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Old 09-03-2013, 08:02 AM   #11
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Re: Popping my top

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Did I read correctly that you drove the van 2 hours back to the owner with no roof? The ultimate sunroof!!

Yes....on the 5 freeway.....and for all I know the owner may be still driving it. It won't rain a drop here until about Nov, so he's good for a few more months at least I mentioned to the seller to pick up some sunscreen and leave it in the van.

I've been reworking/refreshing the top, hopefully I'll get some pics posted today.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:03 AM   #12
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Re: Popping my top

Try http://www.workvehicles.net/ They have a huge inventory in Fullerton. Seemed a little (or a lot) sleazy but since my van still had a factory warranty no worries.

The aux battery was toast and the spare tire didn't fit the van. Other than that I had to get 3 warranty repairs - fuel level sensor was bent, loose wiring in the dash caused a dead van, and loose wiring in the dash caused dead panel lights.

Good luck finding a non-white cargo van. It took me several months of searching to find one. Might be easier to find a non-white passenger van, but most of those seem to be the extended version. But it can be done, I probably saved $6-8,000 vs. buying new after all the hassle and repairs.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:38 AM   #13
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Re: Popping my top

Thanks for the link!
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #14
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Re: Popping my top

This bears a close resemblance to the process I followed. After lusting after an SMB for quite some time, I found an old donor top at a reasonable price and then started looking for a '75-'91 Ford van to put it on. Have fun cutting that big hole!
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:28 PM   #15
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Re: Popping my top

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Did I read correctly that you drove the van 2 hours back to the owner with no roof? The ultimate sunroof!!
What I'm amazed with is the fact you convinced/negotiated someone to take the top off of a van that they would own after the fact. Maybe I should try that with some of the vans in the classified section.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:58 PM   #16
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Re: Popping my top

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockbender
Have fun cutting that big hole!
my air chisel is looking forward to it.....just need a van.

Here are a couple pics of the roof cut from the donor; I'm hoping for a cleaner cut than these.....






The chimsel (detroit-speak for center high-mounted stop lamp) in the top is simply held in with caulking/sealer....I was hoping it was mechanically fastened....




The tail light wiring was simply twisted together and taped.....no butt-splices or other connectors...



The last surprise for the weekend was when I removed one of the headliner panels; it's holding the canvas to the roof. I'm planning on modifying this a bit.
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:03 PM   #17
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Re: Popping my top

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBrian

What I'm amazed with is the fact you convinced/negotiated someone to take the top off of a van that they would own after the fact. Maybe I should try that with some of the vans in the classified section.
Well, the seller needed cash and it was a better idea than selling a kidney
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:39 AM   #18
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Re: Popping my top

Since I don't have a van to play with yet.......

I removed the 1/8" plywood headliner and re-attached the canvas to the top using thin (5mm) plywood strips ripped from a 4'x4' sheet from Lowes.

This will allow much easier access to the underside of the top for wiring mods, leak repair, etc without having the canvas falling down.

I used the removed headliner panels as a pattern for the screw holes in the strips. The strips are in the same holes as the headliner around the perimeter of the roof.


Using the headliner panel as a template








strips screwed in holding up the canvas




This is what the underside of the top looks like......reflectix removed





My plans for further top mods are (in no particular order):

Install Yakima tracks

Install a solar panel; poke a hole in top and add connector

Fabricate new headliner panels and cover with padded headliner material

Replace fluorescent fixtures with LED fixtures

Replace edge trim on top (already ordered replacement trim and roof tape from SMB)

Replace high mounted stop lamp (ordered new one from SMB)...the old one is serviceable but a new one was $12....

Sleeve crossbars with cro-mo tubing and rework pivots with shoulder screws, etc.

add additional reflectix under top

prime and paint top van color (need a van first!)
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:51 PM   #19
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Re: Popping my top

You got that, I was seriously thinking about going that route after seeing it but another 2k is not in my budget.

Jealous........................................... .................................................. .......................................

If you find a van with a PH already on it you can install that one on mine.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:22 AM   #20
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Re: Popping my top

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadzima
You got that, I was seriously thinking about going that route after seeing it but another 2k is not in my budget.

Jealous........................................... .................................................. .......................................

If you find a van with a PH already on it you can install that one on mine.

Yes, I couldn't help myself.....and the seller was motivated.

Your van is an EB body, correct? This top is for an RB body van (which is what I'm looking for)
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