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Old 03-02-2017, 11:48 PM   #1
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Default DIY westy top for Chev E3500

Thought I would post a few pictures of my "westy-type" pop-top project. Bought the van last fall and started looking around for a lid. Looked at all the choices and didn't like what I saw for appearance or price. in my typical fashion, I decided i could build one myself to get exactly what I wanted. To wit: a Westphalia top built to fit a full size American van. I'm pretty close to prototype now after 3 months of off and mostly on work. Waiting for the weather here in Idaho to warm a bit before I tackle the fiberglass mold making. I'll post more pics as the project progresses or as requested by those interested.
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File Type: jpg 1.jpg (193.7 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg Plug down and on the bench..jpg (139.8 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg high-tech fairing separation.jpg (107.8 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg polyester primer filler sprayed on.jpg (144.9 KB, 16 views)
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Old 03-03-2017, 12:43 AM   #2
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That is very cool, I think its great when I see someone build something from scratch, from an idea, or a thought, keep up with it, and please show more pics as you proceed, thanks,,,,,,
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Old 03-03-2017, 12:51 AM   #3
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Are you doing this type of style--or rear up?


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Old 03-03-2017, 04:33 AM   #4
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Front up like that one but with a fixed fairing over the cab.
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Old 03-03-2017, 05:32 PM   #5
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How are you going to attach it?
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:06 PM   #6
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The fairing will get insulated, epoxied and screwed to the cab. The lid will be "scissor" hinged at the rear and clamped down at the front where it mates with the fairing.
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Old 03-03-2017, 08:25 PM   #7
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I assume you will leave the roof structure intact above the front seats and remove the remaining ribs behind the front seats? Do you think you will need to have a reinforcing ring around the hole?
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:08 PM   #8
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Precisely. And yes, I envision a frame made of angle iron, protruding above the roof line to provide both a water dam and attachment point for the tent bottom.
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:27 AM   #9
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Default Progress on my custom top

It was a long cold winter in Idaho but i got a lot done on my chevy 3500 build. here's afew more pics of the work and ( almost) finished top. next up: install gas springs and tent.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 35) fairing mold polished, waxed and masked..jpg (141.4 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg 38) finished fairing.jpg (166.3 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg 41) turning lid mold over.jpg (184.9 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 49) top in closed position.jpg (114.1 KB, 10 views)
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:05 PM   #10
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Wow, congrats on your talent and ability to bring it out in your rig. I will be interesting to watch your progressive. Ron
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:14 PM   #11
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Looks good, I assume you have worked with fiberglass before. I think those tops run about 5-7k installed.
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Old 05-25-2017, 08:19 PM   #12
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Actually no. This was my first effort. HUUUUGE learning curve.Kept me out of the bars all winter though....
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Old 05-26-2017, 04:05 PM   #13
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That's encouraging to DIY'ers.
Must have been a pain to make it symmetrical and get it even looking.

How thick or how many layers, uniform thickness or did you make it thinner or thicker in some areas?

Does it flex or is it pretty stout?
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Old 05-26-2017, 04:06 PM   #14
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Unimat, That is impressive. I could never do that.
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Old 05-26-2017, 04:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinIN View Post
That's encouraging to DIY'ers.
Must have been a pain to make it symmetrical and get it even looking.

How thick or how many layers, uniform thickness or did you make it thinner or thicker in some areas?

Does it flex or is it pretty stout?
Yes, and it's not perfect, just looks that way.
The fairing is gelcoat plus a total of 4 3/4 ounces of glass and then filled with polystyrene insulation. very rigid. The lid was the same, but with the addition of 1" of polystyrene board epoxied to the inside, along with 1" of wood frame for mechanical and tent attachment, and then epoxy resin and 10 oz. boat cloth to finish the inside. You can stand on it. I recall I added an additional 2 oz. of cloth all around the perimeter to tie it together ( I have seen the Westy tops crack at the corners) and to thicken the edge for gasket attachment. Whole lid weighs 135# I was aiming for 100#
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Old 05-28-2017, 12:43 PM   #16
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The styling, design and construction is really impressive The DIY stuff we get to see here is amazing.
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