Electric drop down bed L4 Relay ?

Gary Wrench

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Location
Crewe
#1
Hello all, first post here.
Giving up caravanning and building a motorhome from a new L4 H2 Relay or Boxer... not ordered it as yet but loads in stock just waiting for right colour to come up - would have liked an L4 H3 but they re just a bit rarer in the right colour and the right price...

Wife likes here space and i dont like making up beds... I have an idea of making a typical rear lounge layout with 6' sofas and an electric drop down bed overhead on 800mm 12v linear actuators, kids can sleep on the sofas underneath us (while they still come with us) and i can get up early and make a brew and sit in swivel front seats away from them all.

Wont be a cheap build as we are used to the comforts of a modern caravan so will have everything we are used to - looking like i need about £12k budget to spend after buying the van.

Has anyone done this electric bed before or anything similar? Ive been to look at some Auto Trail L4 rear lounge vans today and also at some swift Coachbuilt models with drop down beds for inspiration.

Thanks in advance
 

Gary Wrench

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Location
Crewe
#2
forgot to say i intent to mount the actuators on 48mm square T slotted section which will be bolted in from floor to ceiling and actuators fitted so that the bed fits right up to the roof and lowers 800mm to some stops. T slot section will be braced and fitted within furniture to a point. I'm a pretty capable guy ... only thing I think I'll stuggle with is the neatness of the finishing .. have built a few units in a T5 before with furniture board and T edging, good with electrics and plumbing, will avoid gas and get an expert to do it !
 

fifthwheel

Active Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2016
#3
Welcome to the club Gary and good luck with your build. Sounds interesting.
 
S

squiffy

Guest
#5
Hello all, first post here.
Giving up caravanning and building a motorhome from a new L4 H2 Relay or Boxer... not ordered it as yet but loads in stock just waiting for right colour to come up - would have liked an L4 H3 but they re just a bit rarer in the right colour and the right price...

Wife likes here space and i dont like making up beds... I have an idea of making a typical rear lounge layout with 6' sofas and an electric drop down bed overhead on 800mm 12v linear actuators, kids can sleep on the sofas underneath us (while they still come with us) and i can get up early and make a brew and sit in swivel front seats away from them all.

Wont be a cheap build as we are used to the comforts of a modern caravan so will have everything we are used to - looking like i need about £12k budget to spend after buying the van.

Has anyone done this electric bed before or anything similar? Ive been to look at some Auto Trail L4 rear lounge vans today and also at some swift Coachbuilt models with drop down beds for inspiration.

Thanks in advance
Welcome Gary, I can't say that I have heard of anyone doing a self build drop down bed on this forum or any other come to that, my first concern would be head height with the bed retracted to the ceiling, even without the floor being insulated, unless you have an extra high roof model. The other concern would be that if including the drop down bed build with all the amenities of a modern conversaion, £12K would not cover your build budget, we have all that you suggest but not the drop down bed ( Check my build blog ) and that cost us 19K. The Camos satellite system was not included in that cost as I took it of my last camper, I feel that you must really do an in depth costing before embarking on your drop down bed idea. Though all respect to you if you go ahead, and I'm sure you will get lots of good advise from the lads and lasses on our site here. :) Phil.
 

Gary Wrench

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Location
Crewe
#6
Welcome Gary, I can't say that I have heard of anyone doing a self build drop down bed on this forum or any other come to that, my first concern would be head height with the bed retracted to the ceiling, even without the floor being insulated, unless you have an extra high roof model. The other concern would be that if including the drop down bed build with all the amenities of a modern conversaion, £12K would not cover your build budget, we have all that you suggest but not the drop down bed ( Check my build blog ) and that cost us 19K. The Camos satellite system was not included in that cost as I took it of my last camper, I feel that you must really do an in depth costing before embarking on your drop down bed idea. Though all respect to you if you go ahead, and I'm sure you will get lots of good advise from the lads and lasses on our site here. :) Phil.
Thanks for that Phil, I do want an L4H3 but trying to find a 12 month old one with low mileage and nice colour is frustrating... they are just a bit dearer than the H2 to buy new pushing it out of my budget. We’re both short... thin mattress may work ! As for build costs I’ll go and look at your blog... I have a large spreadsheet of costing but must have missed quite a lot !

Many thanks

Gary
 

Fran Loake

Active Member
Joined
May 18, 2016
#7
Hi Gary,

I think the height issue could be a problem too, it would be difficult to get base board, mattress, bedding etc, to squish down into a space less than 8 inches?? and there isn't that amount of spare room available comfortably in a H2.

At one point I considered raising the roof on my van in the bed area with a steel body/roof extension. Not a job for the faint hearted but it's certainly doable.

The other option would be to buy a white H3 and paint it?

I love the idea though and can't wait to see how you do it

Fran.
 
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squiffy

Guest
#8
Hi Gary, don' forget in your costing things like carriage costs, wire, elec connectors, adhesive sealant ( Boxes of it ) light fittings, relays, hinges, screws ect, not to mention single passenger seat ( Though if you are buying new you can request single seats),swivels for seats and of course upholstery costs if done Professionally, it all adds up believe me. Phil
 

Gary Wrench

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Location
Crewe
#9
Hi Gary, don' forget in your costing things like carriage costs, wire, elec connectors, adhesive sealant ( Boxes of it ) light fittings, relays, hinges, screws ect, not to mention single passenger seat ( Though if you are buying new you can request single seats),swivels for seats and of course upholstery costs if done Professionally, it all adds up believe me. Phil
Thanks Phil.. probably lose a lot of that through my business.... lol! Buying new but won’t be able to order with single seat, to get best price it’s whatever stock is around so £15250 plus vat for L4H2 or £17400 plus vat for H3 version. Unless anyone has managed to order with single seat for that price ? Just looked at all your pictures, impressive, especially like the bathroom window. Been searching for your blog on the build but struggling, can you point me at it ?
 

fifthwheel

Active Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2016
#10
Your build Gary your decision but I would forget about the drop down bed. I can see aggro coming as you build it. Would it look right when raised, I am not sure, and I dont mean your workmanship. john
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
#11
Hi Gary. I visited Young conversions in M Keynes before planning my build. He was looking at doing a drop down on a H3 and I believe they have done one on a sprinter/crafter. The mechanisms are available to buy but just seems to be webbing on 2 spindles powered buy an electric motor
Thanks
John
 

VanNV

Active Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2017
#12
Hi Gary, and welcome.

I contemplated a drop-down bed in my Nissan having enjoyed the one in a Hymer for many years but headroom ruled against it. I know that you would usually be sitting under it not standing but I still think that it would feel cramped. I have seen a manual drop-down on the "self-build campers" facebook group, but I couldn't see the point - <5' headroom and it took him longer to wind it down that it would take me to make the bed!

I also contemplated a fold down but that would have meant blocking the windows on the non-toilet side of the van so it would have been dark inside, in the end I have gone for a pull-out and make up.

Just a suggestion - you say you have to sleep four "for now" - how about designing a bunking arrangement with a view to being able to update it to a fixed double in the future?

The beauty of self-build is, of course, having your personal requirements met so if you do the drop-down it will be your van, your decision, and viewed with much interest by everyone here so keep us posted!

Regards

Rob
 

Gary Wrench

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Location
Crewe
#13
Your build Gary your decision but I would forget about the drop down bed. I can see aggro coming as you build it. Would it look right when raised, I am not sure, and I dont mean your workmanship. john
Thanks John, it’s the only way I can get the four of us in a motorhome... kids (12 and 15) moan about the bunks in current caravan (2014 swift Challenger 6 berth) , won’t share a double bed... the big plus for me is that when they don’t come with us anymore I won’t have to make the bed :) so it’s either a 6 berth coachbuilt (which I don’t want and can’t really afford) or we’re on the plane to Spain ... not what I want either. I’ve already spent a lot of time working out the complexities of the bed and believe it will work just fine, I do lose a roof light (no point) and from underneath when raised it should look just like a step in the ceiling. I have looked at sourcing a system from Happijac ( http://happijac.com/bed-lifts.html ) , but hard to get hold of and expensive including shipping. Rough pic ( not in a relay/boxer) attached
 

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Gary Wrench

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Location
Crewe
#14
Hi Gary. I visited Young conversions in M Keynes before planning my build. He was looking at doing a drop down on a H3 and I believe they have done one on a sprinter/crafter. The mechanisms are available to buy but just seems to be webbing on 2 spindles powered buy an electric motor
Thanks
John
Thanks John, yes they have cropped up in my searches !
 

Pugwash

Active Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Location
South Lincolnshire
#15
When I was very young my dad built a caravan. He made seating that converted to a double bed, with a single pole/hammock above it. My older brothers slept in an awning.
 

Gary Wrench

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Location
Crewe
#16
When I was very young my dad built a caravan. He made seating that converted to a double bed, with a single pole/hammock above it. My older brothers slept in an awning.
Lol, kids are spoilt these days ! I was sat in the caravan the other week in Cornwall and counted 11 Apple devices sat around the van... ridiculous, used to love to get out and play when I was a kid. Both my kids are Scouts but I can’t get them to sleep outside in a tent !
 
D

Deleted member

Guest
#17
Hi Gary, welcome to the forum. Your project sounds really interesting. I look forward to hearing (seeing) what you end up doing. I do think that an H3 would better suit your current plans. Good luck with whatever you decide. Geoff.
 

Darcar

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Location
East Devon
#20
I’v not seen a drop down bed at the rear of a van that’s made sense to me! They do take up a lot of space not just the bed base and mattress but the rails they run on have to be straight and seems to be in your face! Having said that the ones above the cab do use less useable space. Have you thought of putting it there? They’d also give you more headroom when down.
Good luck with your build and have fun.
Darcar.
 
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