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  View original topic: Changed Westfalia canvas tent in 5.5 hours (with photos) Page: Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
914 mike Tue May 12, 2009 5:33 pm

Are they sheet metal screws? Or are there threaded fittings integrated into the roof of the van?

randywebb Tue May 12, 2009 10:37 pm

wasserbox wrote: ... I couldn't afford a new canvas, and ended up getting a new nylon screen sewn in, and some reinforcement / patching done to the sides for about $50 at a local tent-repair shop...

Did you have to remove it for them to do that?

Or were they able somehow to repair it while it was installed in the pop-top??

dogcoves Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:06 am

I didn't take my pop-top off and it took about 4 hours. I just unbolted one front pole at a time and slipped the canvas through. I did the canvas to the top first, then the bottom. I marked the middle of the canvas and started screwing to the front corners, then toward the back, doing each side equally until I met at the middle of the back of the pop-top. Its a bit tight in the back lying down on the bed board but it goes on easy enough. The hard part is the front bottom corners but if you use a ice pick or a all to line up the holes you will have no problem. I used a battery screwdriver, on stuck screws I used a standard driver, I lost no screws, just don't rush. Oh yeah may sure you take the upper mattresses out.

Scary Mc Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:58 pm

Does the plastic beading come pre-punched for the screw holes?

Thanks for the great write-up!

madspaniard Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:36 pm

Scary Mc wrote: Does the plastic beading come pre-punched for the screw holes?

Thanks for the great write-up!

No

Ryan Alfonso Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:59 pm

Yo Sodo! Thanks for the tip about using a pneumatic 1/4 inch driver. Worked like a charm when tackling those hard to reach corners. In most cases, the screw itself is perfectly able to pierce the tent welting strip and find the hole. Still, you might want to keep an awl around. Once or twice I had to sink a screw threw a few layers of fabric, like at a seam (a beach).

Also, a must have item is (are) two magnetic parts tray cup things. Very helpful in keeping the screws sorted and in one place.



I had a blast this weekend busting out this long overdue project. My tent was made and purchased in January of 2007. Sitting on a shelf in the garage since...

One thing I would have to caution folks about is how to keep those armatures retracted. Don't use duct/duck tape. It heated up in the sun and failed, allowing a rather violent spring-loaded whammo. Use wire like Sodo did, or strong velcro straps. Live and learn, eh?

This new "original" tent is SNUG. The fabric feels a bit thin for my liking, but I guess if if were any thicker it wouldn't stretch as well. It's also a bit darker than stock -- a bit like what you see on newer Eurovans.

On the subject of stretching, I approached the installation by attaching the front, then the rear, then the sides. I did this for both the upper and lower. I think I was perhaps a bit overly enthusiastic when stretching the front and rear. That left the slides almost slack. That slack is GONE when the top is popped tho'. Next time I'll take it easy on the "stretch to fit" idea. It's not necessary to stretch these things that much to get them in right.

Kinda like Sodo here, I think I'd be happier with something synthetic and more weather resistant. If the GoWesty acrylic bomber ones are this easy to install, then I'd say go for it!

I've heard other folks ponder why they aren't made of materials found in backpacking tents, and sewn with as many features -- pockets for example. I kind of agree with that. The good news is that I have my old tent, which is in relatively good shape, to use as a template. THinking of sending it over to some folks I know at Sierra Designs and seeing if they can dupe one up -- hmmm...

Anyway, here's the finished product. I enjoyed the process a lot. If any of you locals here in the SF bay area need a hand doing yours just let me know. Happy to come help. It's far less tricky than you probably think it is....



Later!

elizrichardson Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:55 pm

parishollow wrote: Very nice job! Wish my first one had gone so. I got a replacement from Bus Depot and it was too small. Had to argue to get a refund, not good times even after sending photos of the not fitting corners. It wasn't as good a product either in weight of canvas and workmanship.
However, I did get one from GoWEsty and it fit like a charm. Got it done in no time at all after all the practice I had with the previous one. Even tried that one upside down to make sure I wasn't goofing it up.
I have heard the arcylic one is a bear because it doesn't stretch like the canvas one does.
Boy, that corner tool would have nice. I spent more time getting those back corner screws in than anything else! and made less easy with old eyes.

Has anyone else had the problem of Bus Depot replacement canvases being too small? I'm asking so I can have help getting a refund. I bought one and after HOURS of labor found out it was too small. They grudgingly sent me another one which they said measured larger. I stupidly didn't measure it myself, and it, too, is too small. Bus Depot is not taking my word for it. If you or anyone you know has had this problem, please let me know. ElizRichardson

Ahwahnee Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:55 pm

elizrichardson wrote: ...Has anyone else had the problem of Bus Depot replacement canvases being too small?...

This is not a vendor bash -- indeed my story had a satisfactory ending... hopefully yours will too.

I got 4 canvases from BD before I got a correct one. #2 and #3 were too large. I documented the problem with dimensions:



And also a photo comparing the pic on the website to what they sent (and I tried to install):



It was a bit frustrating but I kept them informed and they didn't give up until we got it right.

Sounds like you're asking for a refund but if you can see your way clear to work with them a bit more giving them as much info as you can they are more likely to try and resolve the problem and keep the sale.

rc Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:12 pm

I installed one from BD today... horrible and ill-fitting. Much too small I ended up cutting it in the back and sewing in screening at the foot in order to get it to fit. Next time I'll just sew my own canvas... I can make it to fit and use much better quality canvas at a fraction of the cost...

K58 Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:51 pm

:roll:

WVVWFERG Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:27 pm

I purchased the Bus Depot " westfalia" top , their most expensive one. it came in a "just campers" box. Two friends did the initial install on my 86 with the top in place a few weeks ago. Unfortunately , they quit when it got to the rear bottom and there wasn't enough slack to fit. I ended up re-doing the bottom install by taking it all lose at the bottom and then starting at the rear, then the front and , with a lot of stretching , the sides. There are places where the welting is not completely inside and a few corners wher all screws are not yet in ( too tight using the electric screwdriver I had), but it is in and looks good... but it is TIGHT. If I ever do another on either my 91 or 75 baywindow, I'll go with a more relaxed fit top. By the way, there isn't much room to work in the rear (with the top on), especially for a senior citizen who is overweight, and you really don't want to be in the top too long when it's over 90 degrees... whew.

whynotvw Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:18 pm

Buy from Atelierspk located in Canada. I couldn't be more happier with their price quality and fit. It fit like taylor made. They make piece by piece and take great pride.

It seems like a lot of people are having difficult time installing the BD product.

Pay a little more but you can avoid the trouble and the hassle.

my two cents.

ger320 Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:36 pm

dogcoves wrote: I didn't take my pop-top off and it took about 4 hours. I just unbolted one front pole at a time and slipped the canvas through. I did the canvas to the top first, then the bottom. I marked the middle of the canvas and started screwing to the front corners, then toward the back, doing each side equally until I met at the middle of the back of the pop-top. Its a bit tight in the back lying down on the bed board but it goes on easy enough. The hard part is the front bottom corners but if you use a ice pick or a all to line up the holes you will have no problem. I used a battery screwdriver, on stuck screws I used a standard driver, I lost no screws, just don't rush. Oh yeah may sure you take the upper mattresses out.

Which tent did you buy? The OEM one from GoWesty?

ger320 Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:59 pm

With the back being tight you say, could one detach temporarily to make more room?

Ahwahnee Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:23 pm

I didn't think it was too tight and I'm a big guy. Removed the mattress and used one of these to get at the screws...

[img]http://members.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/VW%20Rt%20Angle%20Driver[/img]

No idea why the image doesn't show but cut & paste the URL to view

ger320 Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:38 pm

again I need to ask you--0

Which tent did you buy? The OEM one from GoWesty?

I was able to get the link to work. And I have one of those right angle screwdrivers!

OhioVWGuy Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:09 pm

I bought the Bus Depot Tan Poptop Tent Canvas - 85-91 Westfalia 253070704AOE for $399.

About an hour before I started I found this thread and it made me very worried.

But the canvas was here and a couple of my friends were due to arrive with-in the hour. What the hell, right?

Tore out the old canvas with out removing the top, it went very quickly. Measured everything twice, comparing new to old. It was about 1/4" smaller in all dimensions. i assumed that it was within tolerances and to be expected. My friends arrive and we remove the top, placed upside down on the grass on top of the old canvas.

Installed canvas top to top. Used an awl to poke consistent holes and to make sure everything was lined up correctly. Made the screws a joy to install, well until it was all done, the it hurt a bit, because I used no power tools.

Installed the top back on the Vanagon and installed the bottom of the canvas to the body. It all went on very easy. Just used a broom handle to keep the top up and canvas slack.

When it was together I put it up slowly and Ta-Da. She fit like a charm. No rips, nice and taunt. Looks great and now I'm a happy camper.

I was so excited I camped out two night in a row. Neither rain, high winds or responsibilities stopped it or me.

Dwaine in Dayton aka Denton

PDXWesty Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:08 am

[email protected] wrote: Tore out the old canvas with out removing the top, it went very quickly. Measured everything twice, comparing new to old. It was about 1/4" smaller in all dimensions. i assumed that it was within tolerances and to be expected. My friends arrive and we remove the top, placed upside down on the grass on top of the old canvas.

Installed canvas top to top. Used an awl to poke consistent holes and to make sure everything was lined up correctly. Made the screws a joy to install, well until it was all done, the it hurt a bit, because I used no power tools.

Installed the top back on the Vanagon and installed the bottom of the canvas to the body. It all went on very easy. Just used a broom handle to keep the top up and canvas slack.

When it was together I put it up slowly and Ta-Da. She fit like a charm. No rips, nice and taunt. Looks great and now I'm a happy camper.


This is the best and quickest method of installing a new tent. Nice work!


Rhinoculips Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:02 pm

whynotvw wrote: Buy from Atelierspk located in Canada.


Is that Cadet Grey? I've been talking with Les and getting ready to pull the trigger. Just can't decide on color. It's a tie between Cadet Grey, Linen, Toast and Beige.

How thick is the sunbrella material?
Is it dark inside when all the windows are closed or does light transmit thru? If it does, I'm leaning toward the tan colors to give a warmer feel to the inside. BTW, mines a White '89 Westy


whynotvw Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:12 am

Rhinoculips wrote: whynotvw wrote: Buy from Atelierspk located in Canada.


Is that Cadet Grey? I've been talking with Les and getting ready to pull the trigger. Just can't decide on color. It's a tie between Cadet Grey, Linen, Toast and Beige.

How thick is the sunbrella material?
Is it dark inside when all the windows are closed or does light transmit thru? If it does, I'm leaning toward the tan colors to give a warmer feel to the inside. BTW, mines a White '89 Westy



That is Cadet Grey. Material is about twice as thick. As far as the darkness it feels the same as the OG. I'm happy with my Cadet Grey. I feel like I made a good choice for my white Syncro.



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