DIY VW California roof cover / Cali Cap / Vanorack / Mutze

We weren’t sure how much we would use a topper for our California or if we even needed one so I decided to have a go at making one, below is a guide to what I have done and a template if you want to have a go at making one for yourself.

We ordered 20 Meters of black waterproof nylon fabric from eBay, you could get away with 10-12 Meters but I wanted some extra for mistakes and also to make some bags.

I took some measurements and came up with the template below, this is the final size you need. You need to add about 15mm all round for the stitching joints and the hems.

Home made california cap

Click to download the template

DIY California roof cover template download

 Below is a photo of it all stitched together and just placed on the roof without tie downs


The tie downs are created with a loop of webbing sewn to each corner, 2 evenly spaced webs at the sides, I also put tabs in the centre at the front and back that have never been used.
Onto these tabs I tied into a small loop of 3mm elasticated bungee material .

California cover tie down loopTo fix the top down I made some stainless steel plates with a 5mm stud welded to it.

VW California roof tie down drawing

Tie down drawing download

You’ll also need some nylon washers  and a threadded knob, I got mine from RS components, part number 178-792, five 5mm knobs part number 448-8549.

VW California roof tie down

I Just slide the fixings along the rail and lightly tighten them.

VW California roof cover tie down

To secure the topper on the awning side I have used a log piece of elastic threaded through both loops of webbing on the awning side thats just stretched over.

We only use the topper if its forecast to be heavy rain or rain with a strong wind and have not missed being able to see out of the windows, in the 4 years of owning a California we have only used it a hand full of times and it spends most of its life rolled up stowed away under the drivers seat.

Total cost about £35, If you need and more information please ask.

Load canoe / kayak on to the roof of VW California

After visiting a VW California meet couple of weekend ago, several people asked how I  load my kayak onto the roof of the California.
I’m not the tallest of people so and probably wouldn’t be able to reach a Kari-Tek system with our something to stand on and like to keep things simple, so i use a small work platform.


After putting on the roof rack and the straps on, I lift the kayak up and stand it on its nose or tail on the work platform, I then step up onto the platform and then lift the kayak onto the roof from there.

The work platform also often doubles up as a spare seat, Cobb BBQ cooking platform, table or drying rack.



Don’t forget you can raise the roof with up to 50kg of weight on the roof.

VW T5 California Dash 12V socket

After a visit to my local van center I noticed that the VW T5 California in the showroom had a 12V auxiliary power socket mounted into the tray in the middle of the dash, VW T5 California Dash power socketThis is something that would be really handy as I have found when the 12V socket in the ashtray draw is used the plug slowly vibrates out due to road vibration.




After looking on ETKA I found the VW part numbers as follows:
Dash tray – 7E0857922G – The ‘G’ is the important bit pre G will not have the dash power socket.
Auxiliary power socket – 1J0919309B

I decided to take the power for the new socket from the same supply as the ashtray socket as I figured the ashtray socket would seldom get used once fitted.
Firstly I removed the 15A fuse for the cigarette lighter (located under the passenger seat)

Fuse for cigarette  lighter

Pull out the dash tray. I had to cut a small lip of plastic out to make room for the socket.Dash tray removedCut outRemove the Glove box, flick off the plastic covers and undo the 5 Torx screws. this could be optional if you can get the cable through.

VW T5 Glove boxI pulled out the ashtray draw (you need to give it a very firm tug) and spliced into the cables under the ashtray with a new pair.

Ashtray undersideRun the new pair of cables up through the hole behind the radio and connect to new power socket.IMG_1917I used 1.5mm red and brown cable in keeping with VW’s wiring colors using red for +ve the center pin and brown for -ve. I also wrapped the new wiring loom and crimp connectors in felt tape to stop any rattles from behind the dash.

VW T5 California Dash power socketIMG_1941VW T5 California dash power socketIMG_1939


Remove VW T5 California rear head restraints / headrest

Although the rear head restraints / headrest can be dropped down then the lower bed is made up they take up a lot of room under the bed. As we often drop the bed and travel with my kayaks inside I wanted to remove them.

Drop the head rest and carefully prize out the plastic side covers

VW T5 California Headrest removal

There are ‘C’ pins holding in the headrest, using a pin punch I knocked them in from each side.

Knock in C pin

Once the pins have been knocked in the headrest can easily be pulled out.

VW T5 California Headrest removal

The black plastic is part of the locking system shown below is to keep the headrest locked up, this moves with the headrest metal bar is removed stoping it from locking up, I pushed this in and placed a small piece of foam on the hole and replaced the side cover.

WV T5 California headrest removal

Finally to finish it off I put some grommets in the holes.

VW T5 California headrest removal