High Roof Swap???

High Roof Swap???

Postby Astrapevan [OP] » June 16th 2020, 5:07am

Has anyone swapped a high roof onto their astro and cut out their stock flat roof????

I found an AWESOME high roof on an '04 in the junk yard and wanted to see if anyone has any experience with doing a swap??? ( I have a '95 )

Any input or help/link to a topic is super appreciated!!!
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby Rod's Trucks » June 16th 2020, 6:18am

Yes, It has been done by at least a couple of owners.
Try searching for raised roof, high top, or something similar.
Maybe someone else will have the links handy.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby SportsBoy » June 16th 2020, 1:17pm

Yeah, some people have just added the high top secured to the roof, others have made it into a pop top. I'm looking to make it a pop top.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby Babyblu85 » June 16th 2020, 1:46pm

I gave van and roof to a garage and they cut ,glued ,screwed and sealed it on. Watch out so rear doors don’t hit roof as mine did. I had to drill,cut, scrape out area for hinge to work. Of course, you have measured all mating surfaces so you know it will fit ,right? Don’t want any overhang. Good luck !
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby deafman » June 16th 2020, 7:07pm

It's been done and it's done to brand new, expensive, vans all the time.
We have plenty of info and people to guide you along.
Focus on getting the top and worry about what to do with it later !
A new one would cost thousands of dollars.
Your looking at $100 or less to buy the used one.
Learn from my mistake with this overly long story below.

I'm not sure what kind of junkyard you found the top in.
Many of the large junkyards crush vehicles with less of an organized schedule than you would expect. I learned this the hard way. :roll:
The few times I had been to my nearest yard, the same Astro was there over a 9 month period. I thought that was normal but it's rare.

Then a pristine, conversion, van popped up on the JY website's inventory.
It had a simple, smooth shape as opposed to some of the more ''exotic'' models.
The color was even the same as my van's paint job - perfect.
I felt no since of urgency because I saw a van sit at this JY for a long time before.
I needed some other parts and a sale was coming up at the yard so I waited to kill 2 birds with one stone and save money - a major mistake.
The van got crushed the day before I was going to get the top.
It was only there less than 30 days or a few days more - and it turned out they try to crush after 1 month at this yard - national policy.
I can say that I live far from the junkyard so it's not a casual trip and planning is essential.

Researching is normally good but wasting time can cost you getting the top that you saw.
I read up on removing the top and even looked up the year model and conversion company web images to study the trim and woodwork that I'd have to remove.
I called the (LKQ the national chain) junkyard's question and answer line to ask what exact wording should I use when I get ready to pay for the top at the counter- to prevent overpricing.
I was told the official part name would be ''fiberglass van top'' and it would only cost $54.99 or something in the $50 range.
I was prepared to remove every piece of interior trim and lighting from the top to get that price as it seemed most people pay close to $100. ''Some'' counter people can charge you for every item connected to a part.
Some people just cut the whole metal roof off the van using a saws-all.
That's the fast way ,I guess, but would weigh a heck of a lot more when transporting and may or may not get you charged more.
Jagged metal can damage whatever you're going to haul it home on or in.
My plan was to actually strip it down to make it weigh and possibly cost less.
Transporting it home is also something to think about.
Properly removed it could be strapped down to the top of your van in the way it was designed.
It can also fit in the back of your van if the van's empty / no seats and you leave the back doors open - tie a red ribbon.

I was ready to make short work of the wood interior, I had phillips, flatheads, torx and allen bits. I had sharp wood chisels and small pry bars for any stripped wood screws.
You can remove the BS by yourself instead of making a friend wait but you would really want help to actually remove the top.
Once you get things gutted and unscrewed the top will normally be stuck on to the van with butyl tape. Like a double sided sealing tape.
Gavio suggested pulling a wire between the van and the high-top to separate them.
So I had 2 wood handles connected with wire.
Think one person outside the van holding a handle and another person inside the van holding the other handle - working the wire around the perimeter of the van.
Depending on the carts at your junkyard you may want to bring a wagon or something with you and a blanket to prevent scratching.

Just info I learned - the main point is ''If you snooze, you lose.''
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby sixsix » June 16th 2020, 8:16pm

Astrapevan wrote:Has anyone swapped a high roof onto their astro and cut out their stock flat roof???? ...

LOL :rofl:

ps: I mean... really ? I just had to laugh... went to Wallycrap the other day - saw 3 of the POSs.
Conversions, then 2 homemade odd-on pile-o-crap-latex-caulk-masterpcs - looked like someone had been buried into the seats, varnish coming off the cheap **** wood in sheets- stupid lighting noone used and those ignorant blinds and they probably still ducked down - rust all up and down it's in and outsides.

We see it here - "what's this switch" and "how do I turn on the TV in the hi top..."
"There's 19 switches - where do I get this new window frame" - all in 1 sentence...

Geez... Golly!!!


rant fini
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Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “May be hard to believe... President Trump should rest easy and concede what was in fact a foregone conclusion: Another OLD MAN won with only about 50% of the Change Believers/Fools showing up."

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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby SportsBoy » June 17th 2020, 12:12am

deafman wrote: Once you get things gutted and unscrewed the top will normally be stuck on to the van with butyl tape. Like a double sided sealing tape.
Gavio suggested pulling a wire between the van and the high-top to separate them.
So I had 2 wood handles connected with wire.
Think one person outside the van holding a handle and another person inside the van holding the other handle - working the wire around the perimeter of the van.
''

AMEN
I wrote in my build thread a bit about how much I struggled with getting the top off the roof - I didn' think of using a wire.... that is genius. Would have saved me hours!
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby Rod's Trucks » June 17th 2020, 12:39am

The windshield guys sometimes use a piece of piano wire to cut through the seal and putty, when removing the old glass.
It is a bit more awkward than the normal cutter tool, but it is cheap and works .
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby Astrapevan [OP] » June 17th 2020, 9:55pm

Got down to the pull it lot and ripped out the roof today, it was a PITFA to get off but after lots of sweat and some blood it came off clean and intact!!!! I used a flat screwdriver to break the seal, just hammered it in all around the underside until it came loose. Seams to fit the van well when transporting it home!!! Stoked! Best part is they only charged me $32 :rockon:

85507A54-4AF0-4A3A-B7F8-B9AE7F3E0149.jpeg


BCA5A832-8ACE-4EBD-82BB-A0AD5B8A0C95.jpeg
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby Rod's Trucks » June 17th 2020, 10:05pm

It is pretty darn hard to beat that price, and you apparently got a roof vent also. :D
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby sixsix » June 17th 2020, 10:39pm

Yeah... $32 for 3, maybe 4 inches. I don't get it.
Name of Thread is What ... ?
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “May be hard to believe... President Trump should rest easy and concede what was in fact a foregone conclusion: Another OLD MAN won with only about 50% of the Change Believers/Fools showing up."

.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby tonydobbs » June 17th 2020, 10:41pm

sixsix wrote:Yeah... $32 for 3, maybe 4 inches. I don't get it.
Name of Thread is What ... ?

It's probably a bit taller than that. I have a very similar high-top that's 8" at the peak.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby Astrapevan [OP] » June 17th 2020, 11:03pm

sixsix wrote:Yeah... $32 for 3, maybe 4 inches. I don't get it.
Name of Thread is What ... ?


It's 8-10 inches, they cost ~$1500 new, what don't you get sixsix???
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby deafman » June 18th 2020, 1:03am

:clap: Congratulations you scored.
Looks good already - '' to me.'' :thumbup:
Everybody has their own opinions, if it makes you happy that's all that counts.
Personally, I wouldn't want a top much higher than that.
There are lots of people that paint their roofs white just to lessen the heat from the sun.
If you're going to leave it white you only spent $32 to accomplish that AND gained headroom!

There's a thread on here called ''Community Project - DIY Pop Top'' by "WimpTech".
It has links to other member's builds that you'd like to see - Gavio's being one.
It's worth a read, even if you're only going to buy more butyl tape and screw it down.

Disclaimer: I haven't cut my roof, I've only borrowed info from others.
Harbor Freight sells an electric metal sheer that goes up to 14 gauge.
It's only $49 and they often have sales and coupons.
This IS the preferred type of tool to cut your sheet metal, mess-free like a can opener.
They have a lesser model that only goes up to 18 gauge $35. ?????? IDK
You could use cruder tools that you may already own.
But it'd make more metal debris in your van and possibly your eyes.
Deciding how many crossmembers to take out is a personal choice - and heavier cutting.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby sixsix » June 18th 2020, 2:08am

Astrapevan wrote:...It's 8-10 inches, they cost ~$1500 new, what don't you get sixsix???

I did not 'get' that there would be that much gain.
If it's good for you - Fine. I - would not do it.
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “May be hard to believe... President Trump should rest easy and concede what was in fact a foregone conclusion: Another OLD MAN won with only about 50% of the Change Believers/Fools showing up."

.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby augidog » June 18th 2020, 4:34pm

with my height, the high-top was a major selling point. I know I wouldn't have invested in adding one, but I'm absolutely aware of the benefits, especially when i factor in the high sliding door. you can tell from the stained headliner that high-tops are not trouble-free and will require diligent maintenance.
IMG_20200618_082220.jpg
Astrapevan, did you get pics and measurements of the cutout on the donor van? that would have to be helpful info if you snagged it.
IMG_20200515_131110.jpg
there's about 2' of original roof under this rear cabinet, and I assume it's about structural integrity.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby Astrapevan [OP] » June 18th 2020, 9:59pm

augidog wrote:did you get pics and measurements of the cutout on the donor van? that would have to be helpful info if you snagged it.

I did not, the donor van had a rather small amount of the original roof removed in order to retain a "shelf"/storage around the entire interior. It was used as a painter's van, maybe some kind of contractor?

The general gameplan (for now) is to leave the roof intact from the furthest to the front cross support to the windshield, and from the cross support ~2ft from the back to the back. I hope that makes sense the way I worded it. I will chop out the 2 middle cross supports. This will allow some overhead storage in the front and back, and maintain some structural stability (leaving 3/5 cross supports intact) as well as making some much needed head room in the cabin area. I'd have to assume the fiberglass roof should add some stability, maybe as much as two cross supports?? This is my first time doing anything like this, so hopfully I don't end up totaling the vehicle!!! :handgestures-fingerscrossed: I think I'm committing, we'll see how it turns out. If nothing else maybe it will be a good cautionary tale for future folks making an attempt.

This will stay:
IMG-0883.jpg


These 2 are gonzo
IMG-0885.jpg


Powerwashed, sanded and primed the roof. Also removed the old vent which I plan to replace with a fan I have had laying around.
IMG-0882.jpg
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby M_a_t_t » June 18th 2020, 10:27pm

That sounds like a good plan. If it ever feels "flimsy" (the van and/or roof) you can always add some bracing to the fiberglass piece.
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby gavio » June 19th 2020, 2:44pm

I'd have to assume the fiberglass roof should add some stability, maybe as much as two cross supports??


If you're bolting that hightop on, it will indeed add a lot of strength, they are designed that way....
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Re: High Roof Swap???

Postby nosxjeep » June 19th 2020, 5:48pm

sixsix wrote:Name of Thread is What ... ?


"High" has many meanings...
;)

Nice looking roof though, I'm not a fan of the super tall stuff.
I even see that sweet spot to build a rack.
8-)
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