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Syncro Westy Pop Top Conversion

Syncro Westy Pop Top Conversion

If you've read about our Vanagon Syncro before, you know it was originally a tin top that we converted to a pop top camper.

After months of searching for a good donor camper top in 2009-2010, we finally found one at a local autowreckers. Joe quickly built his own transport platform on his buddy's truck (a couple hours), made a quick stop at the ATM for cash, and headed straight for the auto wrecker to buy it before someone else did. They go quickly. This time, we were first in line and got the top. We could finally take the saw to our Syncro roof! Here is the donor van with the top removed.

The donor was a 1982 Westfalia so our van would now become an '86 and an '82. Here is the top popped right after we got it home and a look at how we transported it.

The fiberglass had a lot of crud growing on it but the structure and all the hardware was in great shape. We also discovered we could sand the "fraying" that had occurred in the fiberglass and re-paint it, which we had planned to do anyway to make it match our paint color.

We also had to cut the roof clip and remove the top to prepare it to line up with the van. Then, the scary part -- cutting a hole in the roof of our Syncro. Below: Joe cutting the tin top off.

Once the top was ready and the body work was done, the roof clips were attached to the van and painting could begin. Then the top was ready to be set on her new body. Below: a few pics of the roof clip already prepped and ready to attach to the van and the pop top cleaned and ready to go.

We left the original ceiling in the camper top along with the original canvas for our first outing. It poured rain! Even though we had cleaned both thoroughly with bleach, it was clear that we needed to replace them. The mildew had found a way to survive despite the bleach and the tent canvas wasn't keeping the rain out anymore. So, out with the old canvas. Here's a couple pics of Dana working on removing it.

Obviously we had done a little painting prior to changing out the canvas. Another post will have those details and pictures soon. Keeping with the pop top conversion however, a local shop in the area had just started making their own Sunbrella 3-window replacement canvases and Joe's younger brother was doing the sewing. We got one of the first prototype productions, added a new pop top headliner and we were set. In the photo below, the canvas being laid out and the rest of the headliner material rolled up in the background after use.

New top and headliner installed:

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