Pop-top Canvas (Screens have own topic)


jpollock

New member
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
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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.
 

vw-traveller

New member
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.
 

ecorey3

New member
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.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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?
 

ecorey3

New member
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.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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:

powderhippie

New member
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.
 

DANALEXANDER

New member
82 Westfalia canvas

Readings all the threads concerning canvas replacement, it is encouraging to find owners that have done the work themselves. I have a new 3-window canvas coming from the Bus Depot, and have read so many postings talking about tack strips and staples, and then some that say it won’t be necessary. Some say the pop top has to come off and some say no. My wife and I are going to tackle this task next weekend, so any advice or links would be appreciated. Greetings from Portland!
 

bruski

New member
Pop top canvas replacement

Hi- I did my 80 westy with a top just like the one you have.I didn't remove the pop top,start by using a utility knife cutting old matl on the bottom where it attaches to the body.then using a screwdriver carefully pry the strips off the top I labeled them for easier re- installation.Everyone says to use the old strips so thats what i did.That done,unscrew the aluminum strips that held the canvas to the body.Using a power stapeler attach the canvas to the top starting ctr.of the front working to the left and rt. front.After that use the old strips over the canvas just as original.Install the alum. strips on the bottom using a sharp pick to poke the holes in the canvas.I did the job by myself and it turned out excellent.Its kind of a job, but doable. good luck you can do it!!
 

debbiej

New member
bedding, canvas and rain.

not sure where to put this, but after a wonderful (and dry) camping adventure, I noticed how our bedding (sleeping bag) came up the sides of the pop top canvas a bit. In a rain, does this get the bedding up top wet? my canvas is a bit in need of some treatment, I thought I'd order the stuff GoWesty sells, but even if it is great stuff, I'm not sure it will keep the matteress and any bedding touching the canvas from wicking in moisture.

but everything else is so perfectly designed (IMO) I can't imagine the top not keeping you dry in a rain.
 

83westy

New member
Not sure where to post this, but this looked as good as any.

My driveway is on a slope and I have been parking our Westy with the front facing uphill. A month ago we popped the top and noticed mold growing in the back corners. After popping the top a few times after a rain has cleared up I have noticed water collecting in the back corners under the top.

I ordered a new seal kit and now I am wondering if the water draining from the luggage rack is being trapped inside the top and the seals are actually good. Has anyone experienced something similar when parking facing uphill? Anyone know of issues if you park facing downhill all the time?

I am back in and park facing downhill, but I have read that can cause other issues. Too bad my driveway is not flat.

Does anyone know if the luggage rack has a seal on the back part under the four bolts with rubber washers? The Bentley does not show one, but looking at my van it looks like there is something there that has dry rotted away. It looks like I have water leaking from the luggage rack out the back, not the three sides exposed to the elements, which is then getting trapped inside the pop top.
 
Last edited:

DANALEXANDER

New member
I came across my posting, and thought I would add this...In the end I removed the whole top, and put it on a couple of sawhorses. This allowed me to remove the old canvas, while giving me a detailed look at attachment. I cleaned the entire flocked under side and installed the 3 window canvas. Having the top off, also let me clean the topside, and give the top and luggage rack the "once over". New rubber seals around, and replaced the bad attachment screws. 3 years later it looks brand new. I use a canvas treatment from 3M, every season...I put around 3K on the SlugRacer every year!
 

ger

New member
Replacing with top on

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.

Can one access the top screws from the inside?
 

Top