Submitted: Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 17:59
ThreadID: 110067 Views:6766 Replies:8 FollowUps:6
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I am buying a new ute [cab Chassis] and i want to know which is the better canopy to put on. Fibreglass or aluminium. Which is lighter and more dust proof. If I need a tray to start with or not.
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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 19:38

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 19:38
Hi Dean,
I have a aluminium canopy and have been on dirt roads for the last 60,000klm with no dust issues. Saying that I have seen some others with major dust issues. I have double seals on the doors where others only have one.
It won't matter what material you use fiberglass or aluminium unless you have good seals on the doors the dust will get in.
The thing to consider is can you repair it out in the scrub. With fiberglass you could have a repair kit with you, but with aluminium you will have to find a welder and then someone who can weld aluminium.
Fiberglass would be lighter but not stronger. I park under trees and not worried about limbs and branches falling onto in but with fiberglass I would be parked in the middle of the paddock.
As for the tray, mine is all together and no tray required.

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 22:34

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 22:34
I have a similar setup and agree with Andy's comments
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 19:52

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 19:52
If you can handle the additional weight, I recommend steel for robustness durability.
I had a canopy custom built by Metalform Industries at Warragul five years ago and it has been fantastic - perfect seals and not a scrap of dust in about 100,000km of serious off-road travel. Not cheap, but a great company to deal with and I can't recommend them highly enough.
By the way, my canopy will be on the market in August next year, at the end of next year's trip, when we are planning to change over the vehicle.
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 19:52

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 19:52
I am in the process of getting a new Dmax Space Cab Chassis. (Hopefully delivery on Tues) When looking for canopies a canopy seller said aluminium was the most dust proof.
I have a tray with a removable canopy as I want to use the ute as a ute when not travelling. It all depends on your personal needs.
AnswerID: 541404

Reply By: Rob J8 - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 23:26

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 23:26
Hello Dean,
I thought by keeping the ute body and putting a fibreglass canopy on my 2012 Ranger was going to be the right thing. I can stop the dust getting in and a bit of water in driving rain but I can't stop the damn thing cracking. I have had it to our local Ford dealer in Busselton 3 times; he has taken photo's and that's all.
He knows I am ticked off but doesn't seem to take the cracks seriously.
My canopy is one of the Thai made Flake brand.
Should have bitten the bullet and paid the extra for one like the Telstra utes.
A mate has one on his BT50 and no problems.
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Reply By: Dean H2 - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 07:46

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 07:46
Thanks everybody. It looks like either way has pros and cons. I was leaning towards the ally setup as a one piece setup.the weight was my main concern as i will be towing a van as well.I guess search for the best supplier and then decide on the van . Thanks again for your help.
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Reply By: Member - Norm & Lisa - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 09:14

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 09:14
I have an alloy canopy from Concept Canopies and can highly recommend them (no affiliation). I am just back from 18k of mainly dirt and bull dust and the canopy held up nicely with virtually no dust inside. The canopy has a floor which is obviously a must to keep the dust out and also vents - 1 at the front on left side and 1 at the back on right side. Leave the front one open and the back one closed and it stops almost all dust.

As for the tray, I initially had the canopy fitted to my steel tray but have found this set-up too heavy. I am now in the process of either putting an alloy tray under it or most likely will opt to modify the canopy and mount it direct to the chassis. I never take the canopy off so the tray is just weight that I don't need.

Hope this helps and have fun setting up the new ute.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 09:49

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 09:49

Have a similar set up to Norm (different brand of canopy) and agree with what he said.

My steel tray was originally built to survive the rigours of station life, which it has done well, but it's bloody heavy. Am also looking at an alloy tray, or perhaps fabricate a lighter one using steel & alloy.

Our aluminium slide on was built by a mob in Hervey Bay Qld which has since changed hands, but still doing good work. Has a bedroom and kitchen in it, but you probably wouldn't need these. While the alloy canopies are of lightweight material, they need a fair amount of framework, so lose out a bit there. F'glass may be lighter, but think the "skin" would be much thicker, to give it strength.

As well as Norm & Andy, there a number of other members that have, or have had alloy canopies. Phil G & Rosco are 2 that come to mind. If you were to do a search on here for "alloy camper", I'm sure you get lots of ideas, and a few photos.


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Follow Up By: Dean H2 - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 09:49

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 09:49
Thanks Norm .Sounds like the way to go. I'll check out Concept Canopies
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Follow Up By: Member - Nolo (Brisbane) - Monday, Nov 10, 2014 at 10:24

Monday, Nov 10, 2014 at 10:24
X 2 for Concept Canopies Norm. Unique construction system and perfect sealing doors. Very happy with mine over 3 years.
FollowupID: 827604

Reply By: den57 - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 11:35

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 11:35
Hi Dean, one other thing to take into consideration is if you intend to run a fridge in the canopy. Metal canopies will transfer heat, as you can tell by the heat in the cab of the car in summer, and this will result in more power consumption. Fiberglass tends to be a bit better at insulating against the midday sun.
Choosing the right fibreglass canopy manufacturer can be a problem. The previous canopy we had was water proof and dust proof, provided you didn't go on a dirt road and it didn't rain. Not fun unpacking the back to dry it out all the time.
Now have a AWL canopy on the dual cab cruiser, and canopy and tray come together for around $7500. Queensland Police use them as well. Very strong and can be fitted with a range of accessories.
AnswerID: 541423

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 11:49

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 11:49
You would think that heat build up in aluminium would be the case but I have never experienced it as an issue.
I run a fridge and a freezer in my alloy canopy and have been in the Simpson Desert in up to 53 degrees and it was not a problem and more than happy with how it performed.
Mine is raw allow, I don't know perhaps they would absorb more heat if they were painted or in steel ?
My canopy is over five years old with in excess of 100,000 offroad kilometres on it and are happy with how it performs.
Just relaying my personal experience

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:18

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:18
Mine was white painted aluminium and it was very good on the hottest of SA days. I think the aluminium transmits heat both ways very well, so the temp inside stays close to ambient and white probably reflects heat better than darker colours.
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Reply By: Member - kwk56pt - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 12:34

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 12:34
Heat does not seem to be a issue with my white painted alloy canopy. I nave a roof top vent and no dust issue at all.

Consider getting a canopy made around cab width for bush work. Look at the height to if you don't need it as they create a lot of wind drag / fuel,

Its easy to run into a gvm issue, the weight adds up so the lighter construction is a consideration.
AnswerID: 541425

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