How much for shipping to Sacramento, California?
For example the last time I got a quote to Fresno California (from Toronto) it was $1600.00. It would be the same for 1 top or for 4 by the way. Seems like a lot, but the tops, from a shipper/truckers point of view are big and take up a lot of volume in the truck. I suggest, if you know someone else who is interested, that multiple tops be shipped and the cost therefore split. I've had other inquiries from folks in Ca who are interested, so, I could put them in touch with you if you want to move forward.
( I will never give out contact information without explicit permission to do so though) J.C This is a moot question now in any case. With distributors around the U.S. it is much more cost effective to either drive to the one closest to you to get a top, have it installed there if you wish, or have it shipped to you from the closest distributor. Any ground shipping will be expensive however.
How thick/sturdy is the top and how much does it weigh? The top weighs about 110lbs - that's why it takes 2 people to install it - not because of its weight, but because of the combination of weight and bulk. The top is very sturdy and durable - the result of using modern epoxy resins. They have been installed for UK and European use for more than 10 years without problems.
Please see the page linked to by the "Side and top racking. The racking was developed subsequent to the writing of most of this page and addresses most of the concerns voiced here.
Here is a link to a photo of a high top van (not our high top but you get the idea) that has a rack on it for carrying things such as boats or canoes I (personally) wouldn't put a canoe directly on a high top or westy top for that matter, even with foam canoe carrier pads . http://images.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/658891.jpg I had a set of Gary Lee racks on my westy that I used to carry a canoe or aluminum boat - they transfered the weight right down to the van gutters and not on the roof itself - anyway the answer is - it can be done with racking. If I were doing it, I would copy the concept that Gary Lee uses and make the side supports extend right down to the van gutters
Re. the bolting on - the problem with any "through fasteners" is that they go through - leading to the potential for leaking and rusting. If you were to compare the actual bonding surface area of using just the bonding cement as opposed to "through fasteners" - bolts or screws or rivets - I think that you would come to the conclusion that there is a great deal more surface bonding area using the cement, without the potential problems of leaking. Hey - whole aircraft wings are now made pretty much without through fasteners - just using carbon fibre, epoxy resins and adhesives. The top will be secure and bonded permanently to the van.
The following is copied from a discussion on this from The Samba
With respect to a high top - to prevent the forward and back movement that might be inherent with a load on top of longer supporting legs, the legs could either be attached to the top similarly to how racking is attached to a fibreglass pop top or - and I think that this would be a far better solution as it would not involve drilling holes in the high top and would be significantly stronger - be braced with short diagonal braces on each side They would support no weight but keep the rectangular shape of the racking from deforming into a trapezoid under pressure (load). It wouldn't be the load that would cause the rectangle of the racking to trapezoid, it would be Newton's first law - upon application of the brakes, the canoe on top would tend to keep on going and without bracing would exert the force of a 2 foot lever on the attachment points at the gutter. The diagonal bracing would eliminate any movement or potential for such movement and prevent the collapse of the rectangle into a trapezoid.
As far as a canoe on the top - the weight isn't the issue as, if the racks are designed to transfer weight right down to the gutters, the top is supporting virtually no weight. I'd be far more concerned with the possibility of fore and aft movement of the load and racks - this is the reason canoe trailers have good diagonal bracing. The van in the picture that I published doesn't seem to have any diagonal bracing - but we can't really see how it is attached to the van.
An alternative to using a rack at all to carry a canoe or kayak on the top would be to use foam canoe blocks that provide a good wide surface area between load and top. If a canoe weighs 70lbs, spread over 4 blocks thats 17.5 lbs / block - since each block is about 3" X 6" or 18sq in, that translates finally into less than 1 lb/sq inch - of course the pressure on the top wouldn't be evenly distributed over any one block, but still the overall pressure on any part of the top would be pretty minimal and moreover, there is great friction between the foam pad and the surface it is sitting on - it (they) and the canoe/kayak on them will not move if they are firmly attached.
Back to the racking - if it was only 1 or 2 canoes or kayaks on a rack, you wouldn't need full corner to corner diagonals ( I was being overly cautious earlier) all that you would need would be an additional brace applied at 45 deg towards the front and running from about 1/2 way up the "leg" to the gutter. Again - its purpose would be to stop any possible movement of the load pulling the top of the rack forward in a sudden stop.
Can you carry heavy objects like canoes on the high top. By the sound of it it is only glued on which does not sound very confidence inspiring (presumably it would be possible to bolt it on if you wanted to?)