Pop-up Camper Rebuild Project – Part 5

7 Apr

I finally finished it…. sort of. If your recall from my last post, I still needed to replace the tent (or canvas). The lead time on the replacement was rather long so it did not arrive in time for me to install it before the end of the camping season.

Admittedly, I have had it for some time, but warmth and daylight are always in short supply during the winter. This years camping season is here, however, so I could not drag my feet any longer. There are a few things I learned with the installation of the previous canvas that I intended to improve on this time. All said and done, the project took me 4-5 hours to finish.

The prep-work

Obviously, the old canvas needed to come off. There was nothing special to this task, since the old canvas is trash-bound. The top portion of the door had to come off too. If you remember one of my former posts, the roof was custom made by the former owner and it was not an exact replica, so the door needed to move. I had previously hung it to “work” with the old canvas but it was hitting the track that holds the tent when it was folded up for traveling.

The tracks also needed to move. My first attempt at installing the tent was really just an educated guess. That guess was complicated by the lack of any example to follow or the original roof. The measurements of the tent was my only tangible guide, compared against the maximum height of roof. I did find a single, rather poor, picture of the inside of another similar pop-up without it’s tent. Ultimately, I mounted the tracks a little low the first time. The picture I mentioned, showed the tracking being a little further from the ceiling, but the original roof had a small slope. My current roof is quite flat. Furthermore, the old canvas had shrunk.

Another educated guess

After a few measurements, I decided to move the tracks all the way to the ceiling. I couldn’t find any other way to ensure the door cleared the track when it folded up to travel except cutting the track. The tent wouldn’t have as much overhang on the side edges when it was setup. I’m not fond of it being so close, nonetheless, it covers the edge and appears to be long enough to ensure that the flaps won’t push up over the edge and stick there. Of course, I didn’t know that when I took the measurements. It was a bit of a nail biter for me when I was mounting those tracks, hoping I didn’t move them too far.

The Install

Per the instructions that came with the new canvas, I mounted the ends over the bunks first. I had to employ the help of one of my children to hold the full length sidewall up while I attached the last corner. That canvas weighs a good bit and I didn’t want the screws to pull through before I could get the sidewall attached. Once the corners were fastened, I places the rest of the tent in the tracks and fitted the door in place to make sure everything lined up as it should. It fit perfectly.

Outside camper view
New Canvas/Tent Installed. Note the apparent lack of duct tape.

With the top of the tent completely fastened in place, I attached the tent to the ends of bed-ends and installed the tent supports for the bed-ends. Again, this was following the instructions provided with the replacement tent. The idea here is to make sure the tent is properly centered over the popup. And, it was.

Manufacturing differences

The bottom portion of the tent didn’t go quite as smooth. The tent is manufactured to the newest model of the popups line that use the same plan. This means that there are small differences. None of these differences should prevent the canvas from fitting, but it did leave me scratching my head for a while.

The strips along the bottom of the tent that should match up to the tracks on the trailer did not match. The side left of the door, was a little short of reaching the end of track next to the door. My first thought, was that I had made a big mistake somewhere with the install. 😨 But, the Velcro strip that fastens to the door was exactly where it should be and the other end of the strip lined up perfectly. In another spot the strip was longer than the track. For any other custom made item, I would have assumed these to be mistakes, but everything else, measurement wise, fit perfectly.

A little more problematic is the switch to Velcro. All of the temporary fasteners in my trailer, except the door, use snaps, but the new tent came with Velcro. No doubt Palomino was having trouble with the snaps pulling through. There were a couple on my old tent that I was popping loose with a screwdriver to avoid ripping them free. I’ve not quite fixed this yet. I’m going to need to find some very adhesive Velcro to install in place of the snaps. A bit of a pain, but only because it caught me by surprise. The materials are cheap and the install will be simple.

The Door

The door was a royal pain. I managed to get it installed in a position where it works as intended in both positions, but I do not think it works quite as well as when originally installed. It was a very close fit. Any lower, and it will not clear the edge of the roof when folded down. Any higher, and it will not clear the track when folded up. As it is, it rubs moving into both positions. I think the roof is a little lower than the original. This probably explains why the track works so well mounted flush with the ceiling too. Given that it works, I’m not about to move it! Perhaps, if need to rebuild that roof again, but I’m planning on that thing lasting the life of the camper.

The Inside Result

The final result almost speaks for itself. You’d need to look closer on the outside to see the issues with the old tent, but from the inside…. What a difference!

Inside camper view
I know the ceiling looks dirty in this shot, but that’s just mismatched paint. It stands out far more in the camera lens than in real life.

Well that’s it for now. With the exception of the Velcro, the next post will be more upgrades than restoration. Until then, good day and God bless.

Joshua

See https://joshuaallenshaw.com/about-me/ See https://joshuaallenshaw.com/kiss/bio/

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