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L400 crystal light - pop top conversion


 
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peter_rookie



Joined: 27 Oct 2020
Posts: 104
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2022 7:11    Post subject: L400 crystal light - pop top conversion Reply with quote

hi All,
it took me a while to get my registration sorted, it was almost 18 months since I bought the Deli. For the type approval I had to produce a lot of paper work which is hard to get but yes, finally done! will probably be the first road legal one in Austria now.
S1, 1994, 2.8, exceed model, sun roof + crystal lights.
car is basically rust free, very solid underneath. original plan was to do a camper conversion with kind of a r&r bed but extending out back with heavy duty drawer rails and a tent on the tail closing with the sills of the rear hatch. wanted to keep space inside even when bed deployed. anyways....if the registration would not have lasted that long I would not have had the time to overthink it all.
in Jan weīve been to Namibia again, again had a bushcamper Landcruiser with a pop up roof and again we just loved the ease of use and extra space. standing upright at the beds end to change clothes or whatever is just brilliant, climbing up without disturbing the bed and partner another benefit. for that to happen you need space, 60 - 70cm in lenght for that is the minimum. we are relatively tall and I am robustly built so to say. we only need space for two with an option for a kid to sleep in the lower part.
why not build that on a Deli? Looked around a lot, conversions I've seen so far are mostly pop up roofs that give you height but not space to sleep on top. the shape of the Deli is just narrowing down on top unlike the D5 or other vans out there or older 4x4s.
I do have a Toyota Prado which I was planning on such conversion but given the small roof length of 2.3m itīs not worth it. and this is where the Deli comes in. after looking at it from many (probably yet not all) angles I started to take measures and plan around.
two main challenges: roof width from rain gutter lh/rh is about 1.25m. for a bed to be acceptable we need a 1.3m x 2.0m mattress. so it is too narrow. the length of the roof is about 2.7m which is nice but...the rear hatch opens upwards and that part of the roof is lost leaving a rough 2.4m clearance only. not enough to stand upright and climb up without some pain.

so here is what I came up with in words, add some drawings.

build a supporting frame of 90° steel angle profile all around, resting on rain gutters lh/rh. on this frame I will later put the construction of the roof top tent, hard shell, hinges in front, gas struts lh/rh, some latches to fix when closed, just standard rtt design. can be built in the garage, on the floor or elsewhere, put on the frame when ready to go. this is quite some work but has been done thousands of times (not by me) and have gathered lots of ideas.

the challenge I am having is the supporting frame all around or in other words, what will I find when I cut the roof open. I have two options. either putting/welding the 90° angle like an L or upside down on the gutter. I would prefer the L as it would save some height of the finished vehicle. on the other hand to get enough clearance inside the rtt shell it would be better to build higher as side walls can be 3cm less in height which is probably 6-8kg all round the frame. this I will have to figure somehow. gaps between the frame and remaining roof need to be closed with sheet metal welded to frame and vehicle to give extra strength.

my question here, is there a big difference if I cut 1cm or 4cm above the gutter? I will need to remove all crossmembers anyhow as the high roof needs to go. the high roof hight shall be taking more than 50% of the rtt construction overall height. ideally the final height will be only +10cm.

Q: has anyone cut into a roof for whatever reason? I did not yet remove the headliners as I need to show the car once more to the approving authority in 4four weeks, need to keep it together. also only want to start the cutting later in autumn as we want to use it over the summer as a basic camper.

challenge #2: rear door conversion. in order to gain another 30cm clearance inside to reach 70-80cm space for standing upright or climbing up, the rear door needs to transform. only upper part sidewalls shall remain, glass needs to go, hinges will go etc. plan is to weld a subframe that goes 90° vertical from loading edge up to L-frame which extends all the way to that point - the extra 30cm. subframe in mild steel and strong enough to hold a reinforced sandwich door that can either carry the spare wheel or two jerry cans. lights shall only remain as built in to sidewall of vehicle, supporting frame and rear extension will be attached there. noted that the rear lights are mounted with bolts exactly where I'd like to weld, need to figure a latch or something to be able to do that if necessary... the lights in the door do only include the reverse lights I think, those need to be replaced by some generic ones but that is the least problem here.

cutting the rear section above the door is what worries me the most, how strong does the extended supporting frame need to be keep the body strong enough? I assume the rear section is pretty strong and heavy and replacing that part should be done accordingly. the basic idea is to have the new frame fitted before cutting anything that holds the structure in place, so nothing will deform.

please ask or comment on anything but donīt ask why :-)

pictures are on FB:
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2022 7:11    Post subject: Google Ads keep this community free to join!


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peter_rookie



Joined: 27 Oct 2020
Posts: 104
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2022 7:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://photobucket.com/u/peterpacceo/p/5b3229f0-4fd3-4d66-a31b-fd44dc49b91f

https://photobucket.com/u/peterpacceo/p/7a061b31-6e09-4096-9a6a-812d1dc9b853

https://photobucket.com/u/peterpacceo/p/b80871ec-622e-43a7-a403-b1302989a917

https://photobucket.com/u/peterpacceo/p/51450c54-c99f-4cce-84fc-d32d68c762b7

there are two options either to fit the rtt evenly with the roof after wind screen or to extend it a bit in front which I donīt think will be necessary.
picture with dimensions just for reference showing high/low roof versions. given the difference of about 10cm in height I think cutting near the gutter shall be fine and extra height shall not be more than 10cm compared to stock.
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PinkPig
Lifetime member
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Joined: 05 Aug 2004
Posts: 2667
Location: Southampton, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2022 8:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a read of the links in my signature....
_________________
The PINK PIG!
1988 Delica L300 Star Wagon 2.5TD 5sp Manual.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/__PinkPig___/

A never ending camper/restoration project
Project 1 - Pop-top camper conversion 2011-2015
Project 2 - Campervan the sequel - 2016 restoration, welding, respray, new interior, vertical pop...
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peter_rookie



Joined: 27 Oct 2020
Posts: 104
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2022 8:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you, yesss, Iīve seen the pink pig, what an inspiration!

we do a lot of tours on the Balkans and Romania, so the roof needs to be quite rigid and deal with beatings from bushes and branches. therefore aluminium shell it must be.

guess mine will later go by the name turtle or mushroom from itīs silhouette :-)
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peter_rookie



Joined: 27 Oct 2020
Posts: 104
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 11:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi,

now reached the point of no return. gutted the ceiling, took down all lights, linings, sun shades and motors, took off the hatch door. fitted the new roof frame resting on the rain gutters and extending right back to the rear corner lights level. fitted a side opening door that came for free from an old oil storage room, perfect dimensions of 90x132 cm. modified it with some enforcement, cut open a window, did some welding and fitted a spare tyre carrier that I took off a Landcruiser J7, had to redo the stud pattern from five to six adjust it in width etc.
roof not cut open yet. btw, very pleased to see that all roof sections very intact, no rust, not even where the sun roof is.

here a few questions: how to best remove the glass elements of the crystal light? seem to be glued in? want to remove them before cutting the roof open as even with the lining removed I canīt fully see how far they reach down into the body section. same for rear door, need cut the side walls of the rear door to fit to my rear section, glass in the way for cutting. I wonīt be needing any of the glass anymore but would want to avoid the mess of broken glass.

thanks
Peter
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andyman



Joined: 08 Dec 2012
Posts: 5366
Location: Penrith

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 14:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't help on the cutting/ glass removal, but look after them, - they are rare as hens' teeth and worth advertising on Delica Mart, and here.
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Andy C L300 Super Exceed - over 100 smiles per gallon!
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andyman



Joined: 08 Dec 2012
Posts: 5366
Location: Penrith

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 14:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS Looking forward to seeing pics of your conversion.
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peter_rookie



Joined: 27 Oct 2020
Posts: 104
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 15:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you, I will be careful as possible.  I do have a lot of left overs from the tear down. sun shades, motors, sun roof which I only repaired to have it removed now, lot of stuff.

on the pictures... probably asked for a thousand times... what is the easiest.... okay, I will search for it...

may take a small clip and put on youtube of where I am at...
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peter_rookie



Joined: 27 Oct 2020
Posts: 104
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2022 6:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

took a quick walk around video yesterday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8A7zG7H7Mw&t=13s
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peter_rookie



Joined: 27 Oct 2020
Posts: 104
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2022 10:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

here are some follow ups on the build...

part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0qvGWDGaBs
part 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3_M6iqMD3k&t=48s
part 4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIOG-VGyehQ
part 5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd1HQ7Bt5SM

one of the crystal lites went to pieces... have saved the rh side which is still attached to the roof metal. no idea how that could ever come loose.

so far I have spent about six full days , mostly saturdays and some after work hours.
turns out to be quite a lot of work. my plan was a crude sketch only. all work was trial and error so far. lot to improvise. gathered a lot of knowledge which would only be of use when cutting up the next one :-)
now started working on the electrics, wire loom. need new outlets for third brake light, license plate lamp and reverse light. not my strong suit but doable. saved the the rear door loom and now take those connectors to connect to main loom and go from there with new cables. will do connectors close to the lamps in case they need replacement.
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