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  1. #1
    I'm Awesome SubLo's Avatar
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    Default TopUp Vertical Lift Tonneau

    Ok. A.R.E. bought these guys 5 years ago and promptly shut them down for reasons unknown to me. Grrrr!!! They are no longer produced yet this is the exact tonneau that best fits my particular needs now that I have a pickup.

    Basically, this was the only commercially available vertical lift tonneau I've ever seen and I always thought I would get one upon buying a truck. So frustrating. It was operated electrically/hydraulically so zero sweat was involved. It was also available with either straight fabric sides/back or camper/fold-out sides. The shot version had 1 scissor lift on each side while the long-bed version had an additional support on each side. It could be raised/lowered in infinite positions and could even be driven while up.

    I wrote to A.R.E. a couple of weeks ago about availability and they basically don't want to be bothered. I dunno if anyone else is interested in something like this but I was thinking that if there is enough support out there in the form of folks pretty much committed to buy, they might be tempted to break out the tooling and molds and bring this pup back into production. I've seen some interest from on the Tundra forums as well.

    Any interest?

    -Freddy



    http://www.sporttruck.com/techarticl...ver/index.html

    1996 K2500 GMC Diesel Suburban (Big Ol' 'Burb)
    2006 Subaru Legacy GT Spec B
    1997 K1500 GMC Sierra Extended Cab, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold)
    1997 K1500 Suburban LT, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold like an idiot)

  2. #2
    I'm Awesome SubLo's Avatar
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    No interest fellas eh? Eh... Either way, the currently available tonneaus just don't do it for me for a variety of reasons each.

    Soft/Roll tops: No security. Not solid.
    Hard Roll tops: Need my complete bed space
    Hard foldable: Was leaning towards either BakFlip or Extang folding covers. Just hate having my rear window blocked or having to completely remove it sometimes.

    I really want the options of high-lift vertical hard tonneau, locking mechanism, strong enough to stand on and a variety of lift positions. Guess what? A.R.E has failed me. I've written to them a couple of times and called them. They have no intention of restarting production of the TopUp Camper tonneau. GRrrrrrrr!!! My guess is that it was so expensive upon upon production that it didn't meet the sales goals - so voila! Poof! Gone!

    So, I'm building my own! I'm not one to withold information or be all mine, mine mine. Plus I'm pretty excited about building this. I'm planning on using 14ga or 16ga 1 1/4" mild square steel tubing for the supports. I'm sourcing/specing out appropriately strong and lightweight hydraulic rams now. I'll post progress as it comes.

    Note to A.R.E.: "If you don't build it, they won't come."

    Stay tuned....

    The scale of the cab isn't entirely accurate. I did it quickly in Visio. I'll redo it at some point to more accurately reflect the scale but you get the idea.




    1996 K2500 GMC Diesel Suburban (Big Ol' 'Burb)
    2006 Subaru Legacy GT Spec B
    1997 K1500 GMC Sierra Extended Cab, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold)
    1997 K1500 Suburban LT, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold like an idiot)

  3. #3
    Bitchin' Stitchin' sewlow's Avatar
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    So...are you going to make it like the A.R.E's, with the pop-out sides, like a tent trailer? Or, straight vertical fabric sides?
    I've had some experience with fabricating stuff like this. Motorbike trailers that can sleep 2, on an area of 4'x8'. They pop open with one hand, to become a tent. The tent raises with the opening of the cover.
    If you are going to have the pop-out sides like a tent trailer, the flooring/bed area for the sides may be a bit of a problem, with the upright supports that you have depicted, storage-wise, when not being used. I would consider putting the raise/lower mechanisms at the front & back of the box, which would allow the sides to be folded into the box when closing.
    Or, something else to consider would be an electric/hydro system of lifts, mounted vertically in each corner, that, when raised would not be in your way while inside, whatsoever, yet, allow the sides to fold in when closing.
    Also, have you thought about maybe hacking up, & modifying tent trailer parts to fit your box?
    Damn, your so far away. After you get all the framework done, I would love to make the canvas parts for you.
    That's another thing. Use CANVAS. Not nylon, or other petroleum based products. For 1, they don't breath, so they 'sweat' on the inside when you use them, & also because of the fire hazards. For 2, the petroleum based materials melt (think...napalm) when they burn, whereas a canvas, with a proper 'FR' (fire-retardent) rating, will slowly smoulder at their extreme heat ratings. Canvas tends to be self-extinguishing.

  4. #4
    I'm Awesome SubLo's Avatar
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    Wow! An offer to make the canvas sides! That's one thing I'm not good at so I may take you up on it

    I don't plan it for Phase I but my mind and projects seemingly know no boundaries so I may eventually do that, yes. I was thinking to have just snap on canvas sides and back after I'm done. Who knows? My immeidate need is first for the tonneau only.

    And yeah. After looking at the drawings again, I may be more inclined to mount the rams on the scissor lift support instead. Not sure yet. I'll fab up the supports first and see how it goes. BTW, A.R.E.'s version had only the scissor supports for the short beds. Long beds had the extra supports as pictured in my sketches. I'd prefer the extra support even on my short/standard bed.

    Thats a good point about the fold out bed thing and access. Have to keep that in mind. As long as I have 3 feet or so between scissor and back supports, I think it should be ok.

    Hadn't thought about the pop-up camper lobotomy. I'll have to look into that. Good idea. However, I really like this kind of work and have all the tools and experience to get it done (with the exception of hydraulic experience). I'm a mechanical engineer by degree and general all around can-do-anything kind of guy so I don't envision many problems. I really enjoy this kind of thing.

    1996 K2500 GMC Diesel Suburban (Big Ol' 'Burb)
    2006 Subaru Legacy GT Spec B
    1997 K1500 GMC Sierra Extended Cab, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold)
    1997 K1500 Suburban LT, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold like an idiot)

  5. #5
    I'm Awesome SubLo's Avatar
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    And oh. I thought about the lifts in each of the 4 corners. But, I think it's unnecessary for my simple needs really and an extra expense at this point.

    BTW, there is a British company that makes are really neat mechanical 2-way vertical lift for small/mid-size European trucks http://www.pegasus4x4.com but does not offer anything for our trucks. Furthermore, it doesn't lift as high as I'd like it. Really cool engineering however.

    1996 K2500 GMC Diesel Suburban (Big Ol' 'Burb)
    2006 Subaru Legacy GT Spec B
    1997 K1500 GMC Sierra Extended Cab, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold)
    1997 K1500 Suburban LT, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold like an idiot)

  6. #6
    Bitchin' Stitchin' sewlow's Avatar
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    That 'pegasus' cover does look interesting.
    This has got me thinking. I like to do things someone has told me wouldn't work. Hell, 30 yrs. ago, I was told not to continue on, doing upholstery, because I'd never be any good at it. Best words of inspiration that I ever had. It's taken me farther than I ever imagined. And way farther than they could have predicted. Proved all the doubters wrong! Hah!

    When you make the tonneau, make provision for the tent sides to be attached, INSIDE the outer edge of the tonneau. This is so that the canvas' top edges are not exposed, making the tent less prone to leakage. Any rain will run off of the tonneau, onto the side of the canvas, instead of seeping in between the two, at the attachment point. You could probably glass in a 1x2, on it's side, to allow snaps, & velcro to be installed. This could be inside of the rails of the box, so that it would not add height to the tonneau when closed.

    This is on my mind, now, so I'll post up some more ideas/hints as I think of 'em. Probably at 3 am. That's when stuff like this comes to me. Just can't turn the brain off.

  7. #7
    I'm Awesome SubLo's Avatar
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    Whoa! Just found Herculoc!

    http://www.herculoc.com/

    Hmm... This is great. Only thing I don't like is how it sticks out (not directly up) when extended.

    1996 K2500 GMC Diesel Suburban (Big Ol' 'Burb)
    2006 Subaru Legacy GT Spec B
    1997 K1500 GMC Sierra Extended Cab, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold)
    1997 K1500 Suburban LT, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold like an idiot)

  8. #8
    Bitchin' Stitchin' sewlow's Avatar
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    That is slick. Some pretty good engineering. I see what you mean by not going straight up. I think that is was designed that way for two reasons. It may have something to do with the way that the mechanics work, &/or, to provide cover over the tailgate, seeing as they advertise it as a mobile field office, & the tailgate would be being used as a desk. Even still. I think there are some good posibilities with using this, especially when they advertise this as comparable in pricing to a 'regular' tonneau, in the manual version.

  9. #9
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    Agreed. Looks really good! If it went straight up, they'd have my money today - only, the 88-98 gmt's aren't on their product list I'd be inclined to modify their product so that when extended, I could slide and lock it in the forward/bed-aligned position at the very least.

    hmm... I may still have to build my own. I'm gonna write to them at least.

    1996 K2500 GMC Diesel Suburban (Big Ol' 'Burb)
    2006 Subaru Legacy GT Spec B
    1997 K1500 GMC Sierra Extended Cab, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold)
    1997 K1500 Suburban LT, White w/Tan Leather (R.I.P. sold like an idiot)

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    Hi,

    I found this thread after getting excited about finding the ARE Topup, the topup perfectly fits my requirements, however also to my disappointment I see it is no longer manufactured.
    Annoyingly I actually found it on their website - http://www.4are.com/product/pdfs/ARE_TopUp_Camper.pdf

    I wanted to write to them as well but I could not locate an email address, if you have one please pass it over and I can view my thought to them as well.

    Quick observations about other systems here;-

    Pegasus - Over engineered, not high enough and no remote.
    Herculoc - Like it a lot, still not high enough, I want to be able to stand up in the back, overhang is sort of ok, except using it when reverse parked could be an issue. Apart from that its pretty ugly compared to Topup although the security is nice. (quite heavy too)

    So nice to meet you all and I'm here for a while until we find other options :-)

    Nacho

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