L400 - Simple & Effective Camper-ization (LWB recommended)

Mitsubishi Delica Camper vans, lift kits & other Delica Accessories!

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Vehicle: 96 Delica L400 V6 LWB Super Exceed
Location: British Columbia

L400 - Simple & Effective Camper-ization (LWB recommended)

Postby sinjin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:29 pm

Spent a weekend implementing a relatively simple & effective camper-conversion on my 96 long-wheelbase Super Exceed gasser. Some description to go with the attached & album pics is below. Here are is the link to the full photo album (more pics there than what is attached to this post):


You don't have to weld to accomplish this, as you could choose to bolt together these items, but I welded for additional strength (no bolts coming loose) and was fortunate to have a friend help me with the simple welds involved. Didn't take long at all. I used two box rails, each welded to 2 strong uni-strut legs cut to appropriate length & angle with a washer welded to the bottom of each leg. I determined the height of the legs needed by what I wanted to fit underneath. The platform the rail supports ends up 18" off of the floors. This allows the storage of many standard-sized coolers (mine is 17.5" tall) and the big rubbermaid bins, which are also about the same height. If you are a taller person (taller than 5'9"), you "may" want to lower the platform to allow for more headroom and compromise on what you can fit underneath (see my note about this later on).

Finally, I used the stock bolts for the 3rd row seat positions to attach the legs to the vehicle at those standard engineered points. By the way, I forgot to mention that the passenger side box rail is obviously cut shorter than the other side so it doesn't impede the access opening from the sliding door. Nice thing about this overall approach of using the 3rd row seat attachment points to support a platform is that no alterations are necessary to the vehicle at all, and you have no legs supporting the platform underneath in the middle. More space underneath for bins etc! If you want to hold really heavy loads on top of the platform you could attach a couple of pieces of smaller dimension steel-angle attached across (just to the plywood underneath) to bolster horizontal stiffness. The combined weight of my wife and I is about 300 lbs...and we don't find it is required with 3/4 ply.

Next step...built a hinged sleeping platform well over 6 feet long using 3/4 ply and three 48" long continuous/piano hinges, then carpeted it. This allows the platform to extend to bed-mode (again well over 6 feet long), or "slide" into to a double-sided bench (i.e. "bench-mode"), locking into place into set sleeping and bench mode positions in the rails using either carriage bolts with butterfly nuts, or even better quick release ball-lock-pins. The front edge passenger-side of the sleeping platform is cut at a bit of an angle to allow for easier access from sliding door as well. I made the rails and sleeping platform more than long enough for a six foot tall person to sleep comfortably, but not too long...so that the 2nd row captains chairs remain in the vehicle and can still be rotated and used as a normal second row of front-facing seats with decent legroom (but not the maximum leg room). You also have to pay close attention to the driver's side box rail length in this regard.

Normally, I push the passenger-side 2nd row captain's chair as far forward as I can with seat flipped up, and then rotate the driver's side 2nd row chair to face rearward. This allows a big opening for access through the sliding door, and still gives one normal seat to use if needed while the camper is in "bench-mode". Also allows face-to-face conversations in the back of the vehicle.

As noted above, one cavaet to keep in mind...the height of the bench-mode platform seat (as I have built it) is quite a bit higher than the standard seats...so if you are tall you are SOL. I am 5'9" and I can sit on the bench and my head sticks into the crystallite window openings without touching the glass (but the bench seat-back must be at a slightly relaxed angle too. In other words, you can't sit too upright otherwise you'll bump your head on the glass. This won't work at all with a low-roof version of the Delica. Even with the high-roof Delica, if you are tall and really want a functional bench to sit on, you'll have to compromise on the height of the items you can fit underneath the platform. I really wanted a standard height cooler and larger rubbermaid bins to fit underneath, so I was more than willing to compromise. It also helps that my wife is petite, and she has no issues at all using the platform in bench mode. The height of the platform does not cause any issues at all in "bed-mode". In fact it is perfect, as it elevates you to almost the window height, allowing for nice views while laying down, yet still use the curtains without impeding them at all. BTW, Cabela's roll-up mattress works beautifully here. Comfortable and fits just about perfectly, especially the length. Doesn't use the entire width though. A couple of inches of platform on each side remains.

We also made a little kitchen/prep table that swings down from a latch attached to the rear of the sleeping platform. Then a little copper pipe end-cap screwed to the bottom of the table allows a removable extendable hiking-pole (which I cut a bit) to fit into it act as a supporting leg. Voila, kitchen table underneath the rear hatch, protected by the weather.

I also get a lot of questions about the side "Awning". I'm not sold on putting a roof rack on yet, with one of those fancy and expensive rollout awnings. So I used a good-sized sil tarp, and found these nifty "Super Magnets" with carabiner attachments (a game-changer!!). They hold 40 lbs each, and are quite strong. Super magnets indeed. I bought three of them, and protected the vehicle paint at the points where I want to use the magnets with that invisible/clear 3M protection. Then simple extendable poles from crappy tire, a couple of lengths of rope and a couple of tent stakes...and you are good to go! Extremely quick set up and very strong! Pics show tarp attached to wrong side of vehicle (normally on sliding door side), but I did it just to show you as example in the place where it happened to be parked.
Delica-web-platform from underneath.jpg
Delica L400 rough in-progress platform from underneath
Delica-web-platform from underneath.jpg (461.6 KiB) Viewed 77 times
Delica L400 box rail platform support installed (drivers side)
Delica-web-camper-box-rails-installed-drivers-side.jpg (413.49 KiB) Viewed 77 times
Delica L400 from rear with bikes
Delica-web-Rear-2017-04.jpg (527.42 KiB) Viewed 77 times
Delica L400 front view
Delica-web-Front-2017-04.jpg (486.5 KiB) Viewed 77 times
Delica L400 camper rear bench mode
Delica-web-rear-bench-mode.jpg (378.5 KiB) Viewed 77 times
Delica L400 camper rear bed mode pic 1
Delica-web-Camper-Rear-Bed-Mode.jpg (387.84 KiB) Viewed 77 times
Delica L400 camper rear hatch open with bikes
Delica-Web-Camper-Rear-Hatch-Open-w-Bikes.jpg (535.48 KiB) Viewed 77 times

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