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Old 10-07-2017, 08:24 AM   #61
REB
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Originally Posted by Davidboco View Post
Hi REB/Ralph
Im in Boulder with a 144 penthouse poptop and a walk through design - if you'd like to see it I'd be happy to show it. It's perfect for us
David
Yay David - I'll PM you! Thanks! - Ralph
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:35 PM   #62
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CCV visit

I visited CCV yesterday, and remain 100% on the fence between high-top and pop-top.

The CCV folks were a friendly bunch. Newer info is that CCV is willing to cut a full-length roof opening. An employee Jeff suggested to put the pop-top on a high-roof Sprinter, but owner Derek astutely commented that the result would be ridiculously tall.

The mattress measures 48 x 78” and sufficient for two people, and I’d personally opt for firmer foam. Sitting on the squished foam, I had several fingers to a hand width of head clearance, and I sit 38” tall; so there’s more than plenty.

The frame construction is steel channels screwed into Baltic Ply. Check out construction quality with snapshots uploaded to: Sportsmobile Forum - REB's Album: 2017-10-11 CCV site visit I wish to have remembered the brand of the Linak-style linear actuators! The pivot appears to bear on a threaded ¼-20 alloy SHCS (170ksi). Wonder why square tubing with a combination of bushing / binder / shoulder screw isn’t used, but that’s a trouble with casually observing mechanical stuff! The resulting frame is sturdy. There are two closure latches at the front. It’s a chopper-gun fiberglass top. From outdoor experience, I would have wished for larger molded zippers because the current ones will be the weak link in the tent, tho probably good enough since they won’t get heavy use.

We discussed possibilities for getting the bed up and out of the way if a full-cutout is employed. One option is to cut the bed in four sections, and first stack the plywood to one end with foam on top. The foam mattress is narrower than the plywood to clear the actuator and frame hardware. Another possible option is to hinge a full-length bed from the end, so it lifts after the top is up, and gas struts can be used for lift. I should think that with making the correct plywood cutouts you could lift a full-length bed straight up.

There is unused space above the mattress and top when the top is closed. I’m guessing that the frame lift limits the lower limit of the top because of the obtuse angle. I wish the fiberglass top was lower profile to better blend with the vehicle’s cosmetics.

So other options that I’d love to see are:
SMB Penthouse
GRTV (http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...0-eb-4149.html)
Also need to think about efficient space use for a 144 sans pop-top!
Here’s another pros vs. cons thread: https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=47530

Cheerio – Ralph
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:54 AM   #63
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With penthouse installations, so many roof pillers are cut away. Whatabout safety in the event of a roll over? My kids would be sitting under the penthouse section.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:59 AM   #64
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I spent a month tent camping in Baja last winter (I'll do three months this year ) and ran into a lot of different vehicle campers, from beautiful DIY vans to trucks that looked like they built a dog house on the back. One thing I took away from talking to these folks was the days of easy stealth camping are over. They lamented the fact they could no longer pull into a parking lot or side street and have a night's rest unmolested by security or the cops. The proliferation of high top vans and people using them to live or camp has kind of ruined the stealthiness factor. And these people were pros, spending months and years at a time on the road, so it wasn't a matter of sloppiness. So, I don't factor stealth into my decision any more.

I'm in the same boat as you but am leaning towards a Colorado Camper Van pop top. Most of my time will be spent in warmer climes so ventilation and airiness are a prime concern. I also take our bikes but will either find a way to put them inside when security is an issue or find a good cover for when they have to be carried outside. I totally trashed a new bike when I drove from Idaho to Arizona one winter and had to drive through winter storms.

Good luck.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:37 AM   #65
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We haven't heard from OP IPT in awhile, sorry for the hijack.

@Bnylo - Si Señor, an obvious concern. Can't speak to CCV, but SMB writes that they "feel" that the roof is stronger with the Penthouse installed, check this out: https://sportsmobile.com/penthouse-expandable-top/
Ask them for photos after the roof load test!

@bongcrosby - Seems there's too many of us for anymore for lots of things, including stealth. For the MTB, I just need a good seat cover.

At the, I'm leaning away from pop-top (K.I.S.S.). Reckon in a few years someone will build a low-profile pop-top for a high roof. Another member is showing me his SMB PH tomorrow.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:04 PM   #66
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I've had both. Although I do miss the ventilation from the PH top and sleeping room, I prefer the Voyager top we have now. I hated having to lift the PH and wouldn't go w an electric due to complexity and break down issues. It's so nice to be able to stand whenever we want w the fixed top and be a little less obvious when parked compared to the PH.

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Old 10-13-2017, 02:03 PM   #67
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I hated having to lift the PH and wouldn't go w an electric due to complexity and break down issues.
I walked through the emergency procedure when the top is broken discussion w/ Derek at CCV. Because everything is exposed it sounds like a pain but doable in the field ... especially if you have help. The weight of the top would be an issue of course.

Not ideal but I decided to go for it. This remains one of my fears.

I think CCV (and SMB) should provide a written manual, with diagrams, along with an online video of their emergency procedure when you're stuck with the top up.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:18 PM   #68
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Going high-top

Decision made; 100% high-top 4X4.

Utility: Don’t have to raise & lower pop-top every time headroom is desired.

Safety: Removing OEM roof ribs to cut for stand-up area can’t be good.

Design / cosmetics / build quality: IMO, current pop-tops not quite the same quality as the vehicle itself.

If someone was selling a pop-top for a high roof Sprinter, then many of us would buy. However the high roof width between rails is 53-7/8”, a full 7” narrower than the 60-7/8” wide low roof. With a standard-size mattress width at 54”, CCV width at 48” and SMB width at 40”, it can be done but darn tricky to build a high-roof pop-top with ample width.

This has turned over and over in my head, probably because mechanical design with composites is the day job. Folks put big luggage racks on top of pop-top fiberglass shells, why not skip the fugly fiberglass shell and build the pop-top box as an integral part under the rack? The height can be kept to 6” by adding a multi-link to the lift mechanism to function well when collapsed. Since the high-top provides headroom, the access hole to upstairs sleeping can be a more modest roof cut. Plenty of room for creative problem-solving.

I’ll just have to make the 144wb space work without a pop-top. I’m all for a dinette setup up front to combine the front driver’s swivel seat with a forward-facing folding double bench seat behind. Will have to work to combine that folding double bench with a gaucho-style loveseat behind for a bed that sleeps two. Or punt to floorplans 112S or 150S.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:52 PM   #69
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This has turned over and over in my head, probably because mechanical design with composites is the day job. Folks put big luggage racks on top of pop-top fiberglass shells, why not skip the fugly fiberglass shell and build the pop-top box as an integral part under the rack? The height can be kept to 6” by adding a multi-link to the lift mechanism to function well when collapsed. Since the high-top provides headroom, the access hole to upstairs sleeping can be a more modest roof cut. Plenty
On a high roof van, why not just use direct-acting lift actuators? They would be very easy to conceal in the B and D pillars. That could allow a lift capacity of thousands of pounds instead of just hundreds, while completely freeing up the sides of the penthouse to allow for a wider bed.

On that note.... Is it weird that all of a sudden I want a high-roof Transit, with a pop top and a roof top tent? That would free up space for a false floor above a garage to support the kitchen, while maintaining forward facing seating, and giving the bedroom the best view in the house!
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:53 PM   #70
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Decision made; 100% high-top 4X4.
Excellent! Thats the hardest part. You couldn't really 'go wrong' so the important point is that it is your decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by REB View Post
Safety: Removing OEM roof ribs to cut for stand-up area can’t be good.
...
Since the high-top provides headroom, the access hole to upstairs sleeping can be a more modest roof cut. Plenty of room for creative problem-solving.
Obviously CCV can't help you pursue this in the future. But you might ask their experience with small access ports to their top. They had one in the shop you might have seen with exactly this. It helps resolve the question of safety by avoiding cutting the pillars. I considered this for a mid-height transit when making my own hard decisions.

Enjoy the floor plan design process. That gave me more trouble than the top.
I think you gain a lot of flexibility with the folding seats.
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