CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/16/21 12:56 p.m.

This is classic scope creep. I went to put in a new counter top in my van, and now I've removed all of the insulation and ceiling. And I'm considering cutting out some of the bracing. That got intense rather quickly!

Removing these four pieces of bracing would significantly improve my available head room in the "kitchen." Good idea or bad idea? 

My concern is the loss of structural rigidity. There are a total of 6 cross members, so cutting this out would drop me to five. But most of the high tops I see don’t have any! Though they do have the factory rear pillar, which mine does not have due to the high rear doors.

I was thinking of cutting at the four outer points of this cross. The front of the van is toward the bottom of the image. Cutting those four spots would leave the bars on the sides of the van.

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/16/21 12:59 p.m.

View looking at all of the bracing looking back. You can see how theit takes a away about 6" of valuable head room.

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/21 1:11 p.m.

If you cut out the cross maybe triangulate the remaining box like this:

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/21 1:21 p.m.

In reply to QuasiMofo (John Brown) :

Or at least gusset it.

The roof would probably stay attached to the van just fine if you removed all that steel framework, but it also might crack from the sides of the van flexing. In other words, I think you could remove the whole thing & re-engineer a solution that tucks up closer to the fiberglass & is more open in the center. 

However, if you don't want to go to those extremes, either add in some diagonal tubing like JmfnB suggested, or at least some gussets on the corners. 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/16/21 2:29 p.m.

Quasimofo, I was sort of thinking something like that. 

Pete, I was hoping you would chime in. Yeah, gussets are a good idea, thanks! I dont think I'm up for removing it all and doing a new solution as this is pretty much the only area where we stand as the rest is occupied by the bed. 

Are you thinking you'll do something like this if you cut your top off?

I didn't even realize there was so much bracing until I pulled back the ceiling. 

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/21 3:44 p.m.

Honestly is likely more about keeping it from flexing at speed and ruining the seal between the steel and fiberglass. It is that low likely to create a more seem less headliner and not have a lot of detail work. Gussets would probably be perfect but I will HIGHLY recommend doing BOTH sides of each joint (12 gussets)

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/16/21 5:10 p.m.

Ah, yeah 12, that makes sense. I like that idea. Thank you.

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
4/16/21 6:20 p.m.

Wow that is a lot of bracing.  You could do pull ups in there.

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/16/21 7:17 p.m.

In reply to MrJoshua :

I know! The main front to back piece and lateral ribs are stout. Looks to be iron too. I couldn't believe how much there was when I started pulling the ceiling apart. 

None of the other vans I have looked at have it. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/21 7:35 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Yeah, that's basically what I have in mind, minus the center bar running front-to-rear, and I plan to keep the sides vertical. 

Can you get a pic or 2 of how & where that steel frame mounts to the van body please?

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/21 9:21 p.m.
MrJoshua said:

Wow that is a lot of bracing.  You could do pull ups in there.

I am surprised at home much room you lose to that bracing.

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/17/21 2:24 p.m.

In reply to mad_machine (Forum Supporter) :

I know, it's substantial. It's like they put on a 20" top only to get a foot of headroom. 

I have no experience welding. Do you guys think it's best to go to a body shop or a welder to get this sort of thing done? 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/17/21 2:29 p.m.

Here you go Pete. They all look like this more or less. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/17/21 5:16 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Perfect! That's what I was planning on doing, so it's reassuring to know it's a totally bad idea. Thank you!!!

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/18/21 11:42 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Sure thing! Btw, you might find this thread I came across helpful. It includes a link to what can and cannot be removed and where to cut, per Ford. 

https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f12/metal-roof-supports-inside-conversion-van-24957.html

I saw some Econolines just last week being used for tours, and they had no roof like in the picture in that thread! Apparently if you keep the A. B and C pillar, you can cut the roof out completely. My guess is they drive like a water bed though. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/18/21 8:09 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Wow! Well that's reassuring at least. 

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