8 Nov 2000
The roof of the pop-top, another bloody engineering
The entire motorhome roof is covered by a tropical
roof and the pop-top is no exception. Here we see the inner roof,
and the white battens which will support the outer roof. A lot of
battens are required because the roof must be able to support someone
walking on it so their spacing must be fairly close.
Fig 1. Pop-top roof battens ready
for the outer roof sheets.
In the following photo we see the construction
of the battens. Because the underlying steel bowed at some time
during welding (and I didn't notice until it was too much trouble
to fix it) I needed to provide a flat surface for the outer roof.
Therefore each batten is hand planed and levelled
with its neighbours with a straight edge. Another example of a small
error turning into a big job.
Of course the air gap between the two roofs needs
to breath or there's not much point. There are over 300 holes drilled
around the roof edge and the hatch edge. Air can enter from the
side of the roof, pass through the outer holes, cross between the
two roofs, and exit via the holes in the hatch surround.
Fig 2. Pop-top roof battens under
Fig 3. Close-up of the pop-top
roof battens and breathing holes.
The entire roof is now finished, well almost. Here's a shot from the front of the pop-top looking to the rear...
Fig 4. Looking from the pop-top
to the rear.
Note the hole in the foreground, this is a hatch for access to the roof.
Fig 5. Looking from the rear
the pop-top at the front.
Note the four solar panels in the foreground,
four more will be placed in the centre part of the roof (the white
parts). There is a walkway between the panels in the centre of the
The walkway is elevated about 75mm over the roof,
as are the panels, to create the tropical roof.
11 Nov 2000
I've been working on the plumbing. Not the
taps and sinks etc but the business end, the pumps.
First I prepared the areas in the left-hand bins,
here we see the bins after undercoating.
Fig 6. The LHS storage bins after
all this space is for plumbing but there's no point only
spraying part of the bins then having to re-mask and setup
again to do the rest at a later date.
Fig 7. The main plumbing components.
Several days later the bins have had their final
coat (silver hammertone) and the plumbing has been installed.
In the photo above we see the following (left to right)
- Whale outside shower.
- power point.
- two pressure gauges, one for drinking water
and one for the main system.
- three filling points, one each for the fresh
water and two drinking water tanks.
- the pumps, accumulators and filters.
- five control valves
- large hole for the hot water system
The grey and first fresh water tanks can also
be seen below the body at the left.
The following schematic shows the final plumbing
setup. I won't describe everything here (see this technical
section article for a description of most of this) .
Fig 9. Plumbing schematic.
19 Nov 2000
Waterproofing has been the name of the game
for the last week or so. We need to have some work done on the truck
in Goulburn and to get it there it must be waterproof in case it
rains during the trip.
Also it's been months since the truck has been
on the road and I get nervous doing so much work with no on-road
testing, so, using some trade plates from my friendly engineer
I hit the road.
I filled up and headed down the highway
before turning off onto a dirt road.
Fig 10. The truck poses under
a dramatic sky.
After a few miles on the dirt pulled over
for a photo op then continued to Angle Crossing, a low-level
When I got there I found that it was
closed because of the recent rains, it was then that I realised
one of the benefits of having an off-road motorhome. No I didn't
cross the river, there was a locked gate, but I did have more
choices than the average motorhome driver.
Because there were deep drains on each side
of the track, followed by steep banks, a three-point turn would
be out of the question for most motorhomes. The only other option
would be to reverse a kilometre or so up a narrow winding track.
Now we're not talking the Canning Stock Route
here but still no normal motorhome would have been able to turn
around because of their low clearances and long overhangs.
I simply drove over one drain/bank, reversed
over the other one and carried on my merry way. The following
photo shows this, I know it doesn't look much but the other
side was worse and, believe me, either were enough to stump
any normal bus/Winnebago.
Fig 11. Crossing a drain and
bank on the side of the track.
Of course you don't need a hardcore off-road
vehicle to do this, it's really just a matter of having reasonable
clearances. Most motorhomes have enormous overhangs and very
low clearances to the point that just getting into a service
station can be a drama.
Naturally if you aren't interested exploring
narrow dirt tracks then it doesn't matter.
On returning to the highway I stopped at a
service station for a drink. While I was sitting in the
shade admiring my creation an elderly local emerged from the
shop, looked at the truck and said, "What the hell is that?".
"A motorhome" I replied. The light was such that the
joins in the cladding were nearly invisible, the body looked
seamless. "How do they breath?", she asked. We chatted
about the motorhome for a while then she left saying that in
the forty years she'd lived in the district she'd never seen
anything like it.
I guess I'll have to get used to this.
20 Nov 2000
Today we take the truck up to Goulburn. Shortly
after my return from yesterday's jaunt it rained heavily so I drove
the truck outside to test it's waterproofness. It passed fairly
well but there were a few leaks so this morning I brought it
outside again and raised the pop-top to air things out.
Fig 12. The truck with raised
pop-top outside the workshop.
Here we see the truck with raised pop-top and
our Suzuki Sierra in the foreground. We actually bought the Suzi
specifically to A-frame behind the motorhome but decided against
it and purchased two motor bikes. The Suzi is now for sale if