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Ecotec swap, 2wd to Syncro conversion & camper build
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DAV!D
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BavarianWrench wrote:
First off, great thread and nice work, Props! Second I wish I caught you while you were in Colorado. I was super busy at that time. Third I am in a Reimo now, had many a Westfalia over the years. Guess what, nothing is perfect Sad. You have a shot at perfect. The Reimo has fantastic winter thermal windows, insulation and a thermostat controlled forced air furnace. It is a sub zero beast. What were they thinking putting the water storage under it. Can I say cube ice is hard to pump. If you are planning winter camping, keep your water in the rig. I will, on my final build. I also will put my spare on the back bumper with batteries where the spare went. I do not now have, but in the future will add access to under the rear seat with out having to raise it. I can not wait to see what you come up with. I know it will be cool!


Thanks!

As far as CO, I'll probably end up back out there some point this summer. Unless I find a gold pot at the end of a rainbow soon I'll need to replenish my funds and in Denver is very easy to find a job..

Since you mentioned the Reimo, I guess I'll go ahead and post my intentions as far as the "Westy" top I mentioned that I had sourced.

I found while using my Westy, I rarely had the opportunity to raise the roof but when I did it was pretty nice. I also noticed that given the few inches of added headroom from the Westy's fiberglass top, I only needed about another 12 inches to stand up with out raising the roof. If I remember correctly the inside height of my floor to the westy roof was 60 inches, so an additional 12 inches would equal 6ft of standing room with the top down.

My thoughts is to "raise" the roof on a standard Westy top to give added head room while down, but still have the pop top ability.

This is a quick photoshop of my line of thinking, the height might not be exact but close (I just edited a common vanagon drawing found via google).

It keeps the original lines. The canvas remains "factory as it doesn't need to be modified and the cargo rack becomes a bit deeper and more useful..

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I still have to do a bit of thinking on the actual grab bar for raising & lowering the roof as it would need to change a bit, as I think it would get in the way.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that. I think that cargo tray would work best if it were smooth on top, thus creating interior storage space below...sorta like a pop top version of the Adventurewagen high top.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like I said, I know what you do will be cool. Consider what you have to store. I agree with Zeitgeist on the front cab fiberglass. I would consider leaving the stock depression for some storage and then have a nice interior cabinet over the front seats as well. If you keep the lines in your drawing, the actual opening for the front storage from the outside will be very small. I like the lines in the drawing. Truly best of both worlds IMO. Your needs may be different. I love having my clothing up there. Dry and clean with nothing else bouncing around. I have been toying with your same top concept. I am completely sold on having a top that allows you to stand without popping it. It's key for many reasons. Winter use and stealth urban camping are just the obvious.
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DAV!D
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BavarianWrench wrote:
Like I said, I know what you do will be cool. Consider what you have to store. I agree with Zeitgeist on the front cab fiberglass. I would consider leaving the stock depression for some storage and then have a nice interior cabinet over the front seats as well. If you keep the lines in your drawing, the actual opening for the front storage from the outside will be very small. I like the lines in the drawing. Truly best of both worlds IMO. Your needs may be different. I love having my clothing up there. Dry and clean with nothing else bouncing around. I have been toying with your same top concept. I am completely sold on having a top that allows you to stand without popping it. It's key for many reasons. Winter use and stealth urban camping are just the obvious.
Andrew


True.. The problem I was looking at as far as making a cabinet above the driver accessible from inside was it would require the latching mechanism to be reworked as well as the canvas would potentially have to be made from scratch. Perhaps a stock canvas could be cut and modified to fit the raised section, but if not that adds a lot of expense.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thinking on the top raise. I'm thinking similar thoughts. I still want to fit it into a normal covered parking though-have to wait and see end results.

I would consider making a cover to go over the cargo box -recessed for looks and airflow. I think it would help reduce noise as well as aerodynamics for fuel mileage. Hinge the cover at the front so it cannot blow open.
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DAV!D
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, well as I mentioned I pick up a rugged Westy for my donor parts.. I'm thinking that paint will buff won't it.. Laughing

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It was pretty nasty inside and I'm not sure what I can salvage, but I was mainly after the pop top parts. This van sat on CL until the ad expired because they wanted too much for it. I saved the number and contacted them a month or so later and got a decent deal on it.

At some point, someone loved this poor old Westy, but sadly that was 10 or 15 years before they left it parked on a storage lot where it became the beat up toy. Such a shame to see a complete intact van left to this kind of neglect. It only had about 130k miles on it, assuming the odometer was still working.

Going through the van and cleaning it up enough to work on, I suspect this guy was probably parked in pretty good shape. It still had both tables in it, the jack was in the factory bag.. However years of neglect left it's toll, it will have to live out it's days as a parts donor..

Oddly enough the pop top assembly works better on this beat up thing than my previous Westy did.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love watching you explore these ideas. I too have a well used Westfalia Top, currently sitting on sawhorses, and had been thinking of cutting it up to do something similar to what you have imagined. Recently added a Country Homes Top on my tintop with a Carat interior and miss having the Roof Box Storage. The problem with the box was, A) no standing inside van, B) the Roof Box shadowed my Solar Panel, and C) accessing it was a pain. This Westfalia Hoch (Tall) modification would be the best of all available tops for my application, IMHO. I played with the picture you posted to draw out my version. I lean towards leaving the luggage rack as is, although I have debated whether to skin over it for less turbulence.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about the Joker 5 from the early 80s. A bit higher in the rear, but the same luggage tray in the front:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or maybe the Reimo roof that Dai has on the syncro:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are both beautiful examples, and gave me inspiration in the past. What I hope to achieve is about a foot in height above the stock tintop roof to put a couple boxes with food/dishes so I can keep the Carat interior pretty much uncluttered while traveling. I never plan on sleeping up there, so if the roof has a platform on it to get it flat for storage, like the CHC top does, I'm good. By extending it forward a little, like in my rendition, then standing inside with the top down is a bonus.
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'12 Tiguan 2.0T 6SP Tiptronic - Lady Shadetree's


Last edited by shadetreetim on Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DAV!D
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shadetreetim wrote:
Love watching you explore these ideas. I too have a well used Westfalia Top, currently sitting on sawhorses, and had been thinking of cutting it up to do something similar to what you have imagined. Recently added a Country Homes Top on my tintop with a Carat interior and miss having the Roof Box Storage. The problem with the box was, A) no standing inside van, B) the Roof Box shadowed my Solar Panel, and C) accessing it was a pain. This Westfalia Hoch (Tall) modification would be the best of all available tops for my application, IMHO. I played with the picture you posted to draw out my version. I lean towards leaving the luggage rack as is, although I have debated whether to skin over it for less turbulence.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That's actually a smart idea, as you don't have to do anything to the factory latch, the weather seal at the meeting point of the two pices as well as the front portion of the stock canvas. It also has the feel of the factory Westy high top.

It's certainly a idea to ponder, my only problem is I've been tossing my idea around in my head for so long, I'm sort of railed in on the look of keeping the westy lines.

I'll have to think about your idea for a bit.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played some more and looked at getting the profile closer to the Joker 5 pictured above. I dropped the overall height a bit for both these renditions.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Or stretching the angle out a bit more
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I don't know if I'll ever get around to executing this idea. If I do, I would probably build it like the rendition in my earlier post above. Neither of these newest versions accommodate standing up with the top closed. I do like the idea of using all stock seals, tent, and latch that these three designs allow. One less obstacle to overcome.

Anyway, sorry to post so much in your build thread DAV!D. Keep up the good progress and we'll follow along.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Pedrokrusher came up with this design in his thread about doing an Aluminum high top. It's fallen by the wayside as he bought a full on rv.

This is what I want for my uses. Time will tell!
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DAV!D
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Pedrokrusher came up with this design in his thread about doing an Aluminum high top. It's fallen by the wayside as he bought a full on rv.

This is what I want for my uses. Time will tell!


Yea, I remember that topic, but wasn't sure what ever became of it. My thoughts behind a high top, is that I don't want a really big one. I'd like it to be just enough to stand up, but also have the option for the pop top.

That's why I like the idea of essentially just a "raised" Westy top. I will admit, that I'm sort of dreading taking on another project with-in my already big project. Laughing

I ordered a new canvas and seal kit for my Westy top last night and I'm going to continue on with preparing the junker Westy for now. I'm still up in the air as to if I'll start tearing into modifying the westy top now or just do the pop top swap and leave the high top mod for another day.

I was hoping to be back on the road by April and maybe even hit the VW classic out in Texas next month, but I don't think that's going to happen with my current van build schedule. Mad
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He had drawn into this top to have the pop-top tent, but I left it out because for me I didn't need the complexity of the pop top sealing with a flat roof. On the Westy roof it's easier as it comes down over the sides. Still, I'm not sure if I want something that high.

Understand your scheduling dilema. I've got too much to do and I just flew back up to Fort Lauderdale for two days to look at an '86 GL which I bought and had just enough time to put into my storage before flying out.
This one had one rust hole on a rear window, but the other windows were rust free. Down on the body seams it was clean except for two spots where there is very minor surface rust showing. Nothing I saw that is going to cause a major problem as it was original paint. I crawled the length of the underside and that was the only rust I found obvious. It kinda scared me it was so clean! The interior seats looked like a year old car.
The guy literally thought the expansion tank was for the windshield wiper wash when I was checking the engine over. He burned the pistons due to low water so had it the top end rebuilt. I need to check with the shop as to what heads they used. It was obvious they were new heads. Engine wise I'm not concerned as I'm doing a swap on that when and if I do the syncro conversion.
I've got the syncro drive train to do a conversion, but when I'll have time is a good question.
I may just flip it if I find a good clean syncro for 5 bucks somewhere. I've got my eye on one, but have to think about it 'cause it's a bit more then that!

BTW, X-14 the bathroom cleaner will clean up that Westy top really white!
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
He had drawn into this top to have the pop-top tent, but I left it out because for me I didn't need the complexity of the pop top sealing with a flat roof. On the Westy roof it's easier as it comes down over the sides. Still, I'm not sure if I want something that high.

Understand your scheduling dilema. I've got too much to do and I just flew back up to Fort Lauderdale for two days to look at an '86 GL which I bought and had just enough time to put into my storage before flying out.
This one had one rust hole on a rear window, but the other windows were rust free. Down on the body seams it was clean except for two spots where there is very minor surface rust showing. Nothing I saw that is going to cause a major problem as it was original paint. I crawled the length of the underside and that was the only rust I found obvious. It kinda scared me it was so clean! The interior seats looked like a year old car.
The guy literally thought the expansion tank was for the windshield wiper wash when I was checking the engine over. He burned the pistons due to low water so had it the top end rebuilt. I need to check with the shop as to what heads they used. It was obvious they were new heads. Engine wise I'm not concerned as I'm doing a swap on that when and if I do the syncro conversion.
I've got the syncro drive train to do a conversion, but when I'll have time is a good question.
I may just flip it if I find a good clean syncro for 5 bucks somewhere. I've got my eye on one, but have to think about it 'cause it's a bit more then that!

BTW, X-14 the bathroom cleaner will clean up that Westy top really white!


I did scrub on the top a bit, with just water & a brush. It will clean up some but it will likely need painted if I don't do the raised roof right away.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Continuing on..

I've cleaned up the Westy so I can at least work inside it with out too much smells and grime. I also removed some of the cabinets, most of which are pretty bad with the water damage/rot and wont be salvageable for much more than hardware. The van does have a complete drive train though so I'll likely try to get it running and make some money back from the parts.

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Today I've started the process of every Tin Top's right of passage whom wants to grow up to become a pop top some day..

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I'm using a cordless drill inside because it's easier to get into the odd angles. I've also been using a simple puddy knife to check and make sure the welds are cut out. Works pretty well and doesn't distort the sheet metal.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I'm still undecided which route I'll take when it come to transferring the roof section to my tin top, but I figure any way I go, I'll still have to drill out all the spot welds on the inside.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some great ideas for the tops here. I am really looking forward to what works out!

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DAV!D
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a lil update. I managed to drill about 95% of all the spot welds which remained on the donor roof. In fact I was able to do each drip rail in roughly an hour per side.

Due to this, I've decided I'll go forward with the drip rail roof swap as the drilling of the spot welds was not as bad as I expected. I'm not however going to get into the windshield section as I'll just splice the roof somewhere under the luggage rack most likely.

Getting back to the raised roof idea..

I had a bit of an idea today while driving down the road and spotting a Nissan Xterra.. I'm thinking of maybe using a modified (or custom built) Xterra style front roof rack on top of the Westy cargo box then perhaps just raising the rear roof section as ShadeTree's Hoch example.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I still have to think about it, but doing it that way would make everything much simpler as I wouldn't have to modify the latching system or the weather seal. It would also give that raised roof look to the front cargo rack to even everything out while also making to cargo box usable for storage.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i haven't done a update in awhile, which doesn't mean I haven't been getting things done.

I have a dilemma which I haven't resolved yet.. I've cut the roof top off the donor Westy..

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


However I still haven't decided how I want to do the swap..I can't decide if I want to attack it at the drip rails or do the over lap method. I see the benifit and draw backs to each method and I'm stuck debating which way to go, because once I start either method, it's too late to change my mind.

One issue, which tugs at me, as far as the drip rail method, is that I had a hell of a time getting the rear secton of the donor roof seperated from the inner supports. There were welds and spot welds which were impossible to get to, with out removing a large section of the built in rear supports.

I don't think the tin top roof is tied in the same way as the Westy roof, due to it not being supported on the inside around the inner panels. None of the conversion topics seem to cover the removal of the tin top in very much detail, it's always kind of skipped over.

As it sits now, if I do the drip rail method, the donor roof it about 90% ready.. Would just need to remove a few brackets which I've left for now. If I do the overlap method, I'll have to trim it down quite a bit.
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