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Old 05-31-2011, 12:10 AM   #21
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

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Originally Posted by jage
Wow, the front to back size is perfect. Very cool.
That was the most surprising aspect of the whole project. I expected the pop-top would be much shorter than the Chevy van roof. I was amazed to find that it was much longer than I expected, and pretty much a perfect fit, with only minimal modifications. The project is a roaring success, visually. I really didn't expect it to look so good.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:38 AM   #22
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

WOW! Great job.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:28 PM   #23
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

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Originally Posted by bettyford
That came out great, very clean.

Did you cut the roof under the back piece to gain a little more head roof as well?


Ron
No, the rear section is a big luggage rack, basically just a fiberglass frame around the perimeter, with a big hole in the middle, so it wouldn't cover a hole in the roof. No need for a hole there anyway, as the bed fills the whole back section of the van. I'll snap a pic of the luggage rack in action next weekend when I take it for its inaugural camping trip, so you can see how the rack functions with luggage in it. I found an unexpected bonus when I installed the new tent canvas: unlike my old Westie tent, the rear window flap AND the screen zip open on this tent, so I can stand inside and reach all the stuff on the luggage rack out back. I expect I'll grow to love that feature! One of the things I loved about my old pop-top was the shelf space it provides in the front part of the tent. It's only about a foot wide, but that one by four foot shelf holds a lot of food and gear and keeps it off the floor. Now the luggage rack will work as a shelf too, for stuff that doesn't need to stay in out of the weather.
I love it when I find a bonus
Im super stoked for you.

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Old 05-31-2011, 06:20 PM   #24
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

Would the same process work with the 74+ Westfalia's that hinge from the rear?
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:30 PM   #25
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

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Would the same process work with the 74+ Westfalia's that hinge from the rear?
I can't think of a reason that it would not work just as well as the pre-74 version I used. I would be inclined to seek out a vanagon top instead, though. They are nearly identical to the post-74 versions, with a small luggage rack at the front, and hinges in the rear, but the vanagons had a flatter contour to the roof, so you could avoid most of the mods I had to do to the parts that were designed for the pronounced radius of the earlier roofs.
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:28 AM   #26
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

how did you finish the hole you cut in the roof?

one thing i learned is that the winnebago top from a eurovan camper is no good, they are really thin plastic and tend to break/crack. the genuine westy tops are the thicker fiberglass, either from an older bus or from the eurovan, just steer clear of the winnebago conversion tops they're junk.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:26 PM   #27
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

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Originally Posted by dimension4
how did you finish the hole you cut in the roof?
The short answer is: I haven't finished the hole yet!

I have some definite ideas about how I'll finish it. The headliner in my van was installed by the conversion company, and it consists of a series of modular sections, a velour-covered duct down the middle, some lights installed into oak panels, and some simple masonite panels covered in velour. Basically I'm going to line the opening with one-by-four boards, installed under the sheet metal, with the edge of each board standing proud of the sheet metal I cut, so I can tack the upholstery to the edge of the boards. Then I'll cut down the old headliner modules to fit the new arrangement, and stretch the velour around the edges of the opening to finish it.

I'll worry about all that later. For now, I'm going camping, and I'll live with the unfinished version for the weekend!
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:39 PM   #28
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

How's the finish work coming?

I was thinking about this thread today- just finished my first-ever fiberglass project in the Jeep. I'd never worked with it before and after reading this thread and watching some (really awful) tutorials on YouTube I figured I'd give it a shot. Good stuff, but my work isn't nearly as nice as yours. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:04 AM   #29
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

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How's the finish work coming?

I was thinking about this thread today- just finished my first-ever fiberglass project in the Jeep. I'd never worked with it before and after reading this thread and watching some (really awful) tutorials on YouTube I figured I'd give it a shot. Good stuff, but my work isn't nearly as nice as yours. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration.
You're welcome! In truth, my first few fiberglass projects didn't go perfectly either, but like any material, it breeds confidence as you work with it. After a few projects, they'll start to look better!

My finish work is not coming very well, because I'm too busy using the van during the good summer weather. I expect the finish work will get done over the winter! Par for the course at my shop!
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:35 PM   #30
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Re: Installing Westfalia Pop-top in a Chevy Express

Having seen this conversion in person, I can vouch for the WTFalia and the feeling of "why didn't I think of that?"
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