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Easy Sun Screen for the PopTop Skylight
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b00t
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:27 pm    Post subject: Easy Sun Screen for the PopTop Skylight Reply with quote

I have been racking my brain for a way to have an easy sunscreen to go over the skylight on the PopTop...add to that I am cheap. Not cheap as in I won't spend money on Artie (84 Westie) but cheap as in I can't believe that a piece of fabric and some skeeter screen can cost so much...anybody with me on that?

So, I have used the spring loaded rollup sunshades in the bus when driving and it got me to thinking that there must be a way to modify that for a quick, easy, inexpensive way to just block a little direct sun coming through the skylight in the bus during those hot and sunny afternoons. (Granted I could just have gotten a tinted skylight, but I kinda like seeing the stars when I am camping, so I went with clear) Either way, I don't need a black out and not too concerned about mosquitos...like I said, just cut down on the direct sunlight during the afternoon.

Tools Needed:
Drill with 1/4 inch drill bit.
Tape Measure
Razor Blade/Scissors
Something to remove 10mm nuts
2 small washers

What to Do:
1. Purchase a rollup shade from FLAPS for around $5. The box looks something like this, it is called a glare guard retractable solar shade. Be sure it is one that has suction cups and brackets that hang it to the window:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


There are different ones around but for the most part there is one version that has a metal bar across it and suction cups and window brackets, you will see that later. Make sure it has the metal housing since we will be drilling into it for mounting.

2.Take apart the shade from the housing by popping the end out of the metal housing. It is a tight fit but if you bend the plastic housing it will just barely make it. Be sure to keep the parts together, there is a spring inside the roller with the shade around it that is used to spring it back closed. Once it is apart it looks something like this:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


3. Drill holes in the metal bracket you see in the top of the picture above. We need to drill holes that match the front mounts for the skylight hinge bolts that go through the poptop. My hinge mounts measured 10 1/4'' apart from each other and needed a quarter inch hole. Make sure to measure twice cut once, you want the mount to be centered on the skylight.

4. Mount the shade by removing the 2 nuts and nut covers from the skylight mount that holds the hinges. (They are towards the front of the van, take a look at the picture below) Leave the washers against the pop top. Mount the bracket using the holes that you just drilled out using an additional set of washers and the same nuts you just removed. Be sure that it is facing the correct way (mine had a button on the side that wound it up) and also that the screen unwinds from the top side. (You will see what I mean) Tighten it up. Its OK if the mount bends a little, you want the washers to cinch up and be tight and with that water proof.

5. Pop the rolled up screen back into the metal housing being sure to mind the internal bits. The one I had has a little button on the side that had to go through a certain side in the housing. Put that in first then bend the other side into the housing. Be sure it unwinds and springs back.

When you are done with this step it will look like this:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


5. Modify one of the window brackets to hold the screen against the other side of the skylight. We are going to use one of the window brackets to use as a mount for the suction cup that sits at the bottom of the shade screen. We will need to cut it so we have a flat piece to mount to the skylight housing using heavy duty double sided tape. Here is what it looks like after it has been cut using scissors...we will be discarding the top part and using the two pronged section as a mount for the handle.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This is the piece we will be using to mount to the skylight to hold the sunshade.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


6. Mount the bracket we just made on the back side of the skylight with the open side facing down. I used double sided tape with some 3M spray for extra hold You will also need to trip the edges of the suction cup (from the bottom of the sunshade) to a square that will fit into the window bracket.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


7.Cut the sunshade to fit around the opening handle for the skylight. Remember we are going to be sitting the sunshade on top of the turn handle so don't cut all the way back. I used a razor blade to eyeball it then scissors to finish it off. It will look like this when you are complete.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


8. Weight for everything to dry and try it out. It will look like this when complete.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here it is retracted...nice and non obtrusive, no parts to keep track of and completely removable:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


So...yes it doesn't quite cover the whole skylight but it blocks most of the sun. If you know where to get a larger version than 16 inches, let me know, we may be able to make this skeeter proof as well. Also, if you have suggestions on how to make this better also let me know. Any questions? Let me know...

Either way hope this can help some cheap bastards out there like me! Wink
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THAT ROCKS!

It looks like your van never had the screen because I can not see the old attaching velcro.

I LIKE IT!!!!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:49 pm    Post subject: cover Reply with quote

Blue Bay Bus That rocks! Mine came stock with one, but the velcro is not to good. This one ,VW should of done it this way! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
THAT ROCKS!

It looks like your van never had the screen because I can not see the old attaching velcro.

I LIKE IT!!!!


velcros are there in the pics, hard to see but there Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! Yeah the velcro is there but from a failed attempt...basically in the south it gets too hot and the Velcro melts and won't hold. I got Artie a year ago and had no velcro.Maybe it was the stuff I used it just never held..either way this works for me.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant!! ... in a less brilliant sort of way. I will be purchasing and installing one today.

Thanks!

John
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b00t
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jerrydog411 wrote:
Brilliant!! ... in a less brilliant sort of way. I will be purchasing and installing one today.

Thanks!

John


Haha, well put...thanks. you know it works. Its cheap. Let me know if you come up with any ideas to make it better or fine a better sun screen. Good luck.
Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this too easy or what? http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_377_653/mosquito_net_-_screen_for_skylight.html

Just asking.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jake de Villiers wrote:
Is this too easy or what? http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_377_653/mosquito_net_-_screen_for_skylight.html

Just asking.

$5 verses $50 - You choose.....
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
Jake de Villiers wrote:
Is this too easy or what? http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_377_653/mosquito_net_-_screen_for_skylight.html

Just asking.

$5 verses $50 - You choose.....


I guess it depends on how much you earn an hour.

Trip to FLAPS - 1 hour
Cut, fit, install - 1 hour

Still doesn't cover the whole vent, doesn't eliminate all the light, doesn't have a mosquito screen either.

No disrespect intended to the OP, just responding to r39o
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No offense taken...like said I am cheap and make no bones that it is not black-out nor a mosquito net, I just have so much more to spend 50 on than some cloth and and screen. I would love to have both...but for now blocking a little sun is all I need. Very Happy.

Sometimes its nice to just fix a problem as best as possible and move on...if I bought everything I want, but don't need, I would be a broke joker.

Either way...if anyone tries it let me know and post a picture.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am cheap too!

I have the OE screen. It is a pain. There is a reason why they are missing in action.

I have a few and they all suffer from being folded and have creases and the Velcro is extra crappy.

This is roller setup is neat for, at least, two very practical reasons:

- It is always there.
- It makes the roof in that area stiffer. (Watch that area while driving sometime.)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jake de Villiers wrote:
r39o wrote:
Jake de Villiers wrote:
Is this too easy or what? http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_377_653/mosquito_net_-_screen_for_skylight.html

Just asking.

$5 verses $50 - You choose.....


I guess it depends on how much you earn an hour.

Trip to FLAPS - 1 hour
Cut, fit, install - 1 hour

Still doesn't cover the whole vent, doesn't eliminate all the light, doesn't have a mosquito screen either.

No disrespect intended to the OP, just responding to r39o


Made my own as well; didn't want to spend the money and the OEM thing just didn't cut it. A sizzling roof in the summer = oozing Velcro. My solution: 1) Mosquito screen lined and mounted to the rear cover screws; 2) magnets along the front of the screen, inside the trim; 3) metal bar mounted to the two front skylight bolts. For light blocking, I cut up an old windshield shade that is put into position while the skylight is slightly open, and is then closed keeping the shade in place (no picture of that... yet).

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

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
I am cheap too!

I have the OE screen. It is a pain. There is a reason why they are missing in action.

I have a few and they all suffer from being folded and have creases and the Velcro is extra crappy.

This is roller setup is neat for, at least, two very practical reasons:

- It is always there.
- It makes the roof in that area stiffer. (Watch that area while driving sometime.)


Ha, good point never thought of the roof stiffener. I mean....of course!....it was inherent to the design as a support mechanism. Wink

Also good point that its just there...I am tired of pulling this and that out...mounting this, snapping that, covering this...my little tray in the back hatch i full of stuff that has to be installed or mounted. Love it all but anything that is always there and out of the way is A++

This really came about on a long drive from Asheville,NC to Cedar Point OH. (If anyone gets a chance to camp there do it,its awesome!) The sun was at that perfect angle to bake my head...seemed like for hours. And in the middle of summer in mid Ohio it is no where near comfortable. If this was there I could just reach back and close it....done deal!


Last edited by b00t on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:59 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KamzCab- sounds like you ran into the same problem I did with the Velcro.

I like this...cheap and easy and it works! Would like to see a shot of the cut up sunscreen, now that really is a blackout on budget. Have been reading through Old Blue's blog and you really loaded with DIY ideas -love the mentality. Between the roap ladder for the top bunk and the sliding door screen if you see a need you create it...and do it well. Good on ya

Keep'm coming! Any other ideas out there?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

b00t wrote:
KamzCab- sounds like you ran into the same problem I did with the Velcro.

I like this...cheap and easy and it works! Would like to see a shot of the cut up sunscreen, now that really is a blackout on budget.


Ask and ye shall receive... Very Happy I'll get them uploaded to the blog when I get a chance.

Screen in place (disregard the Jacaranda leaves Embarassed ):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Screen dropped (I covered the metal bar with material so it looks better):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Shade gizmo being installed:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Skylight/vent closed, screen popped back into place:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The windshield shade I cut up is a cheap-o one I initially had for the van; it has a Styrofoam-type filler instead of the "bubble-wrap" stuff. It's so cheap, the foil is coming off it; I need to glue it back in place. Anyway, I cut it on a fold so it can be easily folded and stashed somewhere. For anyone wanting to make one, here's the dimensions:

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


Your roller screen is a great idea. But I, personally, need all the bug protection I can get! Laughing Confused
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 good stuff. Thanks for adding to the thread. Looks like a great way to block out the freaking sun for some late morning sleep in!
Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

b00t wrote:
+1 good stuff. Thanks for adding to the thread. Looks like a great way to block out the freaking sun for some late morning sleep in!
Very Happy


I have a small piece of foil/bubble/bubble/foil insulation that stays tucked in the skylight itself on top of the OEM screen/shade thingy. It really makes a big difference to the amount of heat transfer in the summer time.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

b00t wrote:
+1 good stuff. Thanks for adding to the thread. Looks like a great way to block out the freaking sun for some late morning sleep in!
Very Happy


Yeah... don't be surprised to wake up, look at the clock and do a double-take ("It's what time?! Shocked "), especially when using tent insulation in winter.

I speak from experience. Laughing
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got around to doing this job!

I am not 100% done, but testing some ideas.

I did mine somewhat differently. Adding spacer washers is too fiddly. I just got two 5 x 0.8 mm nuts for 53 cents from Home Depot.

I also think I want to figure out how to turn the assembly around so the push button is on the sliding door side. You have to be in the van to work this and there were times I did not want to step in. More on this later....

Also, you MUST wind the spring back up when you assemble it. I have not found the optimal number of pretension turns yet.

I did not cut mine, yet. I am not all that happy with the double sided sticky tape catch. Something cut our of thin metal maybe to hook in seems to be an idea for me.

NOTE: These things DO make a difference! My van was 77 F inside. The unsdaded spot on the carpet was 97 F. When I put the shade on it dropped quickly down to 84 F.

BTW: The shade costs about $3.50 at Walmart......

Mounted with two nuts.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


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


Unshaded spot at 95+ F
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Shaded at about 84 F
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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