Hello! Log in or Register   |  Help  |  Donate  |  Buy Shirts  See all banner ads | Advertise on TheSamba.com  
TheSamba.com
 
Anyone ever turn a solid roof vanagon into a pop top?
Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
Forum Index -> Vanagon Share: Facebook Twitter
Reply to topic
Print View
Quick sort: Show newest posts on top | Show oldest posts on top View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
backroadsurfer
Samba Member


Joined: July 09, 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Golden, Colorado
backroadsurfer is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Anyone ever turn a solid roof vanagon into a pop top? Reply with quote

How much did it cost? Seems like it might be a recipe for a hack job!!! Thoughts???
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
vwsyncroguy
Samba Member


Joined: July 27, 2004
Posts: 242

vwsyncroguy is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:07 pm    Post subject: WestFakia" Reply with quote

My friend Dave has done several....usually on Syncros....does a beautiful job.

It's a lot of work to "do it right", and get the flat upper bed section in place.......starting by cutting almost the whole roof out of the doner van.

I'll let him comment on the details.....he visits here occasionally.

If you just want the pop top for stand-up room, and don't need the upper flat bed, it's a much easier job, ....justing cutting the hole in the middle and putting something around the edge to protect it, then installing the pop top.

I've seen OEM pop tops for as low as $200...but you'll pay a lot more to get everything for the "full monty" conversion

Warren


Last edited by vwsyncroguy on Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:54 am; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
backroadsurfer
Samba Member


Joined: July 09, 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Golden, Colorado
backroadsurfer is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks there, I definitely would want to pop it and have the bed upstairs. I look forward to hearing the advice of your friend, does he happen to do this commercially, or for a price? Know of anyone who does?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Steelhead
Samba Member


Joined: February 25, 2007
Posts: 1791
Location: Kentfield, CA
Steelhead is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the midst of retrofitting a country homes camper on my carat/wolfsburg that had its roof crushed by a tree. It is coming along nicely, just finishing headliner now. do a search for "country homes" and CHC and you can learn more about this aftermarket top. Unlike a westy roof, it was made for retrofitting on regular vanagons.
here is the old CHC site: www.countryhomescampers.com
Jerry McCavitt in NYC has bought the remains of the CHC business and provide an almost complete kit for ~2k. I found mine at wrecking yard and have completely rehabbed it. Fun project, and frankly I'm more stoked about the set up I have now than if had put on a westy top. I'll post pics shortly.

While the CHC isn't the same as a westy top, it has some nice advantages:
1. it goes on aftermarket relatively easily
2. very lightweight
3. opens and closes easily/quickly
_________________
'77 Bay Window / '89 Caratsburg (aka. the Stormtrooper)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
dpearson
Samba Member


Joined: February 29, 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Detroit
dpearson is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject: pop top on a vanagon Reply with quote

I would be interested to learn what is all required.
I recently aquired a westie top and the interior (minus the refer & stove).
I am considering converting a vanagon into a westie wantabe although, this would not happen until next winter.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
mightyart
Samba Member


Joined: March 24, 2004
Posts: 6179
Location: Portland, Oregon
mightyart is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it spring time already?
All your questions and more will be answered if you do a search.
The topic has been discussed ad nauseam aleady.
It is not always the cheapest way to get a camper.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Grizzly_black
Samba Member


Joined: October 24, 2006
Posts: 225

Grizzly_black is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you do it correctly, no one will be able to tell you did the pop top conversion. The entire roof clip can be swapped from a Westy and only the serial number will give away your secret. I would definitely have a professional do it unless you are familiar with serious body work. I have seen some real hack jobs!

Grizz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Steelhead
Samba Member


Joined: February 25, 2007
Posts: 1791
Location: Kentfield, CA
Steelhead is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mightyart wrote:
Is it spring time already?


Laughing......... Laughing ........... Laughing.........
_________________
'77 Bay Window / '89 Caratsburg (aka. the Stormtrooper)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
bucko
Samba Member


Joined: December 09, 2004
Posts: 2617
Location: Coppell, Texas
bucko is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here we go again......

We should all check our insurance policies for uninsured motorist coverage!

Please, do a search an this subject before you convert your Vanagon to a poptop. As was stated above, this is very dangerous to you (and those that drive the roads around you) if it is not done properly.
_________________
Current VW drives: 1984 Westfalia

Past VW drives: 1967 Beetle, 1973 Beetle, 1977 Bus, 1971 Military Type 181
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
TRADESIZE
Samba Member


Joined: August 12, 2005
Posts: 26

TRADESIZE is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you do realise westfalai made a 'mosaik joker' kit which was a kit to fit a westy roof to factory tin top vanagon.

look at the pics on page 5 of this thread about RHD westy vanagons and you will see.

http://www.brick-yard.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12861&PN=9

you cant get the kits anymore until now, I know a guy remaking them and I will be having one of the first ones on my bluestar vanagon

I am in the UK by the way!!

all you need are these 2 parts which make a proper westy safety/support frame and a fibreglass section that makes your rear curved roof flat for a bed.. plus all your rgeular roof parts from your scrap westy roof

se link for parts:

http://www.t3-infos.de/images/Mosaik-Bett.gif

see info here for mosaik joker info:

http://www.t3-infos.de/t3-infos_f.html

I have seareched the whole of samba.com and this will be the first time the 'mosaik joker' roof kit has been mentioned.

so there you go you DO NOT repeat DO NOT need the whole metal roof off the scrap van to graft onto yours to the gutters.

I am not sure if fitting a 'mosaik joker' kit will efect your insurance, but I would have though not.

what do y'all make of that then?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
bucko
Samba Member


Joined: December 09, 2004
Posts: 2617
Location: Coppell, Texas
bucko is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The general consensus here is when someone who is not qualified does a half butt hack job installing a westy pop top on a regular Vanagon.

If it were done right, no problem. If there's a kit, and installed by a qualified person then go for it.

Not usually the case though.
_________________
Current VW drives: 1984 Westfalia

Past VW drives: 1967 Beetle, 1973 Beetle, 1977 Bus, 1971 Military Type 181
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
allsierra123
Samba Member


Joined: August 19, 2006
Posts: 1462
Location: Tecate, Baja California MX
allsierra123 is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As soon as I locate the county homes top I will be doing the conversion myself. it seems to be the safest for going from a regular passenger van.
_________________
95 GMC Yukon 6.5 TD 2 Door Tow pig/ Daily driver.
91 Vanagon GL. 1.9TD Conversion Sold
81 Vw rabbit 1.6 Diesel. Sold
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
dpearson
Samba Member


Joined: February 29, 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Detroit
dpearson is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'd hope that if you were to undertake such a project you'd at least understand all the probelms (saftey factors) involved. That may not always be the case.

Anyways, keep us posted on what you find.

If anyone can measure up the location of the rear hinges, I'd appreciate it.

Thankyou...you may return to yelling the sky is falling
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
vwsyncroguy
Samba Member


Joined: July 27, 2004
Posts: 242

vwsyncroguy is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

allsierra123 wrote:
As soon as I locate the county homes top I will be doing the conversion myself. ..


I have a CH top to sell.... just the fiberglass part. Needs canvas and hinges, but they are available still from CH.

Located in San Francisco Bay Area

Warren C.


Last edited by vwsyncroguy on Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
vanagon john
Samba Member


Joined: March 03, 2008
Posts: 132
Location: cincinnati
vanagon john is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone care to post some pictures of some of the hack jobs they have seen.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
dpearson
Samba Member


Joined: February 29, 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Detroit
dpearson is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TRADESIZE wrote:
you do realise westfalai made a 'mosaik joker' kit which was a kit to fit a westy roof to factory tin top vanagon.

look at the pics on page 5 of this thread about RHD westy vanagons and you will see.

http://www.brick-yard.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12861&PN=9

you cant get the kits anymore until now, I know a guy remaking them and I will be having one of the first ones on my bluestar vanagon

I am in the UK by the way!!

all you need are these 2 parts which make a proper westy safety/support frame and a fibreglass section that makes your rear curved roof flat for a bed.. plus all your rgeular roof parts from your scrap westy roof

se link for parts:

http://www.t3-infos.de/images/Mosaik-Bett.gif

see info here for mosaik joker info:

http://www.t3-infos.de/t3-infos_f.html

I have seareched the whole of samba.com and this will be the first time the 'mosaik joker' roof kit has been mentioned.

so there you go you DO NOT repeat DO NOT need the whole metal roof off the scrap van to graft onto yours to the gutters.

I am not sure if fitting a 'mosaik joker' kit will efect your insurance, but I would have though not.

what do y'all make of that then?




Awsome find...any more info?

How about a translation?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
fairweather
Samba Member


Joined: August 26, 2007
Posts: 663
Location: Aspen, CO
fairweather is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have done this twice, once a 79 pop onto a full size dodge van more recently on an 86 syncro. I bought a wrecked camper and had it delivered to my shop. You will need lots of space preferably inside and lots of time and patience. Also plenty of tools and the ability to weld. I removed all the components from the donor and measured the opening on the donor a million times, then did the layout on the syncro roof. I cut the roof out with a thin metal disk on a grinder.

The opening pretty much follows a thicker metal frame underneath the roof metal, you'll see this when the roof comes off. You want the cut to be right above this subframe. Did I mention to measure a million times? There is no way to explain everything you need to notice and account for, just go slow and look and look and visualize how the pop top works and where everything bolts up to.

I removed the cross brace that supports the front of the bed by cutting a chunk of the roof out with it and then drilled out the spot welds to give me just what i needed. Screwed it in placed then welded it.

I joined the thin outer metal and the thicker subframe with 3/4" angle steel which the bed and poptop supports eventually rest on. I would say this setup is as strong if not stronger than the factory conversion, if you can weld. I went through 300 feet of mig wire, weld grind, weld grind etc. You will need to able to fill gaps with the weld.

Did I mention that you need to measure and do layout a million times? Very important are the locations of the locking mechanism and the hinge holes which you will need to make a backing plate for.

You will need to replace the headliner which set me back 1800$ but looks sweet and the guy wrapped the lip of the angle and so looks really nice.

This is about 10% of what really happened, like I said you have to keep your eyes open and be willing to adjust. If you don't have a background in planning things and working with your hands I don't recommend doing this. You can easily make your van worthless if you mess it up. I have a tendency to get myself into things beyond the point of no return then enjoy figuring out how to get my self out with a nice final product. If you don't like that situation don't do it.

I forgot to mention costs, the van cost 400$, 200$ towed to me and 200$ towed back to the junkyard when done. Headliner 1800$ (van needed it anyway), 50$ for MIG wire & grinding disks, 25$ for 3/4 angle, new poptop canvas and seals about 450$. I stripped the van of everything, I used the seats for the new interior and now have a lifetime of glass and fuses and backup parts for everything.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Grizzly_black
Samba Member


Joined: October 24, 2006
Posts: 225

Grizzly_black is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My local body shop agreed to work with me on the project. So I will be learning how to do it correctly real soon. He has done one other roof swap before this and said it came out nice. I totally stripped the inside of my Syncro and will be removing the interior of my camper donor this week end. Next week we start the process. I will post the process when it is done. The body shop told me that to do it properly we will need roughly 40 hrs. with two guys working on it. My price will be cut in half because of the work I am doing.

Grizz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
dpearson
Samba Member


Joined: February 29, 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Detroit
dpearson is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this:

http://209.85.135.104/translate_c?hl=en&u=http...n%26sa%3DG

Talks about doing a westie conversion.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
backroadsurfer
Samba Member


Joined: July 09, 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Golden, Colorado
backroadsurfer is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea this seems like a lot of trouble, I am sure I would f it up! I plan to have about 10k for a vanagon, I will either just go with a 2wd westy or a deck out a solid roof syncro for camping.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Vanagon All times are Mountain Standard Time/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

About | Help! | Advertise | Donate | Premium Membership | Privacy/Terms of Use | Contact Us | Site Map
Copyright © 1996-2018, Everett Barnes. All Rights Reserved.
Not affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen of America | Forum powered by phpBB