Hello! Log in or Register   |  Help  |  Donate  |  Buy Shirts  See all banner ads | Advertise on TheSamba.com  
TheSamba.com
 
Changed Westfalia canvas tent in 5.5 hours (with photos)
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
Sodo
Samba Member


Joined: July 06, 2007
Posts: 5180
Location: Western WA
Sodo is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:11 pm    Post subject: Changed Westfalia canvas tent in 5.5 hours (with photos) Reply with quote

This is a first-timer's installation story changing the canvas tent on a 1990 Westfalia, which has the Aluminum strips top and bottom. The aluminum attachment (since 1985?) was fairly easy to deal with. I did it solo, because a 3 hour window opened up and I just got going and kept at it.

I had bought a new canvas from GoWesty. It was the German 'original replacement' version (except has 3 windows), It was the most expensive one. They said it fits the best, and they said it will be easiest to install if it fits perfect, and that sounded reasonable to me. Well it does fit perfect, and was reasonably easy to install. I worried that if it turned out 'loose' that it might flap in the wind and make noise at night, but that is certainly not going to be the case here.

At the first 'pop' of the top, http://www.GlenVelez.com could have done a concert on my van. At first it was so tight it sounded like it might split a seam. It took significant effort to push it overcenter, I thought it would split right away. But the window flaps & zippers all worked perfect, zippers/flaps are not stressed at all but the screens are taut & resonant like a drum. I left it up overnight, and (it rained a little) and it was pretty normal in the morning. Taut, no wrinkles, but not like a drum anymore. Perfect, actually.

The fabric is kind of.....light and thin, very similar to the original (which lasted 18 years). If I had to do it again I would choose the acrylic, which really feels a LOT tougher than this material. Not because 18 years is insufficient, but because acrylic clearly would have lot higher capacity for accident or abuse. I worried (before) that carelessly unzipping the front window might rip the fabric on the original. Then it happened - it rippedat the zipper - which is why I had to buy a new tent.. Well that feeling is still there with the new tent. I wish I had the forethought to re-inforce the new tent (sew on a doubler!) to withstand the leftward pull on the screen-zipper! But now, it's installed it's too late.

I took some photos along the way. This website helped a lot to get going and it has a generous description of the process: http://www.limbobus.org/poptop.htm. They did not mention whether they lost some screws in the grass but I bet they lost a few!

I removed the poptop from the van and flipped it upside-down because I have an overhead crane. Without a crane, removing the top would be an EASY job to do with 2 or 3 helpers, it does not weigh much (~100 lbs?). There are only ten M6 screws holding the fibreglas top on the van. After all the bottom tent screws are removed, it only takes ten more minutes to remove the whole fibreglas top.

Remove/re-installing the canvas on the upside-down top was just so easy, and easy to do it perfect..... that I would NEVER try to do it overhead (on the vehicle). I am certain that in trying to do it 'on the van' you'd lose a bunch of screws. There are a LOT of screws holding the fabric, and two different sizes!


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

Started by removing my current most favorite upgrade, the 'jackbombay air assist' kit. I've only been driving Westies for 10 years, but I've always had cargo on top, and 10 years was too long to go without this simple enhancement. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=578890

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

Of the six bolts at the rear hinges, remove FOUR of the bolts, leaving the middle 2 bolts in place. Then go to the front struts and remove plastic caps and loosen the nuts, leaving the nuts on a few threads. Then lower the top.

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

Tie these springloaded supports like this. Be sure they are securely tied, and the tie-wire cannot slip down the shaft and let it go. The spring force is not very high, but would knock some teeth out if it hit you at full speed. On Limbobus, they describe using plastic zip-ties, which seemed to be sufficient, but at some point let go and hit a guy in the head!!!

Then remove the 4 front nuts. Have help to angle the poptop up to gain access to the remaining 2 bolts in at the rear hinges. Remove those, and lift the top off the van. I read somehwere on the internet (vanagonauts?) that one guy can stand inside the van, walking it rearward while others are at the rear of the van, walking it off. But I used an overhead crane.

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

Here is a photo of the corner. Notice the 'cuts' in the beading at each segmented corner.

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

Here is a photo of the OLD corner removed. Notice the 'cuts' in the beading. I did not pre-cut my beading because I did not know where the corners would end up. I cut out the beading with a knife as I formed it to the corner (during assembly).

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

To speed this job up you will benefit from power tools!


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

The fibreglas top is now upside-down, sitting on the ground, on sawhorses. Looking down at how the canvas is attached to the top, little wooden blocks in the corners and at several midpoints probably made it easier to install the canvas. I pulled them off the old canvas, and stuck them back in their holes, but I did not have a stapler to re-use them. So I ignored them. Actually, installing the canvas onto the 'top' was very easy and only took about 30 minutes, and it came out perfect. The front and back were perfectly aligned. The left and right sides had to STRETCH 1.5-2 inches to fit. But it's tight and looks nice.

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

While the top is upside-down,,,,,,tape the hinge together with Duct tape across the hinge where the "X" is. I did not do this.

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

The arrow points to the location where I scratched the crap outta my rear hatch on each side of the van because the hinges fell down, (I had not secured them with Duct tape)


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

Here it is at the 3 hours point. Ready to start screwing the bottom beading of the tent which took another 2.5 hours.


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

This 1/4" drive air tool cost $12 at harbor freight, and was very useful to get into the corners. It doesn't spin very fast, and I did not lose a single screw.

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

Finished!!

Tom[/url]
_________________


EJ25, Peloquin diff, locker, transaxle oil cooler/filtration system
....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
One apple every 8 hours will keep 3 doctors away - B Kliban


Last edited by Sodo on Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:06 am; edited 4 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
floggingmolly
Samba Member


Joined: April 06, 2007
Posts: 1106
Location: San Diego, CA
floggingmolly is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely done and well documented. Looks great!
_________________
'85 Wolfsburg Weekender
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
msinabottle
Samba Member


Joined: September 20, 2005
Posts: 3476
Location: Denver Area, Colorado
msinabottle is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:57 am    Post subject: What a Useful and Helpful Post! Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the information! I could wish you'd done it with an acrylic tent on an '84 (I've only got rails on the bottom of Winston's tent), but thank you for taking all this time and trouble.

Best!
_________________
'Winston,' '84 1.9 WBX Westy
Vanagon Poet Laureate: "I have suffered in
many ways, but never, never, never in silence."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
binger59
Samba Member


Joined: December 09, 2007
Posts: 226
Location: Oswego, NY
binger59 is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice job I think stickie!
_________________
Binger

1984 Westy
1986 7 Pass R.I.P. Donor van
2016 Jetta
2014 Passat
2006 Passat
1998 Jetta R.I.P.
1984 Vanagon R.I.P.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Sodo
Samba Member


Joined: July 06, 2007
Posts: 5180
Location: Western WA
Sodo is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:18 am    Post subject: Re: What a Useful and Helpful Post! Reply with quote

msinabottle wrote:
Thank you very much for the information! I could wish you'd done it with an acrylic tent on an '84 (I've only got rails on the bottom of Winston's tent), but thank you for taking all this time and trouble. Best!


It wasn't that much work compared to what I save by having access to the good folks of Samba. This is a great list, one of my favorite and mostly because the tone is always steered towards positive and fun.

I was glad to have the aluminum rails on top. But most of the job would be the same for '80-'84. I bet dealing with staples on top would be just as easy, I think, with the right tool in hand. (and with the poptop upside down on sawhorses!) but maybe someone with experience can add value.

I read somewhere of folks discovering that regular spring-powered staple guns did not have enough ooomph to punch thru the doubled fabric and into the wood. It was concluded that the job was going nowhere until a cabinet-maker arrived with his air- powered stapler. Maybe you can rent one of those. If you can pull out ONE of the staples, and then use that sample to find the appropriate air stapler....

Maybe someone will post a photo of a 1980-84 staple,,,,, and a photo of a proper air-stapler for this job.?
_________________


EJ25, Peloquin diff, locker, transaxle oil cooler/filtration system
....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
One apple every 8 hours will keep 3 doctors away - B Kliban
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Ryan Alfonso
Samba Member


Joined: March 23, 2007
Posts: 101
Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
Ryan Alfonso is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

indeed, bravo. wanna come do mine? Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Tiiconaut
Samba Member


Joined: February 18, 2006
Posts: 85

Tiiconaut is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Sodo, now im not afraid and will install a new canvas instead of patching my holes with funky patterned cloth stolen from grandmas sewing room.

Phil 84' Westy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
MrPolak
Samba Member


Joined: June 20, 2004
Posts: 1027
Location: AG ,atnaltA
MrPolak is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodo,

Thanks for the excellent writeup! It came just in time as it looks like I'll be replacing the canvas in my Westy this weekend. I'm going to pick up a right-angle driver today. I've already removed the old canvas and all the aluminium strips, so I hope to get done in around 3 hours (fingers crossed).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Facebook Instagram Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Sodo
Samba Member


Joined: July 06, 2007
Posts: 5180
Location: Western WA
Sodo is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ryan Alfonso wrote:
indeed, bravo. wanna come do mine? Very Happy


It was kinda lonely doing it solo. I would enjoy supervising this job for a steep fee of handmade food and beverage, on location at a nice remote campsite near a water feature for the kids..... and a large magnet so no screws are lost..... ooops there i go dreaming like old times when I could go camping and chase homebrew at the drop of a hat!

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

_________________


EJ25, Peloquin diff, locker, transaxle oil cooler/filtration system
....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
One apple every 8 hours will keep 3 doctors away - B Kliban


Last edited by Sodo on Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
riceye
Samba Member


Joined: March 09, 2006
Posts: 1493
Location: Caledonia, WI
riceye is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodo, your install obviously went better than this guy's:


Link


Although, his only took 9 minutes 51 seconds.
_________________
'87 Westy Weekender - daily driver on salt-free roads

There's gonna be some changes made.

“I find that things usually go well right up until the moment they don't.” - Ahwahnee

"Quality isn't method. It's the goal toward which the method is aimed." - Socrates, later quoted by R.M. Pirsig
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
woggs1
Samba Member


Joined: February 22, 2007
Posts: 531
Location: South Pacifica California
woggs1 is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone installed the sunbrella tent that they sell over at bus depot? I want to know if the install is easy
_________________
4 speed 88 Westy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Gallery Classifieds Feedback
woggs1
Samba Member


Joined: February 22, 2007
Posts: 531
Location: South Pacifica California
woggs1 is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess not.
_________________
4 speed 88 Westy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Raynor Shine
Samba Member


Joined: November 07, 2005
Posts: 552

Raynor Shine is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent writeup. Looks great. I like how tight the tent is showing in the pic. You deserve beer!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
parishollow
Samba Member


Joined: August 28, 2008
Posts: 79
Location: DENVER,CO
parishollow is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
_________________
Andrew
84 Vanagon Westy 1.9, now a 2.1
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Gallery Classifieds Feedback
hippiepilot
Samba Member


Joined: June 18, 2008
Posts: 455
Location: Sarasota, FL
hippiepilot is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Changed Westfalia canvas tent in 5.5 hours (with photos) Reply with quote

Nice good, I need to change my 83 out but I haven't quite got the nerve to do it just yet Rolling Eyes
_________________
83 air-cooled Westy
91 Carat (daily driver)
http://www.changeisland.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Gallery Classifieds Feedback
westylife
Samba Member


Joined: October 28, 2007
Posts: 407
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
westylife is offline 

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodo,

Thanks for posting on my thread! http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=356195&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Now that’s how a tent install is supposed to look. I like the gray tent on your Bordaeux red westy. I will defintaly go with the gowesty kind the next time around. I have a feeling that the "Just Krapers" one that I bought is going to anoy me so much that I might replace it again. Shocked
_________________
1983.5 Westfalia Bostig RG1
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Classifieds Feedback
?Waldo?
Samba Member


Joined: February 22, 2006
Posts: 7829
Location: Where?
?Waldo? is offline 

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Westylife, I also appreciate your thread. I would certainly opt for the GoWesty tent after seeing the difference. I'd have a hard time not returning the Just Kampers one.

Andrew
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
wasserbox
Samba Member


Joined: April 08, 2008
Posts: 526
Location: Durango, CO
wasserbox is offline 

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 10:13 am    Post subject: Re: Changed Westfalia canvas tent in 5.5 hours (with photos) Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:

To speed this job up you will benefit from power tools!


Nice write up! When I did mine, I had no power tools. In fact, I had very few manual tools. It took a long time with one of those shorty 5" phillips screwdrivers... and I think I lost a couple of the wooden blocks.

I dunno what the extent of damage is to everyone's tents, but 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. Threw it in an industrial washer and it's been good ever since.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
914 mike
Samba Member


Joined: May 03, 2005
Posts: 424

914 mike is offline 

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When removing the pop top, do you need to pull down the rear headliner to access the nuts that hold the pop top hinges to the roof? For vans with AC, would you need to drop the rear AC unit to access these nuts?

Mike
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
westylife
Samba Member


Joined: October 28, 2007
Posts: 407
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
westylife is offline 

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

914 mike wrote:
When removing the pop top, do you need to pull down the rear headliner to access the nuts that hold the pop top hinges to the roof? For vans with AC, would you need to drop the rear AC unit to access these nuts?

Mike


Mike the bolts are accessed from the outside. Pop your top and go to the back. There should be six bolts, three on each side. There are no nuts.

Cheers,
_________________
1983.5 Westfalia Bostig RG1
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website 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