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Old 02-01-2019, 12:34 PM   #1
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used high top removal and install questions

I saw this van for sale for pretty cheap and was interested in possibly acquiring the entire van or making an offer for just the top. Has anyone had any experience removing one of these and re-installing on another van? What challenges am I up against? Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:03 PM   #2
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Since that's an ADA van, it will have a rollover protection frame inside the top, possibly sandwiched inside a liner. That will make the swap much more work, since that frame is probably welded to the roof headers.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:08 PM   #3
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Just got off the phone with Ray, who shared a wealth of knowledge with me! Great guy!!Seems like trying to remove a high top will cause more damage to it than its worth.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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I did the same thing just this year for my EB Ford. My donor had the tall doors in the rear instead of the side. In this particular donor vans case there was no cage, just fiberglass inner and outer shell. It took an hour to unscrew and cut through the adhesive to get the top off the old van. We trashed all the interior trim pieces getting them off. Three of us lifted the top off.

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I spent several months of weekends doing fiberglass work to fill in the rear door cutouts and adding features to the roof like solar panels, exhaust fan, and lights inside and out.

Reinstalling took 4 hours, including cutting the hole in the metal roof, running beads of adhesive, and screwing the top to my van, and driving off. Of course, that does not include any time spent trimming out the interior to cover exposed metal, etc.

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Not a project for the faint of heart. Instead of buying this whole van, you could keep an eye out at your local salvage yards. Mine came from Pick A Part, who charge $74 for the entire roof assembly. I bought mine on half price day for $37. A few months ago, there was a top just like the one on the van you are looking at without the tall doors, in a SoCal salvage yard. You just have to look often and be ready when one pops up.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:52 PM   #5
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shadetreevanman, interesting info. Thanks for sharing. Would you do it again? How much did you end up spending on all of the cost associated with the top trade out?
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:17 PM   #6
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You might want to consider making the highroof van yours instead of swapping out the roof to your existing van. I bought a '94 Dodge van with tall roof, tall rear doors and stock side doors, thinking that overdoor storage would be better than with tall side doors. Just a few climbs in and out convinced me that I won't have anything over the side doorway because it'll just bonk heads and the tall side doors would make for better in- and egress. I still want the tall rear doors for this wannabe motohauler.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:22 PM   #7
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Surfvan, you're not going to tell my wife about what I've spent are you?

Basic Top
Top $37
Fiberglass and Paint Supplies $300
SikaFlex 252 Adhesive 9 Tubes $145
SikaFlex 521 UV Caulk 3 Tubes $25
Plywood for Interior Trim Out $100
Trunk Liner Material to wrap all plywood $75
Vinyl Trim to Cover Mounting Screws $75
Misc $100

Extras
Windows $60 used
LED Puck Lighting $75
Brake Light $25
Maxxfan $175
Solar Cable Entry $15
Solar Cable Extension 20' $30
Solar Panel Y's $10
Solar Panels and Controller Already had
Backup camera $30
Front Light Bar $65
Rear Light Bar $40
Various Fuse Blocks, Switches, USBs $100

So roughly $1400 cash and many hours of labor for everything in and on my new top. Plus several hundred in Beer and Burritos for my buddies.

Would I do it again? Camp one night in a high top and you will be sold.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:29 PM   #8
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Hahaha, thats awesome man.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:29 PM   #9
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The extended-height rear doors look much nicer than the side ones IMO. I don't think they look bad at all, and are actually likely to be kinda useful. And with photos taken out the back door at scenic locations being all the #vanlife rage on Instagram, think how much better your photos will look with all that extra open air! ;-)
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadetreevanman View Post
Surfvan, you're not going to tell my wife about what I've spent are you?

Basic Top
Top $37
Fiberglass and Paint Supplies $300
SikaFlex 252 Adhesive 9 Tubes $145
SikaFlex 521 UV Caulk 3 Tubes $25
Plywood for Interior Trim Out $100
Trunk Liner Material to wrap all plywood $75
Vinyl Trim to Cover Mounting Screws $75
Misc $100

Extras
Windows $60 used
LED Puck Lighting $75
Brake Light $25
Maxxfan $175
Solar Cable Entry $15
Solar Cable Extension 20' $30
Solar Panel Y's $10
Solar Panels and Controller Already had
Backup camera $30
Front Light Bar $65
Rear Light Bar $40
Various Fuse Blocks, Switches, USBs $100

So roughly $1400 cash and many hours of labor for everything in and on my new top. Plus several hundred in Beer and Burritos for my buddies.

Would I do it again? Camp one night in a high top and you will be sold.
Very cool Tim
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