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Old 08-06-2016, 08:49 AM   #21
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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
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Old 10-23-2016, 05:11 PM   #22
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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 donít 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.

ďFlintĒ - 2016 SMB Sprinter 4x4 144" RB 150S w/ PH
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Old 10-24-2016, 10:39 AM   #23
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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
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Old 10-26-2016, 04:47 PM   #24
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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.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:02 PM   #25
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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.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:16 PM   #26
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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.
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Old 10-26-2016, 06:21 PM   #27
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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

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...My name is Eric and I have a van problem...
Make me an offer on one!
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Old 08-13-2018, 03:50 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by hildems View Post
I tried spraying the scissors cross area and that did nothing. The ends of the scissors which is where most of the horrible sound is coming from are under the flat covers at the front and back of the PH top area. I stuck my finger in that area and there is a very thick white grease that doesn't smell. I have no idea how to add more grease up there. Kind of amazed that no one else has this issue! It has always been jerky and not smooth but we were told by SMB that there are two actuators and they are not 100% synched and that was to be expected. The sound is like it is totallydry and is definitely not good or "expected". Anyone?
I was also told about the 2 actuators not being in sync, and to listen for 1 to turn off, then the other, and that would mean the top was done going up/down fully. But mine doesnít make nose. What it DOES do is leave black streaks on the ceiling where the tubes rub and slide along it while going up and down...
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:08 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by ctb View Post
When we picked up Sporty at SMB North, and getting the tour by Chad our builder and was going over the penthouse, as I was going to lower the top half way then raise it up, Jim the MGR was listening and adding his two cents to what Chad was missing (you know, 35 years in the SMB biz, you listen to the guy) and specifically said that when you raise or lower the top, do it COMPLETELY EVERY time...he said that if not, the sides will get out of sync and then you'll have to raise and lower it 'completely' 5+ times to get it re-synced...he said some people like to raise it a bit then lower it to drive again, but he made it sound as if there is just that point of no return that will throw it off, so why chance it. Jim is about the best person to talk SMB to that isn't on this forum (lol), it sounds tedious, but worth a try? Up and down completely five or so times until it evens out? And add the grease/silicone too...keep us posted...or BETTER yet, call Jim in Indiana (SMB North) and ask...just a suggestion...but still, keep us posted!!

Thatís funny, because I was told I can ď...raise it a bit then lower it to drive againĒ whenever I pull off and donít want to duck while stopped at a rest area etc. just to use the bathroom or make a snack in the kitchen. This was in response to their mistakenly telling me that the ProMaster roof is 6í tall with the top down and the bed on the rails. I was so upset I didnít have standing height after they assured me I would, the advice above is what they told me to do.
You know, in reading more and more posts on this forum, I think a lot more people have had problems than Sportsmobile admits. I was told (and it says so on their website) that they have had only 2 unsatidfied customers in all their years in business and have had very few people have any kind of problems. I feel duped. And Iím sorry your top does that. When things go wrong, and repair facilities are so far away, it really puts a damper on our (all of our) camping trips.
Iím definitely just getting a high roof van next time, Iíd never do this again...
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Old 08-13-2018, 07:39 AM   #30
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What I tend appreciate about this platform:

Proactive solutions.

The level of capacity to identify a problem; prioritize a solution; then, to step by step do the work...

That, is healthy, productive and positive.

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