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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2017, 8:16 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
We use the dinette and jackknife sofa together to form a king-size bed. My problem is that the dinette is a nice foam while the cushion on the jackknife sofa is more like a car seat, with springs that are uncomfortable. Has anyone done a modification on the jackknife to make it more comfortable? I'm thinking of cutting the existing springs, retaining the metal base frame, adding some plywood to make a flat surface and using foam instead of springs. Suggestions?

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2017, 8:51 am 
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Location: Front Range, Colorado
I'm not going to be much help here, but I've been considering the exact same project. I already made new dinette cushions that are slightly oversized to fill in the gaps. I'm thinking about the sofa this spring. The only consideration for me is that I want to make my modifications reversible in case I screw it up which means no cutting of springs.

I'm going to watch this thread for ideas.

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2017, 11:55 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I can't address the stock sofa cushions directly, as I got them out of the Chinook with blinding speed (one night on the way home was more than enough). But I had it somewhat easy, as I had a very similar couch seat and seat back that came out of a previous camper van. Only difference is they are flat, and don't have the "humped cushion" hollow ("crib springs") design of the Flexsteel (which is what I didn't like about it).

I kept the Flexsteel base frame and then put in my new cushions. Although my way will hence not be just the same, it might have some useful info (?)

Like the Flexsteel, the plus of my new seat/back is that they are steel framed, and so basically self supporting. I used that to advantage. I wanted a different function, with the following features:

1) Able to pull out for a nap or even a night's sleep to a ~25" cushion depth.

2) Able to pull out to 30" for deluxe solo night's sleep.

3) Able to pull out to full width, but with nothing touching floor (I have found that any supplemental legs eventually damage the floor - from experience on previous camper van).

4) Must be FLAT. No "stylish" humps, etc.

5) Firm (personal preference).

6) Tilt adjustable for those quick stops in unlevel places (which, why do they ALWAYS slope to the passenger side?! :x )

I ended up using a square tube within a square tube arrangement. Wider tubes (1") attach on the stock rear "stringer" that's on the wall with an axle type arrangement (fancy way of saying bolt). These tubes are long enough to support the regular couch sized base (around 30" IIRC). They rest on the upper behind calf steel bar of the stock couch (under your knee when sitting on couch). Starboard blocks hold them in place side to side, and threaded rods (cut off bolt heads) tapped into steel frame of cushion drop into holes in the tubing to keep whatever pulled out position is desired. I couldn't have anything inside tube because...

.... Then 3/4" steel tubes ride inside the 1" tubes and pull out to whatever the desired depth is. Pulls out easily. Elephants couldn't jump on the outer edge of the bed, but otherwise it seems sturdy enough. I considered other arrangements (and may change if this arrangement ever doesn't suit) that would do the same thing. Boats often use tounge and groove flooring type boards (say 3/4" fir) and then you pull out half the boards and the tongues/grooves make it self supporting. I've also seen heavy duty drawer slides used (again no legs needed).

I haven't finished the back support gizmo yet, so can't describe it (until I do it :D)

I didn't look inside the Flexsteel cushion/back to see how the framing goes. And also this doesn't address the actual cushioning (but once you just have a frame, you can re-foam or re-upolster).

For a "quick and easy" mod, I have seen people either stuff plywood between the "crib springs" of the Flexsteel base and the cushioning, and/or use mending plates to firm them up. (My base doesn't use the crib springs, so I can't speak to them directly.)

Again, I realize these are not directly applicable ideas; but maybe they will be partially useful anyway.

BG

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2017, 7:38 pm 
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My wife and I also sleep using the jackknife sofa in conjunction with the dinette down in our 2004 Premier. We quickly learned on our first lengthy trip (6 weeks around Nova Scotia and Newfoundland) that some improvement needed to be made if we were going to manage. The solution we came up with has worked well for us, and, I dare say is what has allowed us to stay out on the road for so long.

Once the couch and dinette are down, we first throw a thick cotton blanket over the whole thing. Then we put down two wide REI self-inflating air mattresses (2" thick, I believe). These we snug together with a simple cotton sheet, and then throw our double sleeping bag on top of that. For added comfort, we tend to sleep with our heads on the dinette side (but have gone the other way if pitch is off and I'm too lazy to adjust with the lego block levelers.

During the day, we deflate the air mattresses, fold them in half length-wise, and store them behind the couch (perfect space for this). The rest of the bedding (including pillows) stores easily in the top storage over the cab...we removed both the TV and VCR long ago!

We have got the routine down, and it takes about two minutes to set up or take down.

Sometimes I think a full time bed would be nice, but there is NO WAY I would trade the perfect size of our Rig for that!

David


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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2017, 9:38 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
How could I forget to suggest the self-inflating pads! Yes, even with my improved couch/bed, I always have one of the REI 2.5" inflatable sleeping pads on top of it. I like being able to adjust the comfort level just by putting a few puffs of air in or letting the same amount out. You could just about sleep on a bed of nails with these things :D

Side note: I think the Thermarest ones are better quality. BUT, they added some crinkly material to them a few years ago so that it sounds like you are lying on a potato chip bag if you so much as move a muscle. Not good. So I've gone to the REI ones. I find that the valves start to leak slightly after a few years - I've exchanged a few (for entire new pads). But considering that I sleep on them 365 days a year, that's still not too bad.

There are others made by Exped and etc. The key is to get the ones that are filled with foam (hence self-inflating and less "air mattressy").

Also, sorry if my long-winded previous reply ignored that you use the couch/dinette combo. Somehow that went right over my head. Duh!

David: I'm with you on not minding the "convert a bed." I mean sure, if there were no penalty for a full time bed, I'd take one. But given the impact on expense, nimbleness, and driving fun, I can't imagine trading five minutes per day of converting for those compromises. (Maybe with two people and differing sleep schedules; but not just because of having to convert a bed.)

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PostPosted: March 4th, 2017, 8:53 am 
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Blue--totally agree with you about the quality of the REI 2.5" (I have same) self-inflating pads. I have also taken to returning them (exchanging actually) on a regular basis. The type of valve they use is just NOT of the same quality as the Thermarest Pads. But the Thermarest pads are not as wide--key for us (nor as thick, I believe)...so we stick with REI and our now well established exchange routine. A little trick--REI now has a one year return policy, so make sure you return at least one within that timeframe...then you can just keep on with your "rolling return."

If anyone out there has something better to recommend I am all ears. But to reiterate, this system is REALLY comfortable. We are now 4 years into using the Rig, sleeping in it probably 75-85 nights/per year and feeling no need to change out the couch as of this writing.

David


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PostPosted: March 4th, 2017, 9:15 am 
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Thermarest does (or at least did have) wide ones - including their new "Mondo King" (although it's rather long). But I don't know if they've eliminated the "crackling" layer. That drove me nuts and away from a brand that had been reliable for YEARS. Too bad.

Exped has some pretty amazing pads (they also have some air-only, with no foam, so check for the foam ones). The MegaMat has rave (rave!) reviews. I splurged and tried one (REI) but it was actually too luxurious for me. It kind of jiggled and I like the bed to feel more "dead" if that makes sense. But it was a really really nice piece of kit. It had plastic "plug" type valves that apparently virtually never fail. 30' wide, too.

So for now I stick with the REI 2.5", and the rotating return. Just so people know, when the valve "fails," what that means (at least in the ones I've had) is that you have to add a few puffs of air every day or two. It doesn't just go flat in seconds. So you aren't "stranded" in the meantime. Still annoying. Plus there is the collateral damage of the shopping once is "forced" to do in REI while there.... :lol:

I may try a Mondo King to see if Thermarest has left the crackle out of that one. Only thing is it's quite long (and I sleep lengthwise on the couch which is only around 72").

As a side note I have also used the inflatable pad as guest bed on the aisle floor (actually I slept there and gave my friend the couch). It might even have been more comfortable than the couch as it had "walls" for a snug effect. The 25" fit perfectly. So that's an option for guests you don't want to share a bed with.

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PostPosted: March 4th, 2017, 10:29 am 
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Great suggestions - I thought about using an air mattress on top of the bed but I like the idea of the self-inflating mattresses to smooth things out. I might try that along with Blu's idea of putting in some thin plywood between the springs and the cushion on the jackknife side. We sleep with our heads on the street side because the bed is wider there so getting that jackknife cushion more comfortable is critical.

Also agree that having a rig this size with its maneuverability and power is worth any extra time setting up.

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PostPosted: March 4th, 2017, 2:27 pm 
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I took a look at the Exped line...nice stuff, but nothing that fits our criteria of being no more than 72" long (storage length behind couch without contorted folding) and at least 25" wide. Self-inflating is a must for us--can't put up with the hassle of pumps or time to blow it up each night. Blue is also correct that Thermarest does have wide self-inflates...but anything 25 inches is also 77 long...so, looks like I'll be sticking to the REI 2.5" "use and exchange plan."

One last comment on the subject...I happen to own a Thermarest Neo-aire that I used for an extensive solo cross-country car/tent trip. On that trip, I had both time (alone) and room (in tent) to futz with the inflation each night. And let me tell you--that was the best ground sleeping EVER! But, it's not suitable for purposes being discussed here...

David


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PostPosted: March 4th, 2017, 3:51 pm 
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Yeah, it's aggravating how most of the companies that make a wide pad, also assume you want it ridiculously long. I thought about doubling it back on itself and securing it somehow before inflating, but in the end it's just easier to go with the REI pads that are the right length already. (They also make a 3.5" thick one if someone wants more than 2.5".)

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