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Old 07-29-2019, 02:04 PM   #1
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1989 Ford Club Wagon XLT Sportsmobile Quest

Hello, my name is Jake...

and I couldn't get the idea of a Sportsmobile top out of my head!

I've recently embarked on the project of installing a Sportsmobile top on my 1989 Ford Club Wagon XLT.

A little about the van, it's been around for quite some time and has been sold and traded amongst a few Vanner groups in my area. I know 3-4 of the previous owners and I've managed to trace it back to the potential first owner or at least the owner who installed the Gear Vendors Overdrive unit.

It's a 351w with a c6 and a GV Overdrive. It spent a lot of its life in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and then Indiana. I picked it up after selling my Jeep because I had been dreaming about a van for quite some time and knew I could let the Jeep go after it had served me well for 8 years.



We've recently started on the interior by removing the carpet, I think i will use some of the leftover roof material to patch the floor actually.



I've recently acquired the Sportsmobile top from a buddy of mine who has a Westy top on his Third Gen Ford Shorty. My brother, cousin, and father assisted me in removing it yesterday and placing it onto a trailer. It was much heavier than I thought.






Anyways, thanks for having me and I look forward to annoying all of you in the near future.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:42 PM   #2
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Welcome, wow, great project, wish you much success.

Saw your post on expedition portal.

Looking forward to following along.

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Old 07-30-2019, 11:13 AM   #3
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Welcome, wow, great project, wish you much success.

Saw your post on expedition portal.

Looking forward to following along.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm extremely excited about it and I'm greatly underestimating it, i feel like.

I think once I get the top separated from the metal roofing, the roofing will be the perfect template for where to cut mine, which will also serve as a recyclable piece as i will be using the roof metal to patch some holes in the floor.

I am debating on which route to take when it comes to the pop-top. Should I attempt to rebuild it by taking it mostly apart, re-doing the fiberglass on the top or at least adding some, checking the metal of the structure and repainting whatever is potentially bare BEFORE putting it on the van or should I install it and then redo it? I'm assuming it will be much easier to tackle from ground level.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:42 AM   #4
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Glad you decided to post this in here. Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:06 PM   #5
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I'd think it woud be easier on the ground as well. I imagine it will be more work than expected.

See this thread for a complete poptop/penthouse rebuild, michal740 did an amazing job:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ion-22572.html
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JCrimson View Post
Thanks for the kind words. I'm extremely excited about it and I'm greatly underestimating it, i feel like.

I think once I get the top separated from the metal roofing, the roofing will be the perfect template for where to cut mine, which will also serve as a recyclable piece as i will be using the roof metal to patch some holes in the floor.

I am debating on which route to take when it comes to the pop-top. Should I attempt to rebuild it by taking it mostly apart, re-doing the fiberglass on the top or at least adding some, checking the metal of the structure and repainting whatever is potentially bare BEFORE putting it on the van or should I install it and then redo it? I'm assuming it will be much easier to tackle from ground level.
As far as cutting the hole. All you need to know is the length and width and then just center the hole on the roof and start it right behind the cross-member behind the cab of the van.

Couple of other tips:
- Absolutely do all your fiberglass work and painting prior to putting it on the van
- Buy new silicone gaskets for the roof attachment and for the edge of the fiberglass shell
- If possible, leave the canvas attached to the fiberglass shell
- Reinforce the lift bars (I didn't do this and wish I had)
- Mickey Mouse ear the back corners of your cut. I made mine rectangular and they are starting to crack. This will also allow the rails to sit a little flatter.
- Add a reinforcement bar of some kind at the rear between the two rails
- I replaced the chain link connecting the spring to the lift bar with a heavy duty turnbuckle. This allows you to adjust the tension easily if necessary.

Here is a link to my build thread which might be helpful:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...d-19704-5.html

Also post some pictures!
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:36 PM   #7
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"I replaced the chain link connecting the spring to the lift bar with a heavy duty turnbuckle. This allows you to adjust the tension easily if necessary."

This is absolutely brilliant.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:18 AM   #8
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Pop top

Any more updates on this? I bought one and am picking it up next month. I will need to slightly trim mine to match the curve of my bus roof. I am interested to know if anyone can post pictures of how the top latches down once you cut the hole? I was going to cut mine right behind my drivers seat where I have a steel rib reinforcing the roof and then try and add one in the back so it has a rib where the hole ends. Just wanting to see how the hardware mounts to the roof.
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Old 09-01-2019, 06:42 PM   #9
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Flip it upside down while it’s off the van and do all your fiberglass repair and any extra reinforcement you want to add while it’s off the van. You can do any touch up and paint it or use Raptor Liner on the outside of the top while it’s off the van too. Looks like a fun project. Good luck.
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tstege83 View Post
Any more updates on this? I bought one and am picking it up next month. I will need to slightly trim mine to match the curve of my bus roof. I am interested to know if anyone can post pictures of how the top latches down once you cut the hole? I was going to cut mine right behind my drivers seat where I have a steel rib reinforcing the roof and then try and add one in the back so it has a rib where the hole ends. Just wanting to see how the hardware mounts to the roof.
Sadly I have not progressed much further. My garage is pretty small and the space is currently occupied with the motor from my 1974 Super Beetle... but I am getting close to having it finished.

I'm going to be picking up some saw horse brackets after work this evening though so I can put the top on saw horses and be able to climb inside of it when I need to.
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