Mounting E-Track to an Econoline E-350 van for Bed Platform?

greggearhead

New member
Hello,

I have a 2011 Ford E350 Quigley 4x4 cargo Van. The rear is all bare metal at this point. I would like to put some E-tracks on the walls to be able to install (and remove) but I am concerned about the strength of the sheetmetal reinforcements on the interior walls. This is a work van, so I need the rear cargo space open most of the time, but want to put a stable bed platform in for camping occasionally.

Has anyone done this (I'm sure)? Should I panel it with plywood and go into the plywood, or use some thicker sheetmetal to spread the load over a greater area?

Thanks for all input.
 

jungblud

Observer
The old school E350 has solid sheet metal in the back so it can definitely stand up to some weight. The key is how it is done of course.

I think one key is to use proper fastening using some sort of expanding insert; and having enough fastening points along the length of the attached rail. I have a nutsert kit and plan to do this over the next few weeks once I finish my floor.

A question for you is what sort of rail are you attaching? The reason is if you use some sort of square rail, the rotational force depending on the hardware attached might not be adequate to avoid some twist.

I'm going with a single 8020 extrusion on each side but in a rectangular shape to maximize surface area that is bracing the wall and supporting the bed. The other option I'm looking into is the approach taken on this video:

Transit Conversion - DIY 3 Panel Aluminum Bed

Here a large plate of aluminum was bent in a brake and a custom channel with HDPE was used as a connection from the bed frame to the bent piece. Very clever but requires some custom work which you may not have access to achieve.
 

greggearhead

New member
What I was planning on using was E-track, because it has so many options, and I already have some from the last van I had.

I was thinking on using 2x4s across the span of the van, and then a couple pieces of plywood on top of them to make the platform. When I'm not using it as a bed, the e-track can be used for light duty additional tie downs for stuff in the back (I haul lots of cars and parts).
 

Roaddude

Long time off-grid vanlife adventurist
I've used my long wheelbase GMC van for hauling cargo and for adventuring.

I have e-track in the floor, and would not hesitate to screw lengths into the wall bracing, though suggest Riv-nuts or through bolting where you can, to reduce/eliminate vibration loosening self-tapping screws.
If you're putting ply on the walls anyways, it depends on how thick as to whether you'd screw e-track to it, or go through it into the wall braces.

As mentioned above, several attachment points along the length is advised. If attaching on top of plywood, I'd have those points at the vertical braces go into metal with Riv-nuts, and the rest into the ply.

cargo_2802-900.jpeg

Another option is to build side cupboards like above at the height you want your bed platform to be. I have two simple folding bed platforms, each as wide as a sleeping bag, with 3" upholstered cushions. I usually just carry one, though bring the 2nd if someone else is coming along. Each bed platform can go along either side lengthwise, or across the width anywhere along the lengths of the side cupboards, supported in the middle by a crate the same height as the side cupboards or by two crates if setup along one of the sides.

Across the width like this:
vanint_6042-900.jpg
.

My side cupboards hold a ton of gear, straps for the e-track, and tools, etc. They are flared out to the rear to full width of the doors and narrow slightly to 52" wide between wheel wells and beyond. That way I can funnel a pallet or sheet goods or whatever into the cargo area without banging up the ends of the side cupboards.

A lot of vanners want their bed platforms larger and going across the whole width more permanently and often a bit higher to provide a 'garage' of sorts underneath accessible from the rear doors.

I opted not to do that because I like keeping my bike in there, I like the more walk-through aspect possible in a van, and like that I can fold up the bed board and stow it and the cushions just the other side of that half-bulkhead, even when on the road. With this arrangement, it's a quick and easy switch from adventure van to empty for work or helping someone move, etc, and still retain considerable storage space in the side cupboards. They have simple lids with finger holes. Worked finest kind for years.

If using track on the walls to support a bed platform or to secure other gear, there is also airline L track that is favored by some. If you already have e-track, you're all set.

.
 
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