an aftermarket upfitter that has such a cert. So to improve the psychological safety of the seat I added 4-point Jeep-style harnesses, also bolted-thru and reinforced. With the seat down and an added panel extension the lower platform darn near a queen size bed be it 20" below the king-size, 4-panel platform above. And as an added bonus my wife has found that she enjoys the lower bed more than the upper giving me a bit more room if I can put up with rib kicks from my kids.
 

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I picked up some seats at a salvage yard and welded up a platform for the seats. They fold and also in hook out of the platform if I need the space.



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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We share the same issue(s), more heads than beds. We solved(ish) the rear seating dilema with a 3- lap belt, sleeper sofa that we had installed at Van Specialties is PDX. That said their install was nothing more than as described by RD above, the unit is bolted through the floor for plate reinforcements at the fastners. Not NSTB crash-safety tested or approved but this is what we are left with as there isn't, to my knowledge, an aftermarket upfitter that has such a cert. So to improve the psychological safety of the seat I added 4-point Jeep-style harnesses, also bolted-thru and reinforced. With the seat down and an added panel extension the lower platform darn near a queen size bed be it 20" below the king-size, 4-panel platform above. And as an added bonus my wife has found that she enjoys the lower bed more than the upper giving me a bit more room if I can put up with rib kicks from my kids.
DNelsonID, could you post photos. This sounds like exactly what we want to do.

Thanks.
 

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I picked up some seats at a salvage yard and welded up a platform for the seats. They fold and also in hook out of the platform if I need the space.



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Can you post pictures and any specs you care to share of your welded platform for the seats? How did you attach to the van floor and reinforce the attachment points? This is coming up quickly on our build list. Thanks for any info!

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I will try to make a drawing with some measurements and a few more photos this weekend.


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I got out to the van this morning and took some more pictures of the platform. It's 8" high, and that put my kids seat about even with ours. It is bolte down to the frame using grade 8 bolts in 6 places, 4 through the floor and 2 using the anchor points on the short wall behind the driver. The floor bolts are backed up by some long 1/8" steel. The majority of the platform is made up of 1"X1"x1/8" angle and square tube. The seat mounting rails are made with 2"x3"x3/16" rectangle tube with 5/8" solid round rod for the hook points.







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Wow, awesome info! I have a plymouth voyager seat and was just designing a platform, came up with some similar ideas which is reassuring. The nice thing about the voyager seat is that it moves forwards backwards about 10" with a typical seat sliding mechanism. This would be really nice so that the seat can be forward while driving and back (to create room for a table in between front seats and the bench seat) while camping. I still haven't decided between the voyager seat or a ford transit seat (or both).

Good to know that 5/8" round rod works for the seat "hooks". I went to a junkyard to see if I could get the vehicle side of the attachment "hooks" from the dodge voyager. They are welded into the unibody frame, only way to use them would be to cut out the whole floor. Sizing these seemed like it would not be super easy.

In general for a platform which seats are attached to I was thinking about using rectangular tube the height of the platform for two main fore/aft rails. The two main rails would attach to the short wall behind driver seats. Heavy steel plate would go on top of the rectangular tubes. For the rear attachment was thinking about using giant square u bolts over the steel plate and rectangular tube, thru the floor and over the frame members on the van. Long heavy duty square u bolts are relatively easy to find as they are used for vehicle suspension and more. Seats (of any kind) wold attach directly to steel plate. I know this seems like overkill but seemed like it would be easier than designing and building something lighter. The u bolt/steel plate idea is'nt mine, got that from Ck32250: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36081&page=4
 

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The toyota sienna leather recliner seats can work well in this application. Still need the raised mount, but, you can actually sleep in them as they recline and have foot rests. They have integrate seat belts. They seem to be kind of spendy on ebay, but I'm sure a frugal person could get them for less. For all the seats, clearly there is an issue of attaching to the floor in a way that has enough integrity to survive a crash and keep the occupants belted in if that were to happen.
 

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I did something similar to atomicrider - I used Ford F150 driver & passenger seats, bolted to a sturdy frame. I had Van Specialties fabricate and install the frame. The seats bolt to it at their normal attachment points. I bought the seats on Ebay. F150 seats are 3-point seats and low profile. The frame raised them up level to the front two seats, which are on swivels. I then built the floor flush to the front cab (like atomicrider) and put in a swing-out table. The seat frame is just high enough to run an 8'5" SUP board from behind up under the seats (159" wheelbase version). Van Specialties did a great job on the seat base, which is mounted thru the floor with multiple bolts. I built a fridge/cabinet unit directly behind the seats & then bed behind that (lower lateral for 2, bunk bed for 1 T'd off above the lower). Sounds like you are building a bed out over the seats - the Ford F150 seats don't fold all the way forward, so they wouldn't work for that. They are very comfortable, but a bit too bulky, imo.
 

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I did something similar to atomicrider - I used Ford F150 driver & passenger seats, bolted to a sturdy frame. I had Van Specialties fabricate and install the frame. The seats bolt to it at their normal attachment points. I bought the seats on Ebay. F150 seats are 3-point seats and low profile. The frame raised them up level to the front two seats, which are on swivels. I then built the floor flush to the front cab (like atomicrider) and put in a swing-out table. The seat frame is just high enough to run an 8'5" SUP board from behind up under the seats (159" wheelbase version). Van Specialties did a great job on the seat base, which is mounted thru the floor with multiple bolts. I built a fridge/cabinet unit directly behind the seats & then bed behind that (lower lateral for 2, bunk bed for 1 T'd off above the lower). Sounds like you are building a bed out over the seats - the Ford F150 seats don't fold all the way forward, so they wouldn't work for that. They are very comfortable, but a bit too bulky, imo.
Can you send photos of the attachment of this seat under the van? We're in the process of designing the same set up. Thanks so much!

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Hi,
Something to bear in mind when designing seat supports to withstand a crash is that in addition to the large forward acting load on the seat, there is a strong overturning moment because the center of gravity of the seat and passengers is well above the floor line.

For example, if the cg of the seat and passengers in the seat is 24 inches above the floor and the seat is bolted to the floor with a set of bolts near the forward edge of the seat and a set near the aft end of the seat that are separated by (say) 16 inches, and you design of a 30 g forward crash, and the weight of the seats plus passengers is 400 lbs, then...

The forward acting load on the floor bolts is: is (30 g)*(400 lb) = 12000 lbs (forward)
This forward acting load is likely divided between the front and rear bolts, so about 6000 lbs on front bolts and 6000 lbs on rear bolts.

The overturning moment is: (30 g)*(400 lbs) * (24 inches) = 288000 in-lbs

The up load on the back set of bolts due to the overturning moment is: (288000 in-lb) / (16 inches) = 18000 lbs (upward)

And the down load on the forward set of bolts is also 18000 lbs (downward)

So, these up and down loads that are caused by the overturning moment on the seat on this example are quite a bit larger than the forward loads. I guess the message is to design the rear set of bolts to be highly resistant to being pulled UP out of the floor -- maybe a full width plate under the floor?
Separating the front and rear supports for the seat by as much distance as possible also helps by giving a larger base to react the overturning moment over.
The taller you make the seat base, the larger the overturning moment is, so, I'd keep it as low as possible while still providing comfortable seating.

Gary
 

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I put some anchors in the floor of my previous van to attach/detach a bench seat I got from a scrap yard. (I think it was from an Aerostar?) With ~10 years of use, I came to dread installing and uninstalling the the seat. It was quick, but awkward and heavy for one person. If I did it again, I would consider installing multiple one-person removable seats. (I know that some mini-vans come with those.) They would be a lot easier to shuffle around.
 

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Hi,
Something to bear in mind when designing seat supports to withstand a crash is that in addition to the large forward acting load on the seat, there is a strong overturning moment because the center of gravity of the seat and passengers is well above the floor line.

For example, if the cg of the seat and passengers in the seat is 24 inches above the floor and the seat is bolted to the floor with a set of bolts near the forward edge of the seat and a set near the aft end of the seat that are separated by (say) 16 inches, and you design of a 30 g forward crash, and the weight of the seats plus passengers is 400 lbs, then...

The forward acting load on the floor bolts is: is (30 g)*(400 lb) = 12000 lbs (forward)
This forward acting load is likely divided between the front and rear bolts, so about 6000 lbs on front bolts and 6000 lbs on rear bolts.

The overturning moment is: (30 g)*(400 lbs) * (24 inches) = 288000 in-lbs

The up load on the back set of bolts due to the overturning moment is: (288000 in-lb) / (16 inches) = 18000 lbs (upward)

And the down load on the forward set of bolts is also 18000 lbs (downward)

So, these up and down loads that are caused by the overturning moment on the seat on this example are quite a bit larger than the forward loads. I guess the message is to design the rear set of bolts to be highly resistant to being pulled UP out of the floor -- maybe a full width plate under the floor?
Separating the front and rear supports for the seat by as much distance as possible also helps by giving a larger base to react the overturning moment over.
The taller you make the seat base, the larger the overturning moment is, so, I'd keep it as low as possible while still providing comfortable seating.

Gary
Thanks for quantifying and the important point about the increased forces on the rear of the seat platform attachment. This is why I am considering using giant square u bolts over the frame rails underneath the van to attach the rear of the seat platform to the vehicle. Check out: http://store.uboltsdirect.com/ Super heavy duty square u bolts in nearly any size you can imagine. To me this seems like it may be easier and perhaps safer than fitting large metal plate under the van and attaching that plate to the frame. For the front of a seat platform that goes all the way to the low bulkhead wall behind the drivers seats less substantial reinforcement appears to be necessary. Unfortunately the area where most are placing these seats/platforms is right where the muffler is so dropping the muffler and/or working around the heat sheild is necessary unless as you mention the platform is longer and goes further aft of the muffler.
 
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