1972 Compact Jr. Topper Ideas - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-29-2015, 02:57 PM   #1
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1972 Compact Jr. Topper Ideas

Hey I bought '72 Compact Jr. a few months back and have been pondering ideas to improve the topper vinyl. I've got a few holes, nothing major, but it is annoying trying to keep it from pinching between the topper and trailer itself. I've seen some good info on replacing it, but has anybody found a way to improve it? I was wondering if anyone has ever attempted some sort of accordion type vinyl? Been trying to think of ways to make it work and thought maybe someone out there has attempted a similar idea. Then if not what is the most durable material other Comp Jr. owners have found for replacing the vinyl? Hope to hear from some fellow Compact Jr. buddies!

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Old 07-29-2015, 04:00 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
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Hmmmm. "Topper" was a mid 50's TV show, but I'm guessing that you are talking about the top boot, the fabric between the top and the body....


My 1973 Hunter still has the original material in place and in good condition. There has never been a problem with it pinching or getting damaged when lowered. I did have new screens and window covers made, and just recently redid the edge fastening. There are two files for Hunter in my library, look at them both to see the change I made in the top boot:
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:47 PM   #3
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Yes that's what I was referring to, topper probably isn't the correct word. Pop-up or top boot would make more sense. I'm new to the fiberglass trailer world, and especially the small world of Compact Jr's.

Yeah I saw your photos and how you improved the edge fastening with the aluminum stripping, I may have to steal that idea. The original material is still in good condition but I have to fiddle around to keep if from pinching between the top boot and trailer, thus ripping the screens more and more. Were you able to find any specific screen material that seemed to be more durable or squish more easily?

Thanks for the response Bob.

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Old 07-29-2015, 05:04 PM   #4
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First, when the top is down it should not be making contact with the top edge of the body shell, so it shouldn't pinch the fabric. I just let mine fold where it likes and tuck the front and back in to clear the latches. But I am watching the new rivet ends and nuts I just installed for any signs of contact.


You don't include you location where you live so it's hard to make recommendations as to sources. I removed mine and took it to Riverside Canvas here in Riverside, CA and had them sew in new screens and window flaps. They have been around here for about 75 years and know how to handle canvas. It was $200 for all 4 windows.
I'd look for an awning shop near you. A complete new one would have been $400, same quality material as original.
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:48 PM   #5
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try a bungee rope...

Notice the white line around the fabric of my Compact.

It's just bungee rope tied to a certain tension.

Now I don't need to tuck things away when I lower it.

Granted, I have a fabric mesh rather than vinyl but I think it would handle vinyl too.

Pretty cheap to find out, this stuff sells locally for .15 cents a foot.

I've looked at different vinyl materials at a fabric shop. some of it is pretty flexible.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:27 AM   #6
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Gotta say, my Hunter's original fabric is still in good shape after 42+ years.
I don't think that "fabric store" products are designed for that kind of life expectancy. Try shopping at an Automotive or Marine Upholstery supply store and get material designed for that purpose. Better yet, talk to the peeps at an Awning shop.
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:12 PM   #7
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The fabric store i visit is JoAnn's....

Popular here in the Midwest, not sure if they are nationwide.

You can buy chintz and crinoline but you can also buy marine-grade vinyl, in a variety of weights and colors.

this is material made for covering boat seats left to the elements.

it would be a very good material for a Compact Jr. boot.

get on their email list from the website and you will frequently get 50% off coupons.

I was in there today buying some material for some camper curtains, will post a photo when they are being installed.

while I was there I met a lady who had just been at a rally in Goshen Indiana for canned hams. said she has a Little Gem canned ham and four Airstreams!

she was buying curtain material too.
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:11 AM   #8
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i have been working in a shell for several months. My top was sagging so i reenforced it with aluminum struts crossways and then put a whole new skirt on using shade cloth... it just weathered over 3" of rain in four hours without one drop inside.... minimal cost and maximum benefit.

regards, jim
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:37 PM   #9
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pictures please...

Love to see what things look like Jim!
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:34 PM   #10
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New Mexico
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"I have been working in a shell for several months. My top was sagging so i reenforced it with aluminum struts crossways and then put a whole new skirt on using shade cloth.."

Did you bolt the struts through the fiberglass? I'm getting ready to do mine this winter and am curious.


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Old 08-09-2015, 10:05 AM   #11
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I bought the lighter weight sunbrella fabric for my pop-up boot. Also Fifertex for the windows. I've done a fair bit of boat canvas so made my best guess.
The lighter Sunbrella has some drape to it so I think it will fall nicely when taking down the top. I will follow up on the suggestion to support the edges with aluminum since there are not a lot of bolts holding it on and I don't want to add any more.


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