Hydraulic struts to assist a pop-top: Any opinions?

Discussion in 'Mech Tech' started by BayWatcher, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Honky

    Honky Administrator

  4. As you might recall, the Volkswagen Type 2 Owners' Club, recently published one of my technical articles, in the bi-monthly Club magazine, Transporter Talk, as follows:

    Nigel A. Skeet, "Retro-Fitting Gas Struts to the Westfalia Elevating Roof", Transporter Talk, Issue 115, October & November 2011, Pages 34~36.

  7. Personally, I'm into that 55W H3 'worklight'. What is that, WWII Surplus? The drag on that beast must cost a couple miles per gallon. :eek:
  9. Ive been looking into something like this I want 12v powered struts to lift my pop top up just waiting till the vans done then I'll have some cash
  12. I actually rather liked the idea of the stretchy rubber cover for the roof rack too, so I tried to find a sheet of that rubber.
    The best I could find was either a 3 X 25ft roll for about $130 or smaller sheets at about $100 a sq. foot. Phooey. I'm going with the hammock and carabiners idea.
  14. Having worked in greenhouses and nurseries specializing in water gardening half my life, one would think I might have thought of that. :banghead:
  15. I don't know about a Pop Top but just to add my tuppence worth - we have struts on the super viking and as they are currently broken I can tell you they DEFINITELY make a blooming difference....I've got arms like Popeye with having to lift the roof by hand for the last 5 nights camping :D
    marigold13 likes this.
  16. I have them! My olde girl is a tin top conversion "Devon" style. The people who converted her used 2 vauxhall struts both front and back, from the centre of the roof to the outer edges of the pop top. The roof is pulled down and fastens in place with a looped leather belt (temporary - I will replace with those black webbing strappy things). It all looks a tad crude (I aim to tart it up) but works a treat. Basically I'm just a chick but can manhandle the roof all by myself. Simples :p
  17. these are the vauxhall astra struts i fitted with vauxhall corsa brackets. all available at the scrap yard.
    paradox likes this.
  18. During our maiden European touring holiday in 1975, we came to appreciate the value of the large standard roofrack, but found the need for a proper roofrack cover. Before the next major trip, I made a waterproof, stretch-cover, using a surplus, butyl rubber, garden pond liner; buying the eyelets, bungee cord, cleats and turn-button fasteners, from Camping & General, on Canvey Island. Initially, I used a length of washing line to tie down the load, but later obtained two one-inch, nylon webbing, ratchet-action, luggage straps (arranged fore & aft, plus side-to-side), which was more secure, plus being quicker and easier to use.

    Ideally, I would like to supplement the roofrack's twelve existing webbing bridges (i.e. luggage-strap bridges), with an additional eight, to better secure the luggage, but I have yet to obtain any. They seem to be available, in either nylon (coloured white or black) or stainless steel. Having retro-fitted additional webbing bridges, ultimate security of the roof rack's load, would either be achieved, by using longer one-inch, nylon webbing straps, with the existing pair of ratchet tensioners or using two additional ratchet-action, luggage straps, which these days, are typically available for about £1•00 each.



    The roof rack was mainly used for large, bulky items, such as the annexe tent & poles, two soft suitcases for our spare clothes, folding stools and picnic chairs (those made by Andrews McClaren - who also make baby-buggies - were found to be the lightest and most easily stowed), plus a few other small articles, which later included a five litre (i.e. 1•09 gallons), 'Explosafe' petrol can. For our purposes, the roof rack was larger than we needed, necessitating the storage of other smaller items (which might otherwise have been more conveniently stored within the van) on the roof rack, to stabilise the main luggage). The smaller, front-mounted roofrack of the 1975~79 Westfalia, would probably have been sufficient for our needs.

    Paddy Hopkirk, 'Explosafe' petrol cans (steel can, filled with porous, aluminium foam or mesh, which is reputed to inhibit explosions!) of both 5 and 10 litre capacities were (and might still be) available, but the larger size was too tall, to conveniently fit on our roof rack. It was also possible to obtain a matching anchor tray, to secure either of the petrol cans, which could be bolted to the floor of a car boot or other appropriate location. These days, in some countries such as Germany, one is prohibited from carrying a spare can, filled with petrol, which seems pointless, if the can is of an approved pattern and properly stowed.

    Please be advised, that I have found my small-scale, hand-drawn sketches, of the gas-strut attachment brackets, which I fabricated from duralumin plate, to attach the upper end of the Volvo 300-series, rear-hatch gas struts, to the glass-reinforced plastic, front-hinged elevating roof, of my 1973 VW "1600" Type 2 Westfalia Continental campervan.

    These need to be redrawn more neatly, on a larger scale, before they can be usefully digitised.

    Ideally, I would scan the redrawn diagrams, on the document scanner, at the public library, and post the image to a picture sharing website such as Photobucket. Regretably, the document scanning facilities have been "updated", so it seems one can merely incorporate a scanned image into something like a Microsoft Word document and then send the aforementioned document, as an e-mail attachment, which is probably what I shall do in the short term.

    Regarding the issue, of the replacement Volvo 300-series gas struts, which were found on E-bay, please note that these probably do NOT include the ball & M8 threaded stems, which form part of the gas-struts' ball & socket joints. If and when gas struts require replacement, the ball & M8 threaded stems, remain fixed to the Volvo car; the socket at the end of the gas strut, being simply prised off the ball.


    I had salvaged the whole gas-strut assembly, complete with the ball & M8 threaded stems at either end, which I had to remove from the car, using an appropriate spanner (13 mm AF, I think). These ball & M8 threaded stems are probably of a common size & configuration, which can be salvaged from a variety of cars.
  20. This system has been on for over a year and seems to be ok. The top bracket has a flat edge which sits against the
    ridge in the roof. Top brackets are from the current corsa 3 door hatch, as are the lower ball sockets. Struts are from a mk4 astra hatchback. I only used these struts because i got them for free. If anything they may be a bit too strong.

    paradox likes this.

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