How to remove a manual StudioLoft from a Sunstar
Our preowned Sunstar came with a StudioLoft over the front seats, making the coach sleep a total of 7 . We've never needed to sleep more than 4, so the StudioLoft was superfluous for us. Plus, it took up headroom over the seats, hindered access to the front cabinets, and added dead weight. And, unlike the cab-over bunk in a Class C, it was useless for storage.
So, I removed it.
On our trip to Pinnacles NP last week, I spent some time studying it and figuring out the best way for one person working alone to take it down. Here's what I did.
CAUTION! The supporting mechanisms are mechanical spring and gas spring counterbalanced. I'm quite sure that there are many interesting and painful ways to get hurt doing this if one is not careful!
This is for this particular model of manual StudioLoft. Other versions may vary.
You will need a Phillips screw driver, and a couple of 3/8" sockets and impact driver or drill. A Phillips bit in a driver or drill really speeds things up.
1) If there is a slideout behind the driver seat, slide it out now to gain working space.
2) Unstow the bed, and remove the mattress and the faux curtain. Restow the bed.
3) While the bunk is stowed, remove all but 2 of the screws along the sides that hold 3/4" plywood upholstered bottom/back to the mechanism. Leave in the screw on each side closest to the living area. Don't remove the screws along the front edge. They just hold a piece of angle trim.
4) Unlatch the mechanisms, drop the assembly, and remove the upholstered vertical fascia, and set it aside.
5) Remove the last 2 screws, and slide the plywood out and set it aside. It's probably best to remove it from the coach to get it out of the way. At this point, some weight has been removed from the mechanisms, so there will be some spring tension to pay attention to.
6) CAUTION! This step removes the rest of the counterbalanced mass from the mechanisms! Use care! Fold the mattress support down, remove all of the side screws holding it on, and remove it. The support is a little kike a hollow-core door, I think, and not as heavy as it looks.
7) CAUTION! The mechanisms are made of steel and are fairly heavy. I took them out by myself, but it would really help to have an assistant at this point. One person to hold and manipulate the mechanism while the other removes the screws.
Now you should just have the 2 mechanisms folded up against the ceiling. I needed a 3/8" socket, and impact driver bit to remove the 16 self-drilling screws. (8 on each side). You will have to pull the mechanisms open somewhat to get at some of the screws.
Now we have lots of headroom, better access to the front cabinets, and 100 lbs or so less weight to carry around. I need to fluff up the crushed ceiling nap, and maybe figure out how to hide the 16 screw holes.