Here is one I cannot figure out. Why did the manufacturer not provide any underseat storage in the front dinette? Later years of this same model coach has a door for access in the side of the seat, but there is nothing like that for my RV. And the bench seat top is screwed down so you cannot gain access to it. And the same thing exists in the rear seat. However, the rear seat does have some wiring for an outlet and the propane leak detector, so I can see why you would not want to "disturb" that wiring. But the front seat is empty. Afterall, when you go camping, it seems there is never enough space in the typical recreational vehicle.
In this project, I am going to reclaim the space that is unused in the front seat. This is a rather quick and easy project, but as with all projects, it does have it's own degree of complexity.
The first issue is how to allow the seat to open. My first thought was to install a hinge at the back of the seat-top, but it is not possible in this situation as the seat top could not fully open due to the design of the seat backrest. I would have to modify the seat area by bringing the hinge forward about 6in, and that means building an additional support structure - just too much of an effort for a project such as this.
So we needed to come up with a method of allowing the seat to be secure (so it does not fly off the first time you apply the vehicle's brakes hard), yet easy and quick access to the underside contents. I thought of several different latches and gizmos, but then my wife suggested using Velcro - which was the perfect solution, and that is what we did. I did not want it to be too difficult to retrieve the items from storage when we get to the campground.
I'm not sure what is under that black plate - perhaps
Rather than belabor details for such a simple project, I'll just provide a summary. We used 3M's 3/4" self-adhesive Velcro, but then further secured it with staples. The bottom Velcro piece stuck pretty well to the raw wood, but the vinyl imitation Cherry woodwork on the underside of the benchtop is slippery enough that the Velcro does not stick too well - which is the reason for the staples.
Caution about the staples; make sure you do not use staples that are too long as you don't want them sticking through the top and damaging the upholstery of the seat cushion.
I have an inexpensive pneumatic stapler left over from an upholstery job I did on my boat a few years ago that worked well for stapling the Velcro. About one staple every 6" is about right. I had some stainless steel staples left over from the boat project, and while necessary for outdoor upholstery, it can't hurt for this project.
After doing the seat carcass, I also applied Velcro to the underside of the seat top in the same manner, making sure to use 3/8 long staples that did not protrude through the top.
The Velcro adhesive requires 24 hours for full strength, so simply attaching the seat's bench top should suffice for this as it will remain undisturbed.
I can only fathom that the manufacturer did not provide this area as storage because the seat is part of the slide out, so perhaps they did not want too much weight in that area. However, we plan on storing light-but-bulky items under the seat... bedding, spare sleeping bags, etc. so loading should not be an issue.