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Roof rack with high top??

2911 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  tenantny
Hey folks, my local junkyard has one of those fiberglass high top roofs on an Astro and I'm tempted to pick it up and use it on my camper van build (2000 Astro cargo). I would like to have a roof rack though, which would not be possible the way most roof racks are attached... on top of the roof itself. My question is, has anyone added a roof rack over a high top, via some sort of side mount? That is the roof rack is attached to the van along the vertical reinforcements alone the sides of the van instead of the roof?
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Thanks. I should have googled first. I'll worry about that IF I can get the top. I just emailed Explorer, the company who makes the top, asking for advice on how to remove the top... they said when they remove them that the usually have to cut them off, they don't come off in one piece. But I have a feeling their first priority isn't keeping an old top intact when removing them. Might give it a shot.
markmitch said:
When I had my hightop I checked with multiple companies as well as sites and I was told DO NOT DO IT!, the fiberglass top is rated at at best 10 lbs before it will crack. I say do not try it.
I wasn't planning to mount anything to the top. I was saying, to mount a roof rack to the body, on the sides of the van, below the top, which would extend up above the top itself.
deafman said:
You can beef up supports in any way needed after you own the top.
Add wood blocks inside where you need strength / fiberglass the wood in.
*Biggest question you need answered: How long will the van be there?
Most LKQ locations crush after one month, they strive for that now.
A Mom and Pop yard has it's own schedule.
Yes saving the old top doesn't seem to be that company's priority - plus time is money - their money is in installing/selling the new top.
Now we as a group are tightwads and we are all about helping you get this top off - If you want to do it.
Some people will cut the whole van top off at junkyards because they'd rather remove all the BS at home.
*Will the yard charge more if you cut off the whole van top?
*Will they charge more if you don't remove everything from the top?
LKQ can charge for anything left on the top, every light, speaker Etc.
The plus side of that is they only charge $50ish for (fiberglass van top) if you strip it down.
A Mom and Pop yard would probably never care about stupid things attached to the top.
You can remove it at the yard, do it in increments if there's no deadline.
Remove all the upholstered trim/woodwork from around the top's sides.
Flat head to pop off any screw covers, Phillips for screws and maybe a few Square drive. Most of the square drive didn't have to be unscrewed.
You're also going to have to remove the front sun visors to take down the front headliner.
I think the front, top seatbelt holder had to be removed- or something in that area maybe just the plastic trim.
The visors or seatbelt thing needed a big star bit, hex or Allen wrench but mostly no special bits were needed.
Take down any overhead console, bring wire cutters.
The big headliner on the actual high top can have a BUNCH of a air venting, and wiring hidden under it.
I unscrewed all the face frames for lighting, speakers, also air vents but can't remember if I really had to or not.
Wire cutters and a knife will come in handy, do know that I cut the main air vent line to pull the headliner out.
Once you get it gutted that's a good time to take a break or call it a day.
Now you're ready for the actual top removal.
Most screws were standard Philllip's and even had a raised head that fit perfectly inside the standard bit holder.
Some screws were easier to reach with the Phillips, some were better to take out by their head depending on angle of access.
By ANGLE I mean a few screws moved a little when they were tightened down long ago.
6 or 7 moved A LOT, you can't get the proper angle to remove the screw without stripping the head of them.
Don't get mad at it or you will strip them, relax and skip them for last.
Then bend a little metal with a small pry bar or vice grips above or below these screws and you'll be good.
Needle nosed vice grips came in handy on some screws at different points.
Get all of those screws out and call your friends, the top is HEAVY.
Gavio gifted us a wire trick - bring some kind of strong wire, I used # 9 construction wire.
You'll probably see daylight coming through somewhere under the high - top's seal.
Poke wire through there and tie to a handle outside and a handle inside.
Work it around the perimeter to break the Butyl tape seal, you may also find you forgot to remove a screw.
Hey thanks, this is good info. I've been reading through the threads here and did come across the wire with handles idea, I think that's going to be key. I think it will be pretty straight forward once I get into it. I'm thinking of removing it all at the junkyard. That way, if I damage it and it doesn't come off in one piece, I'll just not buy it, haha. I currently have a roof rack on my van, I will have to remove it anyways, I was thinking of just slapping the new top on top of my van, strap it down, and driving it home. Junkyard is only about 3-4 miles away. It's brown though and my van is white, going to have to get that painted first. I'll post a separate thread if/when I decide to pull the top.
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