drew_greenday

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I've had a t5 swb and a t5.1 lwb, both converted. The lwb was a poptop and units where the swb was more of a part conversion.

I picked up 'hutch' two weeks ago from a vw centre in Newcastle. He is a 140 highline dsg in mojave. He's got factory fitted tailgate window and nothing else! Conversion will be slow ish due to time away with work and funds.

Here he is in lovely, rare, Scottish sun. First mod was led drl's as the yellow ones are pants.


So the first thing is roof. I'm torn between an SCA and an Austop.

The SCA is obviously the best, but it's over £2000 dearer. I know I've spent a fair bit on the van itself but was thinking I can get a roof, units, electrics and windows for the same price.
 

T6 Dave

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The roof is the biggest investment, and a one shot deal.. Get what you want, and hang the budget.. Or put off until you have the funds m8..
 

xpfloyd

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The roof choice is a hard one. My only experience was the sca on the hire camper we tried and it was great. When it came time to chose one for my own van I decided to pay the premium for the sca as I figured most other things can be changed later but not the roof. It also needs to last the life of the van so decided to buy what people deemed the best. I'm sure the other options are just as durable though I just didn't have any experience of them
 

scotia

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we went with an SCA on our lwb.. but then we didnt really have a choice, well we did but it was SCA or reimo and we didnt like the reimo on a hire one we had.. . In Switzerland they only accept these two as they have the TUV. There is no way around it for us so Hilo and all the others were out.. i spent 6mnths researching and trying to find out all the necessary details to prove to them that the likes of Hilo was ok etc but they came back with this: the Hilo seems to cut into the radius's at the back (no details can be had of this exactly so the swiss dvla prefer to err on the safe side) which goes outside of the allowable cut line from VW therefore VW Switzerland doesnt allow it. Until other proof is presented it wont happen here.. they were even going to let me do it and get an independant TUV done in germany which they would have then accepted.

i have sent all this info to Hilo but they dont communicate anymore so i left it.. i didnt get the necessary backup/info from them when required so went with SCA..
 

drew_greenday

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That's interesting! Thanks for the info. Austops are now TUV approved and come with a certificate of conformity. For me, of VW have sis they're fine, then they're fine.

Going to go Austops and convert it quicker!

Thanks for the replies.
 

T6 Dave

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Hmm shame about the lack of comms with Hilo ref TUV and fitting details, might of been due to the fact that they only fit through approved fitters, but would of been nice to start the process for them, as nobody will fit until cert, and they won't cert until someone wants to be a fitter circle?... Over to you for comment @HiLo Roofs , I'm very interested in fitting one, but might export to Europe after doing all my works, so TUV cert would be good for me as well...... :thumbsup:
 

DaveyB

Funds just don’t support the desires!!!
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we went with an SCA on our lwb.. but then we didnt really have a choice, well we did but it was SCA or reimo and we didnt like the reimo on a hire one we had.. . In Switzerland they only accept these two as they have the TUV. There is no way around it for us so Hilo and all the others were out.. i spent 6mnths researching and trying to find out all the necessary details to prove to them that the likes of Hilo was ok etc but they came back with this: the Hilo seems to cut into the radius's at the back (no details can be had of this exactly so the swiss dvla prefer to err on the safe side) which goes outside of the allowable cut line from VW therefore VW Switzerland doesnt allow it. Until other proof is presented it wont happen here.. they were even going to let me do it and get an independant TUV done in germany which they would have then accepted.

i have sent all this info to Hilo but they dont communicate anymore so i left it.. i didnt get the necessary backup/info from them when required so went with SCA..
@HiLo Roofs, are you able to offer any comment for other members who may be limited by the Swiss TUV requirements?
 

Vinci

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It would perhaps be of general interest to have a poll on who has what roof, along the lines of "what colours"
From my research, Skyline look nice, as do SCA, but the Austops I saw on a lwb looked like it sagged, but could have been an optical illusion to be fair. We are certainly spoiled for choice....I would like to think that in the UK there are no bad ones....maybe bad fitters tho?
 

scotia

Senior Member
T6 Guru
Well it wasnt a lack of comms re: TUV, they explained why they dont have it and i understand really - cost.. but if you are making a product for a market such as this i would expect that they at least communicate with VW - this has not been the case as far as i was able to find out - VW switzerland were not able to find anything. This alone would have resolved the issue for me as i would then be able to have a one off certificate from VW, and then get it TUV'd myself in germany..

I was going to become a fitter and do the course - with a view to taking their product to Switzerland (lots of demand....) but at the last minute they refused as they had been having a few fitter problems and they felt that as i had no experience it wasnt a good idea. Fair enough. I was seriously looking to do this. The TUV would make this possible (as for the TUV they'd need to also pass via VW) and to begin importing, i'd need to have that backup.

I'm certainly not bad mouthing Hilo - i love their product and im annoyed to have to have an SCA on my van... but with no communication from Hilo after i posed the questions with regards to the VW conformity and the cuts beyond the scope of the VW recommendations i thought i dont want all that hassle.
 

HiLo Roofs

Member
we went with an SCA on our lwb.. but then we didnt really have a choice, well we did but it was SCA or reimo and we didnt like the reimo on a hire one we had.. . In Switzerland they only accept these two as they have the TUV. There is no way around it for us so Hilo and all the others were out.. i spent 6mnths researching and trying to find out all the necessary details to prove to them that the likes of Hilo was ok etc but they came back with this: the Hilo seems to cut into the radius's at the back (no details can be had of this exactly so the swiss dvla prefer to err on the safe side) which goes outside of the allowable cut line from VW therefore VW Switzerland doesnt allow it. Until other proof is presented it wont happen here.. they were even going to let me do it and get an independant TUV done in germany which they would have then accepted.

i have sent all this info to Hilo but they dont communicate anymore so i left it.. i didnt get the necessary backup/info from them when required so went with SCA..

HI Scotia, As you know we spent a lot of time trying to help you with this matter but unfortunately the Swiss authorities seem to have different rules and regulations in regards to obtaining TUV approval.

We don’t have an overall ‘generic’ TUV approval on the HiLo product itself and one of the main reasons we haven’t gone down this route is mainly due to the fact we were quoted in the region of £40,000 in order for us to obtain it.

We are expanding our fitting network across Europe and for the fitters we have in Germany, France (and shortly the Netherlands & Spain), a generic TUV approval is not required by the authorities and a single TUV approval is all that is needed in these countries.

Our HiLo fitter in Germany does not require any authority whatsoever from VW in order to obtain TUV approval. It is the law before using on their roads that any major modifications such as a roof installation has to pass a TUV inspection. Therefore he takes each HiLo conversion to a TUV testing centre (similar to our MOT) to be approved individually. We also feel this way is far better than a generic TUV as it ensures that each and every HiLo conversion is individually checked and signed off. This way it prevents any inferior conversions slipping through the net.

We appreciate different countries have different rules and regulations, however unfortunately HiLo aren’t in a position to spend such a large amount of money for a generic TUV for a country where we get very few enquiries from – as much as we would like to :-(

Also, just to clarify some details around the fitment/cutting of the HiLo roof and the alleged VW recommended cutting line - by design, the HiLo roof has a very strong 6mm steel, one piece safety frame that is galvanized, powder coated, primed and then bonded and riveted all around the cut aperture.

This frame is also primed and bonded around the underside. This in effect encapsulates all cut edges and forms an extra strengthening loop over and under the existing box sections of the vehicle making it stronger up top than the original vehicle was before the roof skin was cut out. This extra strength was confirmed to us after we presented our T5 bodyshell with a HiLo safety frame installed for a first time successful crash testing at STATUS at Manchester University.

We came away confident that no compromise had been made regarding the upper body strength after cutting out and installing a HiLo roof in the crash test bodyshell.

Thanks
 

HiLo Roofs

Member
Well it wasnt a lack of comms re: TUV, they explained why they dont have it and i understand really - cost.. but if you are making a product for a market such as this i would expect that they at least communicate with VW - this has not been the case as far as i was able to find out - VW switzerland were not able to find anything. This alone would have resolved the issue for me as i would then be able to have a one off certificate from VW, and then get it TUV'd myself in germany..

I was going to become a fitter and do the course - with a view to taking their product to Switzerland (lots of demand....) but at the last minute they refused as they had been having a few fitter problems and they felt that as i had no experience it wasnt a good idea. Fair enough. I was seriously looking to do this. The TUV would make this possible (as for the TUV they'd need to also pass via VW) and to begin importing, i'd need to have that backup.

I'm certainly not bad mouthing Hilo - i love their product and im annoyed to have to have an SCA on my van... but with no communication from Hilo after i posed the questions with regards to the VW conformity and the cuts beyond the scope of the VW recommendations i thought i dont want all that hassle.
HI again,

Due to the complexity of fitting the HiLo system and to ensure that any customer who purchases a HiLo roof, receives the best service/experience and that their conversion is finished to HiLo’s standard, we have had to make it company policy that that we only accept onto our fitters training course, people who are experienced in this field. This is even more imperative with our overseas fitters as it would be extremely difficult to monitor or offer our assistance should there be any sub-standard fitting issues due to inexperience (it’s easy to assist/rectify in the UK) - All our European fitters have had many years’ experience in the camper conversion/leisure industry.
 
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T6 Dave

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@HiLo Roofs , many thanks for the very informative, and well written posts in response to this.. I am very interested in the roof sytem, as I might be needing one fitted to my lwb. I would be interested in knowing the process that is involved with the frame fitment, with any available pics, as my concerns are with corrosion over a long period of time after the fitment.. I have never had a pop top before, but I like the look of your roof system with the way it keeps the vehicles original lines.

Once again, many thanks, and thank you for not taking any offence to any of the posts involved, that shows me that you are a professional company worth dealing with.. And is reassuring and refreshing. :thumbsup:
 

scotia

Senior Member
T6 Guru
Thanks Hilo for the response.

As i said i wasnt bad mouthing you atall.

The only regret that i have is that the information i have from VW Switzerland is that Hilo havent spoken with VW with regards to the roof - this apparently wouldnt be a costly thing for you to do and would then have free'd up me to fit your roof. Nothing to do with the TUV, but this would make it v easy for VW to write me a certificate that they are willing for me to install this roof.

Anyways, i hope all in the UK and other lucky countries with not so strict dvla's enjoy their Hilo!
 

HiLo Roofs

Member
@HiLo Roofs , many thanks for the very informative, and well written posts in response to this.. I am very interested in the roof sytem, as I might be needing one fitted to my lwb. I would be interested in knowing the process that is involved with the frame fitment, with any available pics, as my concerns are with corrosion over a long period of time after the fitment.. I have never had a pop top before, but I like the look of your roof system with the way it keeps the vehicles original lines.

Once again, many thanks, and thank you for not taking any offence to any of the posts involved, that shows me that you are a professional company worth dealing with.. And is reassuring and refreshing. :thumbsup:
Hi there, thanks for that, no offence taken :) Regards the corrosion, all cut edges and bare metal exposed after cutting out the aperture are substantially painted with rust inhibitor before the frame is lowered in. The frame itself is galvanised and aluminium and stainless steel is used throughout, even the main hinges are stainless steel so regarding corrosion there shouldn’t ever be any risk....
 

HiLo Roofs

Member
Thanks Hilo for the response.

As i said i wasnt bad mouthing you atall.

The only regret that i have is that the information i have from VW Switzerland is that Hilo havent spoken with VW with regards to the roof - this apparently wouldnt be a costly thing for you to do and would then have free'd up me to fit your roof. Nothing to do with the TUV, but this would make it v easy for VW to write me a certificate that they are willing for me to install this roof.

Anyways, i hope all in the UK and other lucky countries with not so strict dvla's enjoy their Hilo!
Thanks Scotia :thumbsup:
 

drew_greenday

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So I came back from work last week and had a load of stuff waiting.

I bought the lwb conversion kit from Harrison's trim supplies and set about fitting this.

First up was to remove the annoying bulkhead mount.

Was easier than last time, maybe because I knew how to? It's all removed and flattened. All open metal work will be treated prior to flooring.

Started sound proofing with the rear quarter first, then the door. I will be fitting Dacron in the void and finishing off with space blanket.
One question I do have is how do people fit the panels, with hidden clips? The 6mm panels don't take the hidden clips. Unless I'm missing something. I used the thinner wood panels on my last van and it looked fine. Would like to use the thicker ones if I can work out how to use them and my hidden clips.

I'll be filling in the gaps at the rear before I carpet them, don't want any voids with just carpet over them.

Rain stopped play. Was a pain workin in the van with all of the panels in the way.
 

xpfloyd

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I used 6mm ply and hidden clips. You need to use a larger wood bit and drill from behind to reduce the thickness of the ply at the clip location. If I was to do it all again I would use 4mm ply as 6mm is not worth the hassle
 
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