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1st Gen Topper Rebuild

Discussion in 'Tonneau Covers, Caps and Shells' started by nzbrock, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. Nov 15, 2020 at 7:14 AM
    #1
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I went searching for 2 years to find a donor cap/topper to steal windoors from. I came across one on fb marketplace for the right price advertised to fit a ford ranger. It was painted silver and looked kind of beat up in the pictures, but I really just wanted it for the windows.

    Once we got it loaded on my truck, I immediately realized that it was not for a ranger, but for an extended cab 1st gen Tacoma. I now had a decision to make. Do I just pull the windows and swap them into my reg cab topper (and have to deal with covering some gaps), or do I rebuild this new topper. Both these toppers are ARE MX model, so I already knew how everything was put together. I ultimately decided to rebuild the new one so that I would have the exact setup that I wanted.

    IMG_1109.jpg

    Picture of my old one for comparison:
    [​IMG]
    Listed for sale here: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/are-mx-1st-gen-topper-cap-shell.694157/

    So I started stripping out all the windows, which made it way easier to unload and get into my back yard to work on it. It had carpet headliner, but it was so old and damaged that I had to completely remove that too.
    IMG_1137.jpg
    IMG_1138.jpg

    I shopped around and found someone to paint it for a good price.
    I also started putting together a supplies list.
    Bed Seal: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NCC0SY6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Carpet Headliner (4 yds): https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G5CFPGW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    EPDM window gasket material: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B089GKLW3H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    3M Super 90 Spray Adhesive (2 cans): https://www.lowes.com/pd/3M-17-6-fl-oz-Bonding-Clear-Multipurpose-Adhesive/1160531
    Roof rack tracks: https://www.prolineracks.com/proline-roof-end-track-slats.html
    I went with these over Thule and Yakima because they are thicker aluminum and they come pre curved to match the curve of the ARE MX top.
    I am also building an internal reinforcement for the roof rack out of aluminum extrusions from tnutz.com. Tnutz is way cheaper than 80/20.

    The topper did not come with keys, and I really didn't want to spend tons of money replacing all 5 handles (which is what the ARE dealer told my I'd probably have to do). I already had a key that fit in the lock from my old topper, but it obviously didn't work. I pulled apart the lock and discovered that the cylinders are easy to take apart, just like thule and yakima cores. I ordered some blank keys on ebay for pretty cheap and made my own key to fit the lock. Total cost was about $10.

    Doing the carpet headliner was the most time consuming, but I was able to knock it out in an afternoon and do it in only 2 pieces. One for the front wall, and one for everything else.
    IMG_1255.jpg

    You can see the cap seal applied here.
    IMG_1257.jpg

    I also removed the old seals on all the windows and replaced with new
    IMG_1258.jpg

    Quick pic of it mounted with the prinsu on it.
    IMG_1264.jpg
    More to come!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
  2. Nov 15, 2020 at 9:32 AM
    #2
    Tacman19

    Tacman19 Well-Known Member

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    As many as my wallet will allow
    Subscribed.
    Zim
     
  3. Nov 21, 2020 at 2:05 PM
    #3
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Finally had a chance to vacuum out the bed. I searched far and wide for replacement seals for the fold out windows, but I couldn’t find anything close. I ended up ordering some trim bulb seals that should work, they just don’t attach the same way.

    Trim Seal EPDM Closed Cell Sponge Rubber Bulb Seal/PVC/Aluminum with Side Bulb (Length 25 Feet) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00NELWW2Q/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_67yUFbXCNC7QS

    49E25E40-1426-4B11-9327-AC3F88F7307C.jpg
     
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  4. Nov 22, 2020 at 4:58 AM
    #4
    deanosaurus

    deanosaurus Caveman

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    Hell yeah! Nice find and nice work.
     
  5. Nov 26, 2020 at 2:18 AM
    #5
    JPinFL

    JPinFL Well-Known Member

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    Great job. Looks good.
     
  6. Dec 3, 2020 at 9:24 AM
    #6
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I completely modeled the prinsu rack, roof tracks, roof and internal supports that I am starting to put together.
    I was originally going to bolt the roof tracks straight into t-nuts in the tops of the internal support rails, but I quickly realized how difficult that is to line everything up.
    I ended up narrowing the whole assembly to sit inside of those bolts and just use L-brackets. My plan is to tighten these bolts with fender washers and nuts to the fiberglass. Then lift the support assembly up and attach these to the bolts (acting like studs). I modeled spacers to 3D print in PET.
    The spacers are all different sizes to keep the internal support level. This took a lot of measuring, but it wasn't that difficult once I realized that I could use the measurements I took for leveling the prinsu.
    The topper is taller at the front and tapers towards the back in a teardrop like slope. This made it tricky to get the right measurements, so I just decided to model the whole roof for that section.
    Screenshot 2020-12-03 111837.jpg
     
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  7. Dec 4, 2020 at 8:34 AM
    #7
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    3D printed the final spacers out of PET at work.
    74A4B734-4DBC-4C37-938B-88CD9BE862D7.jpg
     
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  8. Dec 6, 2020 at 11:44 AM
    #8
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Got the main support frame installed. I first installed longer stainless bolts through the roof tracks and shell with 2” fender washers. Then installed the two side rails. Then bolted it all together.
    4068A000-A561-4FA3-92CE-4FBAF5C09020.jpg 0410DDB2-80E9-4B99-A923-340CFDB21183.jpg E431CBC5-1FEC-4DA3-9497-5C005D6DC670.jpg
     
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  9. Dec 9, 2020 at 11:40 AM
    #9
    chowwwww

    chowwwww Well-Known Member

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    Subscribed!

    will you be running bars down to the bedsides?
     
  10. Dec 9, 2020 at 1:29 PM
    #10
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes that's the plan. I wanted to get the roof pieces in first so I could take measurements from there. There are some complicated angles that I will custom make brackets for. I am also considering running aluminum extrusions the entire length of the bed rails to reinforce the lower edge of the topper. It's pretty flimsy at the bottom edge of the side windows when they are open. I could then use some draw latches instead of topper clamps to attach it to the bed.
     
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  11. Dec 9, 2020 at 5:02 PM
    #11
    chowwwww

    chowwwww Well-Known Member

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    interested to see how it turns out. I just mounted a RTT on my snugtop and eventually would like to possibly add some structural support. Although I’ve seen many people doing just fine. I also found this:

    https://www.milford.one/LoadMax-universal-roof-rack-support-system-505500
     
  12. Dec 10, 2020 at 4:47 AM
    #12
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes I remember coming across that in my research. I just didn't like how far out it sticks into the usable space.
     
  13. Dec 10, 2020 at 9:17 AM
    #13
    chowwwww

    chowwwww Well-Known Member

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    I’ve seen pics of how the are hd caps use extrusions also.
     
  14. Dec 15, 2020 at 8:55 PM
    #14
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I’ve been looking into bed stiffeners since I noticed the gap at my tailgate getting wider. I guess rago is the only company advertising them for 1st gen.
     
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  15. Dec 15, 2020 at 9:01 PM
    #15
    Dalandser

    Dalandser ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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  16. Dec 15, 2020 at 9:16 PM
    #16
    betterbuckleup

    betterbuckleup Well-Known Member

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    afaik yes they are the only ones that do for first gens. Was gonna make my own, but these are great quality. Stainless and powder coated.
     
  17. Dec 15, 2020 at 9:28 PM
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    Cravin

    Cravin New Member

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    Awesome job! Came out great
     
  18. Dec 15, 2020 at 9:29 PM
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    IETACOMA94

    IETACOMA94 Member

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    Were you able to put the carpet down in one piece without any cuts in the corners? I am about to do this with a 12x10' piece of utility carpet from lowes on my own camper rebuild.
     
  19. Dec 16, 2020 at 4:21 AM
    #19
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    My carpet was 80” wide so I did one piece from side to side, and one piece on the front wall. I had to notch the corners only at the rear window (I just couldn’t stretch it enough)
     
  20. Dec 16, 2020 at 5:20 AM
    #20
    nzbrock

    nzbrock [OP] Well-Known Member

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    It looks like they just use the same part for 1st and 2nd gen, but I could be wrong. That's also probably why they are labeled wrong. They even show pictures on their website on a 2nd gen, not 1st.
     
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