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Thread: Pop-top Canvas (Screens have own topic)

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Carmel CA USA
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    Just replace my poptop on my 87 Westfalia, with an acrylic sunbrella three window top from GOWESTY. Here are some notes from installation while it is still fresh in my mind.

    I could not find people to help with the installation, and therefore installed it myself with the pop-up roof in place. I found it straight forward and it took 2.5 hours from start to finish. I did not find it nearly as difficult as some have noted. I first installed the rear top aluminum strip (center screw first working to corners) and then did the front as these seemed most critical. I did have to unfasten the bolts on the pop-top supports in order to put the new canvas over them. I completed putting all aluminum strips up for the top section and did this while working on the bed extended. With the bottom of the canvas unfastened it was easy to manneuver under the edge of the new canvas to install the screws in the aluminum strip.

    Once the top strips were scured, I then followed the instructions for installing the bottom edge. I have the Blue Sunbrella canvas on a Wolfsham grey bus. If anyone is interested in photos please email me. I am very happy with the fit and finish of the new top, and the side zip out windows provide superior ventillation and sense of roominess.

    Josh

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  3. #22
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    May 2000
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    Raleigh, NC USA
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    Transferred to consolidate same topic.

    Chuck (CA) Super Member posted July 09, 2004 01:31 AM

    Ref 89 Westy all orginal:

    GoWesty is replacing my pop-top fabric...I haven't decided between Cotton or Acrylic...price isn't an issue...but...I do need some feedback...and...If you could share some pros/cons of each....recommendations would be appreciated...Thanks...Chuck...
    Posts: 53 | From: Central CA | Registered: February 28, 2003

    Dave Hampshire Member posted July 09, 2004 05:52 PM

    Hey Chuck,

    jpollock told me in an e-mail that his Sunbrella top that he installed a year ago has been outstanding and he totally recommended the arcrylic. He bought his at Go Westy. If you go to the thread on pop tops, he gives some install tips.

    I'm going the arcrylic route base on his recommondations and his install tips. I'm in BC, so I think this type of fabric will better protect against mildew in the wet winters during storage.

    Dave
    79 Westy

  4. #23
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    I think it will boil down to breathability. Canvas gets it waterproofness be being a weave that expands as it gets wet, aided by coatings, such that it resists water. Acrylics are stable and can't do that, so they are woven so tight they are water -- and for all practical purposes air -- tight. In dry camping, it will make its difference shown more in the breathability of the areas that don't get natural flow, like the very rear, so body generated moisture or cookings steams can't escape and will condense on the inside. In wet camping, it probably isn't that much different. There, I think the key to ventilation is to get the 3-window model so you can open the two side ones under the pop-top lip, since the front one can't be opened without rain coming in.

    The acrylic would be more resistant to mold & mildew, but NOT mold-proof since mold is a surface fungus and not dependent on what it's attached to -- it's just easier to get started on a natural and more porous material. I presume it will be lighter. Contact Eureka, the tent people (See "General Camping Suppliers" topic in the SUPPLIERS forum) -- I've found they are usually quite willing to give advise and sure know a lot about fabrics.

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Woodside, CA, USA
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    Canvas Repair -Ti,ps-
    I had 2 large holes in my poptop canvas when i got my '79 westy, propabbly due to the dry climate and that the previous owners didn't close the top correctly.
    Anyway, after a few months of ducttape, and seeing the prices of a new canvas (NO WAY!!), i when to the junkyard and cut out some canvas from a junked Westy. I cut it out rectangular and folded and glued over the edges. Then I glued it onto the ripped parts of my poptop. I used Marine Goop and a heatgun. That stuff is great, it's held up 3 years now! You can hardly notice it from the outside, it's much cheaper than a new canvas, and you don't have to go through the replacement hassle.
    Type 2 T2b driver

  6. #25
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    Jan 2005
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    Atlanta
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    Hey thats a dam nice tip.


    Thanks


    Jim

  7. #26
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    Sep 2006
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    Connecticut
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    I have holes along the back strip of my canvas, too. And they're getting worse, not better, of course.

    After talking to people who know about fabric, and reading what's posted here, I looked at both non-chlorine bleach, and Tilex-type cleaners in the grocery store. Non-chlorine bleach's active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, and Tilex's is bleach itself. So I've tried them both -- at different time, with lots of rinsing and drying inbetween.

    Nothing seems to be doing that great a job. My question, though, is this.

    Have you repaired the holes with canvas cement? Did it work? Is that something you can get at an EMS or other camping store?

    Many thanks.

  8. #27
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    There are really no satisfactory ways to repair holes in a flexible fabric with a glue or filler. However, small holes can be suitably repaired with a doubler -- a piece of canvas that covers the holes and extends some distance either side. The newer fabric cements usually have sufficient flexibility to handle the folding and the doublers can be sewn in. You can try a vinyl repair service -- every major car dealer uses one -- as they can now perform miracles on both vinyl and fabrics.

    If your holes are the result of general weakening and old-age or rot, replacement canvas is now reasonably priced in a variety of materials from vendors such as GoWesty.

    A characteristic of mold or mildew is that the spores can penetrate the fabric fiber and lie dormant until the next time the conditions are right to resurface. Cleaning is generally surface -- the canvas does tend to resist water (thus cleaner) penetration. Stains become permanent. When cleaned, are you retreating your canvas per the other posts on this subject?

  9. #28
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    Sep 2006
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    Connecticut
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    Thanks for the input.

    I'm not treating the canvas with anything but the cleaners I mentioned (bleach, hydrogen peroxide), plus rinsing and drying well (as well as I can).

    The mold DOES get so much worse after a bad rain (and it's been raining a LOT in the northeast this summer). It's like a bad horror movie.

  10. #29
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    May 2000
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    Raleigh, NC USA
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    You should every so often. There are many available. Canvak® is well known for natural (cotton) fiber canvas. GoWesty sells 303 Fabric Guard in a spray that is also claimed to impede mildew. Johnson & Johnson (Eureka Tent) and other vendors probably have their own. Seattle Fabrics lists various products but I've never done business with them.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 01-01-2009 at 06:42 AM.

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    20

    Default Replacement Tips...

    After years of repairing micro-holes and tears in my 87 Westys tent with SeamGrip - an EXCELLENT product available at outdoor specialty stores - I installed a three-window hemp/cotton blend tent from GoWesty yesterday. Boy she's a beauty! It's amazing how lightweight and flimsy my old tent now feels. I chose the heaviest durable material I could find because I'm a 4 season user, and believe a tightly woven heavy fabric will better maintain heat when I sleep at night with my thermostat set at a comfortable 60F (see my other posts). So on the install - forget what the instructions say - you don't need 3-4 people, and don't need to remove the roof. I removed all screws from aluminum strips to free old tent, supported top 1/2 open with sturdy piece of 3/4" plywood at latchpoint, removed pivot pins at each lift support to remove old tent and insert new tent, reinstalled pivot pins and raised to normal height. Screwed in top aluminum strips starting at rear, then front, then sides working from center to corners. Then bottom rear, bottom sides, lowered top to 1/2 height for front bottom, done. The front bottom corners were the most difficult and I made a custom tool to do this. Anyhow plan to spend a day installing and don't forget to clean and wax that newly exposed paint when you have the chance! Happy camping.

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