convert tent side to hard side?

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by ecallenil, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. ecallenil

    ecallenil New Member

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    Jul 28, 2010
    I searched but I guess this topic is not too popular.

    I have an '81 Starcraft Galaxy. The canvas is OK but needs to be replaced soon. I was thinking about doing a conversion to make the camper a hard side instead of tent side (leaving tent material for the bunk ends). Has anyone ever done this? Any obvious problems? Of course I will have to make sure there is room for the hard sides to "fit" when folded down but other than that I don't think there will be too many issues.

    Any help or guidance from anyone who has done this for thought about doing this would be appreciated!
     
  2. RedBeard

    RedBeard New Member

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    Feb 25, 2011
    Hi,

    Have you ever seen either of the following: 1} an Apache Hardside??? 2} a Palomino hardside with canvas bed ends???? These would be good examples of how the main panels are designed.

    Just my thoughts

    RB
     
  3. Yellowkayak

    Yellowkayak Popups.....when sleeping on the ground gets to you

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    Mar 13, 2007
    You'll ahve to make sure the hardside mounts to the outside of the edge so rain can flow off the camper. Easiest way to have hardside is to place the panels on the inside up against the inside edge which would give it support, but this would also allow rain water to come into the pup. So mounting to the outside lip of the pup would ahve to be done. Where panels meet canvas you would have to have a tight seal also to prevent water intrusion. Of course the top part of the panels would be on the inside edge of the roof creating a natural overlap to shed water. Its alot to think about! good luck if you decide to go this route!

    JJ
     
  4. ecallenil

    ecallenil New Member

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    Jul 28, 2010
    When I was little, my parents had a Palomino hardside like the one you describe. That's what gave me the idea. I think an Apache hardside design with the hard bunk ends would be too much to tackle.


    Yellowkayak: Good information on considerations for water prevention. Thanks!
     
  5. bruceac1

    bruceac1 New Member

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    Mar 19, 2011
    I just bought my pup about three weeks ago and it is Palomino TXL hardside. As soon as the winds here in west TX die down to below 35mph (from the 60+ now), I will get some pics of the roof / hardside / canvas joints. Also pics of the hinges at all three joints. I will either post them or send them via email to you if that is what yoou prefer.
    Bruce
     
  6. nuthouseinva

    nuthouseinva Portsmouth, Virginia

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    May 7, 2008
    Portsmouth, VA
    Hope this gives you some ideas
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. ecallenil

    ecallenil New Member

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Thanks for the pics. I am trying to figure out if it would be better to go the palomino route and have the side split in half with a hinge in the middle or go the apache route and have each side as a solid piece. The benefit to the apache style would be the possibility of installing larger windows.
     
  8. nuthouseinva

    nuthouseinva Portsmouth, Virginia

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    May 7, 2008
    Portsmouth, VA
    One thing to keep into consideration with a hardside versus a canvas pup. My Apache roof sits on top of the walls. Basically I raise my roof high enough so that my walls will fit underneath the roof. They kind of fit into a track with a seal. Then I lower my roof very slightly, maybe an inch. That makes a for a real stable wall.

    One thing about a two panel wall would be that the seam would be another place for water to enter.

    I've had my apache setup in the backyard during a real bad wind storm and it was just fine.

    Keep us posted I'd like see any attempts.

    You know, I gotta say, you could just buy an Apache!! [;)]
    They are really cool vintage campers that were built really well!!
     
  9. ecallenil

    ecallenil New Member

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Yeah, my brother has one like yours... they are really nice. I looked at a couple last year but they were in really rough shape. I wanted something so I ended up with the starcraft.
     
  10. ac1oz

    ac1oz New Member

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    Mar 18, 2015
    i know this is an old topic...

    but any chance you are still around and did convert it?

    we are considering it for our trailer
     
  11. edh

    edh Active Member

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    Jun 2, 2008
    I own a Palomino hardside and the only thing I do not like about it is the bi-fold design of the walls. Each wall is attached to the roof and to the camper body, and each wall is hinged in the middle so that the middle of the walls folds inward. That design requires a set of windows above the hinge and another below the hinge, making for a limited view outside. It's claustrophobic compared to canvas campers. It also makes the walls heavy, and since the roof has to lift the walls as it rises, it makes raising the roof more challenging (requiring two beefy counterweight springs on each end in my 80's era popup).

    I like the hard sides from a security perspective; when working properly the camper is very stable. But I don't like the weight, complexity, and restricted view of the bi-fold design. So while I am rebuilding my roof now I am using the opportunity to replace the walls.

    The new walls will be one piece, attached/hinged at the bottom only. The roof will be raised, then the side walls will be lifted up and clamped to the roof, then the end walls/slideouts (still canvas) will be extended per usual. I'm using new windows (basement storm windows from home depot actually) and the walls will be a sandwich of FRP on the outside over a wooden frame & foam, with wood paneling on the inside.

    I am extending the outside of the roof's sidewalls about two inches with aluminum plate or FRP. That will provide coverage over any gap there may be between the walls and the roof so that wind and rain cannot penetrate where the wall and roof meet. The lower end of the walls seals with a rubber strip now and I will continue that. I will have to design the walls carefully so they meet the roof with minimal gap. I will use two draw-tight latches on each side to connect the sides with the roof.

    The roof will be much lighter without having to pull the walls up with it, and I'll have real windows (36x24, 3-4 per side) and a better view. Assuming it all works I will post photos when done.

    If you go from canvas to hard walls you will gain a bit of weight and lose the expansive view you are probably used to, but you will gain a more rigid structure and have a little less canvas to bother with at setup. Good luck with your decision, and post photos when you are done.
     
  12. sawdusty

    sawdusty San Antonio

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    Nov 9, 2014
    San Antonio
    Ed H I look forward to seeing your pics.
     
  13. edh

    edh Active Member

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    Jun 2, 2008
    I am working on the stripped frame now so it will be awhile, but I will be posting pictures as I build.
     
  14. sawdusty

    sawdusty San Antonio

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    Nov 9, 2014
    San Antonio
    Okay Ed. I'm waiting on pictures!
    Sandy
     
  15. edh

    edh Active Member

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    Jun 2, 2008
    Still working on it, painting the frame now... will be a bit before I get above the box but will post when I do (in a new thread).
     

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