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 Post subject: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:28 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:11 am
Posts: 114
Location: Indianapolis IN.
well sort of... It actually cost me more like $90 becouse there were some tools I didnt have yet. Let me explain;

About a week ago I bought this 2003 Baja Sport.

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It came with a bed extender, but no bed cover. which is something I really wanted, so I made one myself. Here is how it came out.

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Right now it is obviously bare wood underneath, but eventually I will probably put some sort of fabric or durable carpeting under there to make it more professional looking/ not scratch up stuff inside the bed, But for right now I just wanted something that would work. All in all Im very pleased with how it came out, the vinyl is a little loose and should be tightened up, it is VERY snug around the bed and should keep a good amount of water from going into the bed and as a strange side effect the tail gate wont open when it is closed, I have no idea why that is.

Cost in materials: Pattern making supplies $3
Plywood $6
Various hinges, screws,etc. $40
Black Marine Vinyl $25

total cost in materials $74


I'll put up a short write up soon.


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:46 pm 
All-Mighty Scoobytruck Admin
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Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 5:23 pm
Posts: 421
Location: Denver, CO
Very nice, and not much different than my ozz cover which cost me $500 (?).


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:10 am 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:11 am
Posts: 114
Location: Indianapolis IN.
For anyone that is interested in knowing how I made this here is a rough write up on how I went about making the cover. There are plenty of other ways to make one of these and Im sure many better ways, this was more of a see if I could do it project and I will probably return to it to try improving on it later, in the mean time it has been nice just to have a bed cover.

Materials list
60" x 48" piece of 1/2" thick ply-wood
Clear plastic sheeting (drop cloth, cost me about $1)
permanent marker
electrical tape
Clear packing tape
screw drive (flat head)
Box of 50 1/4x3/4" screws
box of 50 1" diameter washers with 1/4" hole
2x 3" square door hinges
3x 6" Heavy Strap zinc plated hinges
4x U shaped 1/4" diameter fasteners (I dont remember the actual name sadly)
1x Drawer handle
1 3/4 yards of 52" width black marine vinyl
2x blue camping pad mats
Staple gun

I started the project by taping the plastic sheeting down to the bed of my Baja with electrical tape (to the plastic of the bed liner, not the painted parts). I made sure it was tight, but not stretched so that when I took it off it wouldn't return to shape and distort the pattern. Once the plastic sheeting was securly taped down (Im sorry I dont have a picture of this stage) I traced out the shape of the bed, paying careful attention to make an accurate tracing of the curve of the roll bars. Once this was done I trimmed it up and using clear packing tape taped the pattern down to the plywood (Took a picture of this, but it got deleted). Once I got it all cut out I took the board out to my Baja to try it out...This is when I realized that the form fitting board would not fit around the roll bars in a solid piece. Going back in to my work area I cut the board all the way across at about the halfway point of the roll bars. It went together correctly, but sertain parts didnt line up quite right, so I alternated fitting it into the bed and making adjustments until I got it where I wanted it.

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There is about a 1/2" of space between the board and the edges of the bed to allow for the vinyl and padding. Though I had accidentally, cut too much away around the roll bars and there probably up to 2" or more of a gap in some places :shock: luckily I was able to fix this when I added the foam padding. However at this point I started adding the hinges, staring with the larger door portion. here it is laid out with the door handle sitting on it so I could get an idea of what it would look like.

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As you can see I mounted the hinges so that the larger protruding part is facing down, this limits how far it can open and prevents scratches and also maintains a smoother surface. I also realized that in order to put the cover on I would need to pe able to slide it past the roll bars and added hinged pieces to the back end using the door hinges. I have also put washers on all the screws to prevent them from punching through the wood at some time down the road.

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I screwed the hing on pretty tight so that it would only lay flat with tension so it would bow downwards when attached to the bed. I also attached the four U-shaped fasteners (maybe someone knows what they are feel free to let me know) two at the end that will go towards the window, when it is completed I will lash this to the tie downs in the bed to make sure it wont come off.

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I also put two on the end that will go towards the tail gate In case I fell like I need to lash that side down. You can see it in this photo even though the cover is done at this point in the photo.

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I give it a test fit to make sure everything fits and then I begin to add the padding. This is what I used to pad the cover.

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It may not be the best, but it works. It will not absorb water, is easy to cut and most importantly is cheap. It took me two rolls to cover the thing. *note* The foam extends past the wood a bit and with the vinyl cover helps to make a sort of seal with the bed liner. It was also a good way to fill in those gaps around the roll bars.

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As a note I tapered the padding along the hinged areas. I did it along the main door hinge so that the mass of foam wouldnt prevent it from opening and along the edge of the folding sections of the window side so that when it folded it would be folding across an edge and therefore would stretch the vinyl less. Afterwords I spent some more time fitting and trimming the cover too the bed. *note* I glued the foam to the board with Loc-tite brand spray adhesive, becouse thats what I had. It worked OK at the time, but has since started to come loose, so an adhesive better suited to gluing wood and foam together would be good.

After getting the foam onto the cover I put some small pieces of wood into the foam so that the handle would have a hard surface that was level with the padding I also put washers on the wood so the handle wouldn't push through or in any way distort the small pieces of wood.

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so they wouldn't shift while I was putting the vinyl cover on I taped them down with electrical tape.

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Putting on the vinyl cover was by far the easiest part. I just put the cover on top of the vinyl and staple with staple gun. After I got the cover put in I used a sharp knife to poke some holes in it where the screw for the handle would go, screwed the handle on (*note* since I knew it would probably take some pretty good amount of stress I put a 2" diameter washer on the inside of the bed to keep it from punching through), after buying some longer screws for it.

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I left the vinyl over the little wings in the back looser to allow them to fold down, but actually left it a little too loose, so I ended ip with some wrinkling near one of the roll bars, but nothing a once over with a stable gun cant fix.





*************Notes on the bed cover after a few days********
Positives:
The cover fits nice and snug. I was curious as to how waterproof, if any, this cover would be, but not twodays after I finished it we had a huge rainstorm come through. Once when the bed was empty and the another when it was filled with stuff for a camping trip. There was a small amount of water around the window area (there is a small gap in the corner), but the rest of it was untouched. There were also a couple of times that I left my car unattended with a lot of my stuff in the bed, but as a friend of mine said, it looks far more secure than it actually is and no-one messed with anything. Out of sight out of mind. I have also had no worries about it falling off at highway speeds, the thing doesn't budge.

Negatives:
it doesn't lock, duh. Also the padding underneath it all has started to shift a bit uder the vinyl because of heat, it still doesn't look bad, just a little....lumpy. I just think I need a better glue. The shape of the vehicle seems to create a pocket of negative pressure around the back window, which sucks the vinyl up creating a kind of bulge when going 60+. Mostly this seems to be because I left it too loose along the middle of the cover, but it also seems to have stretched the vinyl a bit. I would like for the bed cover to follow the lines of the bed a little better. As it is the part near the tail gat is flush with the edge, but near the window it is about 1/2" below the lip.

solutions: Havent thought of a way to make it lock just yet, but Im working on it. as for the rest of it, I just going to have to pull the staples out and re-glue everything and tighten the vinyl, I think I will also glue the vinyl to the foam this time around as well. That the cover doesnt follow the lines of th bed doesn't bother me that much, but I do think it would look better if it was. I may just add a spacer to it or something.




Anyway, that's my write-up. Hopefully someone will get something from it. If you have any ideas about improvements on this design I would love to hear them


-Jake

In the meantime however It works pretty darn well and Im glad that I have it.


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:43 am 
All-Mighty Scoobytruck Admin
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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:47 pm
Posts: 354
Location: Moving to the UK
Very nice write up! I think the cover looks great! Its always nice doing something yourself and having it turn out that nice!!! Well done!!

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Check out more pics!<<<<<< Cardomain Page. *******SOLD THE BAJA*********** But im still around, PM me if urgent!


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:58 am 
Scoobytruck Contributer
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Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:47 pm
Posts: 39
Location: TEXAS
WOW :o really cool cover! Perhaps you should mass produce it; just a thought...

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You must be the change you want to see in the world.-Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:35 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:11 am
Posts: 114
Location: Indianapolis IN.
I would have posted this earlier, but I have had some trouble with my account. Thanks for the positive feedback guys!

Ya I dont know about MASS production, but if people would be interested I would be willing to make them on a case by case basis.


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:07 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 11:00 am
Posts: 129
Location: Lower Mainland, BC
I did something very similar to this a year ago. Made my own and it looks pretty much like this, except it isn't hinged in the middle and is in 2 pieces (front and back). I used marine grade vinyl and instead of foam backing used 1/2 felt (the kind sold for use in autos under the carpet. Works great. I spray glued the felt to the wood (after painting it to seal it from moisture, then glued the vinyl to the felt. I had the wood on hand, and so the only costs were for the vinyl and the felt and the glue. The hardest part was cutting out a template, but after that it went pretty easy. Probably took about 4-5 hours total to build and cost less than $75.00 tops.

Anyway.........I found that I really needed more covered space, so bought an ARE cap earlier this year. Sooooo, if there is anyone in Northern California that would like it, I will donate the cover to someone, if they want to come pick it up. Shipping is out of the question. It is black also, by the way. It's design actually came from an idea a couple of years back posted on the forum.

I am moving in a few months and if it is still around it will go in the dumpster, which would be a shame.


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:31 am 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:11 am
Posts: 114
Location: Indianapolis IN.
hmm. I'll look into that felt stuff, might be just the fix I was looking for.what type of spray glue did you use and how well did the bond hold up?


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:32 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 11:00 am
Posts: 129
Location: Lower Mainland, BC
Sabber wrote:
hmm. I'll look into that felt stuff, might be just the fix I was looking for.what type of spray glue did you use and how well did the bond hold up?



Home Depot - paint department - can't remember but I think it was Scotch brand. No problems, goes on fine and easy to work with. I suspect any brand would do, but I went with the better quality (there was a cheaper option I remember). Good luck~


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:07 am 
Scoobytruck Lurker

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:04 am
Posts: 16
seems like most people who own a Baja are pretty handy, so I might suggest that instead of offering to make these, you could offer a paper template since this is apparently the hardest part to get right. Your cover looks great. Thanks for the write-up.


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:54 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:11 am
Posts: 114
Location: Indianapolis IN.
jminor - Right you are! :D I don't think I have seen a group os such do-it yourselfers when it comes to cars. I'll look into options as far as paper goes and see about getting people a pattern. And thanks for the compliment!

canuck - What is this felt stuff you are talking about? I was doing some searches for it and couldn't find anything, do you have a link for it by any chance or something long those lines?


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:39 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 11:00 am
Posts: 129
Location: Lower Mainland, BC
Sabber wrote:
jminor - Right you are! :D I don't think I have seen a group os such do-it yourselfers when it comes to cars. I'll look into options as far as paper goes and see about getting people a pattern. And thanks for the compliment!

canuck - What is this felt stuff you are talking about? I was doing some searches for it and couldn't find anything, do you have a link for it by any chance or something long those lines?



Just go to any upholstery supply store and ask for the automotive felt. It comes in a roll about 4' wide or so, and is about 1/2" thick. You can buy as much as you like by the yard. If you pull up the carpet on most cars (older ones at least) you will see what I am talking about, as there is a layer of that between the metal floor and the carpet.

As for a template, this was all done a couple of years back. Check on the NASIOC Baja forum archives. Some of us did them up and posted, even an AutoCAD version for those who have access to plotters. Can't take the time now to go through that myself, but it is out there. There was even a lady back east (Wrenchwoman?) who would mail them out for free - probably gone now. Just dig through the archives looking for "bed cover" or "homemade bed cover" or something like that and you should find what you want. There are pics there too.
Good luck......


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:20 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:11 am
Posts: 114
Location: Indianapolis IN.
Aha!...carpet underlay seems to be the magic term for the search engines. Used for padding under carpets in houses, cars and occasionally soundproofing it seems. looks like I may be making a trip to the carpeting store. That stuff should work a lot better than the camp padding that I had to chop up into weird pieces to make work.

I will also be doing some work into trying to fix a lock to it in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:40 pm 
Scoobytruck Master

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 11:00 am
Posts: 129
Location: Lower Mainland, BC
Sabber wrote:
Aha!...carpet underlay seems to be the magic term for the search engines. Used for padding under carpets in houses, cars and occasionally soundproofing it seems. looks like I may be making a trip to the carpeting store. That stuff should work a lot better than the camp padding that I had to chop up into weird pieces to make work.

I will also be doing some work into trying to fix a lock to it in the future.



Roger - just make sure you get the felt type, not the foam rubber chips type you see in most housing applications.......have fun with it.

BTW - no takers on my surplus one yet........


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 Post subject: Re: The $70 tonneau cover
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:00 pm 
Scoobytruck Lurker

Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:51 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Fairborn, OH
I know this thread is old but, I liked the cover so much I decided to use the design on my 2006 Sport and wanted to post my results. I had some trouble making it "one piece" as I ripped the vinyl by the roll bars on the first try. This wasn't a big problem since I used that piece to cover the inside of the cover (no pics of that part yet). I decided to make it "three" pieces and risk the potential leaks. I covered the wings seperate from the other two pieces to allow for fitting around the bars. It turns out the only real leakage are small gaps on each side parallel to the rear window, but I think I can fill those with some weatherstripping. Thank you Sabbar for doing the heavy lifting and figuring out the design. My brother-in-law and I spent most of the time test fitting and sanding the edges to get the best fit for the wood pieces. My sister helped me cover it so that wasn't too bad.


Attachments:
File comment: First rain
Tonneau_06_small.jpg
Tonneau_06_small.jpg [ 152.2 KiB | Viewed 4675 times ]
File comment: With vinyl and "wings"
Tonneau_03_small.jpg
Tonneau_03_small.jpg [ 182.85 KiB | Viewed 4675 times ]
File comment: Ready for vinyl
Tonneau_02_small.jpg
Tonneau_02_small.jpg [ 127.73 KiB | Viewed 4675 times ]


Last edited by n3now on Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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