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Trans-Canada Pilgrimage in a 53 2 R 11, Pilgrim

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  • #31
    Quebec city is like old Europe....definitely worth a trip.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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    • #32
      • Turk/Custom Caravan Top Build

        Today, 10:00 AM
        In preparation for driving my 1953, 2 R 11 truck "Pilgrim" across northern Canada once the borders are reopened. I had planned to build a Caravan top for over the bed. This would allow me to do some quick easy camping wherever I might be. My gratitude goes out to Skip Lackie who provided a partial kit and Gary Ash whose website with drawings and pictures were helpful in forming my vision. I have two bows to work with where a 2 R 11 requires three for the longer bed. I have two of the canvas straightening bars, again too short but good for a form. The cost was close to $600 including fuel for two trips into L.A. for supplies. It took about 4 days including travel time to assemble the frame. Here is what I used:

        [ATTACH=CONFIG]n1851121[/ATTACH]
        All pieces are 6061 aluminum

        Two original bows cold tool formed channel 1/8x3x101" Caravan hoops

        One flat bar 3/8x3x101 formed by a sheet roller into the third hoop

        Six 1/8x4"x8' bow top supports. The originals were 8 and 10 inches wide in three pieces but too expensive today.

        Two 3/8x3"x8' flat bar bottom supports

        Two 3/8x1 1/2"x8' flat bar as canvas stretchers

        Six 3/8x1 1/2" 10" curved bow supports

        Six 3/8x4x6" feet that still need to be cut once I have my truck back from the engine builder.

        Eight canvas stretching plates, six @ 1/16thx3 1/2x7 1/2 originals with ribs from Skip that make them 3/8 thick. Two more at 3/8x3 1/2x7 1/2 flat bar.

        I spent nearly a day going from shop to shop until I found a steel tube rolling fabricator. Doing phone work was challenging as no one could visualize what I was trying to create. I was able to get the slats to conform to the bows by alternating between tightening the attaching hardware and beating the slats with a rubber mallett. I was warned that the aluminum could crack but I had no issues.

        My next steps is to find a shop that can create a new canvas, probably Sunbrella material. I have the original short bed canvas but it is quickly deteriorating. Oddly it has windows at both ends? I guess whatever it was used for any privacy was not a consideration! I am considering added material at both ends. Up front so that pockets can be made to insert magnets to keep the front of the canvas from being loose. at the back end I am exploring the possibility of having the canvas extend out over the opened tail gate.
        [ATTACH=CONFIG]n1851129[/ATTACH]
        Last edited by 53 pilgrim; Today, 10:28 AM.
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      • jclary
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        #2
        Today, 10:53 AM
        I love the concept of the adventure and with our electronic connectivity capabilities these days...I hope you are able to stay connected and share the preparation and real-time experience as you plan the trip as it unfolds. As for the caravan top, if recreating a canvas cover turns out to be too expensive, or complicated, I wouldn't hesitate to have an aluminum frame welded up and/or use aluminum sheeting with front, side, and rear windows as I believe such toppers first appeared in the 1950s but I'm not sure on that.
        I don't know how long Studebaker kept offering the canvas-covered caravan tops, but I think somewhere in my literature for my 1955 truck it is listed as an available accessory.

        In your other post, you mentioned the "flare board" angle. Your picture in this post does not show that view. I hope the board does not follow the angle of the truck bed as it angles inward toward the bed. It seems to me that for a secure dry bed cover, the part that fits into the stake holes and traverses from front to rear on the sides should not follow that angle but be at least level with the very top of the outside radius of the bed. Otherwise, even with a seal, there's a chance in wet weather that water will be channeled into the inside of the truck bed. I could be wrong on the design, but if I am, I'm sure you (or someone) will clue me in.

        I was in an Air Force ground combat outfit in the 1960s and we had a fleet of canvas topped Jeeps, six-bys, and weapons carriers. I recall no problems with the tops, and we rarely fooled with them except for opening and closing the flaps for weather. Maintaining them fell to the motor pool and to the rest of us they were pretty much taken for granted. But, for my personal use, I would be concerned about keeping the fabric protected from buffeting against the wind and subsequent abraision. On the aluminum frame of the canvas top on my personal Jeep CJ5, I kept lots of foam insulation between the frame and the canvas. Those tops are plenty tough and the canvas seemed to hold up better than the stitching. I traded the Jeep for a tractor years ago, but, I think somewhere in my "Stuff"...I still have a spare top with the stitching repairs I did with a Leather Worker's Awl.

        As I said, I am very interested in your project and I hope you keep up your enthusiasm and post pictures with your progress as you proceed.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC
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        SDC member since 1975
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      • 53 pilgrim
        Commander Member
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        • Location: Running Springs CA
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        #3
        Today, 11:01 AM
        One of the last pieces I need to create is the pockets for the canvas stretching plates. The two short bars I received from Skip have three pockets each. I will need four pockets each for the longer bar. I am contemplating removing the six riveted pockets and re-using them necessitating that I only need to manufacture two pockets. Saves a fair amount of time in fabricating. I had originally thought to offer up the originals with pockets to someone contemplating making their own Caravan top. Besides the hoops this part is probably the most challenging to create. Not sure if anyone w [ATTACH=CONFIG]n1851140[/ATTACH] ould be interested in these originals if it's all I have.
        The bottom stretching plate is original the top one is a piece I fabricated.
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      • 53 pilgrim
        Commander Member
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        #4
        Today, 11:13 AM
        Originally posted by jclary View Post
        I love the concept of the adventure and with our electronic connectivity capabilities these days...I hope you are able to stay connected and share the preparation and real-time experience as you plan the trip as it unfolds. As for the caravan top, if recreating a canvas cover turns out to be too expensive, or complicated, I wouldn't hesitate to have an aluminum frame welded up and/or use aluminum sheeting with front, side, and rear windows as I believe such toppers first appeared in the 1950s but I'm not sure on that.
        I don't know how long Studebaker kept offering the canvas-covered caravan tops, but I think somewhere in my literature for my 1955 truck it is listed as an available accessory.

        In your other post, you mentioned the "flare board" angle. Your picture in this post does not show that view. I hope the board does not follow the angle of the truck bed as it angles inward toward the bed. It seems to me that for a secure dry bed cover, the part that fits into the stake holes and traverses from front to rear on the sides should not follow that angle but be at least level with the very top of the outside radius of the bed. Otherwise, even with a seal, there's a chance in wet weather that water will be channeled into the inside of the truck bed. I could be wrong on the design, but if I am, I'm sure you (or someone) will clue me in.

        I was in an Air Force ground combat outfit in the 1960s and we had a fleet of canvas topped Jeeps, six-bys, and weapons carriers. I recall no problems with the tops, and we rarely fooled with them except for opening and closing the flaps for weather. Maintaining them fell to the motor pool and to the rest of us they were pretty much taken for granted. But, for my personal use, I would be concerned about keeping the fabric protected from buffeting against the wind and subsequent abraision. On the aluminum frame of the canvas top on my personal Jeep CJ5, I kept lots of foam insulation between the frame and the canvas. Those tops are plenty tough and the canvas seemed to hold up better than the stitching. I traded the Jeep for a tractor years ago, but, I think somewhere in my "Stuff"...I still have a spare top with the stitching repairs I did with a Leather Worker's Awl.

        As I said, I am very interested in your project and I hope you keep up your enthusiasm and post pictures with your progress as you proceed.
        Not real fond of the idea of a "tin top". mostly because of the heat buildup inside for camping. I have a Sunbrella top on my VW pickuo and I really like it,. It has held up well for six years now- taken off in winter. The feet attach to the flare board and since I don't currently have the bed available I'm not able to attach the frame yet. The bed pockets are not part of the assembly. The flare board is. I haven't finished forming the feet just yet. 3/8x 6" tall x 4" wide I have some foam from laminate flooring installation that would work pretty good as padding for the canvas contact points.
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      • junior
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        #5
        Today, 11:16 AM
        Good work...can you share some photos of the bus too...it looks sweet! A neighbour down the street from me was driving a lowered 60's single cab onto a trailer last week, and then they both disappeared. Don't know what that was all about, but it sure was a cool truck. cheers, junior
        sigpic
        1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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      • #33
        The only damper on the enthusiasm is the fact that my engine builder has had my engine for 14 months! I was originally quoted three. They've had my truck since the 6th of July...

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        • #34
          Originally posted by 53 pilgrim View Post
          The only damper on the enthusiasm is the fact that my engine builder has had my engine for 14 months! I was originally quoted three. They've had my truck since the 6th of July...
          Well it may be another 6 months before you can cross the border anyways 😉
          sigpic

          Home of the Fried Green Tomato

          "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

          1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

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          • #35
            Yeah or possibly longer...

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            • #36
              Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
              That looks like a really exciting Trip you have planned Tim!
              I think when you get the Caravan Top on, it will be totally easy to stack some of the "Cargo" up at least when parked for the night and be safer, dryer and more secure sleeping inside when you want, I did read that you wouldn't but, "sometimes" might work.

              I am sure you have it somewhere, but I did not see the "Chemicals": GL-1 90 Wt. Non-EP additives Trans Gear Oil, Wheel Bearing Grease, Grease Gun, Chassis Lube Grease Tubes, a couple cases of Valvoline High Zinc, (ZDDP) VR-1 Racing 10W/30 Motor Oil, Anti-freeze and Oil and Air Filters, a bottle of Rain-X for Wiper issues.

              If you find a Good Dana 60 rear Axle for single wheel applications that would give you the Option of having a 4X4 Dana expert change the gearing to 4.09 or better yet, maybe a 3.73 Ring and Pinion are available to overcome the No Overdrive. With that and your planned Taller Tires that help very little, it WILL cruise nicely.

              Even my 289 4V, V8 could not handle the 5.13 Gears in my 1 Ton Dually '62 Transtar on Highways and Freeways without "Screaming".
              I had the original Dana 70 Twin Traction Diff. Ring and Pinion changed and added the available New Process 5 Speed Overdrive that Studebaker used when ordered, to be able to "Cruise" without being run over by B.C. Canada bound 70 MPH Semi's on US Interstate 5 here.
              Yeah I missed the dynamite box with the chemicals in it because the vintage oil can had a seam leak.
              Click image for larger version

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              Left to Right, Dupont box, sea foam fuel additive in vintage can, gear oil in Mobile can, Marvel oil in vintage Marvel oil can, glass bottle with distilled battery water, Coolant in vintage Glycol can, funnel, brake fluid in vintage Lockheed can, axle grease in Sunoco can, vintage Sunoco oil can.

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              • #37
                My home stomping grounds when I was really little) was near Clintonville wi (Navarino). And we had a family cabin between Pella and Leopolis.

                i would add a triangle slow sign to the back to show truckers and non-observant drivers that they will close on you fast.

                a bucket of fine thread bolts and nuts, and a thread file would be a good addition and a spool of mechanics wire.

                54 Champion coupe
                48 Champion Convert

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                • #38
                  Triangle, baling wire and spare hardware already in the kit. I'll have to locate my thread chaser- good ideas. No oil or air filter needed.
                  Last edited by 53 pilgrim; 08-22-2020, 11:44 AM.

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