Ever since Yakima Europe fitted out Westfalia poptop with a roofrack we have been hard time with opening and closing the roof. Dont get me wrong the benefits of the roofrack outweight the struggle by far, but the poptop is about to get heavier because of a skybox, solar panels and surfboards that will be on the roof later.
The interweb is full of tips and options on how to pick the best lift assist and how to install it. Choosing the best option for our van was not easy. Because of our van not being an original Westfalia we do not have the extra strengthened roof underneath the hinges, therefore a lift assist that would not put any extra strain on the back hinge was preferred.
Soon we ended up at the GoWesty lift assist struts, they cost a bit more than other options, especially when you include the shipping to The Netherlands so we postponed buying a set. It turned out I had to go to the US for work so I ordered them to be shipped to the hotel I was staying. United airlines eventually made the shipping of the struts even more expensive than shipping them straight to Europe, $82 was their verdict when I tried to take them as hand luggage. Arriving on this side of the Ocean they lost track on where my beloved struts were, 1 week later they finally arrived at home and the $82 was put back on my account (score!!!) time for installing!
Having seen all the videos and instructions way before even getting the struts, I started to install the struts in the most forward position. First indicating the placement of the lower brackets on top of the van. After drilling the holes the included low tech smarty-pants solution can be installed to create 2 8mm fixing points on the van roof. Clamping the rubnuts into place feels a bit clumsy but it works like a charm.
Installing the lower brackets is actually the least easy part of the installation. When the lower brackets are installed it’s just a matter of clicking on the struts and clicking in the top brackets. When swung up the top brackets meet the poptop above and the top holes can be indicated.
After the holes are drilled in the poptop the top brackets can be installed, all nuts bolds and rivets are sealed with silicone before tightening it up, so no leaking please. The struts simply click into place and I couldn’t wait to close and open the roof and see the difference.
Without the Yakima roofrack the roof had to be forced down hard before it wanted to come down, but when the roofrack was back on top it was a smooth closing. We will have to wait and see what will happen when the complete roof set up including skybox solar panels and boards is up, but for now… SUCCES!