Originally Posted by JWA
Since you won't be retaining the taller rear doors and its lintel are there any plans to add a "roll cage" similar to what should have been in place on the donor van? ...
In regards to the strength around the rear doors, I would wager the stock door lintel is way stronger than the tall door lintel from the donor van. The tall door lintel is a 2" piece of sheet metal folded a couple of times, (seen in picture attached), with no surrounding sheet metal. I could have bent it over with my hand. The stock rear roof of my van will stay intact above and about 36" forward of the rear doors.
Interesting thoughts on the rollcage. I appreciate your challenge to my own thoughts. But at this time I have no plans to add one. Let me walk through the thoughts behind my decision.
The donor van, which I would think was modified by a professional upfitter, did not have a roll cage. Nor do any of the many high tops I've crawled in and around over the years. I recently met a local to me E350 owner who has just recently had Fiberine install his new 24" high top, no roll cage on that one either.
I would think a pop top van would require a roll cage before a fixed high top would. There is some inherent strength in the glue/screw method of a fixed roof that just can't be replicated with a pop top secured by 4-6 single point latches.
I think my buddies method of a 2" x 2" angle iron frame welded into the shape of the cut opening and bolted to every crossmember it passes regains a little of the strength lost by cutting the hole in the first place.
In my case I'm cutting a smaller hole than a PH Sportsmobile, or the typical high top, or even my buddies van, as my roof will stay intact above the rear bed area. I have no need for an upper bed so that sheetmetal will remain unmolested. In my van all the upper areas will be storage only, with the bulkheads mentioned in an earlier post adding additional strength. My retrofit will undoubtedly be stronger than any of the high tops I've seen professional upfitters install.
As seen in the second photo, the donor van upfitter did not strengthen the cutout opening at all. Look at the amount of roof left and with the tall door option, that's a pathetic amount of metal from the front seats back. My van will not be cut anywhere near as invasive as that.
I find it odd, the donor van's tall door option looked factory. Meaning full metal doors, lintel nicely tied into factory roof, paint looked factory. But there's no strengthening added for all the metal removed. Somebody put a lot of faith in the strength of the fiberglass roof.
Originally Posted by JWA
...the side draft air flow would work adequately since cold air "sinks". The factory headliner produces a downward air flow which initially seems a bit more efficient but I don't think the side draft is less effective in cooling.
Yeah, I agree with you the outlets are not in an optimum position if I copy the donor van side plenum. What I do like is its a clean and simple design. I think I can help the design out by turning a few of the outlets to blow upwards into the high roof area to help move that warmer air and mix it.