Archive for August, 2011

Vanagon – pop top assist struts installed

Believe me, I have been working on the westy conversion project, but slow progress and some failed experiments stopped me from posting more. This morning I got the pop top canvas bottom strip attached (lots of little screws) to the roof and before I finish off the upper bunk I thought I’d install the home made pop top assist struts I made a while back. Pretty straightforward install, the roof attachment is a stainless bolt and fender washers tightened up to the fibgerglass, then a nylon washer, the top of the strut, another nylon washer, and a nylock nut. Having the canvas yet to be installed made locating and drilling the hole in the pop top even easier. These were old rear hatch struts, and were still quite hard to compress, and I wondered if it would be too much assist. But as it turns out, it is perfect.


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Vanagon – extra sink in a Westy

A friend sent these pics a while back.

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Vanagon – pop top on!

Finally! Not sitting quite right, especially on the passenger side where it looks like it has to come forward about 1/2″, and also sit down on the rear about 1/4″. I’m optimistic I can get it sitting right.


Vanagon – Westy upper bunk refinishing

I installed and bolted down the wardrobe and upper cabinet to see how they interacted with the plywood liner. It all looks good and I took a break from that chore and set about cleaning up the upper bunk bed platforms. The plywood looked really manky, the paper had come off years ago and the glue residue had become stained and ugly. It was a real chore to remove the glue, I curse the engineer that specified glue that did not stick to the paper/vinyl coating but did did stick tenaciously to the plywood. I tried a few methods but the best was a sharp paint scraper followed by a random orbit sander (40 grit paper) then hand sanding with finer grit paper.

The big section that is bolted to the roof is really not visible when the sleeping pad is in place, but I still wanted it cleaned up and sealed with something. Again I turned to Sikkens Cetol 1. Following pics are self explanatory.

Both sides were finished. But I only some of the fold out section done. This section will be cut in half and additional hinges installed so it can be folded back over the rear section and clear the pop top. There is decreased headroom with the bed platform on top of the roof compared to the stock westy roof where the upper bunk rear section doubles as a ceiling. But more on that later when I get to it. The fold out section has a galvanized steel U-section edge on one end (held on by screws which also hold on snaps for the bunk pad), and a T-section vinyl moulding on the other end.

Unbelievably dirty eh?

And the scraping, one side…

then the other.

Another one of those unsatisfying days, very little actually installed in the van, but I can almost see the end of the project.