Holden Colorado 2.8 half height Canopy build

Hagar

Observer
Hi All

Been a long time lurker and have read many build threads filled with some seriously impressive fabrication skills that have inspired me to pick up the tools and try my inexperienced though enthusiastic hands at my own build.

The truck is 2013 2.8 auto Colorado dual cab with only some slightly over size wheels to alter from stock coupled with a front runner over bed rack. I currently carry my bikes and equipment on the front runner rack and have a soft tonneau cover over the bed.

So I intend to build a canopy and drawer combo to suit my personal needs for camping and carting mountain bikes. Nothing on the market that I have found is quite suited to what I am after, so here goes.

Requirements:

Must be able to carry mountain bikes fork mounted without any sort of ladder climbing etc i.e a full height canopy is to high.
The canopy and camping equipment must not intefere with the use of the truck in its everyday life i.e kids and shopping etc.
The canopy must be able to house all equipment permanently as I am not a fan of packing and un-packing equipment for trips
Must be able to house enough equipment for the family and dog for a week getaway
I do not want anything obstructing the tail gate as I get irritated if if takes any longer than about 3 seconds to access the back of the ute.
The dog has to be able to fit in the back
The kitchen must be rapidly accessible for quick coffee stops
The draw system will house the kitchen/pantry/utensils/pots etc and be there permanently
Around 40L of water
100% weather proof (or as close as my skills will allow.)

The plan is to use the front runner legs and bed rail to create the roof height and some additional load capacity. The front runner rack will then be mounted above the canopy. The height above the bed should be around 250mm giving me just under 750mm of height under the canopy. The one piece draw will be just under 1m wide and approx 190 deep. The draw will be sectioned into compartments as needed.

The front runner rack will be used to carry my mountain bikes and the second spare wheel over the canopy. the rack has been brilliant but as you can see in the photo below it gets a bit disorganised under the tonneau when away.

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So here we go. Looking forward to this.

Please be nice to my less than stellar construction skills. Cheers Hagar.
 
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Hagar

Observer
Stage 1 of Canopy build

So the initial stage has begun with a trip for hardware, marine ply 12mm, structural ply 15mm and 50x50 galvanised steel.

Order placed for a Boab 42L water tank that is cut to fit over the wheel arches and a set of 1321mm heavy duty slides rated to 170kg with full extension.

The floor has been cut from structural ply
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Now the front wall of the canopy (cut a bit to big to be cut down when sides and roof are in place
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Finally for the first day the front runner legs are mounted and the cross members placed, checked for alignment and clamped for welding. You can also see a mock up of the approximate draw size in the tray.
 

Attachments

Hagar

Observer
Thanks BCHauler

I would also like to mention that any pointers on build or setup that the experienced people on this forum have will be greatly appreciated.

Hagar
 

Hagar

Observer
Here is the mountain bike transport vehicle that the canopy will be attached to. A Holden Colorado dual cab 2.8 TD.

This has been a great vehicle with no problems over the last 70K. The 2.8 diesel has been a very reliable and steady motor that is great off road and has also been up to the challenge of towing around 3000kg for 1000km+ trips. Seems to be a very simple and robust vehicle that I am very happy with.

truck side.jpg

cheers Hagar
 

upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Sweet, following this with interest as well. We just recently got the Colorado Duramax that was released last year on the States and are big mountain bikers as well. We have the long bed. For now just taking bikes to the trail head we just toss them in the back but trying to come up with a plan for longer trips. Was leaning towards a softopper to keep the bikes and gear out of the weather but allow us to have an open bed still when we need. Our camping and recovery kits are modular using Zarges cases, etc so I believe we could still fit everything into the bed without issue. Only issue is security and wanting to be able to haul canoes or kayaks. Still pondering. Keep the updates coming. Are you using marine grade plywood?
 

bdp1978

Adventurer
Sweet, following this with interest as well. We just recently got the Colorado Duramax that was released last year on the States and are big mountain bikers as well. We have the long bed. For now just taking bikes to the trail head we just toss them in the back but trying to come up with a plan for longer trips. Was leaning towards a softopper to keep the bikes and gear out of the weather but allow us to have an open bed still when we need. Our camping and recovery kits are modular using Zarges cases, etc so I believe we could still fit everything into the bed without issue. Only issue is security and wanting to be able to haul canoes or kayaks. Still pondering. Keep the updates coming. Are you using marine grade plywood?
Not exactly the same as what you're looking for, but I run a Yakima on gutter towers over my bed. Made brackets out of steel (now heavy gauge aluminum for rust purposes) that bolt to the inner lip of the bed.....tonneau goes over that. Keeps all the gear dry while traveling and the rack comes off in about 30 seconds. I've enjoyed your threads over the years Kristian, pretty sure we know some people in common from Marquette.




Hagar---sorry to get off topic! Looking forward to following along on this build!
 

Hagar

Observer
Hi There upcruiser and bdp1978

Upcruiser Im a bit jealous of the long bed option. Down south in oz we do not get that option it is short bed or nothing. Really I should have gone for a flat tray and built on that however that will add to the build cost and I kind of like the look of the truck with the style side body. bdp1978 the setup you have is very similar to my current setup and agree works very well. I usually have my mountain bike on and off the rack four to five times a week so ensuring ease of loading is very important to me.

I have come up with my plan (design word would be to tongue in cheek) as I kept running into issues with my current setup. The Front runner rack with tonneau is pretty much the same as what bdp1978 is running and it has in fairness worked extremely well. The problems are that 1) muddy mountain bike equipment in with bedding and other camping equipment is not ideal. 2) if I install a draw I will not be able to then fit the dog in the back due to the height restriction of the front runner rack. 3) my setup was not particularly dust or water proof resulting in some minor irritations mid trip. 4) I have two quite young girls, if everything is easy and ready to go we are much more likely to use the truck as a family.

Marine ply will be used on the external shell that is weather exposed. The shell will more than likely be fiber glassed as well. All internal components will be made from structural ply and then painted with epoxy to make them weather resistant. I also intend to make a hinged ladder rack that will bolt to the front runner rack and fold flat when not in use.

I managed a little time in the garage today and got the cross members welded and the internal partitions cut. The space between the internal walls and the side of the truck will be accessed through hatches in the side panel giving space for an aircompressor tools etc. have now also checked clearance for the dog.....

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BTW: Upcruiser, how do you find the diesel engine? The small capacity TD seems to be a newer option for those state side is it meeting expectation?. Here in Oz petrol in utes (pickup) has been essentially phased out.
 

Hagar

Observer
Got a bit more time in this evening roughly fitting the sides of the canopy and some further internal partitions.
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chilliwak

Expedition Leader
Just started to follow your build Hagar. I have to love your sense of getting right in there mate and not stopping for a minute. I would recomend waterproofing the bottom of your canopy somehow. I made mine out of pressure treated 3/4 plywood so I dont have to worry, but you my friend have untreated thin plywood that will rot quickly. Otherwise a wicked start. I most certainly will drop in now and then to see what you have done. Cheers, chilli...:)
 

Hagar

Observer
Thanks for the feedback Chilli. Yep that bottom panel could be a point of failure, so firstly the plan is that it does not get wet. They canopy over the top if I get things right should be water tight.... So as I don't quite trust my ability to ensure the canopy is water proof I will also be fiber glassing the bottom of the base plate and painting the rest with epoxy. This should keep things from rotting and will also stiffen up that base plate

A busy weekend and work ramping up is now interfering with my ambitions to get this done quickly (life hey). Still had time to get the roof and sides of the canopy in place if roughly. Will need to match up the edges of the roof and sides and then bolt down. I will sand to provide a nice rounded to fiber glass over.

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Getting a better idea of interior volume now as well sans drawer

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Heres hoping for some more time this week to keep it rolling.
 

Hagar

Observer
So a bit more done on the canopy over the weekend. Pulled the box itself out of the vehicle for better access. I received the drawer slides recently so got those installed and then made a good start on the drawer.

I also made some cut outs in the sides of the box to fit the water tank into the back of the canopy.

This stuff takes time! making all the brackets etc is very time consuming. Still slowly coming together. I also ordered some parts for my air compressor so that I can plum it to an air tank and then have an outlet point on either side of the vehicle


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Have a top week everyone
 

Hagar

Observer
Little bit more work done and a lot of parts shopping completed to help fit out the canopy

This sort of thing takes a long time to build! I am both surprised and unsurprised at the length of time all the fiddly little details take. You do a few hero cuts in the plywood and look like you have made great progress then suddenly the 1000 other little details bog you down and you appear to go no where. Still things are getting done and I am so far happy with how the structure is coming along.

The aircompressor has been fitted to the air tank and some brackets made up to hold the connections. the connections sit on both sides of the truck in between the head board and the rear window of the cab.

Water lines are now purchased and will run from the tank to a manual hand pump. The tank will fill through a camec water inlet that will be fitted to the canopy side for ease of filling

I have purchased LED light strips for each compartment and the rear canopy door. The plan for the rear canopy door is that when it is in the open position the light strip will illuminate the kitchen area.

The plan for electrics is to house a 100 amp hour battery in the tray to power lights and my air compressor and possibly a fridge down the track. The battery will be charged by a solar panel (yet to be purchased) I am setting this up so that it has no connection with the vehicle battery or electrics. My reasoning is simply redundancy. If the car battery fails then it can be either slowly charged by the solar panel via leads or I can swap the battery in the tray with the one under the bonnet. Not sure that this is a normal way of doing it but makes sense to me at the moment.

False floor fitted above drawer and water tank mounts reinforced

IMG_20170507_141159.jpg

This indicates how I will layout the front of the drawer. So that it is easy to access the kitchen for coffee stops etc the cooker/ sink etc will be at the front of the drawer. I will be covering the top of the cooker with a lid that can be folded out to increase bench space. Total bench space when folded out will be around 200 cm and about 40 cm deep. This area will also house a 1.25kg gas bottle for cooking.

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And lastly started cutting out the hatches and seeing how the external shape will look when complete

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Happy exploring all.
 
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