Alloy Canopy Tool Box Import vs Custom

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Shorty4655

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Okay so I have been doing some research into an alloy canopy (1800x1800x800ish) to mount to a tray for my touring set up to go to the cape and gibb river etc. I tend to like the look of the flat plate canopies that are painted. I am just not keen to tow a camper offroad, however there are plenty of bargains around

So I went to local supplier and they gave me their opinion, they make their own custom alloy canopy which is not seam welded, it is made with an internal frame and their own brand of alloy extrusion for the upper rails which has a t slot for fitting racks etc up top. Instead of seam welding they simply sikaflex the alloy sheet straight to the frame. He says the advantage of not having them full seam welded means the canopy can flex with tray and chassis when traversing rough terrain offroad, he says the canopy can be full deformed so that the doors wont open or close but when level again everything springs back to place, this is a good theory. There price for the base canopy is $5000, however this comes with internal frame and the ability to drop an 8mm bolt into the t slot on the roof and bolt whatever you like to it, they also make every canopy with the jack off style incorporated but if you want to buy the legs it costs $1000 (I could make my own out of jockey wheels though). They want 1300 for plain paint or 1650 for metallic paint, I assume this is 2pac due to the price.

They also sell chinese imported canopies like these http://www.matesratestools.com.au/canopy-product-details.php?product_id=3
These are fully seam welded and apparently imported straight from China fully assembled. To get one of these costs 2200, with an internal frame add 250, with jack off system add $750 (incls 4 legs), with flat plate add 150, 2 roof racks add $130. They want $900 odd to powder coat it, they think around 600 for poweder coating but they charge 300 labour to disassemble and reassemble. So total cost is about $3500 plus paint, I could paint either canopy myself in just a hammer tone finish which any muppet can spray for about $100 which has the advantage of pressure packs available to fix future scratches easily.

Now the advice given to me was that the custiom canopies are for off road camper types, the fully seam welded cheapies are fine for tradies utes who just use it to store tools and only really drive on the road. As when one of those seem welded canopies is used offroad over time due to the distortion the canopy starts to crack as it is a rigid frame and box. The custom canopy does have a full welded frame though, so going by this frame of thought if the custom setup was distorted all the time, yeah the panels would be fine but would the frame not suffer the same cracking as the seam welded panels of the cheap alloy canopy?

The thing I like about the cheapies are the doors are recessed and hence are flush mount, the custom ones my local make are no flush mount and just have a rubber weather seam strip around the outside.

Has anyone had any experience with cracking of their fully seam welded alloy canopies? Most people I see on here and facebook etc have the fully seam welded type.

The plan is to mount a RTT to the top of it and put a water tank under the tray. The other option is camper and hence I only wanted to spend about the same as what a camper is worth on this alloy canopy setup. However I just dont really want to tow a camper, but if that is the far more economical option I may be pushed that way.

Cheers,
Alex
 

Trent Naudi

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hey shorty, ill give you some insight on what I'm currently doing and you can take what you will from it keep in mind I've done about a years worth of research behind what I'm doing.

i wanted the same sort of setup, originally an 1800x1800x roughly 1m give or take... i thought ali tray and canopy as it would be light and a lot of people made them, mw toolboxes ect ect.

so i drew up some plans on how i would actually like the dream setup to look like and went into quite some detail. I've ended up going for a custom fabricated steel tray thats going to be just over 1600 long which won't actually weigh as much as i first thought it would which is a bonus, there will be no headboard as i want to make use of the room I've got and have the canopy as far forward as possible. plus i scrapped the whole wind off canopy system as i figured i would never actually wind it off at camp and drive off i just don't like the idea, and once its on its on if you get me.

I'm keeping the whole steel tray and ali canopy at 1600~ due to having two spares mounted on the rear, you want to keep the weight as far forward as possible.. too much over the rear axle will start causing problems plus you'll compromise departure angles especially at the cape where I'm going in august. the steel tray won't rattle around and will act as sliders for the actual canopy should i get in some tight spots and ill be far less likely to be leaving with a busted up setup.

An arb rooftop tent on top opening backwards over the spare tyres as to not get in the way of the doors either side. and a solar panel infront of the rooftop tent as a backup for the offgrid power system ill have setup inside to run the fridge ill have on a msa dropdown slide coming out the left as far forward as possible. there will be an under tray toolbox running about a metre long to leave roof for a water tank closer to the cab and an air tank side by side, all plumbed in nicely out of sight.

Inside as for electrics ill have a 3rd battery sitting up against the front wall that will have a sheet of ply covered in carpet installed with all the wiring behind it out of sight mounting my air compressor, inverter, battery charger, fuse panel, and switch panel for lights et. the rest will be a pull out kitchen ill fab up and just a couple drawers.

I've rambled on here but all in all the tray and canopy itself are costing 8k to get fabbed up and then I've got to kit it out with everything mentioned so its costly but will allow me to do the cape trip from perth quite comfortably
 
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Shorty4655

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That is a dream setup! Thanks for all that info. I ended up deciding I couldn't justify the cost of a project like thy for how little use it will get. So I opted for a cheap second hand arb canopy with lift up side and internal bracing for $450 then I'll get it resprayed to silver for about $400 and make a roof tray out of alloy security screen mesh or pool fence. And i am making a set of draws to go in the back also. Decided on an oztent rv4 for my accom on the cape trip I am doing in July. It will cost me about 2k vs the 10k plus route you are taking. If I was doing an around oz trip for a year or two your way would definitely be the day
 

Trent Naudi

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That is a dream setup! Thanks for all that info. I ended up deciding I couldn't justify the cost of a project like thy for how little use it will get. So I opted for a cheap second hand arb canopy with lift up side and internal bracing for $450 then I'll get it resprayed to silver for about $400 and make a roof tray out of alloy security screen mesh or pool fence. And i am making a set of draws to go in the back also. Decided on an oztent rv4 for my accom on the cape trip I am doing in July. It will cost me about 2k vs the 10k plus route you are taking. If I was doing an around oz trip for a year or two your way would definitely be the day

yeah it is a lot of money and hard to justify but the way i looked at it was Ill have just signed off my apprenticeship when i go on the trip and everyone takes a holliday when they do but some people would spend what I'm spending on this trip and the car and go to europe or something. atleast ill have memories plus a sick nav when i get back which i can still do whatever i like with wether i sell or continue to use it and to be honest i just want to do the trip as comfortably as possible so i can't help but want all the extras
 

Trent Naudi

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and jar how hard were the under tray toolboxes to make i like the tapered kind
 

Jnrsnav

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Here are some inside pics. Its got a 165ah AGM behind the fridge. Also has legs so i can remove and 2 spare wheels.

 

Jnrsnav

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how much did the whole power system cost mate?
I did it all myself so the labour is free. Material prob cost me around $1000-$1200. That includes the batt price of $450. And I'm still yet to add solar.
 

Jnrsnav

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You've done a very tidy job on that wireing, do you carry that big saw everytime you go away?.
Thanks for that😊 Sparky by trade so wiring is in my blood. Hahaha, nah only carry the saw when needed. Most of the time it gets tied onto the roof. Takes up so much space but very handy. Got used alot in the Vic high Country. Had a look at you set up, looks awsome. Love the slide out draw and the canopy, its def the way to go. Couldnt do a tub with canopy again. Tray and canopy is the way to do it.Truck looks in exceptionaly good nick too
 

happy john

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Well that explains the quality of the work!, that drawer is huge what you can fit is great. A tip lock it before you climb a 40deg incline after a few grogs lol. And as you said never would I go back to a tub and canopy either, 3k for a plastic canopy and limited space is just silly.
 

happy john

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Being a sparky you would understand my solar plans. I have 120ah behind the rear seat and the ability to add another 120ah to a Anderson plug in the tray if the extra capacity is needed. So far I've not needed the second battery in the tray. The 120watt portable panel I've bypassed the crappy regulator and run 9 mtrs of 8mm cable direct to the Ctek via an external Anderson.

This way i camp in the shade and the panel does it's work, in good sun we camped for 3 day's with two fridges and maintained full charge. I'm looking at 160 watts on the roof bars as a wind deflector and be able to plug the portable in if needed. The Ctek can handle 300 watts of solar so this will work well. Running 2 Engels 1 as a fridge and the other as a frezzer we should be fine.
 

Jnrsnav

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Being a sparky you would understand my solar plans. I have 120ah behind the rear seat and the ability to add another 120ah to a Anderson plug in the tray if the extra capacity is needed. So far I've not needed the second battery in the tray. The 120watt portable panel I've bypassed the crappy regulator and run 9 mtrs of 8mm cable direct to the Ctek via an external Anderson.

This way i camp in the shade and the panel does it's work, in good sun we camped for 3 day's with two fridges and maintained full charge. I'm looking at 160 watts on the roof bars as a wind deflector and be able to plug the portable in if needed. The Ctek can handle 300 watts of solar so this will work well. Running 2 Engels 1 as a fridge and the other as a frezzer we should be fine.
That sounds like a lovely setup you have planned. Looking forward to setting up a panel mysef☺
 

Trent Naudi

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jnrsnav you say you payed 450 for a battery is this pretty standard cost?
 

Jnrsnav

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jnrsnav you say you payed 450 for a battery is this pretty standard cost?
For a 165Ah AGM I think it's pretty standard. You got me thinking now, might go check the receipt 😃 Paid $430.
 
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