View original topic: Westy tent install: specialty tools and tips
seabright_sc Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:06 pm

I know there are a ton of install threads out there, but I thought it would be cool to focus this thread on:

Specific tools (purchased or fabricated) for the job

Installation tips

Not meant to debate warrants of top on vs. off. Just tool/tips that made the installation process go smoothly for you!

djkeev Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:26 pm

This or similar........
Many of them actually, 6 pack....... Maybe a case!

Tape measure
Stubby screwdriver
Power screw driver
Power stubby screw driver
Cleaner for aluminum strips
Magnetic tray for screws
Helper (find out his/her favorite brew and add it to your inventory)
More patience.


PDXWesty Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:00 pm

Videos with top/on-top/off instructions:

luVWagn Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:15 pm

Right angle ratcheting screw driver with swappable bits. Great for tight spaces near the rear of the van.

Vanagon Nut Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:45 pm

I found the tool below to be very useful for screws. I don't have the brand name handy but you'd likely find this at Harbour Freight. Starts with a "P". Pronto? Anyhow....

Bit direction is determined by which side of head bit is in. You can ratchet normally, or, twist the handle CW/CCW. The latter worked great. IIRC, it was possible to push down on the ratchet head while twisting the handle.


Ahwahnee Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:18 pm

I used this (from Harbor Freight):

To keep the tent from unfolding all over the place while I worked with it, I wrapped it at intervals with strips of paper... then tore them off one by one as I got to that part of the tent:

kamzcab86 Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:50 pm

Flexible socket wrench extension:

Painter's tape, Sharpie, and cups: Label all of the hold-down rails as you remove them. Group the screws into cups, label the cups as to where the screws go (lower rails, upper rails, etc.).

Straps: Wrap around the pop-top push-up bars before unbolting them from the roof.

Pop-top shocks, pipe, or some other mechanism to keep roof partially raised while you work (if you're not removing the pop-top).

msinabottle Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:09 am

Quote: Flexible socket wrench extension

Far and away the single most useful tool we used. Also the hook remover on my Swiss Army knife, it was dull and yet sharp enough to push the canvas into place without penetrating it.


FNGRUVN Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:06 am

Pneumatic crown stapler for those who have an older van with the staples instead of screws. You can get a cheap one at Harbor Freight. Try to find stainless steel staples.

Also a blow drier or heat gun to warm up the original plastic strip so that you can stretch it as you go. It also allows the staples to penetrate easier.

Be really careful if you use a heat gun and an acrylic tent. You can melt a hole in the material in a nano second. Ask me how I know. :oops:

seabright_sc Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:43 am

I've decided to take off top for the job. Looks like I only have one helper to assist. Can top removal be done with two men?

Any other tips out there?

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group