Lifting that poptop!


wodraska

New member
Now I admit I'm a lightweight and no longer young, but I have more trouble than I believe I should have, boosting that poptop high enough to deploy the bar and lock it into place. What's the trick?
I'm tall enough [almost 6 feet] but don't seem to be quite strong enough. I stand facing forward, shove up on the roof just behind the lockbar, give an extra grunt upwards, grasp the lockbar with one hand, shove some more and maybe I get there and maybe I don't and have to lower the top, hopefully not too suddenly, and duck.
 

zookz

New member
I had the same problem and almost gave up on ever using the pop-top.
I’ve been thin and without upper body strength all of my life. I don’t have the strength to hold the pop-top up while pulling or pushing on the lockbar. My solution isn’t pretty but it works for me.

I cut a length of metal ½ inch conduit maybe 18 inches long. I slit a small X in two tennis balls and stuffed them half full with plastic from plastic bags for extra padding. I shoved the end of the conduit into each ball. It looks like a surreal and really rough twirling baton and works as an extra hand.

So now when I want to lift the pop-top, I keep the sliding door open (essential), manually lift the pop-top to about 18 + inches with one hand, and with the other hand I place the “baton” front and center between the metal plate of the locking mechanism and the center rim of the pop-top.

The baton supports the pop-top while I get into position to push on the crossbar. I stand almost against the bench seat facing front and use both hands to push the lockbar up at a 45 or so angle until it clicks in. The baton pops out at that point but my hands are free to catch it, and if I miss, it always hits the deck tennis ball end first, minimizing potential damage.

This worked so well for me that I made another, smaller 8 inch baton that I use for lowering the pop-top. The extra several inches this allows makes it easier for me to pull and roll in the pop-top canvas all the way around the cabin. I store the batons in the gutter like space above the stove.

One caution: I make sure I center the baton so that the pop-top isn’t skewed in any way.
 

sreinold

New member
Not Sure why there is a problem for you. It seems to me you are having too much trouble. My pop top goes up with little to no effort. HAve you inspected the mechanism at all?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The truth may lie somewhere in between. I've had 3 factory new Westies and lifting the pop-top does require some strength, but more importantly, some technique. My wife handles it regularly.

But some of the technics include being sure the door or windows are open. Sounds odd, but the Westy and canvas is sufficiently tight to create a vacuum when you try to lift and thus expand the internal volume quickly.

Doing the lift by positioning the body so that it is done primarily by the legs is best. Straight lifting any weight with arms alone is more difficult. I plead guilty to occassionally using my head to help at least get it started. The lift should be in straight line, not off-center or at a distance from the body.

And I do concur there are repair factors to check -- the slides & pivots in the hinges, tension and condition of the support bracket, & proper lubrication of moving parts.
 

vanis13

New member
Pop-top springs

I also have a hard time lifting my poptop but only because I keep stuff on the racks - kayaks, storage box, windsurfer etc depending on the season. (I understand this is not recomended but I am willing to take the risk that I may one day I may damage the top and may have to repalce it but its worth beign able to take stuff along)

I took the raising bar out and apart and it look s like if I could just get a stronger spring it woudl help.

has anyone done this or know where I can find new/stronger springs?
 

wodraska

New member
Thanks Folks for all the suggestions. I've implemented Zookz's "baton" with great success and i find that the 18" boost this gives allows me to regroup for a moment, then use the pushbar to finish up the lift, while standing on the front edge of the bed/benchseat. I'm thinking too that the mechanism was kinda stiff from disuse the first few times I tried and now has loosened some.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I understand the desire for more "heft" at lifting the roof, but aren't y'all losing sight of the more important mechanical advantage by lifting back at the bed? The best mechanical advantage would be to lift straight up at the cross-bar. Thus if you needed a lift extension, wouldn't a simple Y, like a forked stick, directly underneath work best? I can even picture having a T-bar at the bottom to grip with one hand either side, but pushing in the middle of the roof or at an angle defeats your purpose.

We raise by pushing up on the cross-bar from directly underneath, setting our arms in a locked, verticle position directly up while slightly crouched or with the legs in a "step" positiong. Then lift with the legs -- a far more powerful muscle set. The arms do almost nothing. With this method my wife has no trouble (she does the interior while I do the exterior & unpack) during camp set-up. Our daughter could even do it at 12 years old.
 

deniseydowling

New member
I have found that putting the back seat to bed position and standing on it to lift the top is the easiest for me. I'm 5'1 and have a bit of arthritis in my wrists so hight and strength can be issues, but I am able to put the top up by myself without much trouble. I do the same when putting the top down.
 
pop-top lifting assistance.

Hi, having only just got my first Westfalia, I do feel that the pop-top needs quite a lot of effort to raise. I have read all the above advice, and will make sure that everything is oiled on the pivots, and check all round. Has anyone ever fitted gas-assist struts, such as those off a Golf tailgate ? Would need to get the geometry correct, but then would be a blast !
Professeurbeetle.
 
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bibond

New member
pop top lifting

Well, I'm only a 5'4" woman - and don't have trouble with the pop top. I have found that keeping a small step stool in the van makes it a bit easier or else I stand on my ice chest when i am taking it down (when camping). Takes a few tries to get the technique down though!

[Moderator note: You can now get step-stools that fold flat for storage; I keep one full-time in the Westy and another in the pick-up truck.]
 
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Wagner143

New member
Wagner143

HI all,

I am a new member, registered with Bentley and all.

Can I have some advise as to how to get the roof to pop up on our 1997 California Coast? It had some canvas stuck in the attaching mechanism , that is relieved but the roof won't popup.

Any ideas?

Wagner143
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Where is it stuck? If it's in the center handle latch mechanism, you should be able to unbolt the latch mechanism, then raise the roof a few inches manually, prop it open and clear the jam. You might want to stop by your dealer and look at the parts fiche to see how it's attached -- my copy of the Bentley is remiss. It discusses the side scissors at length but not the center latch.
 

Wagner143

New member
Wagner143

Thanks for getting back, Capt Mike.

1) The Pop Up Roof: It is stuck, it seems, at the level of the center latch because usually it 'pops' when released and the latch appears not to release.

I am tempted to unscrew the mechanism, but,as you know, it is neatly tucked away in a very inacessible place. Any other way to get at it or to remove the roofd from the outside?

Also, Capt Mike, when you refer a reader to "Bentley R76-28", what do you mean once I get to the Bentley CD?

Thanks for the assistance!

Moderator Note: Bentley is generic for the factory official shop manual, required to use this site. Bentley is the publisher but it 100% VW written and approved. The numbers refer to the section, in your case Section R, page 76-28.
 
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Raising the Westfalia elevating roof

As a 1·79 metres (i.e. 5 feet 10½ inches) tall adult, I found it relatively easy to raise the front-hinged, Westfalia elevating roof, of my family's British specification, 1973 VW 1600 Type 2 Westfalia Continental campervan. Keeping the hinge mechanism lightly oiled & greased, certainly helps to minimise resistance to it being raised.

However, as I approached the age of 40, I was finding the task less easy, so I contrived to retro-fit a pair of 550 mm long, second-hand gas struts, salvaged from the rear hatch of a Volvo 300-Series hatchback. The roof can now easily be raised, using only one hand and once it has reached half-height, it is virtually self-raising; what one might term flour power.

For general information and advice about gas springs, use the following link:

http://www.industrialgassprings.com/

Industrial Gas Springs Limited
22 Wates Way, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 4HR
United Kingdom
Tel: 0208 646 6595 - Fax: 0208 646 6594
International: 0044 208 646 6595
 
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PegWesty

New member
1992 help for the poptop

I've been rummaging around on the site here, and can find no mention of a 1992 Eurovan pop top. I'm 5'8" and medium strong, but I struggle. I have built a helper brace out of PVC pipe for holding the roof at the halfway point and it's easy from there. But any suggestions for getting it up the first 18 inches? Does a strut kit exist?

Thanks!
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
No VW strut kit exists but there are numerous aftermarket struts and a little ingenuity on mounting. Be cautious -- often the strut that helps in one directions makes it very difficult to move in the other. Did you read Nigel Skeet's post above?
 

PegWesty

New member
Thanks, Cap'n, I did, but hoped that there was a kit to keep me out of trouble. Fortunately, I am getting better at boosting the roof and don't have sore shoudlers for days. Maybe when I get, ahem, older!

Peg
 
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aj_the_first

New member
Isn't there a helper spring somewhere? My pop top seems nearly automatic. I give it a half hearted one hand bit of effort and it pops right up. Coming down is even easier: A touch of effort to get it past the break over point, and it sloooowly descends on it's own as I tuck in the canvas, then just pull to latch at the end.
This is my first Westy, and I was very impressed with the perfect balance on the up and down of the top. I just figured they are all like this? Apparently I am lucky, or the previous owner spent a lot of effort perfecting the spring weight?

[Moderator note: It's not a spring but there is a tension cable within the arms that rides over a cam-style tensioner at the arm joint. Yours is doing exactly what it was meant to do. Many have to push a little as it nears the top because of the resistance in stretching the canvas taut. On mine, I crack a window because of the vacuum effect of a fully closed up camper -- the body should be that tight.]
 
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RogerGardner

New member
Our poptop is getting increasing difficult to lift on one side (it also drops a little when it has been raised).

Is there any maintainance required on the Struts or is it a question of buying new ones?

If anyone has any ideas I'd be very grateful.

Our bus in a 83 Joker, German import.
 

arita

New member
Hello,
I had the same issue. Now I am using adjustable Nordic Walking Poles and start off lifting the roof with one of the poles and place it between roof and table in the middle (I have a 1990 Westfalia)
Then I use the other poles and increase the the height of the roof. And on and on until it reaches an angle where I can easily push it up.
Plus you can use the sticks when taking a hike! Hope this helps.
Nordic Walking poles are available in many sports stores. I have the ones with 3 segments. Arita
 

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