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1980 Granby Rebuild for 2nd Gen Tacoma

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#71 a8ksh4


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Posted 02 September 2019 - 03:44 AM

Looks stellar!


We got everything done today... Just packing up now and ready to actually go somewhere in the am.

Work completed to weekend:

Put in super nice lenoleum flooring. It's about an 1/8" thick and had a little squish and feels nice to walk on. I stapled in some quarter round trim along the sides. Have I mentioned how awesome pneumatic stapler are? I bought one too do the roof and it's now indispensible for anything involving wood and glue. Amazing tool.

Finally got the bed slide out installed. I had some old foam, recovered from a near new mattress that suffered an unfortunate early demise, and cut it to fit the slider our bed. I found that I can lay in the bed and monkey up the heavy end of the roof with my leg to lift while i work the lever and lock pin with my top half. The roof does go down all the way with the mattress in place!

We built a battery and electronics box to go up by the cab under the table. It houses a cheap deep cycle battery, charge controller, fuse box, 12v plugs, and an inverter.

The inverter is cool. The panels, battery, and the fuse panel for everything but the inverter all attach to the charger controller. It shows current used by appliances, supports low voltage alert and cutoff, etc. Pretty neat.

Finally, we put up curtains, cleaned up everything, and put in the cussions and stuff.

Also cut a panel to go behind the seats in the truck so the dogs will be more comfortable when were anywhere it's got enough to need ac and they're in the cab.

I've put a cache of tools and screws in the truck in case the camper needs open heart surgery on the road.

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#72 a8ksh4


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Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:05 PM

We've been out on the road for about five days now.  We spent the first two nights in campgrounds at Steens Mountain in south-eastern Oregon.  Beautiful views there!



Next place we wanted to see was Sawtooth Mountain in Idaho.  We stopped at a random spot in NV to spend the night. I'll have to look it up later; beautiful canyan with free camping and a reservoir to swim and boat in, etc, but there were a billion flies that ran us out first thing in the morning. 



We're at Sawtooth now.  Found a nice rough-camp spot outside of Stanley, ID, with cell service.  We attempted an out and back hike this afternoon, but were chased back to the car by thunder and lightning!  We got some rain last night too and no leaks, but when I put the top up this afternoon, we had accumulated some water at the front and it leaked into the sleeping area as I lifted the roof, I think.  



I have a couple ideas to troubleshoot for the leaks. TBD.  I've been around the turnbuckles each day tightening stuff up.  We did a lot of bumpy dirt road right away and I think the mounts all needed to settle a bit and get snugged up.   They all finally looked good this morning after yesterday's travels.  One of the turnbuckles stripped out... I think because it's a crappy home depot part; the threading on the bolts looks really bad.  I replaced it with a spare though.  Where does everyone get good turnbuckles? 


I also ran into an issue w/ the bed platform I made. I'd been laying on it and using a foot to hoist up the end of the roof with the solar panels while my wife secures the lifters.  The board I had glues across the end of the bed platform to support it separated along the glue line.   It's put back together with screws and we're just being careful with it.  I think if I'd put bolts at the ends of it instead of just relying on the glue, it would be plenty strong.


Not too bad considering this is the maiden voyage.  We definitely want to get one of those speaker crank-up lifts to help with the roof, long-term, or might actually consider looking for or building a hard-top instead. :P  We'll have to see how this goes.  

Edited by a8ksh4, 06 September 2019 - 09:31 PM.

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#73 a8ksh4


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Posted 10 September 2019 - 06:01 PM

Sealing around the fan with some dicor self leveling sealant seams to have fixed our leak problem! We've had rain a few times in the last few days and no issues. That was really something I meant to do before we left, but ran out of time.

We're in sun valley today, making our way toward Yellowstone. The weather there is supposed to be clear for a few days starting Thursday, so we get point more day doing random stuff around here.

The two solar panels might be overkill with just one 95ah deep cycle battery, but it's done well running cell phones, laptop, and lights through a full day or clouds and rain.

I noticed my MacBook charger was really hot... Not sure if that's because I'm using a cheap modified sine inverter. PANO_20190909_175020.jpeg MVIMG_20190909_144730.jpeg IMG_20190908_224807.jpeg
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#74 a8ksh4


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Posted Yesterday, 06:39 AM

My wife and I, and our two dogs, have been living out of the camper for the last two weeks.  A few notes and observations:

* We typically get ~17mpg  with the camper, unless we're pushing hard on the highway at 65/70mph, when it drops to 15mpg. My Tacoma is a 2009 4wd, 4 cylinder, manual trans, access cab and top speed with the Granby is about 74mph; we slow quite a bit on the hills, and I generally cruse at 65mph, even in the 80mph highways in Nevada, 75 in Utah, etc.

* Our setup drives and handles great with just air bags on the back and stock springs and shocks/struts.  I'm going to install Billstein 5100 shocks later this year when I have time, and a new steering rack, as I have a leaky front shock and a tiny bit of fluid from the rack.  Everything is original right now with 135k on the ODO.  I set the airbags at about 60psi and we get lots of smooth travel going over bumps on dirt roads. 

* The camper needs a pantry - to avoid moving cooking stuff from camper to cab each night.  My wife wants to keep it really simple; while I'd like to plumb the propane for a heater, stove, and add a small sink inside (grey water drain to bucket outside, probably), in addition to the pantry just to make life better on the days with nonstop rain. If I can strap the ice chest down on a bench and keep some of our storage under a working counter-top, then we don't need to move stuff around as much when we stop. 

* Occasional hotel stays to wash up really well and sleep inside with take-out food are amazing!

* The Granby uses a slide-out bed; I'd really like a longer extension over the cab so the bed is always available.  I think generally when we stop, my wife would like to plop down in the bed while I'd like to sit at the table and work on the laptop, but our current setup has the bed slide out over most of the table.  Maybe I can move the table out a couple of feet and move the dog bed back behind it and this won't be an issue.  Dogs make great foot-warmers when it's 25 degrees outside (and nearly that inside). 

* The conduit lifters do work well.  Roof weight would be much less of an issue if I'd stuck to 24" vinyl sides and we could use pneumatic shocks to help support the roof.  Or, alternately, if I bought flexible solar panels vs. the rigid panels, the weight would be much less of an issue.  It's still too heavy for my wife to lift, not having the struts, even w/o the solar panels installed.

* We would probably prefer a hard top vs. the pop-top, but this is complicated, per below. :)

* It's pretty darn cool to drop into a camp site late in the evening and within about 15 minutes have a cozy apartment to escape from the cold into, or for light to work on stuff after dark.  

* Main stress point for us has just been getting set up when it's pouring rain; having to move stuff to the cab to make room for us and the dogs in the camper and get inside without tracking in too much mud and stuff. 


Regarding the (our particular Granby) pop-top vs. custom hard top that I expect to build:

* Right now, it takes two people to lift the roof.  I ordered a crank up pole, like used for concert speakers, to make this more of a one-person job.  My wife would like to be able to take off w/ a friend for the weekend and use it, but we'll have to try some stuff to make this work.  It'd be better if the roof was just up all the time. 

* We would like less setup when we stop.  E.g. everything already stored where it should be, don't need to move bedding around to lower the roof. 

* Most of the places we stay have bear rules that food must either be in a hard sided camper/vehicle, or bear locker, so we would be able to avoid moving the ice chest and box of dry goods around if we weren't in a soft sided pop-top. 

* I think I can build a hard-top camper with similar weight to the Granby.... and I can afford a little more weight if it is more aerodynamic than this pop-up... this thing has about 8" gap over the cab and is like a parachute.  Might be able to build a hard-top with about 24" space over the bed and shape it better than the Granby and do better on the freeway than the current setup. 

* We'd like to be able to drop it off of the truck when we get to a camp site and drive to a trail-head, etc, for day exploration and leave the camper at the camp site.  Although this would be less of an issue if we had a hard-top and better storage.... 


What are the concerns when taking the camper off to drop it off at a camp site? I guess if I have the corner jacks, then we can just lower it to the ground after lifting it off of the truck?  If the corners are braced well enough, and the floor is reinforced, then we wouldn't need to lower it all the way to the ground even (like to level it)? 

Edited by a8ksh4, Yesterday, 06:41 AM.

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#75 CougarCouple


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Posted Yesterday, 01:19 PM

Hi a8ksh4
Glad to hear y’all are out having fun. Thanks for bringing us along on the maiden voyage. I needed a bit of a vacation. There was a drawing of how to use a sheet of plywood to form a couple X’s for the camper to rest on while off the truck. I’ll try find it. If some one has it please post.

Enjoy the fruit of your labor, looks great.

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F250 extended cab, Cougar from ATC. You guys rock thank you!

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