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coupe of questions fer ya!

Nice job, well put together and seems simple enough. Are you using the reclined front seat for stretched out legs? Did you just roll the mattress right over them? How is the weight on those plastic side compartments? Are they strong enough? Last question. Did you buy the planks that wide, or are they smaller strips glued together? I would like to assemble something like that this week, thats why so many questions. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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I wasn't expecting immediate interest. I will try to post the plans as soon as I type them up. Since we really just were winging it, I have some measurements to take.

I will post the shopping list later this evening.

And now for the disclaimer.. This platform is completely untested at this time. Our first trip is still a couple of weeks out. We are using the front seat backs as the bottom of the bed, with an air mattress (44" wide) over the platforms and seat backs. Since it's only our pillows and heads that will be on the back section (that rests on the back bins and only two central legs), we are hoping that the side bins are strong enough.

I will post more later...
 

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Thank you. Let us know how the weight distribution over the side plastic compartments holds up after your trip. Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Measurements, plans, and legs

Here are the measurements for the placement of the legs and the u-bolts on the aspen panels. This drawing is also in the flickr set mentioned above.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/staisey/4667914364/


The cutting and drilling of the boards went quickly enough once we decided where everything was going. The length of the legs is an entirely different story. We worked on the legs one at a time. Problems: the floor slopes a few inches from the tailgate towards front of the vehicle, and the floor is soft near the front and hard over the spare tire. For each leg we approximated the length, cut the PVC pipe, fit on the bottom PVC cap, did a dry fit, took some off, did another dry fit, removed just a bit more, and it finally fit. We repeated this process for all seven legs. We were warned against using a circular saw to cut the PVC, as it might cause it to shatter. The PVC did cut very easily with a regular hack saw.

The u-bolts were installed on the boards, and using the turnbuckles and the s-hooks, we attached the platforms to the vehicle using the tie-down brackets on the sides.

I will post again after we have successfully used the platforms for sleeping, but will gladly answer any questions I can until then.
 

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The plastic side compartments are plenty strong. The platform we built also use the bins to hold up the sides of the wood. After two years of use, no problems so far. I can even sit on the edge of the platform with my legs hanging out of the car without any noticeable give to the bins.
 

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The plastic side compartments are plenty strong. The platform we built also use the bins to hold up the sides of the wood. After two years of use, no problems so far. I can even sit on the edge of the platform with my legs hanging out of the car without any noticeable give to the bins.
Awesome!, thanks for the input. Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Success!

We've been through a couple of camping trips with the platform. It is performing as hoped. The turnbuckles have had to be tightened down, but no other issues. Very happy. And with the Coleman SUV aur mattress and two sleeping bags, it is soooo comfortable. We also just stretched a regular mosquito net for a cot,like this one, over the open back end for bug free ventilation. I've added a few more photos to my flickr set, showing the inside all made up.
 

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The BEST of 4 designs...

I combined features from Staisey, flyazureair, Goofcat, and BreE. I used the design diagram that Staisey supplied in her flickr photos. I am quite a perfectionist but my finished product is a thing of beauty and functionality. Here are a few details to make your platform even better:
1. I cut both of my panels 47" wide. With added carpeting, the front panel fits snugly in place without sliding from side to side. They are also easier to remove. If I did it again, I would leave the aft panel at 48" wide for a snugger fit, since my 47" cut allows it to slide about 1 inch from side-to-side.
2. For a perfect corner fit, I cut the rear corners 3" along the tailgate and 2.5" along the side (on my 47" wide aft panel).
3. I used the Ikea "Vika Curry" table legs ($5 each) but did not use the screws that were supplied ( they would have been too long and would have come through the topside of my 3/4" plywood platform). Instead, I used #10 X 5/8" wood screws to attach the mounting plates to the underside of my platform.
4. When measuring the distance from the flat part of the mounting plate to the floor, remember to allow for the 3/8" plastic foot that fits onto the bottom of your leg. In other words, cut each leg 3/8" shorter than the measurement to allow for the foot. Since the floor in front of the spare tire cover of the E is so "spongee", I cut the 5 legs for the front panel 1/4" longer than my floor-to-panel measurements to compensate for the "sinking in" of the legs into the floor when my body weight is on the platform. I carefully used a hack-saw and each leg only took about 2 minutes to cut without too much elbow grease.
5. When measuring these under-platform distances, use a locking tape measure and rest the casing of the tape measure on the floor as you extend the end of the tape up to the mounting plate. Remember to add the length of the casing (usually 3") to the tape measurement reading.
6. I used 2 plastic milk crates and several books/magazines of varying thickness to support my front panel so that I could make it level as well as flush with the rear panel. When everything was perfect, I measured my floor-to-panel distances with my tape measure. It was a little awkward to reach under the panel to get these measurements.
7. To anchor the platforms to the floor, I screwed 4 "dock rings" to the underside corners of each platform (remember to use those 5/8" screws!). Then I used 1/4" by 7 1/2" turnbuckles and a S hook to connect the dock ring to the cargo rings that are already installed in the Element.
Hope this helps....!!!
 

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Looks awesome, nice job! I have to ask, where did you get the bug net that covers your open hatch? I have been looking for one of those, but couldn't find one.
 

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6. I used 2 plastic milk crates and several books/magazines of varying thickness to support my front panel so that I could make it level as well as flush with the rear panel. When everything was perfect, I measured my floor-to-panel distances with my tape measure. It was a little awkward to reach under the panel to get these measurements.
Long shot here, but could you share those measurements? I know it was four years ago. ;-)
 

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I built this platform a few weeks ago. I particularly love that I can leave the back platform in place behind the rear seats for extra organization.

These are the measurements that I used when cutting legs, from the rear of the car towards the front. Note that I used knock-out caps on my PVC so these measurements will be slightly too long for beefier caps... but they're a solid starting point.

1 x 10.5"
1 x 11.5"
2 x 12"
1 x 12.5"
2 x 13"
 
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