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Fix that Poptop push bar!
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syncroserge
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:48 am    Post subject: Fix that Poptop push bar! Reply with quote

Never heard of this on any list.

Lately my bar has been feeling/looking strange.
So I took it apart to investigate. This has the potential to be a major
pita, especially on a trip.

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


In the open position
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


How the bar sits in a plate inside the joint
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That plate wears a groove in the bar. Passenger side
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


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


I have replaced mine with a good one but I will still take it apart again
and modify it. I'm thinking of enlarging the hole in the plate and
tack welding a sleeve that the bar would sit in.
Represented here by a piece of hose
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The sleeve would spread the load over a wider surface and grease
could be used to help further
]
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Final result mocked up with electrical tape
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That page in ETKA has a lot of NLA and the sleeve idea would make it
better than new imho.

Serge
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whafalia
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, did you find a new problem? It looks like it can't be inspected without disassembly, any pre-failure symptoms? Perhaps doing the sleeve in brass would be good.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought there was some sort of over center spring in there that assisted in lifting the roof. No wonder my wife can't lift it.
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syncroserge
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The roof felt a little harder to push up. Not that much though. And the inner
part of the joint looked out of center with the outer part but again nothing
dramatic. That was on the bad side.

The better side, which is still damaged, showed nothing different than the
nearly new bar I replaced it with. That makes it even more evil that
it is a well hidden problem.

Mind you, my van even though a '91 has seen a lot of use. We lived in it
for 14 months once, then 7 months another time. Plus a dozen full 2 months
of summer vacations...and x-mas and spring break trips...

So older vans and those with lots of use are bound to show this kind of wear.
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syncroserge
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsxsr wrote:
I thought there was some sort of over center spring in there that assisted in lifting the roof.


Yup, there is a spring. The roof is VERY hard to lift when you unhook the
springs. My imposing 5'5" doesn't make it easy to lift the top in the first
place but it feels significantly better now that everything is right.

I guess the Jackbombay lift assist struts would also help the wear issue by
relieving most of the pressure on the affected area.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's also supposed to be a cable and spring assist inside the bar. Are you missing those parts?
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syncroserge
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
There's also supposed to be a cable and spring assist inside the bar. Are you missing those parts?


Nope, owned the van since new. Touched those bars for the first time
yesterday. The springs and cables are all there on both sides and judging
by how hard it was to unhook those cables I'm thinking they're in very
good shape. Looks like a "normal" wear issue to me.
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ALIKA T3
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked

THAt`s a big wear!!

Is it inevitable keeping the cable+spring???



Tchusss Serge,keep going Wink
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syncroserge
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ALIKA T3 wrote:
Is it inevitable keeping the cable+spring???


I think so. Even with the springs the roof puts enough pressure to wear
the bar. It's just not a very good design. That's why I think my sleeve
idea makes sense.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

syncroserge wrote:
The roof felt a little harder to push up. Not that much though. And the inner part of the joint looked out of center with the outer part .


Bingo! That perfectly describes how mine looks -- I was thinking it did not always look like that but the wear happens so slowly that it is hard to notice & be sure.

syncroserge wrote:
Mind you, my van even though a '91 has seen a lot of use. We lived in it for 14 months once, then 7 months another time. Plus a dozen full 2 months of summer vacations...


Similar use on ours -- lived in it for 12 months/24K miles another time for 6 months and lots and lots of month-long trips with the top up and down every night.

I recently installed Mark's pop-top lift kit and was less than thrilled with the result. It helped but still hard to move the top. Well d'oh!

I'll make a separate WTB post if need be -- but does anyone have a complete lift bar set-up they would part with? If so. please PM me with info on condition and what you want for it.

Thanks and especially thank you Serge for solving one mystery for me!
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might open that up and add a real bushing in there - oil impregnated bronze or some such.
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syncroserge
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:
Bingo! That perfectly describes how mine looks --


That's why I think the bars that show something's wrong are close to disaster
and the ones that seem ok can still be damaged.

We once had a blast going up Mt Lemmon from the north (Oracle ?)
Mud and snow made us Canucks feel right at home Laughing
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syncroserge
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:
You might open that up and add a real bushing in there - oil impregnated bronze or some such.


I was thinking, Life gives you lemon, make lemonade...

but I like your, Life gives you grapes, make Cognac... Cool

don't think I'll go all the way to bronze bushing but mine is definitely
getting an upgrade of some sort.
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:
You might open that up and add a real bushing in there - oil impregnated bronze or some such.


Just a guess, but would 1/2" copper pipe fit?

(thinking of things one would have laying around)
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To remove that set-up (push bar and side arms) it appears that the top needs to be up (to take the tension off the spring-loaded cable)?

Once removed I suppose the top can be lowered (so I can put the Westy back in the garage) -- but how heavy is the top at that point?

I'm guessing it is manageable as I recall I undid those side supports one at a time to slip the replacement canvas thru.

Seems like I could weld a bit of solid steel rod inside the worn area and also build up the groove, then grind smooth.

I like the idea of a bushing but the original (flawed) arrangement lasted a pretty long time. If the fix last as long I'll be about 117 before I need to do this again.
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

syncroserge wrote:
randywebb wrote:
You might open that up and add a real bushing in there - oil impregnated bronze or some such.


I was thinking, Life gives you lemon, make lemonade...

but I like your, Life gives you grapes, make Cognac... Cool

don't think I'll go all the way to bronze bushing but mine is definitely
getting an upgrade of some sort.


There are std. sized brass bushings - not too spendy & pretty easy once you figure out what size hole to make...

I'm with you on the cognac...
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wellsir, I took my push bar apart and indeed it looks quite similar to the one shown in Serge's post:

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


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


I see no point in sourcing a used one (unless I can see that the bar is not worn) as I suspect most, if not all, are to one degree or another showing a similar wear pattern.

Thinking at the moment is to fit a short length of steel rod or pipe into the end of the tube, tack weld it in place, then weld up the worn groove. Then I'll dress it down to the correct shape. Should be good for another 20 years.
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reluctantartist
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is always something. Thanks for letting us know about this problem. I am leaning towards the inner steel rode and weld solution too.
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

x2. Thanks!

A great reason to take pop top off when I do the canvas

http://sites.google.com/site/tubaneil2/USFSsite1.jpg

Wink


Neil.
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dbeierl
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:
Wellsir, I took my push bar apart and indeed it looks quite similar to the one shown in Serge's post:
.
.
.
Thinking at the moment is to fit a short length of steel rod or pipe into the end of the tube, tack weld it in place, then weld up the worn groove. Then I'll dress it down to the correct shape. Should be good for another 20 years.

That silly thing was designed to fail, they simply used the side plate for a bearing surface. I turned a pair of solid bronze ends and epoxied them into the shortened tube ends. I may have fitted a bushing as well, I can't remember. Naturally this was all done frantically at dawn on the day of a 10 am departure for a trip to Nova Scotia...

Yours,
dgb
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