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Discussion Starter #1
2018 1500 136". I'm not really angry.

This van has seen some things. It has seen me barely manage to solder together the aftermarket cruise control wiring. It has seen a few extra schmeers of black goo on the roof where only I care that it exists.

It has seen me struggle to install the heavy steel octopus that is the hitch rack. That sucked. I installed a oil drain valve so changing the oil takes about 2 minutes of actual work.

I installed a nice vent fan, and a Vanrug on the floor. The vanrug is awesome! (originally I installed a plywood floor but it was too slick. Completely impractical for me.) The Vanrug has holes for the floor tiedowns but they are cramped. I need to tie some webbing or something to them so they are easy to hook up.

It has a 2/3 murphy bed, 2/3 of it fold up, the other 1/3 remains as a bench type thing. I need space to haul some big stuff so can't have the bed in the way all the time. I used barstool swivels for the murphy hinges. I had to decide how to level the bed and decided to make it closer to level than the floor, when parked in a flat spot. It isn't quite level but it isn't far off if the van is in a flat spot. I'm 5'8" and shrinking so I can fit sideways. My partner is smaller so it is perfect.

The wooden thresholds in the last image aren't fixed yet. I need to trim them to fit the vanrug which is a bit different size than the old floor, but they'll work fine. Almost all the dimensional lumber was scrap. I had to buy plywood, and I now have plenty of 1/2" maple ply from the floor to do other stuff. I'll put a panel over the ends of the benches to finish them off since they look a little janky.

Upcoming, I have some lights and modest 12v wiring, switches, usb outlets, lights. I have a Jackery camping battery "generator" that probably will be almost enough for me most of the time. Here it is.

I like keeping it simple. I don't want a crazy intense build. I mostly don't need insulation. I have a lot of photo and bike gear to haul and I camp and do 1-3 week road trips.

If I want to tear it apart and sell it to an Amazon delivery guy I can do it.

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Nice bed concept. Will it be able to fold up with the mattress and bedding on it? If so it’s the best idea so far for folding bed.
 

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Nice! I like your bed concept also. You are the first to think of bar stool swivels I think. You could almost do that to the other side as well, but you would need the legs to swing out and lock.

Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice bed concept. Will it be able to fold up with the mattress and bedding on it? If so it’s the best idea so far for folding bed.
Thank you. Good eye on that detail. It does fold up with my 4" thick foam mattress and some thick bedding. If I add a panel to that wall though, it won't be as easy to squish the pillows in also. In the photos where it is folded up, the mattress isn't in there, but when it is, the top of the bed doesn't snug as tightly to the wall of the van. You can also see the plywood lips I put on to keep the mattress from sliding down. I'd had this installed all last summer. A test run of sorts I guess. I'll post pics tomorrow of the clearance situation. I could see needing more if you want a thicker mattress. Maybe an inch or two thick camping mat would be good because it could collapse when not used.

Nice! I like your bed concept also. You are the first to think of bar stool swivels I think. You could almost do that to the other side as well, but you would need the legs to swing out and lock.

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, though I didn't think of the swivels, I saw a guy on youtube build a home murphy using them. I did look for some pretty decent quality ones. I considered doing that with the other side. I still might do it. If I can engineer a really easy to use leg system. The bench is pretty handy most of the time and not in the way of my stuff.

Someone who wanted to really do some nice woodworking could make a sweet bench there that has more features. Lids from the top, like under boat benches? Some nice trim, etc. Like the title says, I'm pretty hacky.

As part of my little remodel I moved the bed rearward--I'd originally left almost 2 feet in the rear of space but I never used it much and it shrank the living room space way too much. For that the bench did have a flip up flap so the bench wasn't in the way of the door unless the bed was down. It was ok but made the bed a bit of a hassle to set up.

I did a bit work today during lunch and will post some pics with details of the hinges tomorrow and some other stuff

Thank you for all the nice words. Soon I won't have to do this:

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More photos of the paneling. All materials I had on hand. Starting wiring. Turns out the 2x I braced across the murphy bed will probably squish the mattress too much. I'd added it for support after moving the bed rearward. I'll add blocks to the legs lower toward to the floor to secure them and remove the 2x. Then the bedding will have plenty of room.

Toilet seat for occasional use is going to be of the simple variety, on a 5 gallon bucket and a Toto style hot water bidet. Oh, and way down at the end, are those some sweet CTA swivels? Yes they are. I'm hoping my legs touch the floor so I don't have to mess with lowered bases.
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Plywood detail. The 1x lumber was already attached. I slipped some 1/2" maple behind it to complete the wall panel.
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I don't need much power. I have two strings of LED lights. For one string I'll put on a three way switch so I can switch it from the door or from bed. If I can pull off the wiring for that I'm going to brag a lot about my skills. I also have a lot of USB charging devices so I've got something like 6 USB charging jacks going in.

I found a red safety covered toggle switch for my main cuttoff. Even though I don't need it, I can just switch off my battery I guess. It looks suitably goofy for my build.

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These things are heavy. CTA swivels from SwivelsRUs.com. I'm 5'8" and wonder about the height. The stock seat already feels a bit high for me. I'll see.
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That 2x brace across the headboard area of the bed has to come out. I added it for bracing when I moved the bed aft. I can add blocks on the legs to brace instead. I forgot I needed room for the bedding to fit when it pivots up. That's why the hinges are on 1x10, to keep them away from the wall for bedding clearance. I know a lot of things, that I have forgotten, then have to relearn again the hard way.

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Wow, I thought my plumbing system was expensive, i have an isotherm hot water heater (electic with engine heat exchanger, full shower, 21 gallon water tank, pressure pump and everything) and it did not cost 1495! but close, that isoterm was about half that.
 

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I sort of wish I had bought that battery cut off switch with the cover. I bought a rotating battery cut off switch with a removable handle. My Jack Russell Terrier discovered he could turn it off, extract the handle and chew it until it is a pile of red plastic. I ended up buying a security box with a waterproof cover at H-D to keep him away from it. I believe everyone needs a switch that disconnects the battery system in case of an electrical emergency. NOTE: We must remember that our solar controller needs to be disconnected from the panels before we turn off the battery! Despite that no electrical harm was done to my system.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I've installed some of my old floor as wall panels, fitting them in here and there as I find pieces that fit. I'm thinking of covering some of the steel with fabric for a different look in some places. Plus I have some I think I can use.

I've installed a home depot wall cabinet for my kitchen and I have some old glued up 1x table top to put on for the countertop.

LED multicolor are hot and switched and the USBs are almost done.

Most pics are from GoPro to get the wide angle of view.

Details of the murphy hinges and supports. With better planning one could make this really nicely finished legs and cabinetry. Or aluminum for the bed, you could use pivot pin hinges (normally installed on two way doors in the top and bottom of the door, instead of the side) and make a lower profile bed.

Most of the plywood is maple, 1/2". If I find another 54" piece I will replace the rough ply that is on the big part of the bed. I guess I can sand and polyurethane it for a nicer finish. I think I'll actually paint the bed and some of the 1x material, poly on the panels. I don't know. I'm not much of an interior designer.


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I got 20 small LED strips to put in nooks and underneath things for convenient lighting of cargo areas and gentle lighting for getting up at night, etc.

That's a Jackery 240 battery that powers my 12v. It's pretty good for me. I can charge it while driving. It is compact and easy and kind of plug and play. The disadvantage is that for solar charging it can only be charged by a 50w panel. But I’ll be mostly able to recharge it while driving or by plugging into 120 power somewhere

8 USB ports, a couple of smart ones, most 5v 2.1 amp. I have a lot of USB devices to charge. Like, maybe a hundred and I'm not really exaggerating. I don't need them all at once obviously but inevitably I find myself chasing USB ports at the last minute. Also the one in the front next to the cup holder died so I'm replacing it with a double.

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I'll probably remove that 2x and put in a few blocks on the pillar to support the leg.

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Here's the leg underneath.
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The small plywood tabs keep the mattress from falling when the bed is tipped up.
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If you don't have color changing LED strips you haven't lived.
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Someone who cares, please let me know if this is a debacle. I learned a lot about crimping. I'll probably unplug the lead that powers the cool led switch indicators but for photos ya gotta bring the color
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Here's the Jackery running with fan on 11 and two 4 light LED strips. With the fan on low and the lights on it consumes about 6-7w
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I've debated adding more LED light strips in this build. My question is how will you wire them? Are they all on separate fuses and switches or will they be wired together somehow?
 

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Most LED strips are 12V so you can string a lot of them together in a row or just tie all the +'s and -'s together, then connect to a switch or dimmer... or use a switch on each line to control which lights go on/off.

AMB, when I first saw the bed folded up, I thought about all the things you could store in the spaces between the bed joists... add some vertical doors to the bottom side, and you get lots of storage in already-used space! I'm sure that's part of your plan...
 
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