Converting a '68-'79     Childs Cot For Use In Your '67     & Earlier Bus


    So you've got a splitty bus and love to camp, but can't seem to locate the correct child's cot up front, huh??  Well, a quick trip to the swap meet or even eBay will confirm what you already know,. . . These things are HARD TO FIND.  If your bus requires a 100% correct cot, keep looking.  If you just want the versatility that this cot brings when camping with small children, then keep reading.

    The early cots had one-piece bars with two different lengths.  This is because the '67 and earlier busses are actually narrower at the "A"-pillar than at the "B"-pillar.  The canvas is also narrower at the front than at the back.  The '68-'79 bars and canvas are equal lengths and widths respectively with the rear width and bar being the same as a split.  This enables you to trim down the canvas and cut the bars in order to fit then into your splitty.  One thing to note about the later cots ('76-'79) is that the bars are two-piece and will work without modification. That's the type I used.  If you use the '68-'75 bars, you will need to narrow ONE bar by approx. 8 1/2".   Here's a photo of a late canvas.

cot-late-westy.jpg (19297 bytes)

    The canvas is the most difficult part, but it's NOT hard.  I started by stripping out the seam stitching from 3 of the 4 hems.  I used a "seam-stripper" tool which was REALLY handy and made quick work of the seams.  Here's what the canvas looked like before and after stripping the seams.

cot-seamstripper.jpg (46088 bytes)            cot-seam-stripped.jpg (17898 bytes)

    Next, I ironed the old seam flat.  Then I folded under the the excess I basically narrowed each side by approx. 3 3/4".  Then I ironed the new crease in the canvas.  

cot-seam-ironed.jpg (26529 bytes)

    Then I sewed the new hem in the full length.  Once I did that, I folded over the end and pinned it in place.  Once it is pinned I could put the short rod through the pocket and see where the mounts will line up in the "A" & "B" pillars.  Depending on where you mount them, you may need to shorten the canvas by about 2".  I ended up needing to do just that.  I pulled the end down 2" and re hemmed it.  All sewing was double stitched (two rows of stitching so that it was extra strong) and I put numerous back stitches on the ends to lock everything in place so that it wouldn't come un-done over time.  I also used a heavy 100% nylon thread

cot-converted-canvas.jpg (16392 bytes)            cot-ready-to-install.jpg (25920 bytes)

Next I had to attach the mounts to the pillars.  I began by mounting the "A"-pillar mounts.  I measured how far up on the "B"-pillar I would need to clear the seats and transferred those measurements to the "A"-pillars PLUS 1" to make up for the angle of the pillar.   Note that ALL mounts are placed at a slight angle so that the bar will lock-in when the cot is installed.

cot-Apillar-mount.jpg (22776 bytes)

Once they were mounted, I installed the forward bar in the canvas and mounted it in place.  Then I installed the rear bar in the pocket and stretched it back so that it was pretty tight.  I noted where the mount would go and mounted them BACK 3/16" on the "B"-pillar.  Doing this ensures it will fit tightly.

cot-Bpillar-mount.jpg (23281 bytes)

    Here's a few shots of the newly converted child's cot in my splitty.  It has a good fit and other than the bar-ends and mounts, looks original.  Most of all, my son now has a bed of his own rather than sharing mom & dad's. 

cot-installed1.jpg (29753 bytes)            cot-installed2.jpg (18102 bytes)

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Copyright 2001 Nate's WaterArt.  All rights reserved.
Revised: August 24, 2003 .