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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When we decided on a Metris, we had in mind that we wanted to keep the day-to-day utility of transporting 8 passengers, with the ability to use the vehicle for camping occasionally. We wanted to be able to transport 4 or 5 passengers and still be able to configure the Metris for sleeping in. (for two of us - the other passengers are on their own. :)) Here are some photos of what we came up with. Our rough costs included:
  1. Took out the stock seating and had installed Vito-style fold down seats in adjustable rails. (two 2+1 benches that recline and the back folds flat - metrisseats.com) Net cost around $3100, after selling our original seats and rails. YMMV.
  2. Bought a HDX shelving unit at Home Depot - $55
  3. Used 4 Sterilite containers we already had from Target (I think we originally paid around $10 each for the boxes)
  4. Used a mattress we'd bought for camping a couple of years ago - Milliard Tri Folding Memory Foam Mattress with Washable Cover Queen (78 inches x 58 inches x 6 inches) - Currently $237 on Amazon
Using two of the shelves with legs as the base in the rear, then 4 of the containers stacked across the width of the van, and the middle row seats folded flat and the mattress laid across the base of the shelves, containers, and back of the seats. These are all "close" to one another in height, but not exactly the same. We were concerned that might be an issue, but given the mattress is 6-in thick and a bit wider than the Metris, the initial check felt pretty good. And with one part of the tri-fold folded back for transporting passengers, there is still visibility out the rear windows and back.

FYI, there looks like there's a hump in the middle, but when you lay on it, it feels fine. It's compressed a bit because the mattress is wider than the Metris. I think if we cut the width of the mattress by a couple of inches, it would lay flatter.

Probably not our end solution, but gives us something to try out and learn with before building a back platform out of wood or T-slot aluminum. I'm including links and photos below:

Tri fold memory foam mattress
HDX storage shelves
Sterilite 15 gal container
 

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Looks like a very simple solution. Too bab MB doesn't just use those seats. They are much more versatile. Thanks for the write up and the photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thought I'd update after our first trip with the setup described in the original post. We took a trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and spent three nights at the De Motte Campground (National Forest Service). When we looked up the forecast for the north rim, the nighttime temps were supposed to be in the low 40s. Ummm, not so much at De Motte. Lows were actually in the high 20s/low 30s. (one night a bottle of water left outside froze nearly solid) This eliminated one problem I'd anticipated (mosquitos). We'd bought some Sunshade covers for front windows so we could leave them open during the night. (link below) Even with the cold temps, we still cracked the windows to try to keep the condensation down.

Lessons learned:
  • Took a while to figure out which boxes to have in the middle section, and which were top and bottom. Obviously, the bottom boxes take a bit of effort to get to. I think separating the mattress into three sections and using velcro to attach the sections would work better than having to fold the mattress up to get to the boxes.
  • The rails made it challenging to slide our cooler (Monoprice Emperor Cooler 50L) in and out of the back. I popped off one of the plastic covers on the rail ends once when pushing the cooler back into place. The cooler does fit quite nicely between the legs of the platforms on one side.
  • Sleeping was comfortable, but the mattress does need trimming. Since it is slightly larger than the width of the Metris, it tended to bow a bit to the middle.
  • We'll probably look into a leveling solution for the van. The spot we were parked in was slightly tilted from driver's side down to passenger's side. So we tended to end up on one side of the bed.
  • Swivel front seats would be nice. The height of the bed makes it difficult to sit on the bed and put clothes on.
  • The screen solution for the front windows doesn't fit perfectly. Need a method for attaching one side or the other of the screen to make it completely "bug tight". We didn't have any problems with bugs actually getting in. We treated the screens with premerthin (used by clothing manufacturers to treat clothing) as an added layer of protection. One fly did get trapped between the two screens and was either frozen during the night or succumbed to the premerthrin.
Planned longer term improvements:
  • Swivel front seats (passenger side for sure, and we'll likely do the driver's side as well)
  • Frame for bed made out of T-slot aluminum (would be nice to eliminate the four center legs of the shelving platform)
  • Pop top
But I'd have to say things worked pretty well. A lot of the issues were simply us learning how to work with a different kind of setup than our usual camping setup. A couple of bits on the Metris itself - it was a great vehicle for a road trip. We got around 26 - 27 mpg, averaging around 70-75 mph on Interstate 15 on the way out. About 25 mpg on the way back, including 30 miles of a 40mph headwind (judged by direction of the many windmills) in the Palm Springs area on I-10. That happened after our last fuel up, and that stretch we were averaging 15-16 mpg until we left the headwinds on I-10 for California 60. With the gas tank capacity, it gives the Metris plenty of range.

I did see the "coffee cup" alert after about 4 hours of continuous driving on the way out. I was not sleepy, nor did I (or my wife) believe my driving was impaired.

The crosswind assist activated on multiple occasions. It worked well, but the first time or two it felt a little strange. Since it applies the brakes, it affects the speed a bit and feels like the cruise control or something is "off". Much better than the alternative of the big box getting pushed around. Particularly on the I-10 section, I saw other vehicles getting pushed around, and was grateful for the capability. Understand that if the wind gets really high, driving stability is still affected (as we felt on the I-10 section near PS). I cut my speed to 65, and the Metris felt very steady.

Cruise control was intuitive (once I figured out how it worked) but unlike any I've ever used. Maybe it's similar on other Mercedes. I won't go into gory detail, but the interesting bits to me are:
  1. The cruise control holds speed, even on downhill sections! I've never had a vehicle that did this. Mostly driven Toyotas and Hondas in the past. Very helpful, particularly for mountain driving.
  2. The ability to bump your speed up or down by either 1 mph (shallow push up or down) or 5 mph (full push up or down) is really convenient once you figure it out. You do have to be very gentle with the push to get the 1 mph increment.
  3. Pulling the stalk toward you gets you the last set speed. Pushing it away from you clears the set speed.
The one thing I'd quibble a bit with is the placement of the Cruise Control stalk. I kept mixing it up with the turn signal. But that's probably just me.
 

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When we decided on a Metris, we had in mind that we wanted to keep the day-to-day utility of transporting 8 passengers, with the ability to use the vehicle for camping occasionally. We wanted to be able to transport 4 or 5 passengers and still be able to configure the Metris for sleeping in. (for two of us - the other passengers are on their own. :)) Here are some photos of what we came up with...
Thanks so much for sharing this. I had much the same intention when I bought my (used) 2016 Metris Passenger van: something to camp in, but also use for hauling people and "stuff" in the city, as needed. The heft and awkwardness of moving seats in and out was at first a big disappointment, and it took me a while to find the fold-down seats and adjustable rails to swap in like you did, through www.metrisseats.com.

Based on your description and photos, I bought the same Home Depot HDX plastic shelves unit (Lowes also has the same unit in black), but instead used four shelf sections on legs to create a full bed platform without the fold-down seats (there were only 2 of us traveling). Lashing the four shelves together with Velcro straps made it a surprisingly solid & stable platform for a foam mattress, and allowed me to stow camp gear, tools, and tote boxes underneath, and retrieve tote boxes from both the front and rear. And I love that the whole bed can be totally removed with only about 5 minutes work. -- Thanks for the $55 Insta-Bed tip!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much for sharing this. I had much the same intention when I bought my (used) 2016 Metris Passenger van: something to camp in, but also use for hauling people and "stuff" in the city, as needed. The heft and awkwardness of moving seats in and out was at first a big disappointment, and it took me a while to find the fold-down seats and adjustable rails to swap in like you did, through www.metrisseats.com.

Based on your description and photos, I bought the same Home Depot HDX plastic shelves unit (Lowes also has the same unit in black), but instead used four shelf sections on legs to create a full bed platform without the fold-down seats (there were only 2 of us traveling). Lashing the four shelves together with Velcro straps made it a surprisingly solid & stable platform for a foam mattress, and allowed me to stow camp gear, tools, and tote boxes underneath, and retrieve tote boxes from both the front and rear. And I love that the whole bed can be totally removed with only about 5 minutes work. -- Thanks for the $55 Insta-Bed tip!
Glad it was helpful!
 

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When we decided on a Metris, we had in mind that we wanted to keep the day-to-day utility of transporting 8 passengers, with the ability to use the vehicle for camping occasionally. We wanted to be able to transport 4 or 5 passengers and still be able to configure the Metris for sleeping in. (for two of us - the other passengers are on their own. :)) Here are some photos of what we came up with. Our rough costs included:
  1. Took out the stock seating and had installed Vito-style fold down seats in adjustable rails. (two 2+1 benches that recline and the back folds flat - metrisseats.com) Net cost around $3100, after selling our original seats and rails. YMMV.
  2. Bought a HDX shelving unit at Home Depot - $55
  3. Used 4 Sterilite containers we already had from Target (I think we originally paid around $10 each for the boxes)
  4. Used a mattress we'd bought for camping a couple of years ago - Milliard Tri-Folding Memory Foam Mattress with Washable Cover Queen (78 inches x 58 inches x 6 inches) - Currently $237 on Amazon
Using two of the shelves with legs as the base in the rear, then 4 of the containers stacked across the width of the van, and the middle row seats folded flat and the mattress laid across the base of the shelves, containers, and back of the seats. These are all "close" to one another in height, but not exactly the same. We were concerned that might be an issue, but given the mattress is 6-in thick and a bit wider than the Metris, the initial check felt pretty good. And with one part of the tri-fold folded back for transporting passengers, there is still visibility out the rear windows and back.

FYI, there looks like there's a hump in the middle, but when you lay on it, it feels fine. It's compressed a bit because the mattress is wider than the Metris. I think if we cut the width of the mattress by a couple of inches, it would lay flatter.

Probably not our end solution, but gives us something to try out and learn with before building a back platform out of wood or T-slot aluminum. I'm including links and photos below:

Tri fold memory foam mattress
HDX storage shelves
Sterilite 15 gal container
Nice Set Up.
I did it a bit different. Had the same goal. Need haul for work, transport gear, and our 2 kids but also needs to sleep all 3 of us inside. if all 4 of us go I need a roof tent but thats for later.

I ordered 2 x 2+1 folding seats and the euro rails from Harp Automotive a year ago. I don't think they are in business anymore. I just laid a sheet vinyl over existing carpet in case I want to sell and a new owner does not like it. Easy removable. The bed platform in rear is mounted to the cargo tie-down brackets. It has a tri-fold that folds over the seats, so does the mattress (got that one from Amazon for $160).
The kitchen unit holds a fresh and grey water tank and is mounted with two hand screws and track plates to the floor tracks. Also easy to remove, especially when you want to cook outside.
The set up worked great this summer and I was even able to get all my windsurf sails and three surfboards in the van with all 4 of us traveling. But the heat at night is an issue. I need to work on some kind of cross ventilation. Even with the front windows down and a van on we don't get mich in the rear. I don't really want to install a Max Air into the roof and debate if I should replace the factory windows with two slider once...
The next step is some rear window cabinets or packing bags (might bet the Vanessa once from Germany) and a pull-out drawer system in rear under the bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice Set Up.
I did it a bit different. Had the same goal. Need haul for work, transport gear, and our 2 kids but also needs to sleep all 3 of us inside. if all 4 of us go I need a roof tent but thats for later.

I ordered 2 x 2+1 folding seats and the euro rails from Harp Automotive a year ago. I don't think they are in business anymore. I just laid a sheet vinyl over existing carpet in case I want to sell and a new owner does not like it. Easy removable. The bed platform in rear is mounted to the cargo tie-down brackets. It has a tri-fold that folds over the seats, so does the mattress (got that one from Amazon for $160).
The kitchen unit holds a fresh and grey water tank and is mounted with two hand screws and track plates to the floor tracks. Also easy to remove, especially when you want to cook outside.
The set up worked great this summer and I was even able to get all my windsurf sails and three surfboards in the van with all 4 of us traveling. But the heat at night is an issue. I need to work on some kind of cross ventilation. Even with the front windows down and a van on we don't get mich in the rear. I don't really want to install a Max Air into the roof and debate if I should replace the factory windows with two slider once...
The next step is some rear window cabinets or packing bags (might bet the Vanessa once from Germany) and a pull-out drawer system in rear under the bed.
Very nice.

Would love to see any other photos of the bed you built. Really like how it doesn't need the middle support. The wood you used is 2 x 6 pine? Though I doubt with my (lack of) woodworking skills I could get close to what you've done.
 

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I just bought a twin steel frame off Amazon for like $79. Then built a platform for the top and covered in forest green outdoor carpet. All in probably less than $200. Can take it out in 7 minutes if I’m being lethargic.
Car Vehicle Van Microvan Trunk
 

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Very nice.

Would love to see any other photos of the bed you built. Really like how it doesn't need the middle support. The wood you used is 2 x 6 pine? Though I doubt with my (lack of) woodworking skills I could get close to what you've done.
will take some pictures this weekend when the van is empty again. Everything is build from Pure Bond 1/2 plywood, which is a soy-based, formaldehyde-free plywood. You can get it at home depot. The frame is built from light white wood pine 2x4. I used a water based clear coat to protect everything. The tri fold platform basically rests on the back of the folded down seats. I added a 2x4 in the front for stability where ethe headrests are. Its a detail I need to fine-tune.
 

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The kitchen unit holds a fresh and grey water tank and is mounted with two hand screws and track plates to the floor tracks. Also easy to remove, especially when you want to cook outside.
This is nice, where did you get the kitchen unit if I may ask? Looking for a sink-storage only unit that is removable if anyone has any other ideas. Something already built and finished would be great.
 

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Sorry just see this now. I build it myself but was a last-minute thing to get ready for a camping trip. I think If I want to do this right I either rebuild in alucobond material or import one from Vangear in UK their system and build quality is awesome! Juts very expensive the unit is already high priced and shipping/import will be very costly! I have talked to them over the past years if they are interested to distribute in US or at least would flat pack the units with a DIY assembly instruction but not in the cards right now. Check out their units installed in a Mercedes Vito SWB
 

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Sorry just see this now. I build it myself but was a last-minute thing to get ready for a camping trip.
Ok, you did a super nice job....where did you source the stainless steel sink from?
 
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