I'M BATVAN! ...a 2006 E350 V10 DIY Ujoint Conversion

Pinnacle Campers

Chateau spotter
Soon after the bed panels were done I started work on the Vanslide.
I wanted a bedslide pretty bad. I even bought one off of Craigslist for "cheap" before I even had my van. Then I had read in Brad's Vandiana thread about his making a ton of noise when unloaded, he didn't have it long. Additionally all of the bedslides out there waist precious height, the one I had was 3" high.
So I set out to build one 1" high.
Using the same construction as the bed frames, utilizing 22mm skateboard bearings, the weldmount studs from the window block off panel project for the "headless fasteners", and some modified 1/2"x1/2"x1/4" steel angle for a track.
IMG_5646sm.jpg
The pivoted/spun piece of 1/2"x1" tubing is the unlock handle. This is attached to a simple braided steel cable/pulley system and two 1/2" steel spring loaded locking pins. Pull to unlock, push back in and the pins find the holes and lock automatically.
The tolerances are super tight, I even cut the pinch weld at the door jamb on the passenger side rear door area. Also in this pic, you can see the sleeve in the tubing for the lock pins.
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I tested my system with some camping but ultimately The Maze area of Canyonlands National Park took its toll and was a great learning experience. First of all, I didn't locktite any of the bolts as I had planned on taking it all back apart for paint/upholstery.
This resulted in loose and eventually bent bearing bolts, (have I mentioned there are 24 of them....per side!) noise, jamming, etc. Also, I had used angle aluminum for the side rails and they were carrying all the load of our gear, cooler, food, potty, etc.
On return I changed the side rails to steel and decided some full contact roller bearings under the frame center would be a good idea.
In this pic you can see 4 of the 6 full contact roller bearings. They line up with the center longitudinal 1x frame menbers. You can also see them poking through the black coin flooring in the "fully upright" pic.
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With the temporary plywood, this is inset, so the total frame thickness is 1", its about 1" off the floor. The plywood panels are screwed in from the bottom of the 1/2"x1" steel tube running perpendicular to travel.
You can also see that I put vertical plywood on the "brackets" creating cubbies behind.
IMG_5648sm.jpg

To replace the plywood I wanted something that was abrasion resistant/durable, and waterproof/resistant. From prior research, and after seeing MG use the Starboard type products on the Optima van I thought that or its HDPE equivalents would work great.
These materials and their brand names are mostly marine products, well there isn't much of that in Boise Idaho. Getting just one sheet shipped here wasn't very cost effective either. Then doing some internet research I realized they use these HDPE boards to line dump trucks for damage resistance and also so materials slide out easier. A quick call to a local distributer and I found 5 sheets in stock for $80ish a piece. I went and got 2 then realized I should have bought it all then went back and bought the rest just so I can have it "in stock".
I cut pieces to replace the plywood in the Vanslide, the vertical walls on the sides of the bedslide and for the panel dividers in the cubbies. The panels are attached in a number of ways, rivnuts, threaded holes in the steel, all with 8mm countersunk allen heads.
The bottom of the bed panels are still plywood with black exterior latex paint. I painted the underside of the stationary side panels a light tan just so it would reflect the light of my cubby LED's.
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The top of the "track" is the HDPE itself. When the slide is out, the bearings at the van side end are pushing up against it here. You can also see the locking pin here.
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With the cubby LED's on. These are 3-way switched from the back, or the front behind the second row seat.
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In this pic you can see the track itself a little better. I added flanges made out of washers for the 8mm countersunk bolts. Just in front of it is the notch that would be its furthest out locked position.
In the foreground you can see one of the full contact bearings and its ABS sheet eschuteon (trim ring). Its always dirty under the slide as all of the dirt sifts through it.
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Here is a better shot of the cable/pulley/lock pin spring system. The full contact bearing alignment with the 1x's.
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Pinnacle Campers

Chateau spotter
Killer build. I'm going to have to borrow your window rack idea.
Thanks guys, I added/edited some above.

I thought the window blank panel had some marketability but its not something I plan on doing. It would be cool if one of our vendors offered one. ;)
It could be done a ton of different ways. It could have and internal structure and fiberglass, pop out for perpendicular sleeping. Outside/inside cabinets, etc. The fact that they bolt in makes it user friendly to install vs. having fancy glass install gear.
 

Jsweezy

Explorer
Yes. Simply Yes. I was just talking with MG about how I thought it would be cool to have a bed slide and he brought up how noisy they were and I noticed they were definitely tall and taking up more space than I wanted just for flooring. This solves all of those issues and looks super good as well. This definitely makes sense.
 

OtterHome

New member
Brian, this is a great interior, well thought out and executed. I've used the starboard on boats before, great stuff.

I'm hoping to do something similar in my van. My slide would need to be shorter, to accommodate the second row Siennas, which I'm hoping to make easily removable soon. Great work and appreciate all the photos.
 

klp42

New member
Yeah this is a great build out! The slider is great - I want one too but originally I just wanted one for a fridge. Bed folding into a bulkhead is great too, I don't think I have the engineering chops to get it done though.

I want my setup to hold one bike inside, gotta see if this would give me enough room.

Can't wait to see what you build next.
 

naterry

13 Cheeseburgers
Clean work, I love the flexibility of your build Brian, but the fine people of this forum deserve a picture or two of the fabulous mood lighting in your van.
 

Pinnacle Campers

Chateau spotter
Super trick build-out! Tons of great ideas at work here. Really, really nice work!
Thanks for all of the kind words from everyone. I have learned so much from this forum I felt I really needed to give something back and I feel I have a lot to offer.

Yes. Simply Yes. I was just talking with MG about how I thought it would be cool to have a bed slide and he brought up how noisy they were and I noticed they were definitely tall and taking up more space than I wanted just for flooring. This solves all of those issues and looks super good as well. This definitely makes sense.
Thanks man. Pretty easy to do and can be done a number of different ways. I plan to do a second one here soon and I'm going to use the same/similar construction.

Brian, this is a great interior, well thought out and executed. I've used the starboard on boats before, great stuff.

I'm hoping to do something similar in my van. My slide would need to be shorter, to accommodate the second row Siennas, which I'm hoping to make easily removable soon. Great work and appreciate all the photos.
:)


Yeah this is a great build out! The slider is great - I want one too but originally I just wanted one for a fridge. Bed folding into a bulkhead is great too, I don't think I have the engineering chops to get it done though.

I want my setup to hold one bike inside, gotta see if this would give me enough room.

Can't wait to see what you build next.
Just an FYI my slide is 68 3\4" long it's a little short for a motorcycle.

dang I forgot your setup converted to a bulkhead. always impressed with your work brian, you crafty focker...
Thanks buddy and good to see you over the weekend.

Clean work, I love the flexibility of your build Brian, but the fine people of this forum deserve a picture or two of the fabulous mood lighting in your van.
Patience, ;)
 

Petrolburner

Explorer
Yeah the bed folding into a bulkhead is brilliant. I'd really like to have some kind of a cargo net being the front two seats to increase reduce the risk of flying objects in the back in the event of a catastrophic accident.
 

Pinnacle Campers

Chateau spotter
Yeah the bed folding into a bulkhead is brilliant. I'd really like to have some kind of a cargo net being the front two seats to increase reduce the risk of flying objects in the back in the event of a catastrophic accident.
Thanks bud,
Seems like outsidevans had a zip in, insulated cordura bulkhead in one of their vans in the gallery section. Might be good for winter camping too.
 
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