'73 Devon Pop Top refurb

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by Andy-M, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. Well, I've bitten the bullet and removed my pop top to have a go at refurbishing it. I definitely had a leak somewhere but the canvas doesn't actually look that back to be fair. It leaked with the roof down, so I guessed it was leaking through either the main seal on the top or the rivets holding the centre ali panels together.
    I had major grief with the screws that held down the canvas to the roof top pod as they were all completely rusted in, and any attempt to unscrew the Phillip head screws just rounded them of. So out came the drill to drill of most of the heads.
    Under the interior vinyl roof lining, the polystyrene insulation was still soaking wet even though she hasn't been out in the rain for weeks.
    After finally getting the Ali strips of that hold the canvas down, I dropped the roof, tired up the spring loaded arms each side, unscrewed the main arm hinges from the sides of the van and lifted it down to ground level.
    5 of the 8 bolts that bolt the arms to the roof sheared as I undone them, but got the arms off ready for a clean up, and repaint. The canvas bellows are connected to the roof by pop rivets, so these were drilled out to release the canvas.
    I'm now in the process of rubbing down the painted top where I will be adding a layer of vinyl to the top of the inner panel.

    So, here's a few pics to start with.
    I'll add more as I progress...

    This was after drilling off the screw heads to release the canvas


    Still got to get the screws out though...

    As you can see, the underside of the interior headlining was soaking wet and covered in mold, so its been leaking for a while...

    "Sitting on the dock of my Bay...."
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  2. This was the hole that had a boat type mushroom vent through.
    The vent was screwed through the ali roof into the wood, but this was rotten as ya like!! it just crumbled away, so this wont be going back in. I'll plate it with a bit of ali and seal it under the vinyl.[​IMG]


    Mmm... what have I done!!! :eek:;):D:D:D:D:D

    "Sitting on the dock of my Bay...."
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
    blueeyes, paradox and paulcalf like this.
  3. There are some good Devon roof rebuild guides on the forum.

    Sorry I can't post any links at the moment.

    @PanZer has just done some stuff to his Devon roof, so he may be able to point you to some relevant threads.

    It may have been @Diddymen who wrote a Devin roof guide
    Bob Scott and Andy-M like this.
  4. Good for you @Andy-M

    Here are some threads I consulted:
    Early Devon Concertina roof refurb guide


    How to fit an early devon roof.


    Saggy Devon poptop?


    You’ve progressed well just getting the thing off. There are a million screws hey. I’ll be replacing them with threaded inserts and using bolts.

    Leaks are likely from the additional 2 cutouts you have. What are they for?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. Zed

    Zed Gradually getting grumpier

    Love and cherish the bellows/canvas, you won't get a new one and they are ace.
    paulcalf likes this.
  6. I agree old bellows/ canvas are best.

    New ones were available (2002), but very expensive and not as good. I replaced my mouldy canvas with new stuff, but there were small holes in the 'welded' corners
  7. Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
  8. Wow.. Thanx for all your replies!!:thumbsup:
    PanZer likes this.
  9. Hey @PanZer Thanx for those links mate. I have actually got a copy of Stan's saved for me to refer back to. In fact, I sent him a message to see if he still had the photos he took, but I didnt get a reply. I dont think hes around anymore as he was last active back in 2016 i think..:D
    But some of those other threads with all those photos on are fantastic!! Some great pics and some really useful info...

    Anyway, in answer to you question, The roof has a total of three holes in the top. One for the main open hatch towards the back, but there is another smaller hatch that just has a tin plate over the top which is directly above the cooker, so I'm guessing it was an optional extra vent/hatch to open when cooking. The other round hole had a vent that is used mostly on boats. Looks like this...

    But ive decided that this vent wont be going back in. I'll just plate over the hole with a sheet of ali and seal it..

    Thanx @paulcalf , @PanZer has come up trumps with the links..
    But can I ask, what have you done to your roof??.. In your profile pic, it looks like you've put a fixed sunroof or panoramic screen in it??.. Is that what it is??

    I have actually priced up new bellows, in fact a company called Proud2Pop do a complete replacement lid and bellows. The lid looks like its a fibreglass coppy, but theres not a single rivet in sight!!!! :eek::eek::eek:

    But its £1955 just to supply it.. which is a hell of a lot of money!!.. Okay, so it would be guaranteed to be watertight and would last probably longer than the refurb, but just haven't got that sort of money to spend.

    Anyway, I'll be doing some more to it tomorrow, so I'll let you know how get on..

    Cheers Fella's:thumbsup:
    Valveandy likes this.
  10. Oh Paul, if you could find out the name of the vinyl and possibly where to get it, that would Awsome!!!:thumbsup::thumbsup:
    bagpus likes this.
  11. Zed

    Zed Gradually getting grumpier

    You don't need the hole over the cooker, the original skylight will let the steam out. That hole must have weakened that corner allowing it to flex and leak.

    If it was mine I'd fix it's mechanics, roof cap it, uprate springs and refit the original bellows. Or a total rebuild with a new Ali sheet but that's a lot of work.
    paulcalf likes this.
  12. @carlperkins001 ? was selling a lovely jaffa Devon.

    There roof looked good so I asked what vinyl they used, this is the reply that I saved:

    Hi mate, it was stripped back to bare aluminium, primed/painted, new rivets and then a high temp marine vinyl over the top to waterproof it. I think it was Nautolex marine vinyl. But cant remember where i bought it from
    Well worth doing if you have the top off
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
  13. Zed

    Zed Gradually getting grumpier

    You could probably get good money for the bellows if you decided to replace them. BUT new one won't be concertina type and won't neatly fold itself away. Every time you put the top down you'll wish you'd have kept the concertina one. Did I mention that I really like my concertina bellows?
    paulcalf, Andy-M and PanZer like this.
  14. I was going to completely refurb mine, which is in a similar condition to yours, but all the cross bracings were coming off too.
    I was estimating it would cost me £1k all in to do myself (which sounds a lot but I was going to get customised Bellows made and was changing the design & functionality quite a bit in the process).
    Then I stumbled upon a second hand one in great condition so considered all the other work I had to do it was worth just buying a replacement.
    The one I bought has been covered in fibreglass, which is what I was going to do...
    ...covering the seal too. Apparently not leaked in 20yrs. Cheaper than buying a £750 cap (collection only too) if you reckon to having a go with fibreglassing.

    I also considered rubberised paint that’s used on flat roofs. Cheaper, flexible & easier to do but i’d not read anyone else having done that so needed to speak to a builder about the plausibility.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  15. Yes it's a fixed perspex roof, approx 6ft long.

    Hole cut in metal, perspex laid overlapping the hole and sealed. Still has the the thin metal horizontal roof bars going across under it.

    £2k for the roof would surely be better spent elsewhere, unless you have unlimited funds and a mint bus.

    Try and clean up an re use your bellows, rivets can be made watertight with work, Plus use that waterproof vinyl over the top of it all.

    As already said the flat roof is a poor design for rain and puddling.

    In heavy rain I sometimes pull the front slightly down so the rain runs off forward and doesn't sit on the roof. Doesn't always work, its dependent on the springs
    PanZer likes this.
  16. Proud to Pop do new concertina bellows, but they cost £650
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  17. I'm waiting for Proud2Pop to get back to me with a price for just the bellows, but they are a direct copy with the bellows
    On their website they are £650 ISH.. or something like that..

    "Sitting on the dock of my Bay...."
    Zed likes this.
  18. SNAP!!... do I win?m

    "Sitting on the dock of my Bay...."
  19. I do actually really like the look of the fiberglass on your roof.. I wouldn't have even thought about going right over the whole lot including the seal, but hey, why not??.. that really like good..
    But I didn't know you could get rubberised paint either? ..
    Might have to do some research today

    "Sitting on the dock of my Bay...."
  20. Zed

    Zed Gradually getting grumpier

    Great stuff, they were that price when the last bods stopped making them. You can see why they cost a bit. When you consider they're asking £300 for a simple straight one that you could make yourself in an hour or two I'd snap one up at that price.

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