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Old 11-10-2010, 03:07 PM   #1
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Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

I just got my top put in last week ad SMB west and love the extra room.

The problem we are having is the passanger rear corner does not close all the way. This both looks a bit jenky and also allows the top to vibrate over bumps causing the belows of the canvas to create that bufting noise were the pressure is constanly changing (like when you have one window open in a well sealed car) Thats my theory anyways. It is only slightly annoying to me but the Wife thinks it is painful soooo it NEEDs to get fixed.

SMB said it is due to the canvas needing to settle as it is new, but that doesnt seem right as it only and always does it on the same corner and with the best care taken putting the top down. Manually directing the canvas to lay like a perfectly folded sheet changes nothing either. The back clip is tight.

Looking at the top as you would in checking for warp in wood, it looks as though the rear corner is twisted up about hte same amount htat is creating the issue. Is this a manufacture defect?

You can see in the photos where it sits tight up front but not in back and from the back it looks crooked (looks worse in person). (The trim piece is off so that I could paint the top, but with it on the bottom of the trim to the top of the van is still about 1/2")

Any one else have this problem? Any ideas?
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:37 PM   #2
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

It doesn't sound right to me, I can't see any amount of "canvas settling" taking care of that.

-greg
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

I looked at mine tonight. First, observation is, on yours you only see the black gasket along the back up until the barn door. On mine I see the same (large) black gasket margin all the way around. The "very corner" (last 3 inches of the right rear) on mine rides up about 1/2" compared to the left side, but it still makes good contact with the roof. It could just be the way it was sitting when I last closed it. We find it sits differently depending upon how the rig is parked when we close it. Could it be that the rear latch is out of adjustment (I probably guilty of having mine tighter than most), or possibly the limit switch on the actuators needs to be tweaked? I have never had any problem with the wind rustling when driving but then again I have a diesel, so I probably wouldn't hear it anyway. As far as sealing goes, this ain't no Lexus, heck I can see daylight under the barn doors. Just keep the A/C on to create pressure to keep the dust out.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

That doesn't seem like a normal answer from SMB West. Also, I suggest that if that was "normal" for their product they would have been out of business some time ago.

My top was done at SMB North and doesn't open quite right. When I pointed it out at SMB West they insisted that if I could give them enough time they would like to fix it as it represents their company. That seems to be more the norm from them on issues like this.

My bet is that you will not find anyone else that accepted something like this. My suggestion is that if an underling at SMB West is telling you that, you should go straight to Alan. My money says he would like to know that is going on in his company.

Good luck.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:33 PM   #5
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

Thanks for the replies. They basically reaffirmed my thoughts.
Of course I didnt notice this when I was in Fresno...that would have been far to convenient. Fortunately, it is not a functional issue so a run to Fresno can wait until a trip to the sierras is setup.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:45 PM   #6
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

All the tops set down a bit different. After having an Aluminess rack put on, even that made a difference. Before I had to pull the top to "port" to get it to settle correctly. Now I have to pull the top to "stern" to get it right. I gave up on how it sits on the ladder rack supports. The seal does not even sit on the protective tape SMB put down. Gonna talk with them on this.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:27 PM   #7
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

Funny several of us have that 1/2" gap on the rear 3" or so of the passenger corner... SMB West sent me a shorter j bolt for the rear and even though it is snug I have my doubts about just how snug. Seems like it may be making rattling noise on the bumps occassionally. No signs of wear on the roof tape lines and the top fits over these so that's not a concern. I do have to pull to the passenger side ever so slightly to get the roof to sit on the tape. Sometimes it takes me several tries (PITA). Mine doesn't look bad, but the noise is unsettling if that's indeed where it is coming from. Still looking into this.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:59 PM   #8
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

I usually take great care leveling when using our Penthouse , but sometimes it is not completely doable ! I have found that after lowering the top back down I leave it unlatched for a very short and semi level distance while going very (SLOWLY) will settle it into it's needed spot .
I then check visually if possible and if level secure the latches . I have only had to do this a 1/2
dozen times in the last 3 years as the Penthouse even with our Auminess Rack always seems to find it's correct position .
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #9
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

Update:
I went back to SMB as it was a QC issue. The top is actually "warped"
SMB doesn't know the cause for the warp, but has since discovered that the supplier of the top has shipped production to Mexico.

The fix was to add a latch in the back and move the existing latch so it looks the the latches in the front. This has helped significantly, but still isn't closing completely. I am not really satisfied with the fix but I will manage plus I intend to install an awning which should mask some of the closing issue.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:04 PM   #10
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Re: Penthouse Not fitting tight when closed

Still thinking the situation over. What was the order time-frame on your penthouse? Do you have the penthouse bed too, and if so did they make you a new one to accomodate the latch changes?

The Ford van body may also be playing a part in this - it was changed some since 2008. The rear passenger side top appears to have a curve down ever so slightly more than driver side. I suppose it's possible that cutting out the top could cause such a warp or twist. Not saying that's your problem since they think it's the penthouse. The gap on my top is very slim - 1/2" or less along 3 - 5" at the rear passenger corner. I'm still working with the shortened j bolt SMB West sent me (tightening it down over time now) and things seem to be slowly getting better.
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