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Old 08-13-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
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Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

Happended to come across this service bulleting on SMB's website. Don't recall seeing it mentioned here.

http://www.sportsmobile.com/6_bulletins.html


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Penthouse Secondary Latching ó Bulletin 7-7-10
To: Owners of Sportsmobile Converted Ford, Dodge, Chevy/GMC Vans with Penthouse Top
Sportsmobile Texas Inc. and Sportsmobile West Inc. were recently involved in a lawsuit. This lawsuit was the result of a very high speed triple roll-over accident with two fatalities. Four other occupants that were buckled-up suffered minor injuries, if any. These were the first fatalities in 50 years of converting thousands of vans with expandable tops. The vehicle involved in the accident was a "Ford Extended Body" van with a "4-Wheel Drive."

During the lawsuit allegations were made that one or more of the roof latches failed during the roll-over, resulting in the Penthouse Expandable Top separating from the van.

Out of abundance of caution and as a result of this most recent allegation, Sportsmobile has developed a secondary restraint for the roof. Sportsmobile will sell this secondary restraint to owners of Sportsmobile vehicles at its cost.

This secondary latching kit is available for Ford, Dodge and Chevy/GMC vans converted by Sportsmobile with a Penthouse Top. Sportsmobile will supply the parts at its cost of $80, including shipping. About one or two hours will be required for installation. Essentially the installation requires removing the three existing latches, adding shortened seat belts and reinstalling the latches with the seat belts. When driving, both the the old latches and modified seat belts will help secure the top to the van's roof. You can install at your own expense, or Sportsmobile will install at no charge for labor at any of its three locations by appointment. Your only cost will be $80 for parts

To order the Sportsmobile Penthouse Top Secondary Latching Kit, print out or use this order form PDF.

Warning: Do not drive at excessive speeds, make abrupt maneuvers or drive under the influence of illegal substances. Always stay buckled up.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:05 PM   #2
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

Good to know

LOL charging $80 !
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:23 PM   #3
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

I feel sorry for the occupants of the van, but if rolling over multiple times, I'm not sure what you expect the fiberglass PH roof to do for you.

I'm guessing too many lawyers looking for too much money was the reason behind this "fix."


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Old 08-13-2010, 05:48 PM   #4
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

Quote:
Four other occupants that were buckled-up suffered minor injuries, if any.
I'm trying to read between the lines here but does this mean that the two fatalities weren't buckled up at all?
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:56 PM   #5
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

To me it read like the two fatalities weren't buckled in. Maybe the key part was 'VERY HIGH SPEED'. For me, in a 10,000# lifted van, anything over 70 is high speed, very high speed would be 85+. And then the penthouse top gets blamed for the deaths?

I'm sorry some had to die. Sometimes Darwinism wins out.

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Old 08-13-2010, 08:14 PM   #6
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

Lets see:

High speed.....50% at fault
Not buckled up....49% at fault
Modified vehicle MUST some how be at fault.... 1%

So they ask for $100 million and although they probably were 99% at fault Sportsmobile would be liable for 1% of the $100 million or $1 million. Sportsmobile probably was also required to show "good faith" and put out a field fix for a high speed, no seat belt, multiple roll over accident.

Ah, the American legal system.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:06 AM   #7
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

Hey WV Van, I'm guessing a couple of people riding in the back were unbelted and ejected once the top came off. I wonder what percentage of the SMB price tag is insurance.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:26 PM   #8
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

I'll bet our vans stack up a hell of a lot better than a pickup camper would in a similar situation. Sorry to hear about the injuries and deaths but I canít believe how people put the blame on something that may have been caused by other factors. I wonder if this is a frivolous lawsuit or actually has some merit. Sounds like BS to me hearing the limited info on it. I could see if the latches failed letting the top lift off causing the vehicle to loose control and crash. How do other companies who build similar pop top RVís latch down their tops?

My van is at SMB now but Iím not sure I want those installed.
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:22 PM   #9
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
I'll bet our vans stack up a hell of a lot better than a pickup camper would in a similar situation. Sorry to hear about the injuries and deaths but I canít believe how people put the blame on something that may have been caused by other factors. I wonder if this is a frivolous lawsuit or actually has some merit. Sounds like BS to me hearing the limited info on it. I could see if the latches failed letting the top lift off causing the vehicle to loose control and crash. How do other companies who build similar pop top RVís latch down their tops?

My van is at SMB now but Iím not sure I want those installed.
I'm with you, I don't think I could talk myself into having these installed. First it would be a pain to do both sets of latches, and even then they are using the same bolt mounts so a single point of failure still exist. But wait, with the seat belt latches maybe we can get it wired into seat belt circuit to tell us when we have forgotten to latch the roof down. Not that I've ever done that
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #10
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Re: Penthouse Secondary Latching - SMB Service Bulletin

Certainly contrived in a legal office. Another example of why our US small business is going "south".
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