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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Seat Types

Seats can be grouped into three catagories:

1. A seat which does not support any part of the passenger by way of a restraint system - all seat belt anchorage points are on the vehicle.

With this application the seat is just a seat. During a crash no loads are exerted on it other than its own weight. Forces acting on the occupant force them to leave the seat in the direction of travel. The seat therefore plays no part in restraining the occupants - occupant safety is totally dependant on any restraint (if fitted) and the integrety of it's anchorage points on the vehicle body.

Included in this catagory would be any T1 seat and...


...any Kombi, Microbus and Caravelle rear bench seat from the T2 and T3 where the anchorage points are in the step over the engine bay (remember Panel Vans didn't come with mounting points) and...


... any seat found in any Kombi based T2 and T3 Motor Caravan of it's time, such as the typical T2 Westfalia arrangement as shown above and the T3 Danbury Estate shown here.


Also to be included in this group is the proprietry sofa-bed and the traditional style rock'n'roll bed available from any number of specialist outlets (to be appropriately fitted as described above in a Panel Van with no seat belts (i.e where no child passengers under the age of three are to travel in the rear). These seats tend to be of a lighter construction than those that have been fully crash tested.

If seat belts are deemed to be a necessary requirement then they should only be used in a suitably modified Window Van or Panel Van with body strengthening carried out to the correct standard (as discussed elsewhere) and seat belts are correctly attached to the sides of the van and through the floor replicating the method used with T2 and T3 rear seat arrangements (i.e not the seat frame itself, making the use of substantial spreader plates underneath the floor doubly important).

2. A seat which supports the whole of the restraint, if it is a lap belt; or part of the restraint, if it is a three point seat belt with the upper mounting attached to the vehicle body as previously described.

With this application the seat is now part of the restraint system and the seat mounting points are also considered as seat belt mounting points. As such they are checked as part of the annual vehicle inspection for security and corrosion. It is now important to consider the position and strength of the seat fixture to the vehicle floor pan and the upper seat belt anchorage points on the vehicle as all these fixtures will play a critical role in a collision.

Seats in this category include any T4 Window Van (Kombi), Caravelle and Multivan (shown here) seat, where part of the seat belt (if only the latch mechanism - this also includes some T3 seats) is attached to the seat itself and...


... the Variotech and RIB bed-seats, such as the fixed Bilbos Breakaway bed-seat shown here...


... and the Carthago seat (shown in the fully forward "driving" position) and...


... the Dehler MaxiVan seat (below)...


... and others that are fitted to any Volkswagen Compatible Design T4 conversion that had to comply with the regulations in the market in which it was sold - i.e the Winnebego had to comply with American safety rules, whereas the Carthago, Dehler and Westfalia meet EU new vehicle Type Approval.

3. A seat which has built-in (integral) three point selts belts (either fixed or retracting) to restrain the occupant.

With this application the most important factor (for the same reasons stated above) is the integrety of the seat mounting and the strength of the vehicle floor pan - only more so, as all the collision wave energy and the momentum of the occupant and seat (invariably pushing against each other) will travel through the chassis and floor and the seat (read seat belt) fixings.

Included in this category is the bed-seat from the 1995 on California Exclusive and the latest T5 Kombi, Shuttle, Caravelle and Multivan seats and...

... the Variobank 333
which is specifically designed with forthcoming Type Approval regulations in mind.


Seats designed with integral belts and built-in anchorage points are built to withstand great forces and in themselves they would appear to be wisest choice.


However, the additional bulk and weight of the T5 Multivan seat and latest Variobank seat presents another set of considerations which must also be factored in when working out where to drill the floor and how many holes to drill - the more the merrier, we say.


In the event of all these fixtures failing during a severe accident, these seats could potentially become ejector seats and their occupants could be uprooted backward, forward, sideways, upwards - in any direction, possibly bringing the floor with it as well, hence the need for multiple fixing points along the floor, all of which should be used...


... that, of course, is a worse case scenario, and it obviously applies to any seat that encorporates seat belts - even that central lap belt on a removable Caravelle seat.

So, if more than three or four passengers is the norm, opting for a WV2 Window Van is highly encouraged and recommended, if only because all the hard work has already been done, despite any car tax implications.


They can be had in swb form with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 seats and with 10 or 12 seats in lwb form (these, being "minibuses", may have tachographs fitted).

Seat belts should be considered as part of your build, together with the type of seat that falls within your budget.

Before embarking on your project, in this ever changing legislative world, it pays to shop around and seek out the advice of the specialists.
 

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As a clarification for myself and others

Is it only the multivan triple bench that slides into a fully functioning bed?

To put it another way:

If I understand things correctly, the triple bench fitted in caravelles folds flat, but doesn't slide into a bed.

To use a caravelle bench for a bed is it neccesary to extend the folded bench into a sleeping platform by constructing an additional section?

Please can you confirm that this is correct?

Thank you :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As a clarification for myself and others

Is it only the multivan triple bench that slides into a fully functioning bed?

To put it another way:

If I understand things correctly, the triple bench fitted in caravelles folds flat, but doesn't slide into a bed.

To use a caravelle bench for a bed is it neccesary to extend the folded bench into a sleeping platform by constructing an additional section?

Please can you confirm that this is correct?

Thank you :)
Some Caravelles have a parcel shelf, but that is all it is, a shelf...

Some reinforcement will be required - ie ply or mdf, and legs...
 
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