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Riviera Fiberglass Poptop Restoration
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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:50 am    Post subject: Riviera Fiberglass Poptop Restoration Reply with quote

The fiberglass top of my bus was in need of a serious restoration so I decided to get to work.

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After removing the headliner it was easy to cut the 5 pop rivets holding the tub in place.

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Here is the removed tub, the plastic tie-downs were riveted on but came off easily.

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I decided to use a two-part epoxy with fiberglass fabric to add strength.

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For paint I went with an interlux product, and rolled on 3 coats.

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I got the poptop seal kit from BD, it did the well and the poptop. The tie-down points are stainless. I used stainess lock nuts and washers.

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Of course this project required a rehab and repaint of the top of the bus.

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Tub with edge installed.

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The finished tub went back on with stainless machine screws and washers instead of the 5 rivets. I used rubber washers between the fiberglass and the paint job. I also used plenty of silicone caulk to seal any possible leaks.

The visible underside of the poptop was given 2 coats of epoxy and a strip of fiberglass to where I painted up under as shown in the picture. The exterior was rolled with 3 coats. I really like the new seal.

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The whole project took a while but hopefully it will last another generation.
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1979 Riviera Poptop - 1.8L VW 93' Fox watercooled

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Last edited by Franklinstein on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:48 am; edited 3 times in total
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mecalder
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow that looks sweet, nice work. Mine is on the list for this summer, have some rough areas. Hope I can get it anywhere near yours.

nice one
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chazz79
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What did the bd kit cost? This is one of the next big projects on my list. My front hat looks like hell compared to that. I do know that at 50mph that thing can take flight when not properly secured. They don't land so well either.
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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:36 am    Post subject: poptop seals Reply with quote

I was not too suprised at the condition of the tub hold down rivets since there was a leak above the drivers seat. I am glad they did not give way on the freeway.

The seal kit was 80 bucks. It had the front tub seal, the poptop perimeter seal, and the tub to poptop seal. They cut all pieces with some to spare.
Here is the link.

http://www.busdepot.com/details.jsp?partnumber=WESTYRUBBER

Another expense to consider is the headliner, and at 200 bucks for a new one we decided to make our own.
The wife whipped up this one using the old one as a template. Man I love her! We used some light blocking rubberized curtain fabric.

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I put up some "bubble wrap" insulation and then put the headliner in.

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I hope this post inspires you folks to restore your poptops!
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1979 Riviera Poptop - 1.8L VW 93' Fox watercooled

Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one and yours all stink!!!


Last edited by Franklinstein on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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velo96
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHERE DID YOU GET THE STAINLESS TIE-DOWNS? ONE OF THESE DAYS MY TOP WILL LOOK AS GOOD AS YOURS. GREAT JOB!
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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:17 am    Post subject: tie downs Reply with quote

I used a local west marine for most of the restoration stuff, but I ordered these from their online site.

The stainless fasteners and washers were cheapest at home depot instead of west marine. I suggest locking nuts with nylon inserts.

I think it was the 1 3/8 inch hole offset ones for this application. Try searching for "eye straps" or "pad eyes". They have quite a selection.

I chose this strap type because the holes in the fiberglass were not exact, and I could bend each eye strap slightly to fit.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servle...sNum=10168
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Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one and yours all stink!!!
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jonblack
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I can see here it looks great! I need to rehab my pop top as well. Did you have fiberglass fibers poking through? Mine does, and I am not sure how to tackle the job.

Any more details you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
Jon
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Frozenbutt
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe they are called "footman loops". It must be a term we inherited from our British cousins. I bought 1.25 inch stainless off ebay for about a buck each. Search for footman loop and vendor "ryansproducts". They fit my 75 Riviera with just a very slight enlarging of the hole in the fiberglass. Also got the stainless nuts and bolts from Home Depot.

Franklinstein, that headliner looks amazing ! Congrats to the spouse.
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Frozenbutt
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Franklinstein,

I also fit the BD kit on my Riviera but the seal on the front of the raised roof does not fit as nice as yours does. I have gaps where the seal bends around the curves. I hoped it would eventually settle into place but after one year, still have the gaps. Did you glue the front seal onto the raised roof?
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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:08 am    Post subject: repair questions Reply with quote

jonblack,

I am no expert, this was my first fiberglass job. Do you have any pics? They might help others to give advice here too. I suspect you mean fibers coming through on the outside. You might need to sand then throw a few coats of epoxy, primer and topcoat.

The outer paint layer was pretty intact in this case. You can see how the areas around the drain holes were a bit frazzled. I can tell you that the inside was quite prickly. The fibers sand off easily, and the epoxy really soaked in well. The first coat of epoxy adhered the glass fabric and the second was applied after some sanding, and shaping. I let things cure really well between coats. The epoxy that made it onto the outer paint adhered well but sanded off easily where needed. I measured the epoxy components by weight using a digital kitchen scale. When I returned it to the kitchen the wife said, "Oh THAT'S where the scale was!". Love her!

I remember doing a lot of web "how to" searching on fiberglass repair.
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1979 Riviera Poptop - 1.8L VW 93' Fox watercooled

Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one and yours all stink!!!
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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:21 pm    Post subject: seals Reply with quote

Frozenbutt,
I agree with you about that middle seal. I have been waiting for it to conform for a long time also. I did not glue it on (yet). I figure it is better than nothing for now.

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The original seal was "U" shaped white plastic and this is more "h" shaped. I feel as if the luggage rack seal that they send in the kit would do fine.

Original "U" type white plastic seal pictured below. It is the same as the middle one that was there.


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I will have a look around the garage for the the seal leftovers to give it a try.
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1979 Riviera Poptop - 1.8L VW 93' Fox watercooled

Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one and yours all stink!!!


Last edited by Franklinstein on Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bet the replacement gasket they sell for the Westfalia top would do a better job sealing that. That doesnt look like a good fit at all Confused

Nice job on the resto of the top Wink


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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: huh? Reply with quote

notchboy,

Could you post a link to the product you describe?
I can not find what you mention on BD's site.
I even tried to flip (inside to outside) my poptop-to-tub "h" piece to no avail: It still did not conform.

frozenbut,

Here I have the leftover seals thet I found. The left is the front to back "h" piece. The middle is the "U" tub piece. The right is the back poptop piece.
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I pulled the middle front-to-back seal in question and put the spare "U"piece on to see how it fits. Here is a pic.

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I could live with that. I plan to make a purchase of one from BD soon.
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1979 Riviera Poptop - 1.8L VW 93' Fox watercooled

Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one and yours all stink!!!


Last edited by Franklinstein on Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^That looks better already Wink ^^

I bought two set for two different 77 pop tops-mine and my friends. I bought them off eBay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/74-92-VW-Bus-Westfa...ccessories

Same guy selling it as Rivi: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/68-92-VW-Bus-Westfa...ccessories

I dont have my bus here with me but I belive its the same profile as in the pic below far right. The others are what you get in the whole resto pack off eBay, but the guy does sell each piece individual. Your top would seal better with this stuff on it (all of it) for the bottom lip as well as the top to rack portion. Good Luck!

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

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OK, this thread is over. You win.

Jason "notchboy" Weigel
1964 1500 S
1964 T34 S Convertible
1977 Westfalia Camper pop-top
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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:56 pm    Post subject: pull handle Reply with quote

One last bit to mention about the project is the interior pull handle.

The old handle fasteners were rusted solid and snapped off when removing.

I was able to get some stainless cabinet pull handles on ebay that were the right size. They went on with screws from the outside.

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A final product, although I plan on changing that middle seal.

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1979 Riviera Poptop - 1.8L VW 93' Fox watercooled

Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one and yours all stink!!!
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bandet
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That look great. I need to do the seals and a now top on mine. But with all the info I've got off here it should go perty good thanks.
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77 Riviera Owner
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Franklinstein, great mod on the roof rack. I'm in the middle of restoring my 77 riviera and am having the top painted. Ordering up the stainless steel eye straps now.

Where did you get the cool bungee net? And has it held up to the UV?
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Pinetops
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You did a great job with the top, bravo! So you did already try to flip that middle seal upside down correct?
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Franklinstein
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

77 Riviera Owner:
The pic I posted of the cargo net is actually two nets, a smaller one in the middle from the PO, and a recycled rubber inner tube one with red hooks I am pretty sure I got from Bus Depot (could have been Gowesty too). I can not locate it on their website currently. It came with a UV protectant spray but it sees little sun since it lives under the rear seat most of the time. Looks new still.

stucco:
Yeah, I tried to flip that middle seal both ways and neither looked quite right. The original seal was a simple "U" one like the one on the front luggage well. I ordered another one and put it on and it fits perfectly.
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Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one and yours all stink!!!
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thirdmanj
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:28 pm    Post subject: West system Reply with quote

Amazing job on that pop top!
I'm getting ready to do a repair on my '78 Westfalia. The overall structure is very good, but I'm wary of removing the entire set up. My plan is to leave in place, thoroughly mask off and roll on West System epoxy with the 422 barrier coat. Following that application with a high quality marine paint. I've been poking around and seen lots of good tutorials on how to work with the stuff. Some of the members here seem to have some pretty good results with Rustoleum, but I'd like something a but more heavy duty. Also, I've purchased a top flat seal from GoWesty, anybody have any fitting issues?
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