or......"getting the cart before the horse"........
So, I bought a pop top, now I need a van.
The plan so far is:
pop the top off of the donor van Done
Refresh the top while looking for a van In process
pop the top on the new van Need the van first
I ended up buying the top that was discussed in this thread:
Here are a few pics of the removal process:
A nice shot of the condition of the top after giving the van a bath
Cutting the butyl seal with a (broken) guitar string and a couple of wood handles
Separating the double seals at the front and rear
Canvas separated from the van
Covering the butyl goo with packing tape
Ready for lift-off.......
We have lift-off!
Here is the (condensed) procedure of the removal process:
Note: This is a least a four banana job.... probably more like five bananas in terms of skill level, and there are a couple of steps that are dangerous and may result in death, dismemberment, maiming of a loved-one etc.....Please don't try this at home! The springs in the lifting mechanism have lots of stored energy and need to be treated with respect.
Step .5-spend 2+ hours driving the donor van from San Diego to Orange County for the extraction
step 1-remove all of the upholstered trim exposing the mechanism, and disconnect the wiring going to the top.
step 2-remove the screws around the perimeter of the canvas that attach the canvas to the roof.
Step 3-use a guitar string (actually about 5 strings after allowing for breakage) to "saw" the butyl sealant. I used only the smallest two strings on a guitar since I didn't want to use a wound string. I now need to re-string 3 of my guitars since I cut the strings off in the heat of the project. The long sides are easy to saw through; the front and rear ends have 2 rubber seals, we cut above the seals leaving the the seal and staples on the roof for removal after the top was removed. I have no idea why there are seals only on the ends (and around the corners for about 6")....If anyone can enlighten me, it would be appreciated.
Step 4-use tie downs and packing tape to raise the canvas in preparation for lift-off. We applied packing tape to the butyl sealant goo on the bottom of the canvas to prevent it from getting all over the canvas. Remove the plywood slider-block thingies that attach the top to the lifting bars. Note: when these are removed the top is just "sitting" on the bars thanks to gravity. I used my neighbor's driveway since this step required a flat surface (my driveway is ridiculously sloped).
Step 5-call a couple of your strongest friends/relatives and lure them to your house with the promise of beer. Lift off the top. It took two of us standing on milk crates/step stools to lift the top over the mech. I elected to do the lift-off with the top up as the springs will be (mostly) unloaded. As seen in the pics, we placed the top on 2x4's between the van roof and a pair of ladders.
I considered tying down the lifting mech with tie downs to remove the top, but releasing the tie-downs without the weight of the top would be very dangerous so we went with the "top-up" method.
Step 6-use a come-along to remove the chains from the springs and slowly relieve the load on the springs. Of course we didn't have a come-along and instead we used a cam-type tie down and the strongest person in the group to pull on it NOT RECOMMENDED.....and, as usual minutes after finishing this step I found a pair of ratcheting tie downs under the passenger seat of the van. These are also not recommended but are better than a cam-type tie down. Don't forget to hold the scissor bars up when releasing the second spring.
Step 7-unbolt and remove the mechanism, springs, etc from the van, and take lots of measurements of the giant hole in the roof, they'll be needed later.
Step 8-lather up with sun-screen and drive the van back to it's owner in San Diego.
Next step will be to refresh the pop-top since I don't have a van to work on yet.......