Switching from a poptop to a hightop…

When I bought the van years ago, I choose a poptop thinking it would make it easy to park in underground garages etcetera.

Fast forward five years and I have never tried to park in an underground garage or even had a need to. Also, the canvas of the poptop was in terrible condition after being out in the rain and sunshine for 30 years. High time to switch to a high top!

Removing the poptop.

Removing the poptop is actually quite easy. I started with dismantling the gas springs and the Neil Airconditioning. With the gas springs removed, I used a piece of wood to keep the roof up. Next I started with unscrewing all the tiny screws that keep the tent attached to the van. In addition to the tiny screws, there’s also quite a bit of rubber seal to make it waterproof. I found it easiest to use a box cutter to cut through the sealant.

Cabrio van
It’s a convertible!

Preparing and fitting the roof

For insulation and carpet I ordered some stuff on Amazon:

I used the 6mm thick insulation but if I had to do it again, I might go for the 10mm. Definitely no less than 6mm. We glued everything in place while the roof wasn’t on the van as this is much easier. The trim glue is really nasty stuff so do this outside…You’ll feel your eyes burn…

In the middle of the roof you see the cable conduit. This is for the aircon and roof lights. The wiring for the lights is done with 20AWG silicon wire. That’s small enough so you can put it in the insulation.

Will over at the T4 blog (https://www.t4blog.co.uk/vw-t4-hightop-roof-fitting/) had a great idea of putting a couple of pieces of lumber between the van and the roof to support it while glueing. Great idea Will!

One thing to remember: don’t put the roof to the back too much as it will interfere with the bike rack when you open the tailgate. I got quite lucky there!

Final thoughts…

The roof was ordered from Shapes (https://shapesgrp.co.uk/) and they are wonderful. They answered all my questions and delivered the roof in the weekend. They also supplied a rubber edging strip which I tried but wish I hadn’t. The strip fits very loose around the edge and as soon as it hits the glue it will shift and make a mess of things.

The extra headroom is fantastic! I’m constantly bending over because I’m not quite used to being able to stand everywhere!

There’s still quite a bit of work to do, fitting the lights, make some cupboards, rewire the aircon, etc. so stay tuned!

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