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Old 03-24-2012, 02:12 PM   #11
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Hi;

Okay so I got bored with the planning phase and decided to lay out the roof dimensions on the 1984 B350 4x4.



Then I decided, with help from Carlsberg, to drill the holes for the corners.



I forgot just how flimsy these vans are for a lightweight guy like myself...



So then Don and I decided to join the holes with the jigsaw. The next thing we knew...



We got ourselves a convertible.



Total time from initial layout to this photo was 2 hours.



A great afternoon despite the cooler temps.

Off to the meat draw.

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:22 PM   #12
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

If you haven't already done so. I would weld the roof cross members that you cut to the skin of the roof at the cut edge.
This will make your Van more sturdy than it was with the roof intact.

Have a wet towel handy the paint and that nasty spungey crap will burn a little no biggy just have that wet towel.

Have fun


Ron
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:36 PM   #13
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Hi;

Ron that's exactly what I'm going to do with the roof spar stubs. Zip, zip and they're part of the roof again.

Today we continue the saga with the transfer of the steel channels to the recipient 4x4 van.

A few careful measurements to confirm the jig sawed hole is the right size. Then bolts holes are drilled and the channels are bolted down.



Enough work for the day. Pntyrmvd wants to go for a crop tour. I get to stand in the unfinished penthouse opening, sitting on the previous owner's wooden interior platform, while she takes us for a ride around the Ranch. The reforested area is looking fine! I'm standing up through the hole in the roof like the Pope. Royalty at the Ranch. What a great day.



My lady driver and Pint the dog. Another pint there too. Hmmm...



Enjoying every minute of this project.

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:24 PM   #14
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Well done! Unfortunately it was snowing out when I chopped my top - I really wanted to cruise it convertible style like you. Very classy!

Great documentation - I wish I would have had that to look at a year or so ago!

FYI, I added some helper springs to mine and it helps with that initial couple of inches before the main springs take over.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:39 PM   #15
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Hi;

Okay I was back at it today. No sandals and shorts though. You'd think it was March here...

I welded the remaining spar stubs to the roof as per Ron. It helped stiffen the curve of the outer roof edge.

Rockbender I would appreciate a photo of the helper springs. I can't figure out where they would fit in, but helping the initial roof lift would be worth the effort of installing them.

One thing missing from the 1984 1 ton 4x4 with a sliding door that does exist on the donor Sporty is a roof spar running along the front of the penthouse opening. Even the SMB conversion did not run a channel across the opening. The side to side opening in the rear did get a channel though.



I noticed how soft the roof panel was there and decided to strip one spar out of the Sporty and move it to the 4x4. This is the spar that the front two hold down bolts for the pop top bolt through after all. I reviewed the damage done to the spars by merely, lightweight me, walking on the roof and decided that the spar was wouldn't be strong enough.

4x4 layout with sliding door yet no factory spar.



So to fix this up better than the factory or SMB did it I got out the hacksaw and some 1"x2" rectangular 0.125" thick steel. Measure up the angles to match the roof and weld them to a cross piece.



A notch on one end to help hold it in place.



Clean up the contact areas.



Weld each end to the van.





The difference is night and day. The new spar will easily support the penthouse roof clamps and their loads.



I'll add a piece of angle above the sheet metal roof (background in above photo) to the assembly to hold the roof in place.

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:09 PM   #16
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1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Nice work!!!
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:19 PM   #17
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Hi;

I dry fit the 1 1/2" angle and decided to plug weld the vertical face to my new roof spar. Easier to drill out the plug weld should this assembly need to be removed at a future date.



Then I bolted the roof hold down brackets through the angle and the spar along with the last of the bolts for the original SMB channels. Note that I have spent $50 on all new Grade 8 hardware throughout the roof swap. I consider that amount cheap insurance against bolt failure.

The result being a nice flush fit of the roof sheet metal with the leading edge of the steel angle.



Lastly I used this liquid butyl in a tube in place of cutting up butyl mastic sheet. I could not locate a supplier of the sheet anywhere nearby and in fact the tubes of butyl had to be shipped in from a distant depot. Acklands-Grainger sells it for window installations not requiring urethane.



This butyl amazingly "skinned" over in 10 minutes despite the cold temperatures. I filled the factory roof ribs, screw holes, and covered the leading edge of the steel angle.



If the front edge tests okay and seals up I'll do the rear channel and corners with this material as well.

This new spar and steel angle installation has greatly stiffened the front opening for the penthouse roof.

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:20 PM   #18
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Good call on reinforcing the front edge. I wish I would have done this in retrospect; however this area typically isn't seeing much of a load.

I don't think I have any photos of my helper springs, but will try to open it up sometime and get you a pic. In a nutshell, you put a compressive spring in the rear portion of the channel that compresses (loads) as the load bar in the slider moves rearward when the top comes down. You'll have to find a spring that fits nicely in the channel and then cut some 2"x2" blocks to length to get the spring amount dialed in. You will also need to fabricate a plate that goes over the whole assembly so that the spring doesn't go shooting out.

Since you have everything apart, you might consider reinforcing the load bars internally with some tubing as well.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:54 AM   #19
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Hi;

Rockbender what kind of tubing did you use for the reinforcing of the "load bars" as you call them?

Another great idea from the forum!

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:30 AM   #20
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Re: 1984 Dodge B350 4x4 project

Hi;

We received a light dusting of snow here overnight. The sun melted it, the water rolled back towards the new tube-applied mastic, and quickly tested the product.



I call that a winner!

Easier to apply than sheets.

Top swap next...

Regards,

Gavin
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