Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

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Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby davegsm82 » 27 Jul 2016, 22:50

The van's MOT was today, at 11am (which it passed). By 1pm I was underway getting to grips with the roof.

Long story short, I bought the van just over a year ago, converted to TDi and discovered that there wasn't much of anything holding the Hi-top in place. The original outer skin of the roof had rotted away and was letting water into the cavity. This has caused untold misery by running down internally and rotting away the base of the B and C pillars (not too badly) but the van is constantly damp and frequently features rust streaks down the paintwork.

About a year before I bought the van it was explained to me that the roof had been removed and re-sealed. What I wasn't told is that the gutter had been covered (badly) because it had perforated the skin of the bus.

Anyway, pictures speak a thousand words.

This is the beginning of the story. The black panel was rotten, replaced with a JK one. Big mistake, too thin and already warped. Oh well. This picture also illustrates the need for what's in pic 3, since I have no covered area to work in, the rain is a big issue.
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Painted this yesterday.
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Then the MOT happened, passed fine.

When I got home, I made this contraption, slots into the upper bunk rails. It's some steel stock and 2x 150Kg Electric rams.
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It does THIS;
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This is the horror it has revealed...
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Good Job I have ordered this from eBay;
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I'm going to unpick the replacement roof down to the bare skin, then drop it onto mine after cutting off the remaining bits of my roof and repairing/replacing the 4x rotten supports in the cavity. Unfortunately this process means I will have to remove the front screen and the tailgate, but it should only take a day or so to complete and I have a friend helping so should make the process a little smoother.

I have removed the remnants of the gutter, finding that the formed panels gripping the roof to the underside of the gutters were pretty worthless since the gutters had detached entirely almost all the way from the front to the back.

Thankfully the rot has not ruined the underlying metal completely, although it is quite badly pitted. I'll get some photo's of this tomorrow.

That's all for today. Cue the rams letting the roof back down gently and packing up for the night.
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby bmouthboyo » 28 Jul 2016, 04:35

Good luck mate. I will be looking to reseal my Poptop roof to the van soon as my first attempt hasn't lasted. Interested to see how yours goes.

Any idea of the process you will take to secure it once and for all once the rots out?
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby bobby-gg » 28 Jul 2016, 05:44

I'm liking the rams - I wonder where you acquired those from :ok

Anyway, since you've got a complete, and nice looking roof coming you might as well convert it to a tin top, thus preventing future corrosion :D
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby davegsm82 » 28 Jul 2016, 06:47

bmouthboyo wrote:Good luck mate. I will be looking to reseal my Poptop roof to the van soon as my first attempt hasn't lasted. Interested to see how yours goes.

Any idea of the process you will take to secure it once and for all once the rots out?


I don't know exactly what I'm doing with it at the minute, the basic Go-to plan is to Sikaflex it into place although I am toying with the idea of using a rubber door-seal along the lower edge of the top and then bolt the top in place, through some brackets installed under the roof/in the roll bar.

bobby-gg wrote:I'm liking the rams - I wonder where you acquired those from :ok

Anyway, since you've got a complete, and nice looking roof coming you might as well convert it to a tin top, thus preventing future corrosion :D


They came from A C Robinson in sleekburn actually! They had an old medical bed with height adjustment etc so I bought it and they chopped out the brackets and I got all the rams. Cost me about £30 if I remember right, you can get a pair with wireless controller on ebay for £110.

I have considered converting to tin-top but to be honest I can't get away with the lack of height, so I will be cutting a lovely big hole in that nice fresh metal.

New roof arrives Sunday, lots of prep work to do before the new one goes on though, the old gutter remnants have been removed but the old underlying metal still needs a lot of work before I can cover it up with new metal again. Not to mention drilling out probably several hundred spot welds.

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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby mm289 » 28 Jul 2016, 07:44

OMG that roof is really gone!!! - much worse than mine which had only gone front and back. New one looks nice though :D

There are a couple of threads on here by MetalMickey where he has done roof re-seals - worth having a read - he used Sikafkex or similar to seal i think. Not a fan of the rubber door seal as it will struggle to seal effectively along the full length and then leak anyway. Also you will still need a form of fixing, so may as well stick with the sealant.

On the Autosleepers at least they drilled through the hightop into the metal skin and rivetted - which is why they rust out as eventually the holes where the rivet goes through rot :roll:
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Are you cutting the pillars and dropping the new one off or seperating the roof skin and dropping on? If the latter be prepared for a long ride drilling out all the welds, if the former have a good plan for measuring where you are going to cut the pillars on the old/new roof - have a look at how they "chop" custom cars roofs for ideas.

Cheers,

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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby CovKid » 28 Jul 2016, 08:38

Hightops suck - the life out of your roof... :D

My 12 year old son saw those pics and said "Put it back - just put it back!" :rofl

By the way, interested in the pillars on roof you bought - if you cut them off. Have rot in side window openings and they cover the bits I need to repair on mine as I have factory windows.
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby davegsm82 » 28 Jul 2016, 09:40

mm289 wrote:OMG that roof is really gone!!! - much worse than mine which had only gone front and back. New one looks nice though :D ...


Yep, fortunately I knew it was completely wrecked before I lifted it so it wasn't too much of a shock as I stood back and watched the rams slowly elevate the roof skywards. I honestly felt a little bit sad when I saw it though, could have so easily been avoided if someone had just taken the time and given her a little bit more care and attention.

I am going to un-pick the complete roof section, I know it's going to take time but I don't mind. I don't really want to cut-and-shut the pillars, particularly on the advice of out resident metal expert MetalMickey, who quite rightly pointed out that the structure wouldn't be as strong unless everything was un-picked and put back together as per factory. The remaining metal is salvageable so I'm going down that route.

CovKid wrote:Hightops suck - the life out of your roof... :D

My 12 year old son saw those pics and said "Put it back - just put it back!" :rofl

By the way, interested in the pillars on roof you bought - if you cut them off. Have rot in side window openings and they cover the bits I need to repair on mine as I have factory windows.


...And your wallet. I'm sure they deduct a few MPG. I'm used to it now though, even though I hate the Cheese-wedge shape of this particular high-top, I do enjoy being able to stand etc.

I had considered dropping the roof back down, buying shares in sikaflex then emptying my bank account to buy enough to seal it back up. But this is very much MY bus, so I couldn't do that to her :roll:

Once I've gotten everything sorted I'll assess what I need to do with the remaining metalwork, I need to check my windows for rot and if everything is hunky-dory then I'd be happy to part out what's left for the benefit of other members.

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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby davegsm82 » 28 Jul 2016, 20:36

Some pictures from today, of work done yesterday (it got dark quickly).

The crusty metal was cut away from the upper section to make room for work on the flat section that the roof is spotted down to.
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This is the condition of the metal after a light dusting with the flap-wheel.
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A closeup...
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Rear coner;
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Trying to show the remaining thickness, plenty left here but it is definitely reduced thickness in some areas.
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Bought one of these to take the thick of the flaky pastry off before I have at it with a flap wheel and grinding disk. It's vicious.
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Not a lot will get done with this until Sunday, when I'll have to concentrate on the new roof arriving.

Can anyone recommend a particular paint remover that I can use in the gutter of the new roof to reveal the spot welds?

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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby bluebus1987 » 28 Jul 2016, 21:11

Your holding it in your hand in the picture! :D
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby boatbuilder » 28 Jul 2016, 23:25

Use some rough grit sandpaper to reveal the spot welds
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby davegsm82 » 29 Jul 2016, 07:58

I was thinking more along the lines of a chemical paint stripper, will the wire wheel not damage the metal on the new roof?

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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby GavB95 » 29 Jul 2016, 09:04

You need a couple of these Dave:

http://www.screwfix.com/p/surface-prepa ... 0wodn5QI4Q

I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress with this, are you transferring the whole new roof skin over rather than cutting sections out of it?
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby bluebus1987 » 29 Jul 2016, 09:40

Wire wheel wont do any damage and is good at removing paint. Sandpaper is good at highlighting the spots through the paint.
I have an almost completely worn out wire wheel that is reserved for sealant removal.
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby DavidPallister » 30 Jul 2016, 16:52

holey crap!!!!!!!

ha ha :D
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Re: Getting to grips with a rotten roof (Pic heavy)

Postby CovKid » 31 Jul 2016, 18:10

Dave, you could well have started the most watched thread ever. Hope you know just how big that job is going to be. :shock:

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