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Old 11-03-2011, 11:06 AM   #1
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Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

Very close to buying a '02 SMB EB E350 with the manual pop top. Weight rating is 400lbs, as I understand it. I want to put a rack of kayaks, 4 boats, and a Yakima Rocket Box full of paddling gear on the roof. The issue is that I want to be able to pop the top without unloading the rack. According to SMB this is not possible without upgrading to the power roof, which I think they quted over $3K for! Any suggestions or advice?
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

You can adjust the Penthouse springs to help it go up with a load. But, I think 400# is too much load. Even if you could adjust it to work with that load, it would spring up so fast when empty that it may damage the mechanism.

I had to adjust my Penthouse springs when I put a 35# solar panel up there. 400# seems beyond the adjustment range of the springs. Again, the issue is adjusting the top springs for a fixed load, not a variable load.

You could try the Mac solution:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6789
He did say it would only go up 10" or so, so you may have to make corner support braces to support the top, add a block under the jack and repeat until it is all the way up. Then more permanant braces to secure the top:

viewtopic.php?f=40&t=7779

Another option could be to offload most or all of the weight before putting the top up.

Mike
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:05 PM   #3
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

I thought it was 200-250lbs. I'd call SMB. Mine is an older model though. Could be they mean 400 if the top is down.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:10 AM   #4
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

Total weight on rack should be right around 200 lbs with the gear I plan on carrying up there.

The racheting load spacer from Home depot is an interesting idea, but still requires some blocks or the corner brackets from SMB ($125) to hold the weight when up. I'm worried the racheting bar would put too much weight on one spot of the roof and crack the fiberglass???

Also wondering how people mount rack bars to a pop top. I've been recomended to put gutter mounts on the sides of the pop top, but that is not the setup that I see in most pics on the forum that people have. I can't really see the setup well in these shots though, as the top of the roof is usually not visable.

Appreciate all the help. Picking up my Sportsmobile on Monday and driving it 3K miles in the next 2 weeks Stoked to be part of the SMB family.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:20 PM   #5
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

The racks are mounted outside the canvas area of the poptop so that any leaks won't cause problems...
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:49 PM   #6
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

I believe SMB uses Thule tracks, but I heard that the Yakima and Thule are the same. This thread has a good description for installing them from John K. (who used to work at SMB)

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtop...355&highlight=


-greg
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

Thanks all. Bought the '02 E350 Sportsmobile and have been loving it. 3,300 mile road trip to break it in Just had Sportsmobile west install Thule roof rails on pop top (same as yakima), and had Rack Attack in Portland, OR install Thule Euro bars. Used my Thule kayak stackers and a Yakima Rocket Box off my old car to complete the system. Can now hold a lot of gear and 4 plus ww kayaks. Raising the top, even when empty of gear, is tough and does not stay up due to the box off to one side. Sportsmobile already maxed out the springs for me. Guessing I'm going to have to empty the rack each time I want to raise the roof and will need to build supports (2x4s) for each corner to hold it up, as suggested by Sportsmobile. All other suggestions welcome.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:47 PM   #8
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

The 2x4s were recommended to me, too. Be careful. Top caught a gust and corner lifted. A 2x4 came down and hit my wife on the head and almost knocked her out. At that moment you can imagine what I wanted to do to someone with that 2x4. Anyway, I recommend a drop down type tubular support as opposed to a loose 2x4 at each corner for the above. Frankly, I think it's cheesy and irresponsible of SMB to not include them as standard equipment.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:19 AM   #9
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

Rather than 2x4s, I installed these supports which I got from SMB West:






They should be easy to fabricate yourself...
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:22 AM   #10
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Re: Loaded Roof Rack on Pop Top

yyvr,

Those look great. My point was, why are those not standard? Why are they not a recall? It's that kind of stuff that sets quality companies apart.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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