Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Design & Construction of anything that's not a teardrop e.g. Grasshoppers or Sunspots

Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Treeview » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:27 am

Yesterday I was at the u-pull salvage yard getting some bits and bobs for my Safari van. While I was there I saw a couple of full size vans with fiberglass bubble tops. These are left overs from the pimped out van conversions from the 80's. The tops had about 10, maybe 12" raises.

This seems like a decent unit to use for a tilt up top for my tray top camper that I'm planning.

Does anyone know how these 'glass tops are secured to the van? All of the exterior weatherstripping is in place and I didn't want to go in and dismantle anything.

My guess is that if I used it as a hinged top I would have to make a solid lip to the unit to keep it from flexing and cracking.

This design isn't new but the lines are sure nice:

http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/jake ... er-design/

In the article Jake shares the patent numbers for his camper:

7,281,744

D542,730

Using Googles patent search then hitting the 'diagrams' link in the upper left corner lead me to some other clever ideas. Oh...and some wildly weird stuff too!

Tom
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Postby schaney » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:04 pm

The ones I've seen were glued to the roof with mat / resin, then pop riveted to secure them while the resin set.
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Postby H.A. » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:30 pm

[
Last edited by H.A. on Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby angib » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:00 am

Volkswagen used to subcontract the moulding of fibreglass high-tops to low cost Eastern European (ie, behind the Iron Curtain) countries. In those Communist days, it took a lot of money (and saving) to get a boat, so occasionally one of the high-tops would make its way out the factory to become a boat - with a transom stuck where the van's rear doors would go, they made a perfectly decent outboard dinghy.
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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Sidekick » Fri May 30, 2014 4:00 pm

I picked up a top from a chevy and am building my trailer around it. so far so good, hope to eliminate leaking roof syndrome.
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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Sidekick » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:28 pm

The tops are tarred, caulked and screwed on to the van top. Took me an hour with a drywall saw to cut thru the adhesives and caulk, then it took me 1/2 a day to get the remainder off of the fiberglass shell so I could size my trailer
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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Sidekick » Tue May 29, 2018 9:22 pm

it was a worthwhile project
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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Sidekick » Tue May 29, 2018 9:24 pm

rereun67.jpg
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rerun12.jpg
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Painted and road worthy
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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Ottsville » Wed May 30, 2018 6:46 am

How heavy was the top and what were your final dimensions Sidekick? I've been toying with some similar ideas.
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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby nay nay » Thu May 31, 2018 12:04 am

Sidekick wrote:
rereun67.jpg
rerun12.jpg
Painted and road worthy

Nice work! That looks great.


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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Sidekick » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:07 am

I shortened the top from 11 ft to 9'6" it was 63 inches wide
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Re: Removing/reusing fiberglass van roof

Postby Sidekick » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:13 am

My complaint with normal campers is that they develop leaks. So by using a fiberglass top with a 2 inch overhang it is very hard for water to enter the trailer and it gives rigidity to the trailer. My latest trailer is 11'6" and will be painted to match my family SUV with the same accents - satin black trim. I plan on doing body work to the car due to rust spots and scratches , so I will paint the trailer when I do the finish work on the car.
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