Splitting bench seats & lighter cushions

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Splitting bench seats & lighter cushions Empty Splitting bench seats & lighter cushions

Post by Quilter on Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:53 pm

I am finding lifting the bed base of either of the two long bench seats has become too much of an effort. With the heavy cushions in place I run the risk of the whole lot crashing down on me as I rummage  Without the cushions I have to first stand them on edge and usually manage to knock off at least one lampshade or similar. I don’t want a drop down front or drawer under the bench seats as it would limit what we store there.

Has anyone split the slatted bench seat base into 2 and replaced the single heavy cushion with 2 lighter foam ones ?  I notice that all the continental vans we have looked at recently seem to have very lightweight foam cushions.  At night we have memory foam overlays so comfort would not be a problem. I could make some form of Velcro fix to keep the cushions together and on the seat when moving.
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Post by Knick-Knack on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:01 pm

If you're really lucky, you might be able to get someone to fit gas struts (as car boots have).  Don't ask me who or how though.

Our Nuevo ones stay up once they are up, but getting them there is a bit of a struggle.  I have wondered about fitting a handle on the front so that there is something more solid to get hold of.  Not sure how similar yours will be.

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Post by Gromit on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:02 pm

Interesting question.

I shall ponder. The bed base cushions are rather unwieldy to say the least, so smaller and/or lighter would be good.

I don't think it would be too much trouble to get half length (and lighter) foam cushions made, and Messrs A/S may still have your upholstery material in stock?

Splitting the slatted seat base may not be so easy however. As I say, I shall ponder, as it's a mod I think we would find useful.
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Post by Paulmold on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:06 pm

I fitted gas struts to the long benches in our Sussex. It's an easy job but you'll need to know the strength needed so they stay up when wanted but not too strong that you can't pull the bench back down.

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Post by Gromit on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:06 pm

Further to Nick's post which I've just seen, our van has gas struts, and it's all but identical to yours but for the shorter side seats. They do make a big difference compared to the earlier models without them. I assumed you have them fitted already, but maybe not?

A call to A/S may well reveal that they have, or can direct you to a set of suitable struts. That's the obvious starting point I think - unless you already quizzed them.
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Post by Quilter on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:08 pm

We’ve got the gas struts Nick, they were an original fitting. They don’t keep the base up though ( well, reliably anyway) with the heavy cushion in place. I do like the idea of a handle though - that would help to lift and I’d not thought of one.

Please ponder Dave: I think I might try 2 foam cushions anyway, without splitting the bed base.  As to the original AS fabric: NO ! I really dislike it and almost the first thing we did was get washable loose covers made !
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Post by Gromit on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:24 pm

I'll take the cuppa Sian has just made out to the van, and have a think while I slurp.  hugegrins
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Post by Gromit on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:54 pm

I've pondered - nice cup of tea too!  up!

If yours is the steel seat base I think it's way too complicated to split it, and it would cost a fortune if you could find anyone willing to do it. If it's the older wooden base it would be a bit easier, but still more trouble and expense than it's worth, in my opinion.

As for lifting the base, I'm not sure a handle would help. We start by pulling the backrest forward onto the seat cushion, then pull the whole sliding part toward us (including cushions) and lift. Then when at it's highest let the whole thing slide down as far as it wants to go. Can't think of an easier way than that.

To stop it falling on your head, I would cut a short length of garden hose (or similar) to fit the exposed central rod of the gas strut when fully open. Cut a slot along its length wide enough so it will slip over the rod, with just enough resistance so it won't fall off. It will be plenty strong enough to prevent the strut from closing, and you will almost certainly find that one is enough. It won't need one on each end, as the gas struts are almost strong enough already, and they just need a little assistance to stay up.

Hope this helps.

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Post by Quilter on Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:06 pm





....a length of firm foam, 6 ins wide and the same length as the current cushion, would weigh 3.88 kg. We’ve not weighed the existing cushion but, if it is not a good deal more than that then I will eat it.


The existing AS cushion weighs 11.35 kg. Replacing both with lighter foam would give a significant boost to our payload. The foam I have chosen is said to be suitable for reupholstering motorhomes.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:21 pm

When did AS stop fitting handles and folding rod stays to the settee berths? Both are present on my 2011 Gloucester.

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Post by Quilter on Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:43 pm

PLOUGHLIN wrote:When did AS stop fitting handles and folding rod stays to the settee berths? Both are present on my 2011 Gloucester.

If they were ever fitted on a Broadway then they presumably stopped some time between 2011 and late 2013 ( when our Broadway was built ).

We used a length of wood, cut like a clothes prop, in our last van in addition to the gas struts, but that was not a complete success as I knocked it out of position once with my elbow and the whole thing fell down onto my shoulder. I’ve been a bit wary since....
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Post by Gromit on Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:39 pm

Quilter wrote:We used a length of wood, cut like a clothes prop, in our last van in addition to the gas struts, but that was not a complete success as I knocked it out of position once with my elbow and the whole thing fell down onto my shoulder. I’ve been a bit wary since....
Which is exactly why I suggested the bit of hosepipe, having done just the same myself.  rolleyes so_sad
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