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Jocklandjohn

110 lifting roof (has begun in earnest)

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Query for the welding experts:

HTS2000 weldybrazy stuff? Would this be suitable for my purposes inside my roof? I'm getting the proper welder fellow to do the pretty TIG welds on the outside of the frame for me - the ones that are seen and very structurally important.

But there are a load more little spot welds needed inside to attach the various L brackets that bolt the new roof to the old roof, and to put in attachment points (lots more L brackets) for ply to be screwed to etc. which it would make sense to do myself.

And there's also the 19mm box section framing for the roof panel to do, needing attached to the frame and to itself to create the skeleton to support the roof sheet.

Would this HTS stuff be suitably strong enough for all of this?

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Query for the welding experts:

HTS2000 weldybrazy stuff? Would this be suitable for my purposes inside my roof? I'm getting the proper welder fellow to do the pretty TIG welds on the outside of the frame for me - the ones that are seen and very structurally important.

But there are a load more little spot welds needed inside to attach the various L brackets that bolt the new roof to the old roof, and to put in attachment points (lots more L brackets) for ply to be screwed to etc. which it would make sense to do myself.

And there's also the 19mm box section framing for the roof panel to do, needing attached to the frame and to itself to create the skeleton to support the roof sheet.

Would this HTS stuff be suitably strong enough for all of this?

John, Would it not be better for the gent doing your Tig welding to carry on and make it as good as what you have on the outside now? as It would be a shame for it to fail-the project that is, If your spot welds etc aren't up to par-I'm not disrespecting your capability to weld, but seeing as the tig welding gent has done such a good job so far surely letting him carry on and completing the further/future welds would make sense as it'd look as good on the inside as it does on the outside.

John.

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Hi John - thanks...relax......the proper (expert) welder is doing the inside stuff!

It was me thinking out loud after seeing some of the HTS2000 stuff in action and wondering if it was a viable alternative for some bits of it, but after reading up about the stuff over the last few days I'm still not convinced and I'd rather it was all done to the same standard as the rest! Even though much of it is 'out-of-sight' it's still satisfying to know its done to a high standard.

There's a few odd non-crucial bits on the outside that are not hugely load-bearing I'm thinking of trying the HTS on that would not entail a load of pain if they failed.

Anyway, hopeful the welder can fit me in this weekend. Just got 25mm Kingspan for the roof insulation, and a couple of sheets of 6mm ply to put inside.

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Anyway recent progress as follows - stuck on the brackets for fastening the new roof to old roof using Tiger Seal so that the welder can simply tack away without having to faff about, and then established the locations for the holes for fixing the top leaf of the hinge into the elevating upper part of the new roof. I'd only had the hinge screwed to the lower roof up till now.

Stuff laid out on ground.

H3.jpg

H2.jpg

This was not an easy job. Mainly because I was on my own. Had to bodge up a ladder to elevate one end so that the other, hinged end, would fit, along with several lengths of wood to hold it up.

H6.jpg

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Well when I say 'alone' - I wasn't entirely alone - I had company and a stern critic.........

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But I was able to use the offcut of the hinge to establish exactly where I needed to locate the holes in the top section, drill a few pilot holes, add a small drop of WD40 to each and then self-tap screw through. Lifted it up and over and....it fitted beautifully.....

H7.jpg

Propped it up on a couple of sticks and got a sense of how it will look. Works fine and has given me a good idea of what the front sealing options will be (how the fabric sides will finish at the front end).

H8.jpg

And then the rain stopped and the sun came out......

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Looking good, bet you are glad it all fitted together :)

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Aye! It's one thing doing it 'loose' but once you fasten the hinges on there's a lot less leeway and any errors will be obvious. What I did establish by fitting it all together is that the actual vehicle must be slightly off-square - not much - between 5mm and 10mm from corner to corner, but once you translate that to a lifting roof section it becomes a slight problem that needs working around.

Basically we can only weld indoors as the welding gear wont stretch far enough to do the welds in-situ on the old roof with the van outside, so we cant establish the correct angles for the new roof by using the old roof as a template. Instead I need to take the new roof off, carry it inside, and try to transfer the slight 'error' from the old roof to the new one, then adjust the lifting lid to suit so that when its seam-welded its held to the 'correct' angles and is not trying to fight its way around and buckling itself.

It's not a huge pain, just something to be aware of and deal with so it doesn't come back to haunt me later!

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Managed to get in with the welder on Saturday morning for a 7.30am start - just for a few hours as Stevie had an appointment later in the morning, but he was back in later in the day so we were able to finish it.

Sat6.jpg



Got the brackets tacked on that fix the lower section of the new roof to the existing roof. Bit concerned about the heat warping the alloy but although the weld locations are slightly visible from the outside they're not unduly noticeable and I may fix a pair of long swing-out brackets to support an awning on there anyway, at least on one side, which will conceal any slight imperfections. I could have bolted on the brackets through the face but I'm trying to make the least number of holes in the new roof as possible to minimize water ingress. It is a Land Rover after all.............

Sat5.jpg


Then the box section bracing for the lifting portion of the roof was laid out. This is where the pair of wooden 'rods' I'd prepared previously (with the spacing for the box section marked out and slots for box pieces cut out) proved their worth. It was quick and easy to align and tack the individual cross-pieces, as they were held rigid and in precisely in the correct location by the wooden rods, which also helped to prevent any (rotational) twisting out of alignment. It made the welders job a lot easier.

Sat4.jpg

So whilst Stevie was tacking on I was able to get final and accurate sizes for the shorter box section pieces running long ways, and quickly cut them on the chopsaw. With everything fitting well, I brought in the roof hatch and we used that to align the final two short sections for the sides of the hatch to ensure the fit was perfect - the hatch has very tight tolerances for fit because of the quite tight corner curves, only a couple of mm or so, so working to the dead size of the hatch was ideal.

Sat3.jpg


Later on finally we got it all done and lifted it back onto the Land Rover roof, where the lower section (which had looked a mile off on the workshop floor) was forced back into shape. Whilst it was on the floor it looked terrible, the upper section's fit seemed really bad, but this improved when it was put back onto the vehicle. It was obvious that there has been a slight bit of warping (outwards) in the centre of the upper section - you can see it in the photo taken outside (yes its still raining, well almost snowing in fact). I reckon I'll need to get a couple of blocks of wood and stilson wrench onto it and 'tweak' it a bit to straighten it out. Have a few options to remedy this, just have to see which is best.

Sat2.jpg


Next job is to 'tweak' the lifting section with the hinge attached properly, to get it as 'square' with the lower section as possible, and then drill and loosely fasten the alloy sheet for the roof. By doing that I'll have holes pre-drilled for fitting the pop-rivets when I glue the sheet down and the panel will take the 'proper' alignment (all things going to plan!) when I'm working with it off the van and on the ground.

Sat1.jpg

Will have to think carefully about the roof rack construction. I'll pop up a drawing of a possible solution shortly for some comment.

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Current progress: slight hold up of a technical nature. The welding kit wont reach outside so all the welding has demanded that I lift the new roof assembly off and lay it in the welding shop to have all the work done. We tried as hard as poss to keep the two sections square, but have apparently only managed it with the base which fits perfectly to the original roof. However the top has crept out of alignment by a bit more than is acceptable, due to several factors (one being the LandRover not being perfectly square). SO a few days ago I cut the welds of the four corners (only on the top seams, didn't touch the vertical welds) and also released the tack welds along one side on the box section bracing. It immediately went 'ping' and sprung into the correct shape once I sat it back on the roof.

But remedying this has made a decision for me that I was contemplating anyway......fastening the roof down is ideally done from inside, but the billowing fabric makes this quite complicated, so I've decided I'll do it on the outside with several of these and they will not only keep it down but pull it to the correct location at the outer edge of the lower section, with the added bonus of keeping it all properly aligned whilst I reweld it.

But these clips may also allow temporary hard sides to be clipped in if I need them - for winter use and really windy nights. So I'll have the fabric for summer and the option of adding the hard sides when required. They can be relatively thin (maybe 6mm) in two pieces for each side and stored inside with minimal weight penalty. I just need to add another clip set to them and they'll fasten up tightly when the roof is lifted.

I'll have a couple of locking clips only accessible on the inside though so that the roof is locked down tight and opening the outer clips wont allow entry.

Anyway this morning I got the clips from the yacht chandlers (stainless steel) and fitted them on the side. Might seem overkill, but they not only hold the top down tightly (NB the rubber seal is NOT yet fitted, but the clips are adjustable so they allow for this) they also help to keep it aligned - as the clip has a small upstand that goes above the lip of the alloy they help keep the sides in the correct place. I need to drill and countersink another hole in the clip as the supplied holes are not in the correct place - well one is, but the other two are not use. I'm not sure about keeping the eyehole - might be useful to stop vibration from popping them open - I can stick a little clip in there to lock it.

Clip located

clip1.jpg

Close up - you can see the 'lip' created by the clip standing above the alloy surface.

clip2.jpg


All aligned nicely (yes its still raining - well sleeting today).

clip3.jpg

And when I get round to making removable hard sides these will allow the panels to be clipped in and tightly held. As you can see there's a couple of wooden battens across the roof - they're holding the roof to the correct width - since I released the side weld joints the alloy has bowed out - it will pull in when I refix it but for the time being the wood does the job.

clip4.jpg



And the front - all aligned nicely and looking not too bad.

clip5.jpg

clip6.jpg

Now that the clips are on they pull the top section into the correct position so I can tack weld the box sections and corner to keep it right, pop the top sheet of 1.2mm alloy on and temporarily fix it so that when I lift the top section off for proper welding it will (I hope) stay in alignment. We'll see!

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Very nice John.

Don't worry if it's not square as long as everything lines up.

No matter how we tried the door apatures on our trailer woudln't square up. You don't notice it until pointed out.

The body is 4mm out across one width as well.

What are you using to cover the lifting roof sides to the roof solid top ?

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Very nice John.

Don't worry if it's not square as long as everything lines up.

No matter how we tried the door apatures on our trailer woudln't square up. You don't notice it until pointed out.

The body is 4mm out across one width as well.

What are you using to cover the lifting roof sides to the roof solid top ?

Thanks Mike and Ralph.

Sides will be some form of sail-style fabric, maybe lightly rubberized nylon - the local tarpaulin maker had a look at the plans and was really excited about doing something different, and had several material types they could use. They make bouncy castles too and that stuff is pretty tough, so maybe something like that but a little lighter might suffice.

If I make it out of quite strong fabric I can get it really taut when its open so that will prevent it flapping too much and keeping me awake.

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That's maybe better than to stuff we got.

It's all marked on the coating on the inside where folded. Margaret paid enough for it. NO we won't be changing it, we'll live with it.

How are you holding the fabric to the roof. We're using Velcro.

You do get a sense of achievemet doing things yourself

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Looks pretty damn smart that!!! Lot better than the homebrew checkerplate and mdf attempts you see.

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Mike - I'll have a good look at their stock - they make all sorts of stuff so I should have a bit of choice.

Holding it in - well I'm going to get them to fold the fabric back on itself so that there double fabric where it 'folds' over the top of the upstand on the lower (fixed) section. I'll have them stitch through to make a long pocket into which I'll put a thin strip of alloy that will be bolted through onto the upstand. Here's the strip:

fabric1.jpg

And here's how it will be fixed on to the upstand of the bottom profile:

fabric2.jpg

I'll keep the fabric up from the bottom horizontal face which should prevent water being soaked up into the fabric and getting mouldy.

Here's the drawing:

LR2.jpg

The top is basically the same method but fastened to the ply lining of the inner roof, which will have some wood battens (20mm x 20mm) glued in behind which will provide a fastening point (as well as the alloy box sections running across the width). As the top edge is going to be fastened on to the inner horizontal face of the roof, with the pocket facing outwards (ie bolts will be on the outside of the fabric) it should not allow any water in. I'll put silicon on it as well.

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We've gone for Velcro which it what the ZA caravan manufacturers use. especially Conqueror.

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Velcro is pretty versatile and will be perfect on your van. I'm guessing though that your sleeping area is low down so if you get caught in a really wild night you can drop the lid?

As we'll be sleeping up top a really wild night could be problematic with velcro - hence the pocket/flat bar/ bolts and substantial fabric. However - once I have the lid properly fixed and establish the dimensions of the side panels and have figured out whether I can clip in temporary rigid side panels I may be able to go for lighter fabric.

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Thanks Mike - that's neat. I'm thinking more of something no more than 6mm thick, maybe thin alloy glued to ply backing, with each side being in two pieces, and either hinged in the middle (could be either conventional piano hinge or some of the new folding nylon/rubber types) or with a male/female joint - ball profile on one side, cup profile on the other - I've seen this stuff on folding caravans, its light and strong and great for making simple joints. It will also have added advantage of making the panel very rigid by creating a strong structural joint.

Then when I need hard sides I can clip them in using the clasps already attached to the existing top/bottom of the fixed roof. Done properly this could be very strong and rigid. So fabric for summer and clip-ins for dodgy weather and autumn/winter. As they're fairly thin there will be very little weight penalty. They could be carried inside somewhere (attached to the roof?), or outside between the roof bars.

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Well here's todays progress - those of you who've followed the thread will know I got the lifting lid bit a tad off-square - mainly due to having to weld it up off the roof, so effectively without the 'template' provided by the Land Rover itself. So to remedy that I've 'released' the tack welds on the box section bracing on one side, and the top of the corner seam welds, and then used the van as a guide, put on the side clips and pulled it down tight and into the correct shape, then braced the corners and pop-rived on the end of the box section where I split the weld. Once its rewelded I can grind off the top of the rivet to get a flat surface for putting the roof sheet down onto.

abc2.jpg

Corner welds split all round.

abc3.jpg

End of box riveted on to hold it correctly for the welder.

abc1.jpg

Bracing across each corner to keep it to correct angles when lifted off for re-welding.

abc4.jpg

Had to make sure that when I adjusted the frame shape that I didn't mess up the hole for the roof hatch.

abc5.jpg

Hatch fits perfectly (1mm clearance all round perfect for mastic). Self-supporting hinge mechanism is really good.

abc6.jpg

And it goes over to 180 degrees too (not shown here).

abc7.jpg

Low profile too - it will be 1" less than the height of the roof bars I'm intending to fit.

abc8.jpg

Welder is off on a job until Wednesday so it'll be a few days until I can possibly get back in to have the few tacks redone. Meanwhile I've got some acid-etch primer to do the roof panel which is still covered with its protective plastic film so that saves me a lot of faffing about cleaning. Plan is to prime and coat (white) the roof sheet panel so it only leaves the horizontal faces of the lifting portion to do once its all together. Paint plan is blue (same as rest of van) up to the lifting portion, and then the top white. So it will look like a 'traditional' Land Rover paint job of x colour and white roof. The white should make the roof look lower too. Although it looks quite tall as it is, the whole new roof (top and bottom sections combined) is actually only 5" higher than the top of the existing roof

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