Thread: C5500 TopKick 4x4 Crew Cab Build

  1. #451
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1
    Outstanding build to be sure! I just spent the better part of 3 days reading the entire thread, from post 1 to current. During this time I took many side trips to investigate many of the links posted here about ideas, products and other rigs. This thread (And the build) are truly epic and completely deserving of being pinned in place so that years from now it remains at the top for those that wish to follow in your footsteps to be able to easily find. Thank you for not only posting about the build but taking the time to be as informative and descriptive as you have been. The information will be invaluable to those that follow. And just as useful will be the "Bloopers" that you mentioned you would tell us about. Listing and describing the mistakes made along the way is every bit as helpful as everything else you have posted. I for one and looking forward to that and a final recap/report when it is competed and again after 12 months or so of use. (And don't forget plenty of pictures of the rig And trailer) in use!!)

    I understand your busy with "Real life" but it has been over a month since an update, sooooo, I just have to ask... "Any updates available?"

    I think we are still waiting for more details/pictures of the final design of the back wall of the pop-up section, pictures of the completed interior and of the completed exterior. Also what have you decided about suspension modifications?

    Unless I missed it your not installing air conditioning, is that correct? Those of us who live in the south east USA (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi) pretty much consider A/C mandatory. I know where you live it usually does not get as hot or humid as it does for us. I really like your idea of barely using the generator, mostly relying on the solar to keep your house batteries charged. I'm not sure that we could do that here in the south east. The energy draw of even a single A/C unit would probably require so much battery bank (To run all night) that it would be impracticable, and so many square inches of solar panels it would not be possible because you would need more sq/in than the total of your roof. I do remember seeing a link in a thread recently, (Might have been this one) where somebody was asking about a unit intended for RV use that is roof mounted and looks similar to a "Normal" RV A/C unit but is actually an evaporation or "Swamp cooler". They use far less electricity than a compressor driven "Normal" A/C system but with the high humidity in our region, they are all but useless for decreasing the air temperature so where we really need it, they are not a viable option.

    The only real question/suggestion I have had during the process is why did you not put a rear mounted self recovery winch? It looks like you have plenty of room to install one just above the receiver hitch unless the spare tire does not allow for the depth needed. In which case I would be very tempted to mount one "externally" on that plate in the same place and trim/dress/reinforce as needed to install a roller fairlead and make it look good.

    I bring this up because many people do not understand the value of a rear mounted self recovery winch. Personally, if I could have only 1 winch it would be on the rear rather than the front. The argument for this? Consider this; Your driving along the trail for the day and become stuck. With only a front winch your choice is basically limited to winching further into the mess that currently has you stuck. Depending on the situation this may not be totally bad, but on the other hand.... Now consider that 5 feet ago you were not stuck. If you could simply winch backwards 5 or 10 feet your rig would be in a location that you were driving and did not need a winch. From that point you could choose to pick a new line to try to proceed, go around, or abandon the current plan and find a completely different way rather than winch further into the mess that currently has you stuck. Just a thought..

    Oh, and now that it is way to late, my vote for color is; Tan, Desert sand or whatever you want to call it. Even leaving the cab white with everything else tan would be acceptable if needed for financial reasons.

    The color issue reminded me, I wanted to ask; The Scorpion material you used for the exterior, how is it different from, or similar to, "Pick up truck bed liner"?

    In closing, You may have posted it already and I missed it, but your job obviously both pays relatively well and allows you enough time off to justify the time and expense of building a rig like this, (And one would assume the time to use it once done) so I am curious. What line of work are you in?

  2. #452
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Park City, UT
    Posts
    332
    Quote Originally Posted by Ford Prefect View Post
    Are you going to make the rack/hoist set up removable? My reason for asking is that it would seem to considerably elongate your truck, and I am wondering about it getting in the way when the trailer is in tow.
    Yes. My thinking is to have a simple 48" wide platform that will be lifted from an electric hoist mounted to a cross-bar between the slide rams. The cross bar will be able to telescope 36" or so out of the rams to allow for different lifting configurations. The platform will have wheels that will roll up the vertical aluminum channels on the back wall. I still have to fab up some retention angles to keep the wheels against the wall. The idea is to get the platform high enough off the ground to clear the bow of our boat, if needed. But I'd never carry more than 500lbs. at that height. The GS' would be carried much lower, just above the hitch. Also, the trailer has an extendable tongue, in case I need to set her back a bit. Anyway, here's shot of the back so you can kind of see how it could work.



    Unless I missed it your not installing air conditioning, is that correct?
    A/C has always been part of the plan, it just took me a long time to decide which direction to go. I looked at all the the DC options, but in the end, went with a "commercial grade" 110AC RV unit, which simply a beefed up standard rooftop unit that costs a few bucks more. It's ducted to the main room, bathroom, and cabover. This shows the interior mount and return/distribution chamber.





    It's amazing how manufacturers ship components without instructions. I hand to scrounge around online to find a wiring diagram for the Dometic analog thermostat and control unit I'm using. It's also the last piece of wall that hasn't been paneled.





    I also ended up removing the unit from one of my 4 ALS circuits (Automatic Load Shed). The compressor exceeds the 1.5HP limitation. Luckily I had another 20amp branch circuit available so it can have its own.

    You can see the rootop shroud in this photo that also shows the cabover fold-down wall. I still haven't finished the door, but everything else works great.



    There are dual brush seals on both sides of the wall and rubber gaskets on the top an bottom. Here's what it looks like folded-up against the cabover ceiling.



    I'm going to have a screen wall sewn up to snap into place for warm evenings. It's one of the reasons I went with this design. From the inside, two DeStaco clamps grab rings bonded into the side walls to lock the wall into place when deployed. It also applies pressure to the seals. I still need to fit the wall's bottom seal and the corner seals.



    Brush seals follow all of the gaps between the articulating upper shell and the cabover main body.



    I might send the gas shocks back to the factory to up the pressure a smidge. We thought we'd need to bleed off more pressure from the original "rough" bleed, but the friction of the brush seals has created more resistance than expected. It still takes very little effort to lift it up, but I wanted it to be a little easier.

    This shows how the cabover is secured for travel from the inside, using two heavy-duty DeStaco clamps. The wall is folded flat against the ceiling.



    While traveling, the wall is flat against the ceiling.

    All the compartment and personnel doors turned out great, but were a ton of work. All use a dual gasket seal: inner bulb seal and outer "D" seal. Final step is to hook up the electric lock actuators and the pressure switches for the compartment lights. I'm also going to install a rub rail with a drip rail along the length on each side above the doors.



    Most of them are drawers, which took some serious effort before setting the placement, but glad I did it.



    The interior is very, very close. I added some last minute wiring stuff, which slowed things down, again, and work, work, work..... Sorry about the slow posting. More next week. And again, thanks for all the kind words and support. Can't wait to get this thing out on a trip.

  3. #453
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Park City, UT
    Posts
    332
    Quote Originally Posted by TravelerJohn View Post
    The only real question/suggestion I have had during the process is why did you not put a rear mounted self recovery winch? It looks like you have plenty of room to install one just above the receiver hitch unless the spare tire does not allow for the depth needed. In which case I would be very tempted to mount one "externally" on that plate in the same place and trim/dress/reinforce as needed to install a roller fairlead and make it look good.

    The color issue reminded me, I wanted to ask; The Scorpion material you used for the exterior, how is it different from, or similar to, "Pick up truck bed liner"?

    In closing, You may have posted it already and I missed it, but your job obviously both pays relatively well and allows you enough time off to justify the time and expense of building a rig like this, (And one would assume the time to use it once done) so I am curious. What line of work are you in?
    The rear buck plate is going to get tweeked a bit, including a recovery setup. Just not at the top of the list. I'll probably never use it to get myself out of anything, but will probably help my buddies drag their trucks and boat trailers out of the lake from time to time.

    Scorpion is a brand of truck bed liner. Great characteristics, except color. The white has already faded more than I want, so I'll be painting the whole thing with an overcoat soon. Doing some testing now. I'll probably stick with the white so I don't have to repaint the truck, but still on the fence a bit. Tan is calling my name.

  4. #454
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Park City, UT
    Posts
    332
    Quote Originally Posted by TravelerJohn View Post
    Unless I missed it your not installing air conditioning, is that correct? Those of us who live in the south east USA (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi) pretty much consider A/C mandatory. I know where you live it usually does not get as hot or humid as it does for us. I really like your idea of barely using the generator, mostly relying on the solar to keep your house batteries charged. I'm not sure that we could do that here in the south east. The energy draw of even a single A/C unit would probably require so much battery bank (To run all night) that it would be impracticable, and so many square inches of solar panels it would not be possible because you would need more sq/in than the total of your roof. I do remember seeing a link in a thread recently, (Might have been this one) where somebody was asking about a unit intended for RV use that is roof mounted and looks similar to a "Normal" RV A/C unit but is actually an evaporation or "Swamp cooler". They use far less electricity than a compressor driven "Normal" A/C system but with the high humidity in our region, they are all but useless for decreasing the air temperature so where we really need it, they are not a viable option.
    Another quick comment on the A/C. If I had expected to spend much time South (including international destinations) or East, I would've gone with a 12 or 24V DC unit and it would've been a bigger priority in the design. There are a number of product offerings in the 5,000 to 7,000 btu range that would get the job done with a decent battery bank. I also did some testing last summer with a couple of the "Swampy" 12VDC evaporative coolers. They did fine in Utah's climate in a small space. I never tested the larger rooftop evaporative products because of the "splash factor". If we end up in a situation where we need to run A/C all night, my electrical system has an automatic generator start (the inverter/charger, charge controller, battery monitors, and control panel all communicate using the "Xanbus" protocol), so if we're not plugged into shore power and the batteries are down to where the inverter can't support the loads, the generator will kick on automagically.

  5. #455
    Loving the updates man!

  6. #456
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Park City, UT
    Posts
    332
    So everybody probably thinks I dropped off the planet- to the contrary, I think I've logged enough air miles to have circled it a few times in the past two months. I just realized how much time has passed since I've provided a progress report. This post is being written from 40,000 feet and about the only time I seem to have these days for checking EP. My cousin and master-craftsmen, Gerard, has continued work on the rig full time, however. He has done an amazing job at going after every little detail. I am very happy with the results. The interior has really turned out great. We still have some work to do on configuring the insides of the cabinets and drawers, and it's finally time to install the speakers and other AV components. I've also decided to install a Wilson SoHo cellular enhancement setup, so if any of you have experience with their gear or have recommendations on alternatives, especially antennas, let me know.

    The exterior has a few more details to finish up as well. I've decided to install an alumnum rub rail on each side above the cargo doors, which will also have a drip rail on the lower edge. Over the past six weeks we've experienced some very heavy rainstorms combined with harsh winds, which served as a good test of all the seals and gaskets. The only trouble was with the small "side" slides, because I had forgotten to install the outer wipe seals. Once those got installed, no leaks. I've also got to get the solar panels re-installed, but that will take less than an hour. And I still need to fab up a railing system for the roof "deck", as well and the steps for the rear and side doors.

    I can't wait for my schedule to settle down enough to do a shake-down trip! And I promise to do an inside shoot next week when I get back.

  7. #457
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North of Superior
    Posts
    4,999
    Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnough View Post
    And I promise to do an inside shoot next week when I get back.
    Tacoma - For Extended Overland Travels
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  8. #458
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Westville, IN
    Posts
    1
    Absolute the best detailed thread I have ever read. I can't wait to see this rig finished. Your thread is the reason I joined this forum.

  9. #459
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    3
    Wow. This is an amazing build. I have sat and read the whole thing over 2 evenings.

    Just one comment on this solution:

    Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnough View Post
    I ordered a box of 20 and we buggered several of them already. So, I came up with this:



    5 actual sealed bearing assemblies (only 4 are visible in the shot above), recessed and mounted on stainless axles. It gave me the clearance needed, as well as much greater piece of mind.

    May I humbly suggest that if you ever have problems with your bearing on a stick solution, that you could investigate the use of industrial load skates like these:

    P60725.jpg

    Pacific-Load-Skates.jpg

    The bearings are linked together like tank tracks and are perfect for sliding a heavy object over a relatively flat surface. An analogy would be the way the Egyptians used logs to roll heavy blocks of stone.

    This is the supplier I am familiar with, but I am sure you could find them locally: pacific load skate

  10. #460
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Park City, UT
    Posts
    332
    Quote Originally Posted by axehead View Post
    May I humbly suggest that if you ever have problems with your bearing on a stick solution......
    Now that made me laugh, and I needed a laugh! I checked into the skates early on, but had some dimensional restrictions that ruled them out. Most of the bearings in the rig come from Pacific, BTW. Only time will tell how the "bearings on a stick" do the job- crossing my fingers.

    Yeah, I know I haven't posted any new pics and have broken my promise. Sadly, this another post from 38,000 feet and we're on decent. But I'm actually hoping to take the rig out for a test over-nighter with the boys this weekend. It really looks great inside- even the cushions fit.

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