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Discussion Starter #21
That looks great. How long does it take to remove the rear seat brackets and install your custom brackets. Did you try to make use of the stock brackets?
It was 4 bolts and 2 nuts. So not long. But it took me a day to Fab up the brackets. I thought about using the stock brackets.

This guy gave me the idea, but in the end I didn't quite trust the T-nuts and fabbed brackets to bolt in place of the OEM seat brackets.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Update:

Eight months now living in the car, and the shelf is doing great!!

No cracks, loose bolts, broken parts, nothing. The girlfriend and I are on a US National Park tour for 2016/2017, and have been traveling the country with this build (36k so far).



I wanted to thank EOC for many of the upgrade ideas I did to the car, and Fifth Element Camping for social media props.

I have a blog of some of the other details of the build if anyone is interested!

http://starlkrenbic.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-ride-ele.html

-Karl
 

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I recently finished doing this build and am writing an update for the 2007+ models.





Unfortunately, the leg system fitting onto the bolts in the seat rails does not work on the 2007 and newer models due to the redesign of the seat. My way around this was using some of my scrap to build a removable leg support to sit on top of the center console (Fig. 1 & 2).

Fig. 1


Fig. 2

I have the cooler center console the support leg didn't have to be that large. If you plan on going this route with a newer model E without the cooler console, it will need to be longer. Also notice that the front end of the frame folds upwards instead of downwards (Fig. 3 & 4). This is due to the height of the cooler console not allowing it to fold so I had to go the opposite way.


Fig. 3


Fig. 4

On the front panel I cut it at a 45 degree angle in order to fold it back further to get a couple more inches of leg room. I would have done the same on the center panels but unfortunately I had cut them slightly too short so was unable to take any more off without compromising the support.

I utilized the scrap .125" thick flat stock that I got from Home Depot for the back plate of the brackets to make the side supports for the rear (Fig. 5). Doubling up the pieces flattened out the frame perfectly.


Fig. 5

Figure 6 shows the changes to the original dimensions that I made for the build. I increased the length of the rear supports as it helped center them more evenly on the rear bins. This did require drilling new holes to mount it to the middle frame. The side lengths of the front portion were decreased to 6" in order to accommodate for the inability of the front seats to go forward.


Fig. 6

If I could go back and do it again I would have shortened the middle frame by 3-4 inches and increased the front frame by that amount in order to allow for the front seats to go all of the way back.

Luckily, there is a plastic manufacturer local to my town and I was able to pick up a 5-wall polycarbonate sheet to use for the platform. Hurriguard is not sold at Home Depot anymore, but a 3-wall polycarbonate sheet is still available (it will flex a bit more than the 5-wall).

This was a really fun project and was my first major modification to the Element. Hats off to Karl for designing this and executing it flawlessly.
 

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Hot Karl this is an amazing setup! I think I've found the one for me, it definitely looks like something I can handle making. And it gives you so much space! I'll have to work in the adjustments Crawdude has, since my Element is a 2010, but this thing is perfect! I've checked out your blog too, 8 months of a trip is amazing. I'm planning a trip through National parks up the West Coast into Canada and then Alaska, then come back East of the Rockies...going for 4 months or so. So 8 months sounds amazing and crazy :D Just save up a lot before the trip or are you able to work on the go?? Cuz that sounds great.
Thanks for the ideas!
 

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Hello Crawdude,
Did you have to modify Karl's brackets to make them work for your 2007+ Element?

Thanks,
 

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I made one of these for my 04. Works great. Super solid. I initially used the plastic sheeting but living in it full time aand having woman sleep over a few times broke the hurricane board. :ROFLMAO: I upgrades to IKEA wood slats instead of the plastic sheeting so that the mattress can breath. Im going back to seats so imy frame is for sale if anyone wants one. Located Near SF.
 
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