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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:05 pm
Posts: 2009
Location: Spencer, IA
There seems to be two problems with the Flexsteel jack knife sofa used in our Born Free coaches. One problem is that when sitting on it as a sofa, the foam padding especially in the seat bottom part is not firm enough to prevent your bottom for feeling the springs underneath. This is caused by the less firm medium density foam used in the sofas in the earlier model Born Free coaches. And when used as a bed, the two parts are not very level with the seat back part being about 1 to 1.5 inches lower than the outboard seating part.

I will detail two modifications to improve these two conditions and make the sofa much more comfortable to sit on and to sleep on.


To fix level problem, the sofa seat back can be removed from the steel frame and 1-1/8" hex spacers installed so that the seat back is lifted by that amount making it much more level with the outboard seating part. Four bolts holding the seat back to it's mounting frame must be removed and 4 of these 1-1/8" hex spacers installed to accomplish this.

Below are two photos of the hex spacers (or as Fastenal calls them coupling nuts). These are 5/8" W by 1-1/8" L hex spacers threaded for a 3/8' hex headed bolt. The Fastenal P/N for these coupling nuts is 37819 and you can click on the following website for their description:

See photo of this part below.


The two photos below are a view of the underside of Flexsteel sofa back rest looking towards the rear coach end of the sofa with the sofa in the bed position and shows these spacers installed. The view also is of the end of the back rest close to the bottom cushion. These photos were taken thru the outside compartment cover under the sofa. The spacing between the two spacers is only about 4" so the whole back rest is bolted to and supported by the articulating frame arm on each end by those two closely spaced attach points.

When you remove the two 3/8" nuts and lock washers holding the seat back to the frame at each end (4 nuts total), you will find quantity four 3/8" studs welded to the back rest frame that can't be seen in the photos. You thread those four hex spacers onto those four studs and tighten down. As I remember it, those four studs are quite long so they use up quite a bit of the 1-1/8" threaded length of each hex spacer. So, the four 3/8" hex head bolts that you need to go thru the articulating frame arm must be short enough that with the lock washers in place, the bolts don't screw in far enough into the hex spacers to prevent bottoming out against the ends of the studs. If that happens, you won't be able to tighten the bolts down properly. The threaded length of the 4 bolts may need to be on the order of 3/8". The 4 bolts that I used were longer than that so I used an extra 3/8" threaded nut under each bolt head to prevent the problem in my case.




The standard foam padding in both the seat bottom and seat backrest in the Flexsteel sofa as supplied to Born Free is what is called medium density foam. However, replacement firm density foam padding inserts are available from the Flexsteel factory and in my opinion are much more comfortable. Your have a choice here. Either you can stop at the Flexsteel factory location in Dubuque, IA and has you sofa updated with the firm density foam inserts or you can order out the inserts and have your local upholstery shop insert them for you.

The person to contact about this at the Flexsteel factory is Lisa Bauer, Customer Service Representative at 3400 Jackson Street in Dubuque, IA 52001. The phone number is 563-585-8356.

Bill Hemme - Spencer, Iowa
2002 Born Free (Ford E-450 V10) 26' RSB
2016 VW Golf GTI - toad

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