VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby tonydobbs » March 18th 2020, 3:38am

This really does seem like the best route, but I like some punishment and plan to fab up a custom solution. Yours sets an incredibly high bar... it looks like it came like that from the factory!
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby Ironsides » March 18th 2020, 10:59pm

Welcome sprinter, you have a very nice van, lift and wheels look great, awesome work on that poptop.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby 90safari » March 19th 2020, 9:50pm

sprinter wrote:
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..

That looks fantastic. Nice that the tent portion is in great shape too. I wonder if you couldn't lay up some fiberglass and foam to help fill the gap in front, since that'll be your biggest challenge right now (going off the pics). Might be something to think about. I just wish my van was longer (it's a shorty) to be able to do something like that.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 20th 2020, 7:26pm

I’m procrastinating with what to do with the front. It needs to be done right so that it seals well for driving in the rain. I was thinking about fabbing an extension from 1/8” aluminum and riveting/sealing it to the fiberglass. Then use the existing VW seal
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby 90safari » March 21st 2020, 12:23am

That might be a good solution. Getting the contours right might be tricky though. I almost wonder if you couldn't do a double lip kind of thing, where you have 1 on the roof (lift top), and 1 on the roof (above the windshield), to help deflect the air/water around the gap. Just not entirely sure how to fit it all together with seals and such. Might need to make some custom seals with a bulb toward the top, from the van roof to it. Might be worth having a look thru McMaster Carr's catalog selection of seals, or maybe the RV section of AM Soft Seals (they offer Astro door seals too). Time to start thinking outside of the box. ;) :think:
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » March 21st 2020, 2:13am

Inside trimmed
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby 90safari » March 22nd 2020, 1:23am

sprinter wrote:Inside trimmed

It's kind of odd, seeing a VW hood latch in an Astro van. ;) Looks damn good though. :rockon:
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » April 14th 2020, 3:10am

041806FA-C8F6-4C9D-8109-6B0AE9EFC744.jpeg

0D09D547-5170-42F7-9A2B-15C0E8F51826.jpeg

Made up the front and rear spacers from 1/8” x 4” x 6’ aluminium extrusions and riveted in place
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby augidog » April 14th 2020, 4:30am

from "hey, that might work" to "check THIS out!"

You've got some mad fab skills, sprinter, and that's a very impressive finish :bow:
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » April 15th 2020, 2:05am

Pulled the aluminium part off and re-trimmed because wasn’t quite lining up to the roofline... happy with the seal now and just need to find an air deflector from a Eurovan.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby smokinjoe » April 15th 2020, 3:15am

This is one of the coolest mods in the history of the beloved astro van. It sure looks easy when someone else far away does it.
So you left the astro roof ribs just cut away the sheet metal? Sorry if I missed something. So basically you now have upstairs sleeping quarters.
Really a great project. Always wanted something like this. Great job!
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » April 15th 2020, 4:03am

It’s actually much easier than I had thought. I was worried because I scoured Google and no one had done it before so that made me worried. The most tedious part is trimming the fiberglass top and fabricating these aluminium bits. I’ve trimmed, put the top down and back up, re-trimmed, multiple times. The seal is tight all the way around now.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby Wiley » April 15th 2020, 4:30am

WOW, very nice....did you buy a new tent, that one looks like it's in great condition. What tool did you use to cut the roof off with? Think a battery powered version of something would work at a junkyard?
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby augidog » April 15th 2020, 6:13pm

Wiley wrote:WOW, very nice....did you buy a new tent, that one looks like it's in great condition. What tool did you use to cut the roof off with? Think a battery powered version of something would work at a junkyard?
i don't know sprinters answer, but i know cordless nibblers are available.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby 90safari » April 16th 2020, 12:08am

sprinter wrote:Pulled the aluminium part off and re-trimmed because wasn’t quite lining up to the roofline... happy with the seal now and just need to find an air deflector from a Eurovan.

That actually turned out better than I thought it would. Nice job.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby konybravo » April 16th 2020, 10:07pm

Yey, finally someone did it! Great wright up! I've been thinking about it for some time now. Here, in Bulgaria, the VW T4 pop tops are the easiest to find, yet rear in general. I was kinda hesitant on starting the project, since first, I had to source out the roof, than take measurements, and then eventually decide, wether I'd buy it or not. So, you spared me this hustle, and provided the info, and measurements I needed. :ty:
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby costman13 » April 17th 2020, 1:17am

Oh man.

This is awesome. Something I've thought about quite a lot.

Is it necessary to cut out the front section of the Astro in order to install the VW latch? Or was that more an aesthetic choice?
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » April 17th 2020, 1:42am

This was the tent that was on the poptop when I bought it. There are a couple of worn areas (eg at the back and one side) but overall in good condition. I will likely patch/reinforce some areas with tape

I took the entire Eurovan roof to minimize any fabrication or placement issues with the latch/hinges etc. It also allows me (with difficulty) or the kids to climb up and down the front access hole, without removing the center bed section (if they get up in the night).

Here is me cutting the Astro roof off:
https://youtu.be/W4w8mO0li3s

Cutting the Eurovan roof is a PITA because of triplicate steel layers in some areas. I used about 15 cutoff wheels and a corded grinder. A big sawsall might have been better.
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby sprinter [OP] » April 26th 2020, 8:52pm

Painted and air dam fitted
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Re: VW Eurovan poptop retrofit

Postby AstroWill » April 26th 2020, 9:22pm

Nice to be in the home stretch! Why is the picture so small though?

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