View Poll Results: To Build Or Not To Build
YES - You are not crazy, do the build! 7 70.00%
NO - Your wife is right...you've lost your mind. 3 30.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-27-2011, 10:38 AM   #1
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76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

I just bought the van last Saturday, a 1976 Ford E-250 with 143,000 miles. Has been sitting in the barn for past 5 years. Runs great but needs a tune up (spark plugs, oil change, new brake line). Did I mention, I only paid $750 bucks?

The pop up is a 1976 (I think its a sign...) not sure of model (doesn't matter) but the canvas is good the guy said and I'm thinking about buying it this weekend for $300 (asking price, might get for $200 or try to).

My father and my wife think I'm rather crazy to try to combine the two species. I have the ability and tools to work in metal and wood. So cutting the roof off, designing and welding the needed supports and structure in place won't be a problem.

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Old 10-27-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

You're probably a little crazy - but, aren't we all? Most of us just pay somebody else to cut up our vans.

Interesting, low budget project.

To me, it seems like it would be difficult to lower the top and get the canvas all tucked back in. Maybe a broom handle would make it easy?

Go for it. At worst, you are out a few hours and $1000. At best, you wind up with a budget CCV style van.

Mike
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:36 PM   #3
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

Can't I select both options in the poll?
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:38 PM   #4
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

1. The poll thing did not work when I tried it.

2. Do the build, most definitely.

3. With all due respect, stick to wood and metal, but stay away from Photoshop, man, or ask one of us for some help.

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Old 10-28-2011, 10:30 PM   #5
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

So, it'll be a Sportsmobile with a 12' ceiling? And two "penthouse" beds hanging over the front and rear?
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:06 AM   #6
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

Hi;

Go for it. You'll likely learn something from this project that we can all use.

How about a penthouse on top of the folding trailer top? SMB styled apartment...

Best wishes. It will need a special name though.

"Condo camper" or "camper condo"?

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:15 AM   #7
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

Poll is fixed. You can all cast your votes now.

Quote:
I have the ability and tools to work in metal and wood.
Three things:
1. weight, I don't know how heavy the trailer top is but it might be excessive (then again I don't really know what a SMB PH weighs...)
2. size, somehow I doubt that it's not like 1' or more wider than the roofline on the van
3. I'd suggest keeping your working hole s.t. you can always bail and go fixed top.

Also don't sawzall the hole one handed on a Monday morning when you're still drunk...
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:37 PM   #8
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

Your wife is right.

More headaches than you care to imagine.
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:41 PM   #9
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

yeah do it man. you'll want a welder to reinforce the roof.

hopefully your shop skills are better than your photoshop skills
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:38 PM   #10
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Re: 76 Pop Up Camper Fold Outs & 76 Ford E-250

Alright, after inspecting a pop up camper and doing some thinking and "planning", I've came up with the following.

jage - your right about the size of the popup, its too wide and the construction is way too heavy. I will make one out of aluminum that is lighter. As far as cutting the hole, I will def. start small and take a little bit out each time.

Thinking about wrapping the hole with a "U" shaped steel (.06" thick) and welding to entire perimeter of inside cutout to strengthen and give me a platform to lay the top portion of the beds on.

The canvas is way too tall (as noted by Dave), I'm 6' not 10'. Also, there was the door cutout to contend with, this isn't shown in my "rendered" drawing. I'm looking into doing the canvas myself, using some Sunbrella canvas and maybe some marine grade plastic for a few side windows and some screen mesh flaps along the "penthouse" fold outs on the 4' front and 5' out the rear, and 4' out the front. Back is for adults, front for little kids/babies.

Lifting of the unit will be done in all corners angled with exterior of van walls. Two lifts behind front captain chairs, and two in back corners. I'll find some surplus 12V linear actuators...

Once I get a chance to measure the van I will design up the lid and lifting mechanisms and start putting some dimensions on everything with the roof. Then see about configuring the floor layout. In the mean time, I'm searching CL for parts that I can use in the build.

If this sounds low budget, its because it is. I don't want to put thousands of dollars into a '76, also the wife isn't quite sold on taking this proposed contraption to a camp ground and showing it to my family.

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When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
-Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.
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