Making a poptop roof higher

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 01:44
ThreadID: 143418 Views:9797 Replies:6 FollowUps:14
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I’m looking to upgrade to a 2nd hand poptop. Found one I really like but the issue is interior height. This particular poptop has an internal height of 1.87m - problem is I’m 1.98m tall.

Currently the vinyl skirt is about 400mm high, can I go to 550mm?
Is that too tall to be strong enough in high winds?
What modifications are required?

No ac on roof but has a couple of solar panels.

Cheers
Nick
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 09:39

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 09:39
Hi Nick,

Not an expert on these matters, but it seems to me that your issues will be with the length of the “scissor” brackets if it has any, and the strength and length of the gas struts used to raise and lower the roof. The length or height of the canvas may be an issue when folded down, is there enough room in the available area when it is folded?

Just my two cents worth. Good luck with your project.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Keir & Marg - Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 11:49

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 11:49
If you google "replacement pop-top skirts" there are a few companies who manufacture these in standard sizes, but presumably could manufacture a maxi, instead of a mini, skirt! However, the real issue is going to be getting the scissors changed to reflect your desired lift, plus different struts to assist with the lift.
Inside the skirt are bows to force the skirt inwards when you drop the roof. These only come in two sizes to suit the two common skirt sizes (see caravansplus website for details). You'd probably need to make your own bows to suit the bigger skirt too.
Good luck.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 14:42

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 14:42
There is a selection of canopy lifters on this page -Pop-Top Roof Parts - see if there is a suitable one for the amount of lift you require. If there is then you can get someone to manufacture a new skirt to fill the void and rebuild your van.

get all your quotes before you purchase the van.
PeterD
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Follow Up By: nickb - Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 15:28

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 15:28
Cheers for that info.

Looks like I can get a custom skirt for $1000ish. They supply the bows too but need sizes to confirm.

If struts/lifters/scissors need replacing add another $700 to that.

Something for me to chew on…
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 14:56

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 14:56
.
Hi Nick,

The responses so far have identified some problems with obtaining a higher lift.
Instead of changing the lift mechanism, struts and skirt, consider fitting a 150mm wall around the roof opening to simply lift the existing skirt at its point of attachment to the roof.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Rusty Iron - Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 21:22

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 21:22
That right there, is thinking outside the box. Well done, that man.
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Follow Up By: nickb - Monday, Mar 21, 2022 at 00:22

Monday, Mar 21, 2022 at 00:22
I don’t quite follow?
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Mar 21, 2022 at 09:47

Monday, Mar 21, 2022 at 09:47
.
Nick, like in the photo below.
A riser, constructed from 150 x 19mm timber and painted to match, attached to the structure where the roof currently sits.
The existing canvas and struts are then re-attached to the top of the riser to produce a height gain of 150mm.
Only cost is the timber. 184x19 DAR pine is about $13/m.

The compromise is that the on-road height of the van is raised 150mm.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: nickb - Tuesday, Mar 22, 2022 at 02:01

Tuesday, Mar 22, 2022 at 02:01
Ahh ok. One of the pros of this van is it’s low height so want to keep it that way.
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Reply By: Erad - Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 15:19

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 at 15:19
Theoretically, there should be no problem in raining the height of the roof. You would need extended lifting mechanism - later model pop-tops use gas struts instead of the old scissor lifts. The principle is the same though - you have the canvas or fabric skirt raised and under tension. I am not sure about my Jayco Poptop - how high the roof raises, but I doubt it would be 550 mm - I suspect more like 450 mm.

As for stability in high winds, we used to have a camper with wind up roof and slide-out beds. The roof raised at least 1 metre on what appeared to be flimsy corner posts. Now that roof used to sway around in the wind but it never failed and we went through some very strong winds at times. Eventually I put some cleats on the sides of the roof and under windy conditions, I tied the roof down to pegs in the ground. With a poptop caravan, the roof stability comes from the fabric un der tension - for the roof to move laterally in any direction, it has to dip lower at one end than the other, and with suitable tension provided by the gas lifts, it won't do this. We have had our poptop out in very windy conditions and on one night, we slept with the roof closed, but the was the only time.

Speak to a caravan repairer or a supplier of the skirts and see what they say, but I can see no reason that your proposal won't work, given the extra height gas lifts as well. You will also have to extend the electrical wiring because of the extra height.
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Follow Up By: nickb - Monday, Mar 21, 2022 at 00:24

Monday, Mar 21, 2022 at 00:24
Cheers, I have a jayco dove and you’re right, for what they are they stand up to a lot of wind.
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Reply By: bobsabobsa - Tuesday, Mar 22, 2022 at 14:17

Tuesday, Mar 22, 2022 at 14:17
The easy lift bars / frames call it what you want , that lift the roof from inside would be a major
redesign .
the skirt easy peasy,
longer struts not so, but would be doable , you would have to work out the repositioning due to the length increase and when compressed to where they seat in the closed position

maybe a bump hat would be cheaper hahaha only joking
but maybe keep looking until you get what you want would be better
Bob
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Follow Up By: nickb - Friday, Mar 25, 2022 at 23:34

Friday, Mar 25, 2022 at 23:34
Cheers Bob, the seller did offer to cut a bit out of my chin!

I spoke to an older canvas guy today, he used to replace skirts. He was confident that sorting out the scissor lifts wouldn't be too bad a job while replacing the canvas. As you say, struts will need a bit of thought but not too big an issue. This poptop has no internal lifts, just handles used to push up.

Been looking for a few months, most have been too expensive, average condition/needed too much work etc, this one ticks 90% of the boxes at the right price, if only I was shorter...
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Reply By: nickb - Monday, Apr 04, 2022 at 23:29

Monday, Apr 04, 2022 at 23:29
Thanks all for the replies, I decided to buy the caravan. The extended top will have to wait a while though. I bought it as a project, the interior will be getting modified to suit.

New question, are there any issues with removing the overhead cupboards and the top shelf?
Does the shelf serve any other purpose than to hold the skirt when the roof is down?

This is the caravan, above the door and fridge there is no shelf, I would like it to be like that all around the interior.

AnswerID: 640087

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Apr 05, 2022 at 09:33

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2022 at 09:33
Hi Nick,

Without showing a photo of the “other side” with the shelf, it is difficult to give a definitive answer. However, I suspect that there will not be a structural component to the shelf that has any bearing on the roof and skirt structure, with the exception of the two ends. If there is a shelf at each end, it may be providing some lateral support. You could contact the manufacturer and ask their opinion on what you intend to do.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: nickb - Tuesday, Apr 05, 2022 at 22:02

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2022 at 22:02
This is a pic of the other side. There are also overheads cupboards you can just see in the pics. Definitely not structural but just wondering if there are any other reasons they are installed, can't seem to find much online.

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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 08:34

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 08:34
Possibly to help support the weight of the cupboards? That would be the only thing I could think of.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Keir & Marg - Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 14:17

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 14:17
We have a Jayco poptop. If you fold down the roof while the outside of the skirt is wet (either from rain or heavy dew), the skirt will drain back through the zips to the outside of the van PROVIDED the skirt is supported by a shelf on the inside. If you remove the shelf, the wet skirt can drain through the zips to the inside of the van.
In our van we have some areas of the skirt supported by an inside shelf or cupboard, and other areas that are unsupported. Where there are unsupported areas with a zip, I always try to wipe the outside of the skirt with a chamois or micro-fibre cloth before dropping the roof to minimise water ingress.
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Follow Up By: nickb - Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 23:14

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 23:14
Ah OK that makes sense. I like the idea of toweling the vinyl before packing, I might borrow that idea!

Thanks all for your help!
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Follow Up By: Banjo (WA) - Thursday, Apr 07, 2022 at 08:04

Thursday, Apr 07, 2022 at 08:04
I would think that without the shelf the walls wouldn't be very strong. Pushing on the wall would see considerable flex I'm thinking.
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