Taking mandatory time off to strip my van

I bought my 98 GMC Savannah, lovingly named Manuel, some 7 months ago.

I take my youngest on road trips and he is solid as a work vehicle and impromptu hotel. Bwahahaha. A BBW if you will… A bed & breakfast & wheels.

I digress…

It has one of those fancy power beds. Which was great the first month, now the metal boning sticks me no matter how i lay.

While under quarantine seemed the perfect time to do something.

The bed consists of three panels. The back panel, is not attached to the motor. It can be tilted horizontal or vertical to aid in storage in the back.

I really dont like this set up though because to really reach all my stuff i have to get out and open the back. And often means i have to store the same items in two places. My bulk in the back and the daily stuff in the front and that is a horrible utilization of space.

So i took it out Thursday.

Yesterday i attempted to remove the inside sofa bed. This part has the motor. And nifty buttons which i hope to repurpose…

I got the sofa panels removed without too much trouble. And the amount of space that has opened in the belly of my Manuel is EXCITING!!!

Instead of having just a 4x4 of space. I have the full 10 x 6 of space.

Now… To remove the frame so i can set up a smaller bed for tonight.

Wish me luck!!
Happy Quarantining in Dallas! :wink: :minibus: :muscle::mask:

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Good luck & keep us updated!


"Opportunities are everywhere, but only action makes it happen." ~ Van_Dweller

Okay the frame situation is stupid. I asked one vanlife Iran here in a private message the best way to remove the final four mounting bolts and he said good luck basically just kidding he was very very very helpful

What he told me was that basically those were put on there by the hands of the Gods so that in a collision the frame wouldn’t move so I’m on my way to a friend’s house who has a sting I can attach to my ratchet to give it more Levar,

And if that doesn’t work he said fuck it he has a diamond saw blade. So I’m going to have fun today.

My van looks like shit. I’m a personal organizer and OCD to boot. And this is giving me anxiety. At least with the bed in place I had places I could hide and look and cranny my stuff and now it’s been one Big Blob in the back.

Hopefully I will have very good results later. Wish me luck.

And I am very much looking forward to maybe using a diamond blade:-)

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Finally got the frame out!!

Used a lead pipe at the end of the racist to get more leverage. I didnt get to use the diamond saw after all. Next time. :slight_smile:

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Thank you for providing the first chuckle of a long day… Sometimes typos or auto-correct can make for some interesting reading.


"Stay home, stay safe, and remember social distancing." ~ Van_Dweller

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Derp! 🤦 Yeah, I’ve been trying my, umm…hand, with voice to text and its not working out so well. I was so excited to get the blasted thing off I didn’t proof read. My bad folks. :grin:

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An update!!!

Due to all of the stuff happening in the world the last 3 months, I had to resort to sleeping on either the straight floor of my van or on a blow-up mattress which honestly the former was more comfortable.

in March I had taken out all of the seating inside frames etc. And well my beautiful van dwelling people, I have finally made progress!

I got a hold of a friend with a table saw, a couple of jigs, some clamps and fancy drills and what we created… Okay what he created and I helped with… Is this beautiful thing before you

We used 2 sheets of SANDE plywood.

We measured the base between the wheel wells, which was 47 in. We measured the top part for the bed top from side to side and that’s 51 in.

The bed width measures 31 and 1/2 in. Only slightly thinner than a twin. It leaves enough Gap by the windows so I can still use that ledge to hold things like flashlights and my phone and also allows for the wind to circulate through the windows at night which is very important right now



There are three uprights measuring the width of the bed, 32 in and 25 and 1/2 in tall. now the cheapo Walmart weave drawers that I have measure exactly 24 inches high. So that gives these a little bit of wiggle room on top so just in case there’s some slouching it’s not going to crush the drawers.

In the middle of the bed there’s another bracer running the whole length, which allows 15 in of space to reach from the front and from the back. On one side there is an 8 in gap on the floor so if I have any long poles or extra folding chairs I can slide them in and be able to use the whole length of the van.

Now I’m a personal organizer by trade. please don’t judge me for my clutter right now is all got put together last night and I haven’t had a chance to go through everything. Because I do a lot of things for my clients pick up purchased items, personal shopping, I’m taking things to recycling or consignment, I needed that versatility in here.

The entire bed frame can be removed and lifted by just me, the plastic drawers are also easy to move if I need to. I can slide it towards the front so I can use it as a table when I have company over we’re eating or playing board games. I can slide it back so I have more space in the belly of the beast.

Because it is heavy and sturdy I was not concerned about attaching it to the floor of the van. I’ve not added any new holes to the van. And even without a mattress pad on it yet it was quite comfortable to sleep on I have quite a few pillows.

I want to thank everybody on here over the last year who has given me advice and ideas and suggestions that helped me put this together. I could not have done that without the love and support this community.

so happy travels and I will post pictures once it’s finally pretty and ready for pictures LOL


Looking good! I applaud you for not gutting it and starting over, I think you made a very wise decision.

Keep up posted!


"Gutting or stripping a rig is usually a very bad choice." ~ VanLife