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Old 10-07-2018, 06:02 PM   #1
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Electric top motors question…

Electric top motors question…

These actuator motors that raise and lower the roof… Are they sort of like a regular electric motor? In my experience, electric motors don’t fail very easily or often. I guess my real question should be has anyone had an electric top for many many years and raised/lowered it hundreds or thousands of times with no issues...? I’m just wondering how long they will last. I called Texas and the really nice lady said although West may use different actuator motors, they have a very very small percentage of failures or failures due to wear.

Thanks again you guys. :-)
PS: I am asking because a few people have asked me how reliable the top will be while looking at the van for possible purchase.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:43 PM   #2
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We have over 1,100 nights in our van w/power top. Never any maintenance Besides lubrication.

Joe
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:25 PM   #3
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We have over 1,100 nights in our van w/power top. Never any maintenance Besides lubrication.

Joe
Thanks Joe.
I didn’t realize that lubrication was a thing… I assumed that whatever was there, was sealed and lifetime… This probably explains why one side of my top is screeching like a dying goat (you’re welcome, humor comes free). I really wasn’t told anything when I went and picked up my van from SMBW, I was shown how to unlock the tequila hooks and press the button to make the roof go up, and then the opposite in reverse… But that’s it. I didn’t even know where the light switch was. So, almost a year later now, I have so many “ah ha“ moments still.

I will say this, I hope more people responded saying that they have not had issues with the electric motors… That would make me feel so much better, because at least that’s something that won’t break that I’d be unable to fix (or the new owner would be unable to fix after warranty…).

Thanks again.
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:15 AM   #4
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I have nowhere near 1,100 nights in the van but I have had no issues with the electric top on mine. I goes up and down slowly but reliably. I need to look into living it as well. I've done nothing to mine but is doesn't make much noise yet.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:42 AM   #5
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I'll clarify that that is not 1,100 top lifts of course but probably half of our lifts were with two sea kayaks loaded with long term camping gear... I'm thinking close to 200 lbs.
There has been quite a bit of discussion over the years on this forum about the pop tops. It would be worth a search to hear what issues others have had and how they dealt with them. I recently removed the rear inside roof bolster that covers the rear cross member of the lifting mechanism and liberally greased the arm. It slides across bare plywood (in our build anyway) and has always made some noise and not moved as freely as it should. This remedied almost all the noise and it functions much smoother - shoulda done it years ago.

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Old 10-08-2018, 11:08 AM   #6
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I JUST posted a response to a different post/thread about this...with story no less! The gist of it: Had Sporty going on 5 years now 50K on it LOTS of pop topping...Recently, Our top dropped 3-5 inches (first time ever) while lowering in morning=concern, second time the next morning dropped last 6-8 inches with a HUGE thud=PANIC...thought a motor went out...stopped at NorthSMB Chad (our orig. builder) looked at it tested, etc....HADN"T LUBED IT SINCE THE DAY WE LEFT SMB NORTH! He said, "I couldn't get it to drop, BUT it was DRY AS A BONE"...it was catching on side of main tube and then catch up/drop to match other side....and as stated: "these motors are almost bomb proof, BUT you have to lube it or you'll ruin your tubes."
PS Have a 90 lb canoe with gear/fishing stuffs and a sat dome on top...all SMB staff looking at it stated/thought it was not a problem, BUT centering/equal weight distribution is KEY if you are loading and pooping!! I had to leave that typo lol...POPPING the top

So now we have silicone spray in Sporty and our plan is to lube it LIBERALLY our first night out on every trip...hope that adds to the convo
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:07 PM   #7
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I have been living in my Sportsmobile full time for almost 3 years. Move around a lot--no issues so far!

I have roof racks, solar panels and a thule attached with about 100 lbs
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:29 AM   #8
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I JUST posted a response to a different post/thread about this...with story no less! The gist of it: Had Sporty going on 5 years now 50K on it LOTS of pop topping...Recently, Our top dropped 3-5 inches (first time ever) while lowering in morning=concern, second time the next morning dropped last 6-8 inches with a HUGE thud=PANIC...thought a motor went out...stopped at NorthSMB Chad (our orig. builder) looked at it tested, etc....HADN"T LUBED IT SINCE THE DAY WE LEFT SMB NORTH! He said, "I couldn't get it to drop, BUT it was DRY AS A BONE"...it was catching on side of main tube and then catch up/drop to match other side....and as stated: "these motors are almost bomb proof, BUT you have to lube it or you'll ruin your tubes."
PS Have a 90 lb canoe with gear/fishing stuffs and a sat dome on top...all SMB staff looking at it stated/thought it was not a problem, BUT centering/equal weight distribution is KEY if you are loading and pooping!! I had to leave that typo lol...POPPING the top

So now we have silicone spray in Sporty and our plan is to lube it LIBERALLY our first night out on every trip...hope that adds to the convo
Thank you so much for this information. It makes me feel so much better about keeping him very long term, or selling it. I really do have a conscious and I don’t want to sell something to someone if it’s going to break. But I’m so glad to hear that lubrication is KEYS, I am probably a great insurance policy. And I’m also glad to hear how many times other owners have raised and lowered their tops over the years with no issues. And of course, I’m glad to read that you described them as “Bomb Proof“.
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