Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-06-2016, 07:49 AM   #21
Senior Member
Scalf77's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 1,229
If you really are not that far from them, I would schedule a appointment and have them look at it, if anything it would let you compare with vans they are currently looking at. Mine has always been a little jerky when lifting and lowering, no alignment issues,

The top panel looks somewhat like this

The top part of the plywood is not connected on the end so you can get it over the tube. The tube will track in the open area, and yes this should have been heavily lubed. To take it down you would need to remove the the bolts, and prop the roof up so you can get it down.

If you could post your video that would be great.


2004 E350 EB V10 E/PH 2WD
Scalf77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2016, 04:11 PM   #22
Senior Member
Fitz's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 639
Originally Posted by hildems View Post
From SMB after 3 emails:
"I just watched the video. It sounds like the upholstered cover on top is dry. Spray some dry silicone as much as you can and see if that does the trick. Other than that I don’t think there is a problem to where the top mechanism is breaking. Let me know how it goes."

We spray lubed every joint in the mechanism and tray area that houses the spring coils after removing the fabric cover on the sides. This did absolutely nothing. We did find that one side of the coil in back has no links attached and the other has 2 links. The top has always been lop-sided, one side comes down faster than the other and it never seats correctly on the van--we have to get the ladder, climb up to the top and move it until it seats properly on the van. Does anyone else have a different number of links on each side of their PH top. All of these issues we have been told by SMB that this is "normal" It is NOT normal to have this jerky noisy lopsided PH.
If anyone heard or saw the videos we have sent with the associated noise, it is very apparent that it is more than just being "dry". There is a lot of thick white grease still on all the parts and the spray lube did nothing.
This $106K van is basically un-usable and SMB couldn't care less IMO.
Has there been any resolution to this issue? My PH is about 3" off as it comes down and I would like to know if there is an adjustment to care of it before it becomes an issue.

“Flint” - 2016 SMB Sprinter 4x4 144" RB 150S w/ PH
Fitz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2016, 09:39 AM   #23
Senior Member
yvrr's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Newark, CA
Posts: 795
I have recently also had some problems with our retro-fit electric penthouse roof jerking while being raised or lowered. Back when this discussion began, DaveB had a link to an earlier discussion started by Charlie56 who fixed his similar problem using a "silicone based lube in a tube". . I did a Google search for “silicon lube” and a number of sex tools websites came up. But….I found some silicone grease at our local Ace Hardware store. It is 90% pure silicone, part no. 4095667:

Ace 1/2fl oz Silicone Grease - Faucet Grease - Ace Hardware

I used it to grease the chrome vertical piston rods and the horizontal chrome piston rods under the carpeting alongside the bed. It didn’t work immediately but things got better as it was raised and lowered daily during a recent weeklong trip.
'01 Ford EB50p Quigley 4WD
yvrr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2016, 03:47 PM   #24
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 41
No real resolution

We did take it to SMBW and they assured us that it was fixed when they rolled it outside at 4:45 pm. It came back even more off centered than when we took it there and the jerking/noise is still as horrible as ever--to me it seems logical that the leaning to one side binds the motors and creates a lot of stress raising and lowering and no amount of grease is going to resolve that issue.

We got there at 8 and left at 5 and took Peter at his word that everything on our list had been resolved. My gallery shows before and after pictures and also the "fix" they did on the loncoin floor under the gaucho that needed to be re-glued. Instead of glue they added about 20 staples and it is incredibly ugly. Almost like a deliberate attempt to sabotage the van.

I now understand why the vans have a 5 year warranty. Aside from the fact that no one lives near them making it inconvenient at best to get repairs, the repairs don't actually really happen. Vicious circle of emails, appointments, driving, waiting around all day for nothing, etc.

We just got back from 2 weeks in Moab and except for a few rare days when the top came down in the grooves and centered, we usually had to get out the ladder and jockey the top around to make it seat properly. It lowers about 3-5 inches differently which was way worse than before. The noise and jerking at this point are the least of our concerns but "taking it back" doesn't seem to be a real option. Pretty frustrated and disappointed.

On a good note, the cabinetry, plumbing, upholstery, and electrical work seem to be awesome which we are thankful for. I strongly discourage people from getting a PH top given the issues that we have had. We love the feature but hate the operation and potential for disaster sooner rather than later.
hildems is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2016, 04:02 PM   #25
Senior Member
rallypanam's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: San Francisco/Nevada City
Posts: 3,483
I took a look at your pictures, and without the top fully down or fully up, you can't see anything wrong. The top will not raise and lower perfectly symmetrically. None of them do. Not sure why you'd even care about that, as long as it raises and lowers to the correct location.

I'll echo someone else's thought.. take some videos, both inside and outside. Then post them on youtube, and share them here.

And we might be able to help you.
rallypanam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2016, 04:16 PM   #26
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 41
That's just does not seat into the side channels--we have to shake and jockey it around and it jerks and makes horrible squeeking, binding sounds both up and down, especially at the top of the cycle. I get that there will be some variance in side to side raising and lowering. For it to be several inches biased to one side has to put a lot of stress on one of the motors since they are so out of synch. At some point this is going to ruin one or both of the motors. This is a Sprinter, if that makes any difference, and not a Ford PH.
Will get a video and post it when I get some time.
hildems is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2016, 05:21 PM   #27
Senior Member
86Scotty's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 7,138
Originally Posted by hildems View Post
This is a Sprinter, if that makes any difference, and not a Ford PH.
Will get a video and post it when I get some time.
I don't think that matters. The mechanism is the same. Sorry to hear you're having trouble but I've been around a few manual pop-tops and you always have to climb, push, pull, get dirty, get wet, etc. to get an SMB pop top to sit centered. That's why I've never understood how an electric would work very well because it would seem to me the motors limit movement.

Good luck


2015 Transit MR T350 ecoBoost, Vanilla
98 Silver E350 V10 4x4 home build (sold)
Rusty the rusty '95 SMB (sold)
Tryptovan the blue CCV van, 2002 e350 (sold)
...My name is Eric and I have a van problem...
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.