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Non-Standard Rooflight Replacement?


Mooma
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Hello again

 

We finally managed to get our caravan home this weekend.

 

We gave it a thorough clean inside and out and drew up a snagging list of jobs that need doing.

 

Top of the list is the rooflight. It appears to be a non-standard size - it's enormous actually - and has been bodged previously. The handles are I think from an MPK rooflight (at least they look like that sort of mechanism) but have been separated from the frame and just screwed in at either end of the aperture. These have then been screwed into a different dome, which is really odd, having a metal trim screwed in all the way around - and in order to get the handle to fit, they have used resin to close the original holes in the dome and drilled new ones that fit the MPK handles. To top all that off - the dome also has a crack in it that is currently taped up. Miraculously, it does appear to be leakproof (at least it didn't leak when we were cleaning the roof) but all the same, I'm so glad we decided to continue dry storing it.

 

The size of the aperture is a little difficult to measure around the odd trims etc, but appears to be 78. 5 cm x 47. 5 cm - so clearly non-standard and I'm wondering if that means someone has retrofitted something like a boat or motorhome rooflight as some point. It does let in a fantastic amount of light in the corner of the van that has no windows, so I can see why someone might want to.

 

I've left details with a couple of breakers - but not heard anything back yet.

 

Does anyone know of anywhere else I could look for a non-standard rooflight replacement?

 

So frustrating, I can't even have one made, because we don't have the original for EECO to mould it.

 

Any advice would be really appreciated.

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For those that don't know its a 1979 Eccles Topaz

 

Mooma - Can I suggest you alter your profile and/or signature to include the details of your van. Some of us first look to see what a posters van is, before reading a post.

Best of luck.

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Ok, after a morning of Googling as many photos of Eccles Topaz caravans from around the same manufacture date, I've now seen a few that have similarly large rooflights - so perhaps it wasn't retro-fitted after all. I'm now thinking it's more likely that the previous owners struggled to find a suitable replacement for the original, just like we are.

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That sounds a big roof light! When I was looking for one a scrappy that has the odd caravan kicking about had some busses with roofl ights? If you can't get an exact fit maybe need to alter the roof a bit.

Compass Shadow 1988

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That sounds a big roof light! When I was looking for one a scrappy that has the odd caravan kicking about had some busses with roofl ights? If you can't get an exact fit maybe need to alter the roof a bit.

 

It is big isn't it? The majority of standard sized ones I've seen have been square and about half the size, although some of the mega-expensive Dometic/Heki rooflights are close, but not close enough. I'm quite surprised, as I thought being a Ci caravan they would have used standard sized components across their ranges, but apparently not.

 

I have discovered that some older Hymer motorhomes had wind up rooflights that were 800 x 500. There are a couple of those around second hand and I've seen one NOS (although still £££s) so we may have to resort to one of those and actually make the aperture a bit bigger if we can't find an alternative.

 

This afternoon I've been looking at various sites that sell motorhome and boat spares, but haven't managed to come up with another alternative as yet.

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I know, my current caravan had an odd sized one, think it was 17x19 inches or something and really clear plastic but as the caravan was a project there was an accident shall we say when fixing a leak and a baton of wood around it! And couldn't get another one that size for love nor money so thankfuly the breakers had caravans. One was too small so went back for another which was a tad smaller so it meant modifying the roof light size a bit but the caravan was in bits anyway. If you have a look at my blog on here you'll see what I mean.

 

Might be worth visiting a scrappy if they maybe have mini busses in or something?

Compass Shadow 1988

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I have seen your blog - you did such a lot of hard work to renovate your caravan. Not sure we'd be up to tackling anything that major just yet - although my OH is already making noises about wanting something more heritage once we've cut our teeth on this one.

 

We've left messages with the two caravan breakers nearest to us and will see what they come up with in the first instance. If they don't have anything to suit we'll start ringing around all the places we can find listed and once we've exhausted all the caravan options we'll be into looking around for possible motorhome rooflights that might do the job with a bit of adjustment.

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It was tough at times but great fun, just an itch I had to scratch! Have you had a look on ebay? I've not yet but next time i'm on will have a look.

Compass Shadow 1988

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I scan Ebay daily to see if there's anything - but no luck yet, other than a second hand Hymer rooflight that would work if we made the hole bigger.

 

I've now managed to locate another Topaz, not too far away, that is being broken. OH has left a message for the person that has it, so fingers crossed they reply and the rooflight is in ok condition on that one.

 

We did find another one for sale at a cheap price, as it needed a full resto. OH was thinking about buying it as a donor van - until we realised it was missing it's rooflight! :rolleyes:

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Hi again

 

So, we've now sourced a second hand rooflight from the van that's being broken, but the inner section on the replacement is damaged (see photos).

 

skylightopen_zpsceb12708.jpg

 

sklightclosed_zpsfa85b723.jpg

 

We don't actually have that section on ours anyway, but someone has bodged ours a lot, so we're not sure if they needed to do that to get around the missing part.

 

This has thrown up a couple more questions.

 

1. Is the orange, inner-section important or is it just for ventilation - in which case, can we do without it?

 

2. If we do need it, do you reckon EECO could mould us a new inner from what's left of the old one?

 

Still unsure as to how we're going to fit it and make sure it's properly sealed, as it seems very different from all the step-by-step instructions I've seen online, which all use modern one-piece, sealed rooflights. So I may well be back for more advice if it we can't work it out. :blush:

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As far as I can see it's just ventilation so you can live without it and just gently take it out. My original one was a single skin clear one so had no ventilation in it anyway as were a couple of my old caravans.

Compass Shadow 1988

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I think that it's just ventilation, too, and therefore you could remove it. I believe that the inner is a fairly lightweight abs- type material and cutting it around the inner edge(where the black line is) with a stanley knife, might do the job.

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I think that it's just ventilation, too, and therefore you could remove it. I believe that the inner is a fairly lightweight abs- type material and cutting it around the inner edge(where the black line is) with a stanley knife, might do the job.

 

 

Thank you.

 

It hasn't arrived yet, but will definitely have a good look and see if cutting it around the inner edge is possible.

 

My OH would be very jealous of your caravans. We came very close to buying a 1971 Carlight 15/2, but decided we need more berths. We're both very taken with the lovely little Casetta too and OH would ideally love either one of those or a little Safari for when we manage to escape the kids and go away with just the two of us. Need to get this one sorted and start using it first though!

As far as I can see it's just ventilation so you can live without it and just gently take it out. My original one was a single skin clear one so had no ventilation in it anyway as were a couple of my old caravans.

 

Apologies, I seem to have replied in the wrong order. :blush:

 

Good to hear other people agree that the orange bit is probably just for ventilation. We don't have anything other than the outer lid/cover at the moment and it does appear to be watertight, if ugly - thanks to the previous bodge job that was done on it.

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That's good, sure it will look fine. I like all the old caravans too!

Compass Shadow 1988

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, the replacement rooflight my oh bought off the van that was being scrapped turned out to be the wrong size. Seems the other van was actually an Elan and not a Topaz at all. Suffice to say oh is now in the doghouse, as he thought he'd confirmed the measurements, but can't have done. :angry:

 

Tried to buy another caravan - almost identical to ours, that was being scrapped, intending to use it as a donor van, but the sellers didn't bother to return my email, then sold it to someone else a week after my enquiry, without even having the courtesy to let us know.

 

So, we're back to square one. Oh has now been charged with contacting EECO and seeing if they can do something to manufacture a new cover from the one we have. Hopefully they'll be able to make a new one, even though it's been bodged with fibreglass very badly in a couple of places. Failing that we will be calling every caravan scrapyard in the country in an attempt to source a replacement.

 

If anyone happens to see a late 70s or early 80s Eccles Topaz going cheap or for scrap I would be really grateful if you could point me in the right direction. I'm still searching the internet regularly and they do seem to come up every now and again, although not always with decent rooflights in place.

 

In the meantime, we are extremely grateful that we made the decision to keep our van in dry storage.

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That's a pity, will keep an eye out! Can you post or send your measurements in case i'm on my travels, plus my mate who has a camper may be needing to visit a couple of scrap yards for some parts so I usually tag along if it's my local one or get him to have a look out on his travels. Would it matter if it was say from a motorhome or something as long as it's the same measurements?


Just seen your measurements, i'll write them down and keep an eye out.

Compass Shadow 1988

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Thank you mechs, that's very kind of you. Apologies for not getting back here sooner - life seems to be running away with me at the moment. :rolleyes:

 

I found some info on another forum, via Google, that said they are Ci specific rooflights and as suspected, like hens teeth these days.

 

Obviously we'd like to get hold of the right part if we possibly can, but failing that, something not-too obvious that will fit the aperture would be the way to go.

 

We're now pretty sure we've got the right cover, but the wrong handles/mechanism, so we're thinking if we can't get a replacement long-term, we might save up our pennies and eventually get EECO to make one for us, as apparently it doesn't matter how damaged the original is, they can still make one up.

 

Haven't been able to get over to the storage place for a while, so have had to be content with buying a few vintage bits and bobs for the interior instead. :D

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No problem, not seen anything being stripped as yet but it's the last overnight of our season tomorrow then i'll be like a lost sheep at the weekends as will my mate when his work dries up so might be down at the scrappies plus he lives about 20 or so miles away and there's a breaker near him but there's not been much at all in it as it's just opened.

 

I emailed a guy on Gumtree who was stripping a caravan, can't remember a make but not quite as old as what your looking for. I was interested in replacement back window if the right size but he never got back to me. It wasn't too far away from me and anyone was welcome to go and look for what they needed, i'll look again and if the number is on the ad i'll phone instead to see if it's still being stripped out as I want a look anyway.

Compass Shadow 1988

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  • 2 weeks later...

So gutted.

 

We found a potential donor van on Ebay, identical model, just two years older than ours, in need of a fair bit of work, so not too expensive - basically exactly what we needed. Spent ages making sure we could collect it within the deadline, bid, but stupidly didn't put in our maximum bid in, as it seemed we were the highest bidder by a long chalk - then we were sniped at the very last second and lost it by a pound! :angry:

 

What are the chances of another one that perfect for our needs coming up any time soon? Slim to none I reckon. :(

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  • 4 months later...

Quick update.

 

Patience and probably hundreds of hours of obsessive trawling Ebay every week since last October has finally paid off. We've finally and purchased the right rooflight for sale from a van that was being broken.

 

It's arrived, we checked it over and breathed a huge sigh of relief. It's perfect and complete, having been delivered still fitted into to a sizeable portion of it's original caravan's roof! :o So we have the whole kit, including internal trim and handles etc.

 

Just in time too, as having decided to bring the caravan out of storage over Easter to do a few little jobs on, the weather has decided to be unkind to us and the old rooflight leaked on the journey home.

 

We were just about giving up hope of finding one, having been to view another Eccles Topaz of roughly the same age last week, only to find it's rooflight in no better condition than ours.

 

Towing it home through the rain today was actually quite useful, as it highlighted a small leak in the seal on the front window. So that's changed the order of window seal replacements we're going to do. We were going to start with something small, like the toilet/bathroom, but needs must, so the big window is going to be our baptism of fire instead. (Well that and the rooflight obviously.) We should be ok, we had the windows in and out of our converted panelvan VW camper several times and it can't be harder than that . .. can it? :unsure:

 

Anyway, thanks to everyone who has offered suggestions and support for us on this thread. Fingers crossed the repair/replace jobs go smoothly and we don't need to come back and bother you all for more advice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh fitted the new rooflight over Easter and fingers crossed, it seems to have gone well.

 

I guess we'll find out for sure next time it rains. :D

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That's good you got one!

 

I bet they cut a big chunk of the roof out rather than unscrew it all! :lol:

Compass Shadow 1988

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's good you got one!

 

I bet they cut a big chunk of the roof out rather than unscrew it all! :lol:

 

Yep, oh had that pleasure! :lol:

 

It's all fitted now. Oh removed the old sealant and resealed it with Soudalls. Think we may need some Captain Tolley's on a very slight crack by one of the screws, but other than that it all went smoothly. The internal trim wasn't as good as we'd hoped, so we didn't bother replacing that in the end, but it's looks pretty good and is a huge improvement on what was there before.

 

Having said that, as it's been so sunny, it hasn't been 'tested' yet. The real proof of the pudding will be when the weather breaks I suppose.

 

He's replacing all the water pipes tomorrow then we'll have to face up to replacing the front window seal. We've been procrastinating about that a bit, but we need to do it while we still have good weather.

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