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83 Fleet Rebuild

FWC pop up canvas restoration sheet metal trim four wheel camper camper pop up mechanism pop top

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#11 HughDog

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 03:56 AM

Ha- Thanks, ...I thought I was just gonna add a basement for skiing and fishing, but got addicted and just kept going until only glass, frame, and some trim was left... Now, a year later, almost ready to go.

 

BTW - Your MTB fork clamp and electrical wiring pattern will live on! 

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!


Edited by HughDog, 07 May 2018 - 05:13 PM.

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2014 Ram 3500 MegaCab, 1983 FWC Fleet


#12 HughDog

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 03:35 PM

Decided to update the aluminum skinned roof and move to rubber. 

 

Probably added a few pounds using the 1/4 wood paneling for the roof, but it added flatness, some stiffness, and at the end of the day, my delts could use some work-  

 

Made new lift panels from same wood used on roof  (under the new rubber liner)...

 

Note - the process of laying the new material on top is extremely easy, BUT if you go EPDM, make sure you understand the supplier's shipping method...  Mine came folded which = creases that are next to impossible to get out, even with a heat gun, rolling, baking in sun, etc...  Bottom Line, Make sure the EPDM gets sent to you rolled.  

 

 

   

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Edited by HughDog, 09 May 2018 - 05:14 PM.

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2014 Ram 3500 MegaCab, 1983 FWC Fleet


#13 Roaming_Eagle

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 06:52 PM

Ha- Thanks, ...I thought I was just gonna add a basement for skiing and fishing, but got addicted and just kept going until only glass, frame, and some trim was left... Now, a year later, almost ready to go.

 

BTW - Your MTB fork clamp and electrical wiring pattern will live on! 

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

 

Oh good, glad a little bit of what I did will be in her! Hate I can't be there for the inagural shakedown trip she is looking better everday.


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#14 pollux

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 06:29 AM

HughDog:

My friend has a 82 Fleet, its plywood structures are falling apart and need replacement.

how do you tie the aluminum frame to the new plywood? If you use screws, what is the size you use? 


Edited by pollux, 11 May 2018 - 06:30 AM.

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2015 FWC Eagle, 2016 Tacoma 4wd


#15 HughDog

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 06:46 PM

HughDog:

My friend has a 82 Fleet, its plywood structures are falling apart and need replacement.

how do you tie the aluminum frame to the new plywood? If you use screws, what is the size you use? 

 

Ton of options in getting this done.  I’ll give you the overkill and things to consider:

 

Decide if you want to drop the entire plywood base (floor and the wings above the bed rails). 

If you do that, might as well consider other possible mods:

  • Floor widening
  • Basement
  • Consider interior storage shelving and bunk / seating / table layout

 

Once your done eyeballing and running schematics, here are the tools for the next step:

 

  • Saw and blade that’s gonna make straight long rips in your new wood and old if salvaging
  • Chalk line for cuts and screw placement
  • Finishing nail gun (Nails that are 1.5” – 2” or so long with small circumference so plywood you are shooting into does not split).
  • Wood glue
  • Hundreds of non-corrosive Hex Head Sheet metal screws that are self piercing (probably look a lot like what you took out)….  #8 #9 or #10 with enough length to get through the plywood and with several threads into the aluminum frame (you need to account for the self drilling tip if it doesn’t have threads.  I stuck with #8 in case any stripped.  Went to #10 on those that needed it…  BTW – It’s highly unlikely to hit the same holes trying or not.  Only re-use holes when you have to.
  • Keep a sawzall and needle nose pliers handy for the here and there
  • Drill Bits for the old and new screw sizes…  multiple bits for the old screws, cuz their gonna strip.
  • Butyl Tape
  • Vinyl insert
  • Water proofing paint
  • You may need to drill out a rivet here and there

Drop the old rotten plywood (floor and/or rail wings)...  Get your tools ready to deal with stubborn screws.  Mine were mostly hex with a few trim rivets in the corner areas.

  • If you go big, have Camper up safely on jacks with floor supports, this way you can gradually peel it off base without one side breaking free and warping the frame.

 

  • Go easy on the trim and anything you want to re-use..  Don't worry about the vinyl insert in the trim - Just rip that out (plenty of places to get it on amazon).

 

  • Note:   I went with a new trim style because old stuff was only tall enough to shoot into the plywood instead of the vertical part of the aluminum frame…  I felt like that was a recipe to take water directly into wood and with a welcome invitation from drilling splits…  Probably over-engineering.

  • Once the base (rail wings and / or whole thing) is out, give it a good eyeball and start taking more measurements and pictures…  Maybe keep that rotten wood handy for a template where needed.

 

After you have your design and material.  Plan on how you want to install:

 

  • Keep camper and new stuff flat on the ground whenever possible…  Even if you decide to only re-insert edges, the base needs to be flat, otherwise you can end up with an uneven platform which can cause bowing and flex that you do not want.
  • Chalk line the wood it and let her rip!
  • By now, you will have a pretty good idea of how you will use that nail gun and wood glue (where the horizontal wood meets the vertical wood).

 

Note:  Before you install new wood, waterproof all edges, bottom / top / side of wood for the Just In Case it leaks down the road. (I used leftover “Red Guard” from a shower project.    

Also, I found it easier to insert the pre-cut wings onto the aluminum frame before adding and cutting the rest of the base vs. installing the wing and base onto the frame as one.  I then took more measurements for where the base met the wings.

 

Make it happen and have beer ready for later.
 

 

Hope that helps, but hit me up if you need any specifics.

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#16 pollux

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 02:33 AM

thank you very much for the valuable info!


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#17 HughDog

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:18 PM

"It goes up and it goes down" - Feel like I've heard something like that! 

 

Either way, its a good feeling when it does what it's suppose to-   

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#18 BBZ

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:09 PM

"It goes up and it goes down" - Feel like I've heard something like that! 

 

Either way, its a good feeling when it does what it's suppose to-   

nice.. did you do the canvas yourself?? Any pointers for installing, my wife is currently sewing and we will probably be installing over memorial day weekend.. 


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 80's Granby rebuilt from frame..


#19 klahanie

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 04:02 AM

Great stuff HughDog

 

this all makes me feel lazy but I still want to thank you for sharing !


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~David.  2010 F350 C&C w camper deck. 1997 Granby, orig owners.


#20 HughDog

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:11 PM

nice.. did you do the canvas yourself?? Any pointers for installing, my wife is currently sewing and we will probably be installing over memorial day weekend.. 

 

Hey BBZ – I did install the canvas.  BTW -  Pretty awesome of the wife to sew that bad boy together for ya.  Love the teamwork.. Just don’t mess her work up!  Haha.

 

Tips to make life easier…  Sailrite has a great window demo if that part is not done.  Additionally, “Living the Dream” on the first page has a great youtube on both sewing and overall install techniques…  I followed many of those… 

 

Regarding my advice, I did a some things that I haven’t seen before.  But it’s all I could think of at the time and had already redesigned the roof with EPDM….

  1.  I tucked  EPDM roofing membrane to my trim crown line which pushed a little more bulk into the trim’s perimeter...  This took me out of the park of using original frame holes for trim (I usually plan and avoid hitting existing frame holes unless they are super easy bullseyes or working w/ limited landscape).  Problem is – if you re-use trim and don’t reuse those holes, you got some prettying up to do after.  This is where prep, prime, and pre-paint really comes in handy.  Beyond thermal reflectivity, this is where white roofing helps mask any ugliness.

 

  1. On the vinyl, I cut the windows all the way out and made a full rectangle of permanent screen/ removable isinglass / and removable flap…..  If you go that way, here’s the deal…   You will not enjoy the wet snow or rain, unless you make exterior flaps that can be fixed (velcrow) under the exterior top trim.  Truth be told, I like the way it ended up, but got way ahead of myself and cut the whole damn window out! :)   

Tools and Basic steps for install:

 

Extra Hands and Tolerance:  Ain’t that complicated, but things are so much easier with two brains and extra hands!   

 

Ladder or Roof hoist:  Raising the roof and securing it… My roof need some moral support to stay up w/out the canvas.  Figured that one out on the last cut of removing the old canvas.  Make sure it's up flat or flat enough and without any forced flexing. 

 

Duct tape:  I taped any exterior sharp pokies that the vinyl might come in contact w/ during the install (i.e. window frames, exterior edges, clamps, etc).  Then basically allowed the vinyl to move around the base at fitting time(s).  I also taped top / bottom contact frame areas that I thought might agitate the vinyl.

 

Rivets & R-Gun:  After a few dry fits and placement, I shot a few rivets in to keep my vinyl in place.  I used the moonglow stuff from Sailrite which could perform under the pressure. 

However it’s done - Walk the perimeter during your trim install and constantly check the fit before you go around the bend, this way you don’t end up w/unexpected tightness or loose fits down the line.

 

Self-tap Sheet Metal Screws:  Start w/ small hex #8, if not attempting to hit the same holes.  I’d personally go w/hex #10 if attempting same hole entry – but already mentioned things go wrong quick when trying to hit same frame holes. (I painted screws w/aluminum primer and paint to match new white trim color.  Stuck’m in styrofoam and let it rip - doesn’t take much time and blends in screw heads that fall don’t follow your linear pattern).

 

When installing the top trim, have your extra set of eyes ensure that you are seated properly from an inside camper perspective as well.  Seems obvious, but any bulk in the new material will try to force trim off its lines here and there.  Repeat this for the bottom trim as well.

 

Note:  I also used roofing washers w/the rubber seating on the top trim for giggles and because they were not going through any butyl putty.  Painted those too-

 

Lower  Trim Insert:    Mine was beat and needed to be replaced.  I did not use rivets at the ends. Instead, just used a nice painted sheet metal screw with a washer for any quick repairs down the road.  

 

Butyl Tape:  Need Butyl tape for the lower trim. I did not use any with the top trim, mainly due to my install method of w/ EPDM (required Dicor lap sealant anyway).

 

Note – Probably obvious, but you should put screws rich in the middle of the lower trim…  If you go too low or high, your vinyl insert won’t seat well.

 

Hole Punch:  Should anything puncture or tear that was unintentional and now your wife is super pissed! - You want to use the hole punch at the end of the tear line to avoid a run-away tear  (Honest moment here – I poked a hole near the bottom of the vinyl, very late and on one of  the last freakin screws!  Only reason I didn’t go ape was due to I.) Probably won’t be the last hole.  II.)  Perfect placement for a tasteful patriotic or pirate patch.  III)  I was the one who did it!).  Still sucked though-

 

Needle nose pliers:  You will pull vinyl under the lower trim for snug fitting and adjustment after that top trim is in.  Notably, my vinyl is thick, so I didn’t have problems with that method… besides, anything left below the lower trim is getting cut off.

 

Non-sag and self-leveling Dicor Lap sealant:  If you go butyl tape and are only re-tucking the new canvass w/no other added material, you probably won’t need lap sealant (because my trim is white, and tucked EPDM under it, I created pockets in the trim that needed to be sealed up with Dicor). 

 

Note -Caulking is no fun and I can rarely make it pretty anyway.  The only reason I got away with a Dicor caulking job around the crown trim is because I color matched it to the painted trim (white).  My opinion is that looks bad at eye level, but once on the truck bed, it looks really good and can’t tell that I’m the worst caulker ever - unless you read this.

 

Flat Razor and Needle nose pliers – After the install and below the lower trim, I just pushed a flat razor over the extra canvas and firm to the sheet metal. then pulled the extra canvas towards me.  Felt like scissors wouldn’t get in close enough, and didn’t want to run a blade…  So, I just pushed and pulled till I was all the way around.   

 

Torch and Foil – Step above left me w/a few small stringy danglers under the bottom trim.  I went at then with nanosecond torch blasts.  If you do this, test it on your scratch material first and gain a firm understanding of reactions and all the bad scenarios that can happen.  Keep in mind that even the quickest burst, you can make a mark on your paint too.   Definitely create a shield firmly under your trim, but exposing the danglers.  Mainly, just make sure you block any heat headed towards your canvass – Even though the flame doesn’t hit anything above the lowest part of the lower trim, the heat will do damage. 

 

Could also use some type of snips I suppose, but the torch allows simultaneous spider kills and creates excitement for everyone waiting for you to be done.

 

Trim Gaps:  I had them where each piece of trim met, because of the extra bulk.  Ended up fabricating some sheet metal pieces to bridge the gap. 

 

If you end up with Gaps, its no big deal - There are lot's of ways to tastefully seal and make those ends meet.  BUT - If you do end up with a gap, file down the sharp exposed corners of the top trim - I also slipped an extra piece of canvas under the bottom trim corners so they do not rub through. 

 

Think that’s all I got, hit me up if you need any specific detail or photos-


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2014 Ram 3500 MegaCab, 1983 FWC Fleet






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