This is a copy of a comment I made on the T4Forum regarding untested RnR beds. It was in response to a thread which had some 128 comments and over 2400 views at the last count.As always I like to find a conclusion or answer to things so here is my addition to this Carlsberg thread.
Anyone who makes the decision to convert their own camper van has to make some important decisions and be prepared to take responsibility for them. If you are not prepared to do so then you have to ask yourself whether a self-build is the right decision. For some of us there is no other option as we can’t afford to pay someone to undertake an OM or approved conversion.
One of those first questions is about usage. How do you intend to use your vehicle? If you intend to go touring, camping and will be ferrying passengers (including children) around on a regular basis then your requirements are very different to someone say in my situation. I have a camper because I do outdoor sports. What with kite surfing, climbing and mountain biking my van makes trips away whether for the week or day easier and more pleasurable. I have decided to install an RnR bed because I want to be able to sleep and sit inside my van at different times. I had seatbelts installed on mine (to the chair) because of the odd occasion I may take passengers. In the last 12 months I have ferried passengers twice.
Why did I decide to install the seat-belts onto the chair and not the body. Well, I carry passengers very rarely and it important to me that the van layout is as efficient as possible given the equipment I carry. Am I being irresponsible or immoral making a selfish decision that may ultimately affect someone else’s life deciding that my van layout is more important than the seatbelt attachment? I think that’s an unfair question.
When I decided to buy my RnR bed I asked myself whether I could afford an OEM bed which I couldn’t. Luckily enough I could afford to buy one from a well-respected source. This source is an established business with a trading history that it is in their best interest to protect. During the researching phase my conversations with this person established my confidence in their ability to do a proper job. I looked at the way this RnR attached to the vehicle and it seemed suitable in my opinion based against some engineering experience. Remember I have decided early on that I have the knowledge required and am prepare to take responsibility for any decisions I make.
However it would not be right if I didn’t undertake some sort of risk assessment before making a decision of this importance. Firstly we have to understand there are many levels of risk. A rear shunt at 15mph is very different to a 50mph side impact when someone pulls out in front of you. In the latter situation a large number of other elements come in to play. We have to ask ourselves what other dangers are there and what else in the van is likely to shift and cause damage. I once treated someone (CPR etc – they didn’t make it) at an RTA where they had trashed a brand new BMW 5 series. I noted that they were killed by their head striking the door pillar and the floor panel pushing their leg up though their internals. So I have to ask myself – what about the cupboards, gas bottle, windbreak and all the other bits that you are carrying – where are they going to end up in the event of a huge impact?
I do not think that buying an RnR from some unknown shed welder is a good idea and if I felt that I had bought such a bed I would be more concerned. I also don’t recommend buying a bed from Ikea and converting it for use in your van. But that is my decision and choice. However I do not agree with the scare mongering that seems to be prevalent in this thread. Life is not black and white – it’s all about shades of grey.
As a nation we are now far too concerned with what may happen rather than living for the moment and enjoying what we have got. Risk is a fact of life and you have to face risk and weigh up the possibilities. You cannot be liable unless you can be proven to be negligent and have done something you knew to be wrong. Currently society is far too happy to remove risk from the equation and watch the development of our young people go down the pan. Then when new laws are past we complain of a nanny state forgetting that those new laws are required because people have forgotten how to access risk and take responsibility for their own actions. This also leads us to a secondary problem which is because we now longer have to take responsibility for our actions we do not learn how our actions affect others. This leads to selfish and inconsiderate behaviour including the way that we drive.
Now before I am dragged to the gallows of course these statements DO NOT apply to everyone. They do however apply to enough people in society that I believe it is noticeable. As a teacher I see the product of this society on a daily basis. Our young children are influenced by their peers, parents and the media and the result is a sad situation.
Thankfully I also encounter lots of nice people both at work, life, though this forum and during the process of converting my van. To all of you – Thank You
I’m now going to walk away very quickly and quietly.