Improving the comfort level of cargo vans in earlier days of expediting usually required that the owner be skillful with the tools and materials necessary to insulate the truck and install the basic necessities such as the bunk, inverter, etc.
Many of the home-constructed "conversions" were impressive, with foldup bunks, folding bulkheads, overhead storage and TV racks, etc.
There are still a number of those good-looking home-built cargo van sleeper setups out there, but over the last few years, the commercially constructed sleepers have been gaining popular acceptance.
With today's professional conversions, the "B" unit driver can now choose between a spartan conversion with the basics of a bunk and storage compartments to a conversion that is close to the comfort levels of the bigger trucks, albeit on a smaller scale.
Some features to consider in the expediter sleeper conversions:
Length of cargo bed - The sleeper manufacturers have been able to retain a sizeable nine feet of cargo area behind the bulkhead. This allows the transport of two full-size pallets, long considered a gauge of sufficient cargo length in a van.
Bulkheads - All of the conversions spotlighted here feature heavy-duty bulkheads that separate the cargo area from the sleeper. The bulkheads provide driver protection from a shifting load, they help insulate the sleeper area and enhance the truck's heating and air conditioning and provide a sturdy surface to mount storage cabinets.
E-Track - The conversions utilize both wall and recessed floor-mounted e-track securement systems.
Freightliner of Knoxville Sprinter Van
A company called Phoenix Conversions is the exclusive provider of this sleeper package to Freightliner of Knoxville, and as New Truck Sales Manager Jim McFerrin says, "We provided Phoenix with our specifications, and we're very happy with the job they've done! They've produced a unit that is equal in workmanship and quality to any of the more expensive sleepers that are available."
"We're fortunate to have a working relationship with a fine company like Phoenix Conversions - and they are located right here in Knoxville. We've had extremely positive feedback from our customers who have purchased this package."
-A bunk measuring 27.5" W x 66" L x 5" D with lift-up lid for access to storage area.
-Full width storage cabinet over sleeper bunk with latching double doors.
-Ceiling mounted "Hide-a-Way" television cabinet
-1750 watt power inverter with remote on/off control switch
-Exterior 110 volt shore power hook up with automatic transfer switch (inverter to shore power)
-Carpeted floor in sleeper area
-Fabric divider curtain around front doors and windshield
-Tinted glass - 5 percent on rear, 20 percent on side sliding door, 35 percent on driver and passenger doors
Cargo Area Features:
-Rear divider wall 108.5" from the rear doors - a full 9 feet of cargo space
-E-track securement system in rear cargo area (side walls and recessed in floor)
"Phoenix can also customize their installations to meet customer specifications," says McFerrin. "They can build these conversions to suit with a very quick turn-around time, a matter of a week or two, in most cases."
"Because Freightliner of Knoxville deals in volume, we can pass our lower prices along to our customers. We always keep several Sprinters in stock, including at least one conversion."
Bentz Transport Products Conversion
In 2002, Bentz Transport Products introduced the Expediter Interior Conversions for Cargo Vans. Designed and installed by Bentz, a leading manufacturer of aftermarket sleeper cabs, the interior conversions are targeted to expedited freight applications and provide bunkspace for convenient and comfortable rest when out of service.
Bentz offers three different conversion packages:
Model B10 Expediter Interior Conversion
Bentz Transport Products, Inc.
Alumi-bunk Expediter Cargo Vans
"Alumibunk developed the first sleeper conversion for the cargo van a number of years ago, so we have been able to refine this installation, and build it to suit what our customers need."
Cargo Area Features:
Tilley adds, "The Ford E350 has the longest manufacturer's warranty for a vehicle of this size, and for the buyer with good credit, in many cases, these can be purchased with no money down."
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