The Best Headliner Shelf for Your Ford Transit Van Conversion
November 16, 20235 min read
A headliner shelf is the best bang for buck, functional storage addition you can make to an otherwise wasted void overhead the front and passenger seats. Every Ford Transit should have one, regardless of whether you're going the sweat equity route of a DIY van conversion, or investing in a factory built Thor or Jayco. If your Ford Transit is 2021 or newer, you might run into problems in finding an off-the-rack solution, but we've outlined all of the shelves on the market and potential DIY workarounds in this article, so don't sweat it.
Let's dive in!
vancillary Ford Transit Headliner Shelf
Charging along here despite the obvious bias, but I'll keep it short. If you're looking to maximize the utility of your van's interior, check us out. Our headliner shelf is made in the USA and installs in 15 minutes. It is compatible with any Ford Transit with an overhead console, with or without the support column. It runs flush with the headliner seam which means a from-the-factory appearance and no interference with your cabinetry or shower compartment behind the drivers' seat.
RB Components Ford Transit Headliner Shelf
At $524.99, this shelf is a sturdy, well-made option. One key aspect of their shelf to be aware of is that it sticks out "beyond the seam" of the headliner fabric, which could interfere with wall paneling or a shower compartment. That being said, the added bracket provides significant support which is ideal if you are planning on storing something weighty up there like gold bars or charcoal briquettes.
For those who don’t require the burly overhead storage for heavy items, you might prefer a shelf that mounts with a single bracket. This design would extend just far enough to provide utility without interfering with any interior build or cabinetry you have behind the front seats.
RB components shelves are made in the USA which is a welcome alternative to the all-too-common outsourced manufacturing story. Based in California, they churn out a host of other quality van accessories. Several people I've met have expressed satisfaction with kit purchased from RB.
If your Transit has a rear-view mirror that integrates the backup camera, you might have a problem. The shelf doesn’t accommodate the center support column that often comes with the camera system. If your overhead console resembles the picture below, it won't work for you.
We’ve addressed the support column problem by designing the vancillary headliner shelf with a removable section, ensuring compatibility whether your van has a support column or not.
You can find an installation video for the RB Components Ford Transit Headliner Shelf below, or click the following link to view the product on their website
No Overhead Console in your Ford Transit? Solutions for 2021 and Beyond
*UPDATE*:Some great news. RB Components is now making a headliner shelf that is compatible with 2021+ vans without an overhead console. You can check it out on RB Components website, or get a preview of the installation guide by clicking here.
For those eyeing a Ford Transit model from 2021 onwards, take note that the overhead console is no longer a standard feature but an optional add-on. If you're in discussions with a dealer or in the ordering stage, make sure to inquire whether the console is included. After it leaves the factory, the OEM headliner with console will run you nearly $1,000 in parts alone.
If you've read this far and are still set on maximizing storage of your Ford Transit without overhead console, the Ford Transit USA forums may hold your solution. Full disclaimer: this one is an advanced project. If you're comfortable with removing the headliner and tinkering, you'll probably be fine.
One final but important mention here. If you go through the process of modifying your headliner, our DIY Ford Transit Headliner Shelf DIY Kit brackets still won't work for you. They are designed to mount at the intersection of the overhead console grab bar and mounting point for said grab bar. All of the modifications we've seen involve creating a DIY bracket set if going this route.
Radius Outfitters Ford Transit Gear Loft
Radius Outfitters presents a distinct "Gear Loft" which utilizes tubular aluminum for the frame. This design creates additional storage at the tails of the "U" shape and also mitigates the risk of concussion with its rounded edge.
At first glance, I think of a trampoline and that makes me smile because I have the spirit of a twelve year old, but beyond the aesthetic it's clever craftsmanship. Digging into the the specs and advisory documents on the product page raises an eyebrow around the weight limitations, along with the advice to avoid storing items while driving, but are likely liability safeguards.
For those who prefer a unique look and function for soft goods storage, this $599 shelf is available for those in the US and Canada. They've designed it with the center support column in mind, too.
"The loft can be used with the shelf support found in some models. The fabric platform has a stitched reinforced area that can be pierced to allow the bracket hardware to pass through." Louis C. of Radius Outfitters
Installation takes less than an hour. Here's the video which offers an advanced peek at the Ford Transit Gear Loft.
Van Wife Components Ford Transit Headliner Shelf
Van Wife Components offers a headliner shelf specifically for Ford Transits. It appears that they also distribute through various van part resellers within the United States. However, a quick check on their website reveals no customer reviews, and the product is listed as sold out, which casts some uncertainty on whether it is still actively produced.
That being said, the product’s presence is definitely out there. There’s no mention of compatibility with the optional support column. For those curious, you can take a sneak peek at the product schematics on their product page by clicking here.
Last, and Definitely Least: The White Top Adventures Headliner Shelf Dilemma.
Strap on your controversy boots and brace yourselves.
In mid-2021 White Top Adventures entered the market under curious circumstances. vancillary had an odd series of purchases (our whole product line) from an individual in Southern California, only to return them all shortly after. A few weeks later, White Top Adventures was born.
If you've been in the market for a Ford Transit headliner shelf and have done your research, it’s likely you’ve stumbled upon the WTA offering. If the price seems too good to be true, that's because it is.
The White Top Adventures Ford Transit Headliner shelf uses our bracket system that was sold as part of the DIY kit, and reverse engineered their aluminum shelf from our paper template, which was designed to be cut out of wood. As the visible customer reviews indicate, and who the hell knows how many honest reviews are actually shown, the poor fit and slap dash approach is pretty obvious. That's what you get without any actual testing or design work and try to get away with a straight rip off. Not good, man.
All is to say if price is your only motivation, they've got an option for you. Linking to their product page supports their business by validating their offering for search engines, so I can't do it on principle.
That's a wrap
Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or prefer a factory-built setup, a headliner shelf is a must-have for any Ford Transit owner. It transforms unused space into a valuable storage area, keeping essentials within easy reach. Hopefully we've walked you through the best available options and DIY solutions. Steer clear of the dubious offers and as always, watch your head on that shelf!!