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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys, I have been lurking for a while and decided to join in. I recently bought my first Tracker. I must say, its pretty sweet. I was originally going to use it for farm work, but I enjoy it so much I am going to use it for my daily driver.

My question is this. Has anyone ever converted one to a pickup? If so, do you have any advice? What glass to use etc? I am afraid the fabrication costs may be through the roof. Of course a new hard top is through the roof as well. I found a pic on the net of what I am wanting to do. Any thoughts?

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I've been using mine as a daily driver for four or five years now. I didn't even want the rig originally but it was thrown in as a part of a package deal for just another $100, including delivery to my house. It's been the most reliable rig in our fleet, and is a blast to drive.

When I got my Sidekick the top was shredded to the point where the PO had patched the patches. Zip ties and three different kinds of tape. I spent nearly as much time Goo-Goning the crud off the quarter panels as I did fabricating the halfcab.

Because I have a background with fiberglass fabrication, that was my go-to. Stripped EVERYthing out of the interior, then mocked up my halfcab with cardboard and masking tape. Easier to make modifications to cardboard patterns than metal or fiberglass, particularly when sizing the rear window.

About that window, I found two websites—one of them had vintage glass with dimensions listed, the other one had vintage glass much cheaper than the one with all the specs. I settled on a 1948 Ford pickup rear window because I like the smaller size for a couple reasons (less glass to hit when loading stuff, and less sun on my neck on sunny days, plus it looks cool). And everything I can see in the rearview mirror I can see through the glass. Positioning the window took a little time—I wanted my 5-foot wife to be able to see the tailgate/quarter panel when backing up. Rear Window and Seal (lmctruck.com)

Once I had my patterns done, I laid up two flat panels with (as I recall) 2-ounce mat, Coremat, and 2-ounce mat. I wanted Coremat for thickness AND because I've never found anything that sets up as rigid. Four years later the panels are as flat as when I laid them up.

I marked the spots where the halfcab would touch the body, then laid strips of fiberglass on the body after waxing the heck out of the body. (I wanted it to be removable.) I used set screws to plug the threads in the floor—this kept the threads clean and marked my drill points in the fiberglass. (Fill the set screws with clay to keep the resin out.) Then I bonded my panels to the strips. It's anchored with bolts to the floor and sheet metal screws to the “roll bar”. Fiberglass doesn't bond well to metal or paint.

You'll also need to fabricate panels to seal the inside of the quarter panels, otherwise rain will flood your floor. Naturally you'll need to seal where the mounting “strips” touch the floor, sides, and roll bar. Sadly, I never have completed this project. Hahahaha! It was a rush job against oncoming winter temperatures (need 55 degrees or more for a good fiberglass cure) and I was working on this while also replacing timing belt, brakes, and stuffing a series of on/off switches into the interior to replace the busted blower control. I had visions of creating a mold and selling them, but I know how easy it is to splash a mold off someone else's product, undercut their price, then turn out crappy parts. Ain't worth it.

I've never regretted the time I invested in making my halfcab, or in bringing this little beater back from the brink of death. This mini pickup is an absolute riot, and really is pretty practical. Who needs more than a 28” bed? Sorry I cannot find any of the in-process pics I took.

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Well done !
 
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I LOVE the ladder rack! That is pretty awesome.
Hahahaha! I prefer it without, but EVERYbody comments on the Harbor Freight rack! Bought it second-hand off craigslist. It's actually pretty handy. I've brought 6x8 wood fence panels home on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hahahaha! I prefer it without, but EVERYbody comments on the Harbor Freight rack! Bought it second-hand off craigslist. It's actually pretty handy. I've brought 6x8 wood fence panels home on it.
Thank you for the response. That looks really cool, and handy! Do you mind to take some close up pics of how you joined everything up to the Tracker, inside and out? I know you didnt take me to raise, but I would appreciate it if not too much trouble. :)
 

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Would be happy to adopt you if you're young and strong enough to help me install those fence panels I brought home.

I'm attaching several pictures I took today. I hope they're helpful. Remember that I 1) created cardboard templates for the flat panels, then 2) marked where those panels would touch the body, then 3) laid strips of fiberglass on the body to create flanges for permanent attachment, and finally 4) attached the fiberglass panels to the flange strips. You can see where the flanges could have been made larger, but this was a prototype. It's been in service for four years now in its unfinished state.

I used vinyl ester resin which has a lower shrink rate than the cheaper (and more common) polyester. I also did not allow for the thickness of any attachment/sealing tape which, I guess, would only be important if someone was producing these for sale. You DO have to seal at least the bottom half of the halfcab. Rainwater puddles up against the halfcab, and will also enter the bed side panels unless sealed.

I can't use the trim with the rack--I mounted the rack too close to the sides. It looks really nice with the trim in place, but there is a minor modification to make. You can see it in the last pic. Apparently the trim is originally
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attached to one of the soft top components, and when you delete the ragtop you delete the attachment point. I solved this problem by cutting a piece out of an old pickup bed liner I had laying around--perfect thickness!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you so much for sharing. I got started tonight before I seen this prepping everything. Good grief the angles are going to drive me crazy. This may kick my butt before its all said and done. I appreciate you taking the time to show me what you did. This helps a bunch. I will show you my cobbled up mess when I get it done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, its was a bit of a pain, but I got it done. Made some mistakes along the way that I would change if I did it again today. Overall it turned out ok.

I went with ply wood. Easier for my feeble mind and the tools I have on hand. The angles were a pain and I almost quit more than once.

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Filled in the gaps with flashing.

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Plywood is not going to weather well, so I used bed liner to cover everything up and help seal the gaps to the inside. I used Raptor. It worked very good, but I thought I could "build" it up to level out areas which is not the case. That is one of the things I would sure do different. It looked really good on the back wall but I kinda botched it trying to seal everything. Just use it for the final coat, fill in gaps with silicone or some other material.

Overall Im happy with how it turned out. Put some carpet inside and shes ready to work. The liner and carpet got rid of almost all road noise.

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I did a shot like Gene to show the size difference next to a big truck. :)


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Didn't realize yours was a Gen 2. More complicated, I believe, than my Gen 1. Looks great for a "prototype". I think we always see improvements we could have made when we experiment like this. I know I did! Nice work.
 
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