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Old 07-03-2020, 03:37 PM   #1
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separating high top from roof

I just recovered a High top for an e series extended van from a salvage yard. We pulled all the screws but could not separate the sealing material to get the top off the metal so we cut the 6 pillars to get it off and home, ( a real project when your in a do it yourself junkyard and its extended.`

I need suggestions on how to separate the top where it is glued on. The flange that was glued to the roof is 4" wide.

When i put it on my van, I was considering making my own lift system but have no idea how the edge on a pop up is sealed to the van. but I am sure it is not 4" wide. I'm in Michigan and have never seen a Sportsmobile in person. Any info or photos would be appreciated.
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Old 07-03-2020, 04:12 PM   #2
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We just used some box cutters to cut through and remove as much caulking as we could once we unscrewed and took the trim piece off. Our van did not have a flange, but if it did I would look using some high tensile strength wire.

Here is the donor van
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Old 07-03-2020, 04:14 PM   #3
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Install and Completion.

Mine is an RB, we kept the first and last rib to keep some structure. Everything else between was removed.

- we propped the top up under the wood we began aligning everything and began screwing the top into the van body.

- Once that was done we installed the metal trim piece which was then also screwed into the van body.

- Caulked the interior first, very generously

- Didn't have time to do the caulking on the outside so I just drove it home like that (highway speeds) and did the exterior caulk job a few days later.
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Old 07-03-2020, 05:15 PM   #4
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I just purchased a kit from Habor Freight called ‘windshield removal kit’ it’s handles and wire to essentially used to saw the glue bonding the fiberglass to the Ford metal roof.

I’m planning on removing a fiberglass conversion top from a junk yard van this coming week with plans to use Westfalia Eurovan components/canvas as well as fabricated parts to make a pop top that lifts at an angle like Westfalia. A vertical lift would be ideal but using Westfalia components as a starting point will make it much more straightforward and give me exactly what will fit my build/life style for my van
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:25 PM   #5
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I removed a top at the yard using a putty knife and hammer. It was idiotic and took forever. Since then, I've had the top in my garage. The adhesive used on mine doesn't like a heat gun. You might try something like wisco150 recommends in combination with the heat gun. Be gentle with the heat, it will bubble the gel coat.


@wisci150 - please start a thread on your top. I've been mustering up courage to cut into my top and copy the setup that I had in my 1970 westfalia. It was rear hinge and luggage rack in the front.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:54 PM   #6
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I ran into similar problems on the last top I removed. I also had tons of stripped and rusted screw heads. So, on my second junkyard top, I purposefully left sbout 3 inches of the van body so I could bring the top home and work at my own speed. I was shocked at how well a battery powered sawzall zipped around the van! The recommendations above are good. In addition I also used my oscillating multi tool with a flat scraper blade to cut through the caulking and limit damage to the fiberglass.
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Old 07-04-2020, 12:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neatvan View Post
I ran into similar problems on the last top I removed. I also had tons o---I was shocked at how well a battery powered sawzall zipped around the van! The recommendations above are good. In addition I also used my oscillating multi tool with a flat scraper blade to cut through the caulking and limit damage to the fiberglass.
I did the same with the sawzall.
Did you have any trouble with the oscillating tool following the curve?
Did you have as wide a band? I have about 3" of "rubber" to cut. i will gladly buy a reciprocating tool if it can cut that deep.
I have used a windshield wire cutter before an it would never get through this stuff due to the width of the seal.
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Old 07-04-2020, 12:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcrittendon View Post
I did the same with the sawzall.
Did you have any trouble with the oscillating tool following the curve?
Did you have as wide a band? I have about 3" of "rubber" to cut. i will gladly buy a reciprocating tool if it can cut that deep.

Sorry, I just read your thread again and didn't realize you have a flange. My top shown is the old style, NO flange, similar to Cyrull above. These have a band around the outside which sandwiches the top to van and then screwed from outside. I've never removed a reverse flange top. However, I think the mounting process is far superior and leak resistant. (And possibly far superior in difficulty to remove!)

Here is a pic of my roof post removal. You can see the sealant was only applied at the outside edge on a non-flange top.

The oscillating tool may still help you, but you'd have to go in from inside and outside to try and get through the full 3 inches under your flange.

Post some pics of your top if you can, as it always helps visualize the problem.
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Old 07-04-2020, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcrittendon View Post
I did the same with the sawzall.
Did you have any trouble with the oscillating tool following the curve?
Did you have as wide a band? I have about 3" of "rubber" to cut. i will gladly buy a reciprocating tool if it can cut that deep.
I have used a windshield wire cutter before an it would never get through this stuff due to the width of the seal.
Anybody looking in I'll add a bit about these "windshield cutout kits" consisting of some sort of wire and gripping handles. These were used to cut through butyl windshield material, they will NOT work very well trying to saw through anything solid or of a urethane nature. (I'm in the windshield replacement biz, am quite familiar with these sorts of tools.)

They would cut silicone adhesive/sealant with ease.

A "sawzall" type reciprocating saw with metal cutting blade should would great. They will zip through a body quite easily as most automotive bodies aren't made from thick steel. Even at the thickest sections of the body are no problem for such a saw to cut.

By all means wear heavy gloves and eye protection to avoid injury!
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:49 PM   #10
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Van roof sheet metal is so ridiculously thin you could run an old style Popeye can opener around the roof perimeter to get it out of the auto wreckers. Finish it off near your beer fridge.
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