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Hello All,

Does anybody have a firm grip on what, if any, regulations apply when fitting an elevating roof to a secondhand van? I wish to convert a 3 year old van to a camper using such. Under the regulations brought in several years ago to enable us Brits to still build kit cars, custom vehicles and one of specials within EU directives, the DVLA state that if a vehicle with a monocoque body shell is modified the vehicle would be classed as a 'Radically Altered Vehicle' and required to undergo the Single Vehicle Approval test, upon which, should it pass by satisfying the inspector that the seat belt anchorages have sufficient support, it will be issued with a Q prefix registation number to allow registation as a camper. (This is not to be confused with the Type Approval regs introduced last year that apply to brand new unregistered vehicles).

Now, cutting the makers original roof and the structural cross member from the top of the B posts off a van would certainly fall into the realm of modifying the bodyshell, but surely hundreds of second hand vans are modified thus every year, and I can't recall having seen one running around with a Q-plate! So, firstly I asked the DVLA to clarify the implications of removing the original roof, would an SVA test be required? The response I received simply stated they would need to be informed of certain modifications which include modifying the bodyshell and went on to advise me to send the usual photos of cooking facilities, bed and table to allow the bodytype to be reclassed as Motor Caravan in the V5C. Surprisingly the Taxation class stays as Light Goods (No complains there as road tax for a Euro 4 or 5 spec commercial is less than half the cost of exactly the same vehicle when classed as a P/LG!:))

You will notice from this reply that my question about the implications of cutting away the original roof was not addressed, so I wrote again asking for specific clarification on this. Their reply took me by surprise: 'We are unable to answer your enquiry' and asking me to refer the question to International Vehicle Standards division at the Depatment for Transport.:( I also asked the reasonable question of 'if the body type is classed as Motorhome but the tax disc reads Light Goods which rules apply to speed limits and parking regulations?' No answer to that either!:confused:

Sorry to ramble at length about this, but can anyone out there provide the answers the DVLA themselves can't?
Has anyone had problems if they've notified the DVLA that they've cut the original roof off?
Is there some simple explanation on the lines of 'panel vans don't fall into this Category' that the DVLA don't put on their website or seem to know about?
It may be that only if I want to change the tax class to P/LG then I would have to go the SVA Q-plate route. Does anyone know for sure?
Given the amount of conversions carried out this way I can't believe that the regulations I've outlined above either apply or are failing to be applied, I am, however, nervous of sending my question to the International Vehicle Standards division just in case it highlights some sort of anomally in the regulations!!!

Thanks for reading this, over to you!
 

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I dont know what your question is ?, if you want a pop top then put it on ?. New vans are fitted with pop tops and are not q reg. There is no reason to q reg a van because you have fitted a pop top, would you do the same if you fitted a sunroof ??.
 

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This is the first time I have seen this question asked. There are thousands of campers out there that started life as vans and had a pop top fitted and they all retain their original reg no'.
A lot of the law relies on precident and previous actions or lack of them. So, I don't think there is a snowballs chance in hell that you will ever get challenged on the points you raise.
The thing you have to do is tell your insurer about all modifications you do. Even then the law won't be interested it will just be you who loses when they refuse to pay out on a claim should you need to make one.
 

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Ref to your tax disc question your not changing this nor can you the tax class of a vehicle. Even after you have registered as a camper your tax disc with still be classed as a van and you'll pay the same. I don't think you can compare to a kit car as they are built from scratch with a donor vehicle where we are just making mods. I have the Wesdubs pop-top and the B-Pillar roof support isnt cut away which is what i liked about them. There is a guide by VW who simply recommend using a support frame if fitting a full length poptop.

Im sure there will be plenty qualified converters along shortly to clarify all this as im no expert.
 

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Hi,

It looks like its more a case of satisfying yourself that the modifications are within the manufacturers guidelines to ensure passenger safety. Looking at some of the cheaper elevating roof conversions, I doubt they fit within VW's expectations.

It doesn't look like VW publish any T5 guidelines, but looking through the T4 guidelines they seem fairly clear what they have tested and what should be done. Unless I've read it wrong, it only recommends cutting the roof on a SWB with a single sliding door.

I have been looking at getting my T4 Caravelle SWB done and will probably only have the roof cut out between the B and C pillars, but still have the full pop top fitted. This only removes one crossmember and leaves the original support for the other 3 sets of seatbelt mounting points. You still need a frame down the length of the cutout, but not as critical as cutting most of the roof out.

Each to their own, but I'm happy having the kids in the back if I've followed VW's requirements. If you haven't seen them;

http://www.vwn-aufbaurichtlinien.de...ivery-van-and-station-wagon/42-roof-cut-outs/

Anyone got the Westfalia support frame drawings or dimensions? Would be handy to know.

Cheers,

Dave
 

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Just fitted a second hand Reimo roof to my T4 Multivan. Have no intention of informing the DVLA and I wouldn't have thought I'd need to. :confused:

As for the frame, it's well build and looks and feels like it's put all the strength back into the chassis. There are loads of people that have had new and second hand roofs fitted to new and second hand vans. I don't see a problem. T:
 

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I think if you read all the rules and esp the new ones they are trying to put though you would never get up in the morning.

Safety in numbers here..

We have all trodden a long well trodden path to convert a camper van.. from a panel van.

don't worry about it.. join in and should we all need to drive on mass to The house of Parliment in protess there is alot of us to do so..

T:
 
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