VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

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VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 9th 2020, 11:15pm

New member and first post here. 2005 AWD (soon to be 4x4) Astro w/200k miles and lifted 4"

I just started this new project after pulling the poptop assembly and cutting the roof off a VW Eurovan. Plan is to keep all Astro crossmembers at the pillar locations, and remove the one that is midway across the sliding door). I will be riveting (solid steel aircraft rivets) and bonding (high modulus windscreen adhesive) the Eurovan roof section in.

IMG_1172.JPG
IMG_1180.JPG
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby Leeann_93 » March 9th 2020, 11:41pm

Welcome!

I'm kinda partial to my '05 AWD, too. It's an awesome van, though my '02 AWD Astro (and '02 AWD Safari parts van), '00 AWD Astro, '99 AWD Safari and '93 AWD Astro were all awesome. But the rear disc and 6-lug hubs somehow make it more better.

My FIL loved his Westfalias - from back in the late '60s to early '70s. When he started to go downhill a little and have more problems with his knees, he sold his Westy with manual trans to get a Westy with an auto box so his wife could drive it. As soon as he died, though, she dumped the poor van.

4" lift - so what tires/wheels did you go with? And what transfer case are you going to swap in?
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby deafman » March 10th 2020, 12:41am

Check out Gavio- I'm sure that you've already seen his van before.
I think you can skip adding the skin from the Eurovan.
I know that's the proper way to add on to a VW and when reading VW advice it's the standard.
But maybe not necessary on the Astro.
Not knocking you at all - I've been looking at both makes and their forums lately myself.
So I know how easy it'd be to get swayed one way.
I'm excited about your project. :thumbup:
Do what's best for you! You're going to pull this off for sure. :wave:

edit: PS: your profile says 2003 but post says van is 2005?
You may want to fix your year because if you have mechanical questions later folks will see the wrong year on the profile. It causes inaccurate responses. Not that there are many if any differences between 2003- 2005
Or maybe you have 2 vans?
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 10th 2020, 3:43am

I have Black Rock Type D Steel Wheel Size: 16" x 7" and
Falken Wildpeak AT3W all_ Season Radial Tire-235/70R16 109T. They barely fit with the sliding door. About 3mm clearance.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby tonydobbs » March 10th 2020, 5:33am

Wow, really cool approach! I never realized how close in size these two vans are. Good luck with your build!
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby nosxjeep » March 10th 2020, 6:42pm

Very cool!
SUB'D!

The Eurovan's tops were my original thought as well, so I'm curious to see how this goes!
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 14th 2020, 8:55pm

Heres where Im up to and what Im into it so far:
Complete Eurovan poptop/roof (fiberglass top, roof, hinges, struts, canvas, bedding (wood and mats) $250
Uhaul trailer $30
Rivets $15
Adhesive $32
HF pneumatic rivet gun $35
20x cutoff wheels $16
Grinding and sanding wheels $10
...lots of time

After much trimming:
IMG_7715.JPG

Gluing with high modulus windscreen adhesive/Sealant (DOW Betaseal U-400HMNC)
IMG_7543.JPG

About 100 rivets later (3/16" stainless steel). Pneumatic rivet gun was a life saver:
IMG_5559.JPG

Bonded and riveted:
IMG_1337.jpg

Fiberglass top on and ready to be trimmed:
IMG_1341.JPG
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby 90safari » March 15th 2020, 12:03am

So, how does the top fit in the closed position? Is it tight to the Astro roof? Just wondering how the fit is. I think Gavin had trouble with that with his conversion at one point (well the latch part).
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 15th 2020, 1:13am

The rear needs to be lopped off about 50mm, and the side near the back of the sliding door needs to be trimmed by 10-20mm which will bring the front down further. Currently in the closed position, it’s about 70mm above the latch. The front may need a spacer to contact the roof. The side-side figment is perfect.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby SportsBoy » March 15th 2020, 4:20am

Awesome man, cruising right along
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby AstroWill » March 15th 2020, 12:37pm

Great project!

Oh I bet that pneumatic riveter was worth it's weight in gold.

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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby gavio » March 15th 2020, 6:39pm

Oh I like the way this is coming together, can't wait to see how it works out.... Good show!
2004 Safari, 4 inch lift, NP-231 t-case, 255/70/16 BFGs, home-brewed pop top, full camper, on-board propane, lions and tigers and bears, oh my.....
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby markmitch » March 15th 2020, 9:19pm

Looks great so far.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 16th 2020, 6:23am

Heres the roofline fit. The tape line is to take off 1/2” as a first pass to bring the front down to be able to latch
85BE999A-37F8-4228-B4B8-B0BABBFCA659.jpeg
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 18th 2020, 1:02am

Got the tent top trimmed and tent on
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby tonydobbs » March 18th 2020, 1:18am

Damn, I'm starting to wonder if I'm taking the wrong approach because this looks incredible!
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 18th 2020, 3:10am

Bed up top. There are two bedding panels: the rear one is fixed and the front one is removable. It’s a tight squeeze to climb up between the front seats (in front of the structural support, but doable. But easier to remove the front panel and climb up that way
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 18th 2020, 3:16am

And the final roofline (click pic for right side up). This was the worst part, putting top up and down 4 times and constantly refining/trimming. Started with a jigsaw and then the circular saw + grinder and sanding disks. Fiberglass dust everywhere and no dust masks available, due to Coronavirus, so my lungs have 1yr less life in them now.
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Last edited by sprinter on March 18th 2020, 3:25am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby tonydobbs » March 18th 2020, 3:21am

You should be proud. That is fantastic work!
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 18th 2020, 3:32am

tonydobbs wrote:You should be proud. That is fantastic work!


Taking the whole Eurovan roof was a godsend. Minimal fabrication and no mockups required for hinge/strut placement, just mainly cutting and fitting. I think anyone that can use a grinder (and has time on their hands) can probably accomplish this job. Just take as much as you can from the donor Eurovan. For placement on the Astro, don’t measure, just push it back as far as it can go..
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