Colorado Camper Van Review (CCV)- Buyer Beware

Frosty_1

Adventurer
I would just go with a fixed high top. Stealth camping, heating, etc all much easier in high top.

Lack of other options would be my guess. There are a lot of good reviews as well. Personally I want one of his tops but have been struggling with putting down a deposit because of the negative comments, mostly because he's over a thousand miles away from me so it isn't like I can just pop back in and have him do rework...
 

shenrie

^^^ hates cars
^^^ lack of other options is why i did. while i like the looks of the smb top, the wasted space in front was a deal breaker. ccv's top utilizes all available space. plus smb is always at least a year out. once derek had my money i only had to wait around a month.

i have no need for stealth camping. have a hard time understanding why that's such a viable option for folks. i like the looks and security of a fixed top, but with all the windows open out in the woods??? cant be replicated in a fixed top.

Lack of other options would be my guess. There are a lot of good reviews as well. Personally I want one of his tops but have been struggling with putting down a deposit because of the negative comments, mostly because he's over a thousand miles away from me so it isn't like I can just pop back in and have him do rework...
see if you can order a top and have it shipped to you. that's what we did. me and 3 friends installed our top in a day. if you cant do it or don't have access to a shop, see if theres a local speed shop or fab shop that might be willing. the basic install was easy. cut hole/bolt or weld in (we did both), hook up positive and negative. its all the finish work that costs an arm and a leg.
 

Factoid

Three criminal heroes
I've been trying to get a hold of CCV for three months now. Emails and calls, but no reply. I even left Derek a message. IMO, their product is fantastic, it's their installation that is questionable and where most of the problems come from. I would prefer to install their product myself. In frustration, I've now designed my own pop top mechanism. I've identified some options for a top that I believe will fit and am in the process of locating a source for the enclosure material. In full disclosure, I'm putting a pop top on my 1976 LR 101 FC Radio body. I have a flat roof 68” wide and up to 100” long. Later this year I'll start a build thread, but back to the point. I believe CCV compounds their build quality issue with poor communication and unreliable delivery/service. In most industries, this is a recipe for fast failure. Their business segment is so specialized, with few credible competitors. Expect to see many more complaints before they either address their issues or fade into the night.
 

clarkh

Observer


A little off topic, but is this the "arctic canvas"? Is there insulation in between? Looks like a single layer
 

shenrie

^^^ hates cars
^^^ If the artic canvas is a new name for the triple canvas, then no. Mine has 2 layers of that canvas with a thin piece of insulation in between.
 

clarkh

Observer
What is the insulation between the 2 layers? Lots of light coming through, I'd think any insulation would make it more opaque
 

shenrie

^^^ hates cars
^^^ its just a thin piece of white foam. with mine, its completely dark up top when window shades are up.

Yes, it is. Its a 2 layer canvass with insulation. Only reason that perforation isnt a hole at the moment.
things could have easily changed since 2013, but my canvas is gray both inside and out because he put the canvas back towards the foam both inside and out. my canvas is the exact color you see on the seam above looking at the outside and the inside. no where on my canvas does it look like the photo above.
 

bknudtsen

Expedition Leader
Please be careful with that top! Many known issues with his hinge design, specifically the hardware he uses. Grade 5 carriage bolts from Home Depot and no sleeves in the tubing.

Here’s one that you need to be aware of for your little girl’s safety. Looking at your pictures, it already appears that there is some deflection in that bolt.

http://forum.expeditionportal.com/t...-carriage-bolts-on-CCV-high-top?highlight=Ccv

I watched the original drama 6 years ago when Derek was still on ExPo. There is a reason he disappeared. So many examples here of poor quality work and customer service. Most threads get locked. Some deleted.

Good luck with everything. I have no dog in this fight other than being a protective father with a little one.

Brad
 
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Osprey!

Observer
I'm bummed to read another negative review of CCV. And yet the product is so much better than SMB. I really wish the owner would sort out their production quality issues. The sucky part is that I'm still considering the top, because there is no better alternative. At least I'm local.
 

Smoker

Observer
I'm bummed to read another negative review of CCV. And yet the product is so much better than SMB. I really wish the owner would sort out their production quality issues. The sucky part is that I'm still considering the top, because there is no better alternative. At least I'm local.
Have you checked out Opt Overland? I think they would be local to you too? I understand their tops are relatively new to the market so maybe they've improved on the design. If you check it out, please report back. Thanks
 
I'm just going to throw an opinion out here.....

I live in Colorado and have visited many of the conversion shops in the Denver/Boulder area. EarthRoamer is only a few miles north of me.

I have not been to Derek's shop but I've seen his work. Great product. But if his business model is like all the other shops around here, it's to charge the maximum amount and then hire the cheapest labor to install it. Which increases profit margin while still charging market value for a product. Fit, finish, timelines suffer greatly under that plan. I do all my own work for the simple fact that I refuse to pay someone else to hammer and torch parts onto my vehicle when I can do a better job while saving myself thousands of dollars. Earthroamer uses top of the line products and then uses cheap labor to assemble. Would anybody pay $500k for a Ferrari if it was assembled in Mexico? Nope. Yet people will pay a huge amount for a ER that is assembled by a $15 tech in Dacono.

Some of the little things I look for when I visit a shop is cleanliness, what kind of TiG welder do they use, are there pry bars and hammers laying around, is there any crescent wrenches or vice grips in sight, where's the oxy/ac at? Little things like that any skilled technician or engineer will pick up on.
 
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Osprey!

Observer
I agree on all of that. Shop cleanliness and order is a good indicator. Returning phone calls and emails, owning mistakes, and making things right are other indicators. Hiring good people and keeping them is another. High turnover in any business is a red flag.

Anyway, I really hoped that CCV had turned around their reputation. Too bad.
 

ujoint

Supporting Sponsor
Please be careful with that top! Many known issues with his hinge design, specifically the hardware he uses. Grade 5 carriage bolts from Home Depot and no sleeves in the tubing.

Brad
Ditto. This (and other issues) has been exposed and discussed for years.

I'm bummed to read another negative review of CCV. And yet the product is so much better than SMB. I really wish the owner would sort out their production quality issues. The sucky part is that I'm still considering the top, because there is no better alternative. At least I'm local.
I always recommend SMB for pop tops, haven't seen any visible quality benefit to CCV.
 
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