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Old 03-19-2010, 01:55 PM   #1
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Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

I can't find much information about these pop top, their webpage isn't very explicit.

Is there one in north Oregon or South Washington to be seen?

Or would there be a GTRV owner that could take some pictures of their top so that I can have a better idea of the product? Inside and out pictures.

Thank you

Andrew
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:21 PM   #2
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

There's a GTRV yahoo group: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/gtrvwesty/

And this guy has some pics of his top and interior: http://sky.prohosting.com/chainkb/misc/index.htm

Apologies if you've already found those.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:58 PM   #3
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

Thanks, no didn't see them until now...
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:57 PM   #4
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

Andrew --

There are quite a few GTRV's in OR and WA. Terry, the original owner of the yahoo group, is in the Portland area. Another member, Jan Seiner, is in the Eugene area, as are at least two other GTRVs. (There was a GTRV dealer in Portland in 2001, before GTRV discontinued selling through dealers, so a lot were sold in the area.)

I suggest joining the Yahoo group, and posting a message with your request. You'll likely get a few replies.

I looked at both the GTRV and SMB tops carefully in 2005. The GTRV uses (or used) standard auto parts in their lift mechanism, so that in theory anyone could replace a failing strut (I think that's what the lifting piston thingy is called. )

There are differences in the waterproofness of the fabric used, as well. The windows are screen, with zip up covers of the loft fabric (not clear plastic like SMB uses). Of course these things may have changed since 2005.

The ability to put a fantastic roof fan in the GTRV roof seems to me a strong plus.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

Wow that looks interesting. Let us know if you find anything out Andrew.


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Old 03-21-2010, 05:10 PM   #6
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

Thanks Greydawg will check with them.

Will do Floorguy...

Am afraid they lose to much headroom.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:27 PM   #7
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

The headroom issue sort of depends on your layout.

For a "50" style layout (which is also the basic GTRV layout) the V-top is fine, since you're never standing at the back of the van. In fact it's taller in the front than is the T-top.

For a center-aisle layout, the V-top wouldn't really work well.
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Old 04-06-2010, 01:59 AM   #8
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

Andrew,

Sounds like you are now going the custom route with your top, but here is some additional info about my GTRV top. There are more details and photos in my build thread.

I have a T-top; Coast Outfitter/GTRV also makes a V-top, which is hinged at the rear of the van like a Vanagon or Eurovan Westfalia top. The top is fibreglass with a plywood core and wood ribs. It is very solid - I can stand on it (closed) with absolutely no flex. Fantastic Fans can be installed anywhere in the roof.

Photos of the top closed.


And open.


As I mentioned in my build thread, there is a fairing that extends over the cab in front of the roof, making the top quite aerodynamic (heh, it is a full-size van, though!). In fact, the top is very much like a pre-hung door, with both the top itself and a frame (including the fairing) installed on the van. In the "open" photo above, everything you can see above the gutter and blow the fabric, is the one-piece fibreglass frame.

This photo of the mold gives you a better sense of the pre-hung-door analogy. The frame is in the foreground and the top is in the background.


The lifting mechanism uses gas struts to raise the roof. The roof raises on hinged, square steel tubing, with the top moving slightly backwards relative to the van due to the radius of the steel arms, much like a parallelogram. In the photo below, the steel arms are angled forward < // > and the gas struts are in the centre angled backward < \ >.


The inside height of the opened top is about 6'2"; I'm 6'1" so it works for me as long as I don't walk into the light or the smoke detector. Closed, there is enough room to sit on the rear bench with plenty of room to spare. The bunk does sit lower than in an SMB due to the frame being installed inside the roof opening. In the photo below, the original roof plane is where the aluminum molding is at the bottom of the fabric.


I really like the roof. It is fairly easy to open and close, although I will need to add a second set of struts when I install solar panels.

Hope this helps.

Brent
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:24 AM   #9
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

Hmm, windows in the top roll down not up, window covers are velcroed all around as opposed to just hung at the top, and window covers look like they dual serve as screen closing. Is it not possible to see out the windows and have the screens closed (like is there a clear plastic layer I'm missing)?

Let's see, there is no window in the back of the SMB top, an the front of an SMB is either open or closed (no screen, no cover). Also the screens themselves look like they don't come out, where the SMB can be zipped out (on 3 sides if not totally... I can't remember what the current design is).

The gas struts are the only thing keeping the top up? Is it possible to get enough pressure from snow to make it come down? Or from weakening of the struts?

Oh, and I just saw the fantastic fan in the middle of the PH... that's not really possible with the SMB.

Very interesting, I'd like to see in person sometime!
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:29 PM   #10
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Re: Wanting to see or get info on GTRV V/T Top

Jage,

The screens are integrated into the walls and do not open. That (screens that open) is one thing I specifically wanted and asked about. The way it was explained to me is that the walls are key to the lifting mechanism design, with the gas struts pushing up and keeping the walls taut. If the windows opened completely, I imagine over time the openings may become misshapen. Conversely, I believe the SMB walls are kept taut by the surrounding bungee, no?

The front window is a clear poly material, no screen. If you look at the outside view of the open roof, the front window is more exposed (less roof overhang and the front wall is at a slight angle).

Regarding the lack of clear poly in the other five windows, I haven't missed that feature yet. We've been in driving rains and have had the upper 6" rolled down for light and ventilation, with no rain penetration. There is enough of an overhang. If it's really cold or windy, we'll just batten the hatches.

Yes, the gas struts are the only thing holding up the roof (in the pictures). I have since added a couple 1" wooden dowels that I place on each side between the two side windows.

Much like the rest of my design, the roof is a simple system that has its tradeoffs.

Brent
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