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Old 05-09-2010, 06:36 PM   #21
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

I decided that the floor project would be a lot easier with more light and some headroom so i tuna canned the van!







Much more light inside for working, and the headroom is greatly appreciated for moving around inside.

I took the roof out with a sawzall in about 10 minutes or so. I drilled the four corners with a uni-bit or step bit, then cut out the 2 long sides from above while kneeling on the roof. I kept the saw at a pretty flat angle so as not to cut into the roof cross supports. then I cut the 2 short ends from below so I could easily follow the roof supports that I would be leaving in place. Next I slid 3 pieces of lumber under the roof and resting on the van sides. These would support the roof while I cut out the remaining 3 cross supports from below. Presto. I left a one cross support in the rear and approximately 18" for a rear upper cabinet. Same in the front over the driving compartment.

I went back to working on the floor- now putting down the continuous layer of 1/2" foam over the previous layer. I am stopping near the rear of the van because I am still trying to decide what to do about underfloor storage. I am seriously considering using a marine hatch cover from Bomar to access the storage. This hatch would mount to the subfloor. I need to make up my mind soon on this so I can proceed>
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:56 PM   #22
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

Oh yeah, I thought I should document the ride height of the van before I start adding a bunch of weight. I think it is equipped with F550 spring packs in the rear- what the previous owner told me- but I have not confirmed or compared. It definitely rides high for now. This measurement is from the floor of the garage to the top of the rear wheel arch.

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Old 05-09-2010, 08:34 PM   #23
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

Looks like a nice job on the roof cut out. The thought of doing that just gives me the heebie jeebies. I'd screw something up for sure and you don't get a second chance. Congrats!
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:53 AM   #24
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVvan
Looks like a nice job on the roof cut out. The thought of doing that just gives me the heebie jeebies. I'd screw something up for sure and you don't get a second chance. Congrats!
I understand the heebie jeebies concept, but I have been reading your posts and I am pretty sure you are overqualified for this part of the project. I doubt you would screw this up. If you can leave the van indoors, and don't need to drive it at all, I would highly recommend cutting the roof out (if you intend to put a top on of course). It is truly much easier to work inside, flooded with light and headroom. I think I will put off the installation of the hard top at least until I finish the floor.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:42 AM   #25
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

I think I would cut with a little more to spare, like 4-6" inside where you cut- you basically made the final cut right away, I'd be more comfortable making a near cut and finishing up after the roof was on, and seeing what I needed.

That said I'm trying to be more comfortable doing things like taking a drill or saw to the van when I need to do something. In my recent project I just kept saying "You can get another dash if you have to. You can get another dash if you have to." Of course it worked out great and I'm glad I did it.

Likewise your hole looks great, and I'm looking forward to more building.

Incidentally my XL underfloor is just a thin piece of plywood covered in the floor material SMB used in the van- they're not much, although I don't walk on mine. Point being I think anything you do, as long as the rim is well supported, will be sufficient.
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:58 AM   #26
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

Does your storage hatch hinge or just lift off. The only downside to the pre-made hatch cover (which I bought yesterday) is that it hinges which means the space above needs to be completely clear of objects so that it will open. a lift out cover could be at least partially obstructed by the overhang of a gaucho and not be a problem. I will leave the hatch cover in the package while I manipulate it around in the van to see how it might work.

Regarding the top cut, I can appreciate the idea of cutting less the first time. I personally do not like the crowded feeling up around shoulder to head height. I may have a small shelf on the sides but I will build it out from the strong flange of the van side panels not the left over roof steel which is quite thin, flimsy, and sharp.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:58 AM   #27
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

The cover just sits in there. I've squeezed it out by pushing stuff in the back up... I've also ripped the little ring handle off being lazy and not unloading the stuff over it before trying to access. I pretty much keep things that either come after camp is otherwise completely set up, and below that things that I would only use in very rare cases.
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:34 AM   #28
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

Roughly what size is the opening? I was really hoping to fit folding camp chairs in there, but it may be a pipe dream. Also fishing tackle boxes, life jackets, etc.
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Old 05-14-2010, 06:48 PM   #29
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

I have not had a chance to work on the van floor this week, but I had an opportunity to install the top this afternoon as I had help available. After cleaning thoroughly (with acetone) the van gutter and remaining roof:

First order of business: get the top on the van with only 2 guys. We decided to use the auto lift, but it was not going to lift the top high enough so we built a quick jig out of 2 1/2" pvc conduit that I had in stock.



next put the top on the jig and lift it up.



Then drive under the top (I love hydraulics!)



Lift the top from inside the van in order to get the jig off the car lift. Then rest the top on the pvc pipes across the van roof.



Check alignment and fit. Blue tape is to keep excess silicone off the van.



Now I Yadda-Yadda over the best part. It was way too exciting to take pictures after dispensing 14 tubes of rtv silicone sealant in the roof gutter. SORRY. Time to focus on the task at hand. 80- 90 self tapping sheet metal screws through the aluminum band, through the fiberglass top and into the old sheet metal roof. Some foul language. Then clean about 2-3 tubes worth of silicone out of the gutters (that squishes out when you screw the top to the van). more foul language. Its a lot of cleaning. We used paint thinner and nearly 2 boxes of paper shop towels. Lastly, the vinyl c-shaped strip presses into the aluminum band and voila (more cleaning).



Notice the old van top to the left. (For sale ) I should note that the van with new top looks much better from the front than this photo. Strange.



I am stoked!

I'm sure I will think of more info to share later.
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Old 05-14-2010, 06:56 PM   #30
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Re: Sheneeda, The van

What?!? No pics of all that headroom from inside the van?


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