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Old 12-28-2019, 02:18 PM   #1
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Question Removing floating cabinets - where do they connect?

My next project is to mount three 100w solar panels on my van's curved fiberglass high top.

I decided among all the mounting options and the risks involved with each, that my best bet to get all three panels mounted would be to install a roof rack via artificial rain gutters.

I want to do something like is mentioned by @MrMyagi in this thread:

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f8...ions-8217.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMyagi View Post
I ended up installing a rack myself using side plates from Thule, and towers from Yakima with Yakima cross bars. I did not want to install the roof rails on the top of the roof. I was worried about eventual leaking. I opted for the side plates with a heavy dose of silicone to prevent leaking. The rack is very sturdy and currently holds a large cargo carrier that has a lot of stuff in it. Our Roadtrek is a 4x4 which we use on bumpy roads frequently. The rack has stayed solid with some crazy swaying back and forth (of the van) sometimes.

I too started down the road of looking for the gutter mount towers. It ended up in frustration. I even contacted Thule directly for help. I am glad I decided to go the way I did. It has worked out well. It was terrifying to drill the first hole carefully into the side of the fiberglass cap but I got over it quickly. As far as taking kayaks and paddle boards, take a look at my thread in the General Discussion section about my vertical kayak carrier. I don’t know how long your kayak and PB is but maybe it can work for you too.

Jerry
Photos of his result: https://imgur.com/gallery/GPa3JPe

In order to install the artificial rain gutters, I'll need access to the inside wall of the roof, but some of it is covered by cloth or plastic panels and/or cabinets.

I think I can remove the panels easily via a few screws here and there, but there are these floating cabinets that for the life of me I can't find how to remove. I attached a photo of them below.

When I run my hand along the edge they are essentially floating, and there is no backing to them so when I open them, the back wall is just the paneling that covers the inside wall of the whole van.

Does anyone know how to remove these?

IMG_20191226_171631.jpg
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Old 12-28-2019, 02:48 PM   #2
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"Photos of his result: https://imgur.com/gallery/GPa3JPe


Thanks for the link, I especially enjoyed the automated fishing:

https://imgur.com/gallery/b8T9E3K
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Old 12-28-2019, 03:34 PM   #3
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How about rivets? No access needed.
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Old 12-28-2019, 06:45 PM   #4
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How about rivets? No access needed.
Hmm that's an idea I hadn't considered.

The artificial rain gutters come with a thick metal backplate that is meant to help spread the load and force of the bolt. I'm not sure I'd want to sacrifice that. A rivet may not be as sealed as I'd like either...

I look a bit more into that, it would be much easier.
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Old 12-28-2019, 11:43 PM   #5
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I'm not sure that blind riveting is the answer here without a backing plate.

I have a y2k Chevy 200 that the awning bracket fell off of while on a trip, thankfully at the camp site.

After several trips to the hardware store and trying different things I wound up using fasteners similar to these to re-fasten the awning bracket.



Part of the problem is that some of that fiberglass is quite thick, at least on my RT. Yours could be different depending on the model and year of van.

They have held up well for two travel seasons to date.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:30 AM   #6
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I would use plusnuts, estimate an approximate thickness of your fiberglass roof and get plusnuts which would accommodate that thickness. With rubber washer they will not leak. In addition to a washer you could use a self-leveling sealant like Dicor.

Plusenuts are designed specifically for softer material and with four legs should provide sufficient backing support. Plusnuts are also called “pre slotted rivet nuts, pre-bulbed rivnuts, but NOT Jack nuts. https://www.rivetnutusa.com/plusnut-rivet-nut-rivnut/

I used rivnuts extensively in my conversion, and just a few plusnuts on soft material.

See Yakima recommendation for roof rail installation.

http://assets.yakima.com/Product/instructions/8001127/1

Plusnuts options https://www.mcmaster.com/standard-rivet-nuts

You could make you own setting tool, or get one from McMaster Carr to ease your job.
Plusnuts tool https://www.mcmaster.com/96349a305
Attached Images
File Type: png plusnut.png (309.1 KB, 16 views)
File Type: png plusnut1.png (260.2 KB, 10 views)
File Type: png plusnut 2.png (191.9 KB, 9 views)
File Type: png plusnut3.png (109.3 KB, 8 views)
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Old 12-29-2019, 02:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
I would use plusnuts, estimate an approximate thickness of your fiberglass roof and get plusnuts which would accommodate that thickness. With rubber washer they will not leak. In addition to a washer you could use a self-leveling sealant like Dicor.

Plusenuts are designed specifically for softer material and with four legs should provide sufficient backing support. Plusnuts are also called “pre slotted rivet nuts, pre-bulbed rivnuts, but NOT Jack nuts. https://www.rivetnutusa.com/plusnut-rivet-nut-rivnut/
These sound very promising, thanks!
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Old 12-29-2019, 03:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I'm not sure that blind riveting is the answer here without a backing plate.
Yeah I think I'm going to still try to get access the the backside before going the rivet route.
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