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Old 11-01-2011, 03:22 PM   #11
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Charlie, did you try pushing up on the top, then tried to lower it? I've found if I push up on the PH, it will jump slightly from time to time but lubing is the key. I also spray the tracks and ram as suggested by SMB.
Dave
That particular instance I was able to raise it up a few inches but it made no difference coming back down. You are right - "Lubing is the key".

Quote:
Originally Posted by ANZAC
Why didn't you have the ramp under the galley box arm?
At that time (2008) Aluminess did not provide the ramp. Now it is standard. They had sent me a ramp for the spare tire side after that U-bracket broke. Had to buy this new ramp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ANZAC
I was wondering how the box would do with a few gallons there over some REALLY rough roads (I've only done about 2 miles off-road with water on mine)
I carried 14 gallons up there on a trip from Ca. to Az., traveled on quite a few rough roads without any problem. This time with 7 gallons up there she broke.

When installing the replacement bracket I think I found out why. When the latch engages the bracket it (the latch) actually lifts the swing arm up about 1/8-inch. This puts all of the force of the swing arm straight down on the U-bracket placing the bolts in shear rather than pulling them in withdrawal. The right fix would be to mount the new U-bracket down 3/16 so the swing arm would rest on the new ramp with no shear in the U-bracket. Unfortunately the bracket bolt pattern doesn't lend itself to moving it down, only side to side. New bolt holes would also be very close to the existing ones. My current fix is to place a 1/8" Delrin shim under the new ramp. The problem with this is puts more stress on the swing arm hinges (but that is what was happening in the past anyway). Fabbing a new SS U-bracket is beyond my ability, the shim is easy.

Perhaps liquid bond (epoxy) a new larger 1/8" SS plate on the face of the U-bracket and drill new holes through it the original and bumper?

Anyone nearby who can weld SS?

Any other ideas? (I know, I know, pictures pictures pictures.)
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:38 PM   #12
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie56
Here is a photo
It's the center support "brace" on an electric top. Not the actuator.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
An arrow where you sprayed lube would help....
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:19 PM   #13
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue



But I also spray the tracks under the fabric covering the rails.
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:04 PM   #14
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue

The weld on the picture of Charlies56...The piston bent at the top and the welds broke (both sides). Anyone know how to remove the piston out of the track that holds the piston. I took the cover off to expose the unit... spring all the way to the back.. Seems the piston does not have a way to remove it out of the unit? The bolt across that holds the piston in does not have a way to remove it. Thanks Gene Atl.Beach
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:05 PM   #15
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue

Sorry,,, thats daveb post picture
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:45 PM   #16
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue

Hey Charlie and Gene Atl. Beach,
I've had simular problems with these parts and this is what I think the problem is. Unfortunately I did not take pics while I repaired this so the ones I'm showing are of the new replacement parts.

Gene Atl. Beach, the welds on my push rods also broke. SMB West sent me two new ones and I saw that the welds on the new parts had been beefed up a little. However I don't think that the parts failed because the welds were bad. I had the same problem as Charlie and the rods would get hung up in the shaft and would come down with a bang and a bang and a bang. The parts just aren't designed for that kind of force. So the question is why are they getting hung-up? Before I get to that, let me try to answer your question about the piston. You're right about it being welded. But you do not have to remove that part to remove the stainless steel piston. First, lift the top and support it with some 2X4s right at the top of the lifting bars.



Then lower the top just a little until the weight of the top is resting on those supports. Then pull out the pin that is holding the two bars together at the cross section. This may not come out easy so you may have to raise or lower the top so the pressure is taken off the pin. Once you get the pin out. the stainless steel piston will slide right out of the shaft.



Don't do this until you have the new parts, I don't think it's a good idea to have your top sitting on those 2X4s for to long.
So what caused them to break in the first place. Here is my theory. These stainless steel pistons slide up and down in the shafts as the tops raise and lower. Their job is to initiate the lifting of the top. They do this when they are bottomed-out in the sleeve. Once that stainless steel piston starts to slide out of the black sleeve it is no longer doing anything.
I think that the problem is when it is bottomed-out in the black sleeve it has all the weight sitting on the pivot point inside that sleeve. (This is the thing that Gene Atl. Beach referred to as the bolt that could not be removed). When all that pressure is put on two points it puts a slight dent there and causes a small burr that can cause the two parts to hang-up. But this is just the initial problem. The big hang-up is caused by the sharp edge of the stainless steel piston biting into the inner wall of the black sleeve. When they are assembled, they don't even ease or round off that edge. When I took mine apart I could see checks on the inside of the sleeve and knew that that was where it was getting hung up.



When I got my new parts I Really rounded off that leading edge and I filed in a almost half circle where the pivot point would make contact with the stainless steel piston. This was to spread the load a little more in hopes to prevent another burr from forming. As you can see, it is working well.

I also use to lubricate this part before I really understood what it was for and how it worked. It did seem to help but only for a short time. Even with the deep checks that are still in my sleeves, with the rounded edge on my new stainless steel pistons, they no longer hang-up and they do not need to be lubricated.



You can't see the checks in this photo, I couldn't get the light in the right spot but they are there.

This is not a big project. To take the pics that I used here, I had to pull apart this unit. It took me about 20 minutes to cut two 2X4s to 28 1/2", lift the top, put the 2X4s in place, pull the pin, take the pics, and put everything back together.
If anyone is having this problem with their electric top, I'm sure this will resolve it. Take a close look at those welds, if they aren't parallel with the stainless steel piston or look slightly bent, or you seem cracks in the weld, there is some abnormal pressure being put on these parts.



I hope this helps.
Cheers,
John
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:22 PM   #17
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue

You have been a BIG HELP...Thank you very much.. I see what you mean. I just didn't see what you have seen. I will get back into it tomorrow as its dark tonight. Hoping I can fix it without waiting for new parts.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:16 PM   #18
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Re: Penthouse Maintenance and other issue

John

Thanks for all the research. Just by the sound it made when it was hung up supports your theory that there is a bur on the shaft.

When I get a chance I will take things apart and look closer.
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