Cost of putting a high-top roof on an extended body e250/e350 or similar van?

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Scott

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Hey Guys,

So I've been planning out my van build more and settled on a few points. I want to be able to stand up in my new home. I don't care for the look of most of the conversion vans on the market in my price range (7-10k for van, solar, modifications, internals, etc). I'd love to have an Xplorer from '98-'05 like Happily Houseless and Justin Credibles, but realistically that isn't going to happen. At the moment I am thinking about buying an extended body e250/e350 and adding an aftermarket roof. Does this sound reasonable and does anyone know how much adding the roof would cost? Also would I then have problems putting solar and a fantastic fan on the roof? Just my current thoughts and questions. I'd love to hear feedback from people more knowledgeable than me. Thanks


-Scott
 

Almost There

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There's so many variables to take into account - height and style of the high top, year of vehicle, make etc. etc.

I had 3 grand set aside in the budget for putting one on mine if I didn't find one with it already installed. I lucked out!!

A less expensive way is to find one that is already on a vehicle at the wreckers and recycle it. You do have to make sure it's going to fit properly though. My parents moved theirs from the old van to the newer but both vans were the same wheelbase and make.

There's no problem putting a roof vent in a fiberglass top. People with fiberglass RV's do it all the time.

Some people have put the solar up there too so it can be done. Either use a gutter mount rack system or mounted directly to the roof.

My van came complete with one little solar panel up there but it's coming off shortly. It's too small to fill my needs, somewhere around a decade old and it was installed without putting any sealer around all the bolt holes so they were all leaking...sigh!! I also don't want anything up on the roof that I can't service. I would never be able to get up high enough to tilt the solar panels, would have to park in the sun for them to be useful and would have to rely on rain to keep them clean. I'm going with a portable solar pack when I'm ready to add it.

When you're ready, let me know and I'll fill you in on a couple of neat things that the original owner did on this one that I like.
 

Scott

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Ugh 3 grand is a lot more than I was hoping it would be. I'm all for recycling so hopefully that would work out. What type of van do you have? I'd love to hear about the things the original owner did for yours.
 

Almost There

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Scott said:
Ugh 3 grand is a lot more than I was hoping it would be. I'm all for recycling so hopefully that would work out. What type of van do you have? I'd love to hear about the things the original owner did for yours.

I have a 2002 GMC Savana 2500. It needs some body work and undoubtedly will need some mechanical work but I expected that. It came with the high high top. BUT I got it for what I would have paid for the high top installation alone and it came with tow package and only 62,000 miles on it. PO had used it for towing his Airstream back and forth to Florida and little else.

Normally when a fiberglass roof is installed the original roof is cut away about 6" from the walls with the exception of the area over the cab where it is cut at the first rib back from the front. This is supposed to provide some stability to the roof in case of roll over.

The company that installed mine left the rear of the roof intact forward to the first rib there as well. It means I have about 5 1/2' in the middle that is clear to the top of the fiberglass roof but it also means I have this huge cavern at the back for storage as well as the area over the cab. I don't need to stand up all the way to the back, it's going to be over the kitchen pantry/fridge area and over the head of the bed.

I'm super pleased about the extra storage because I'll be full timing in it.
 

SoulRaven

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A friend of mine is a big advocate of old high top church vans. He says they have usually had above average care and can be found pretty cheap.

Personally, I dislike vents or anything else that can leak on my roof.
 

highdesertranger

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if you can find one already installed that would be great. after that one from a junk yard would be my choice but then you must install it yourself. can you do this? highdesertranger
 

Bdog1

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Be patient. Buy one already set-up if it's a must have.
 

Scott

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Definitely would not be able to install one myself. Most of the conversion process is going to be taxing on its own as I have chronic pain issues. From all the input, I definitely will be trying to find a van with one already installed. Thanks for the advice everyone. Price range is definitely outside of what I'd want to pay.
 

Yoji

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Scott said:
Hey Guys,

So I've been planning out my van build more and settled on a few points. I want to be able to stand up in my new home. . . . . . I'd love to hear feedback from people more knowledgeable than me. Thanks


-Scott

An idea I'm playing with . . .

Since the only time you really need to stay is in the "kitchen", how about making kind of a roof ventilation door above the kitchen?
Like a small POP-UP but with hinges along one side, and when you are done you lower it and close it.

Anybody saw something similar ? ! ?

Feel free to lough,

Yoji
 

SoulRaven

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Yoji said:
An idea I'm playing with . . .

Since the only time you really need to stay is in the "kitchen", how about making kind of a roof ventilation door above the kitchen?
Like a small POP-UP but with hinges along one side, and when you are done you lower it and close it.

Anybody saw something similar ? ! ?

Feel free to lough,

Yoji

Some of the original Westy's had just that.

189863.jpg
 

Almost There

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Yoji said:
An idea I'm playing with . . .

Since the only time you really need to stay is in the "kitchen", how about making kind of a roof ventilation door above the kitchen?
Like a small POP-UP but with hinges along one side, and when you are done you lower it and close it.

Anybody saw something similar ? ! ?

Feel free to lough,

Yoji
No idea of how to do what you want to do. Sealing it against water entry when closed might be a bit of a problem though.
BUT
 I also like to stand when I'm getting off the john and also when I'm getting dressed (at least the pants part..lol).
The area that benefits from standing room is larger than you might think. Due to extra storage areas that were left in my high top installation I have a space about 6' x width of the van that I can stand in. All the areas that need standing room have been designed to fall under that space.

The other thing that a full size high top is good for is all the extra storage space it can provide. I would have been building in overhead cabinets all around the edge if not for the storage already in place.
 

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