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T3 TinTop Westfalia Conversion

Discussion in 'Resto Corner' started by Hutchie, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    This project had been sitting in my shed for about 3 years when my Wife finally had enough and said “if you don’t start doing something with that damn Kombi soon I’m going to sell it”.

    With that little bit of incentive hovering above me, the following is a quick canter of my progress since Jan of this year.

    I have also been posting on “The Samba” under the heading “Build Thread – Aussie Westfalia Conversion”

    The desired endstate was to turn an 89 TinTop Transporter into a Westfalia PopTop camper.

    Here are some pics of the TinTop that I purchased a while ago from a guy, who in turn purchased it from a guy who has stripped it and done some prep for a re-spray. The guy I purchased the van from said he had it sitting in his shed for about 4-5 years, and the owner before that quite possibly a similar time frame.

    Some pics of the “patient”, an 89 TinTop Transporter
     

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  2. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Sorry, just trying to figure out how to post images

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  3. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    I managed to track down a donor Westfalia and PopTop through a guy on “The Samba” back when $1.00 Aussie Dollar was getting $1.10 US so bit the bullet and had it all shipped out. You can see the PopTop sitting on the TinTop van above. The roof of the “donor” van was cut off at the pillars, and included everything I needed to make the swap (upper bunk/supports, lift strut, canvas rails)

    Below are some images of the donor roof section.
    004.jpg
    The donor van that I ended up getting had been in a bit of a bingle, but everything aft of the B-Pillar was fine.

    005.jpg

    This image shows some of the damage, it looks a bit worse than it actually was

    006.jpg
     
    rstucke and David H like this.
  4. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,831
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    Been following your build.
    Un-bloody-believable.

    What you have done is brilliant.

    Respect
     
  5. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    For those that haven’t seen a T3 Westy Roof before they were factory made by VW to suit the Westfalia PopTop. The roof skin has the same profile as a Tin top roof, in fact fwd of the B-pillar there is no difference. The Westy roof skin includes a lip that supports the upper bunk, and the C-Pillar is flat not arched like the one in a TinTop. To provide strength for the upper bunk, the Westy roof skin is spot welded to the upper part of the frame from just behind the B-Pillar, all the way to the tailgate area.

    To get the roof skin off I had to remove all of the spot welds that held it in place (and there are a lot of them!). On the areas where I wanted to keep the metal underneath I used a spot weld removal tool (image below) , and for the other areas 4-5mm drill bit was fine.
    006a.jpg

    I tried the spot weld removal tool on these spot welds in the rain gutter

    007.jpg

    This image shows of the some welds that hold the upper bunk support near the tailgate.

    008.jpg
     
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  6. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Thanks Barry, I've been meaning to get this up on KC for some time now.
     
  7. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,010
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    Nothing like a bit of incentive, to get motivated....;)

    Awesome project! Was also great to finally meet you at Berry.
     
  8. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Thanks Grant, nice neat van you have there!
     
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  9. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Once I had drilled through the spot weld I used a paint scraper like this to slide between the metal parts and make sure that the weld was removed completely.

    009.jpg


    Here you can see where I have drilled out most of the welds on one side of the upper bunk support.

    010.jpg

    I needed to use the spot weld removal tool in this area as I did not want to penetrate roof skin above

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  10. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Once all of the spot welds had been removed in the rain gutter and inside (don’t ask, it was a lot !), I used a chisel and paint scraper to pry the roof skin away.

    013.jpg


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  11. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    To remove the rest of unwanted metal from the roof skin I switched to a cut off disc on an angle grinder and just slowly started cutting away all of the frame and metal that I didn’t need.

    015.jpg 016.jpg 017.jpg
     
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  12. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Down the back I used a “Sharpie” to mark my cut line and then a battery powered Dremmel with a small cut-off wheel to make the fine cut needed. I left a bit of excess material for trimming later.



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  13. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    A bit of care is needed in this area as the roof skin is just on the other side of those spot welds.


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  14. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    I didn’t take that much care when removing this support piece (the bit with 4 holes in it) as I thought that it would be in the TinTop…WRONG. Required a bit of fixing later.

    022.jpg

    This image shows that section removed. The bracket with the three bolts welded into it (yellow paint) sits beneath the roof skin on both sides at the back of the van (image below next).
    023.jpg

    The bolts that hold the Westy hinge bracket to the roof go through those three holes and into the nuts that are welded the bracket above. The Westy roof skin is also nicely flattened out in the area where the hinge bracket sits.

    024.jpg
     
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  15. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    My original plan involved just removing the metal piece that held the three bolts from each of the supports, and then welding that back onto the corresponding support in the TinTop. When I removed the roof skin from the Tin Top I discovered that it didn’t have the required support so I then had to repair the support that I “hacked” out of the Westy.

    Anyway after a lot of cutting/grinding and the odd @$%& I finally had the Westy roof skin free.

    025.jpg 026.jpg 027.jpg 028.jpg

    All up I spent about 6 weeks prepping the Westy Roof (Started Jan and finished mid Feb). This was only working a day here and there, knowing what I do now I think I could knock it over in about 3-4 days solid work (maybe less)
     
  16. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Now onto the TinTop prep (Mid March now)

    Same in reverse really, although somewhat easier as the TinTop doesn’t have all of the strengthening associated with the upper bunk.

    Spot weld removal tool and Dremel again

    029.jpg 030.jpg

    I could afford to drill out these spot welds on the TinTop as I wasn’t worried about the roof skin above.

    031.jpg
     
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  17. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    With all of the spot welds removed I used a cut-off wheel to cut the roof from gutter to gutter just fwd of the B-Pillar (I would trim his back later).

    032.jpg

    With that done the whole roof was quickly removed.

    033.jpg

    I then removed the C-Pillar cross support as this is included in the Westy roof part.

    034.jpg
     
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  18. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    About now I realised I would need to make some repairs to the supports that I butchered while removing the Westy skin.
    After a bit of metal bashing they started to take shape again.

    035.jpg
     
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  19. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    At this point a fair bit of time was consumed fitting the Westy roof on to the van, removing cutting/grinding and then the whole process was repeated a fair few times until I was comfortable that it was a neat fit.

    036.jpg

    037.jpg
     
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  20. Hutchie

    Hutchie Active Member

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Tapitallee
    Once happy with the fit I applied a good dose of weld through primer and called in a professional welder (I can’t weld for S#@$).

    038.jpg

    First tack welds going in.

    039.jpg

    Ended up making the final cut mid way over the B-Pillar, here it is being tacked up.
    040.jpg

    Grinding and checking welds in the back. The original roof skin is brazed right on the back corner (gold coloured material showing through), this made the welding in this area a tough task.

    041.jpg

    After 9 hours of bouncing all over the job to ensure the heat was distributed evenly, here is the last weld going in.


    042.jpg
     
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