DIY Pop Top Roof Supports

I recently purchased my caravan for the lap year. It is a 80s model Golf Pop top. As the roof has been up and down a few times over the years, it now sags a little and the canvas doesn’t stay taut. The tension spring type lift mechanism works reasonably well now after I cleaned and silicone sprayed the tracks however does not have sufficient strength to force it up the last inch or so.

The awning is also currently mounted on the main caravan roof (not the pop top) and whilst the channel is there to mount on the pop top, the previous owner has told me it pulls the roof down too much if you mount it on the pop top. I have also anecdotally confirmed this from some quick internet research.

For these reasons I decided the solution is a secondary support for the pop top. There are a couple of options:

– A set of telescopic rods cost $50 or $60 from a caravan website.
Quick action clamps from a hardware store. For the large clamps required (450mm or longer) they are about $16 for a pair of the cheap ones. These might be good if your pop top roof is the same width as your van.

Due to the design of my pop top (roof is narrower than the main body of the van) and it has a solid ledge to wedge a telescopic support into, I decided that the telescopic rod was the best option. Also looks neater than having a quick clamp hanging off your roof.

So from Bunnings you should get a $5 Morgan Cobweb Extension Broom pictured here:

As the Bunnings staff had put the wrong broom in the $5 spot I ended up getting the $8 dome headed broom for $5!!

It has a 22mm and 19mm outside diameter tube for which I found the corresponding packet of 22mm and 19mm rubber chair leg tips in chair leg end isle.

I wanted about 500mm long support when fully extended. Keep in mind inside the thicker tube is about 25mm long piece of expanding plastics which grips as you turn to tighten the tube. Therefore you will need to cut the thicker tube a little longer to accommodate this. Using a vice and hacksaw I cut the thicker tube approx 280mm long and the thinner tube 230mm fully extended. The aluminium is reasonably thin so be careful when cutting the tube with the hacksaw so as not to deform the shape of the tube.

Pop the chair leg tips on either end and you are done.

Each support cost me less than $6 each and took about 10 minutes to modify.

Now I’m off to thread the awning back into the pop top channel for some added headroom……… J

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