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Old 03-12-2012, 01:32 PM   #1
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Penthouse Roof Information

We have a 2006 E250 RB SMB with a G (garagable) PH top built in Indiana. The fiberglass PH top runs the full length of our van from right above the windshield to the back of the van. It is five and a half inches tall from the bottom of the black rubber lower edge to the top roof surface. We were told it is slightly shorter than the standard SMB PH top to make it garagable. Iím curious to know what the height of the standard PH top from the bottom of the black rubber strip to the top surface of the roof is. Iím hoping someone on the Forum can provide this information. Also, weíve been reading quite a bit about PH tops on the Forum and it seems like there might be several slightly different tops that have been used over the years. Folks on the Forum have reported having bolts that run through their fiberglass PH roofs and something called Ryno coating or something like that. Our PH top is smooth as glass from front to back without a single bolt protruding out the top. Iím hoping there is a SMB PH top expert on the Forum who can fill us in on the differences in the tops and what the through bolts are all about.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

These are the thru bolts that hold the fiber top together with the lifting mechanism


Picture credit Jage
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:21 PM   #3
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

They are about 8". SMB east uses a different top or they had in the past. Actually I would prefer a smooth top. I know SMB west claims the top they sell can be walked on and I did see them take a picture with over 10 people standing up there. I don't know if the different tops have different strengths. The coating you are talking about is something SMB west began to offer as an upgrade several years back...07 I think. It is like Line-X that is sprayed on pickup beds. I had mine done a couple years back cause I added a full rack which made waxing impossible. I wish it was available when I ordered my van...just hose it off and it's clean. There are several posts about owners who have done a similar application themselves.
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

Jeff,

I measured my top, and it is 6 1/8" from the bottom of the rubber gasket to the top of the roof - measured in the middle of the back of the top.

It doesn't sound or look like your top is much different than mine.

Mike
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:36 PM   #5
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

I wonder if the G top is just the one they use back east and if west wanted one Indiana just ships one out here???
I always thought the G top was thinner than what you guys have.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

Mine is not a G-Top, rather it is a standard penthouse top. Although, it was built in Indiana.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:42 PM   #7
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

Mike,
Does your roof have any lift hardware bolts going through it? Is it smooth fiberglass front to rear without grooves?

Jeff
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:56 AM   #8
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

Mine has hardware through it in about 12 places. And it has grooves running the length of it.

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Old 03-31-2012, 08:46 PM   #9
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

The following Penthouse Top information is from Nancy at SMB North in Indiana. She has been at SMB North since 1981 and reports they have changed the penthouse tops several times over the years.

ďMany years ago, all the penthouse tops had grooves in them. The grooves were designed so rain water would run off either to the front or the back.

Back in 2003 the Dodge Ram van was discontinued. It was the only van low enough to fit into a 7 foot garage with a standard penthouse top on it. When the Dodge Ram van was discontinued, we had to design a top that was a little shorter to go on the Ford E250 so we would still have a garagable penthouse top available. So our president designed the Garagable top and made it bolt from the inside which made it lower and smoother. That is why the garagable top was designed differently. He also designed the garagable top to go all the way to the top of the windshield instead of stopping at the cab where all the other tops did. However, by designing the garagable top this way (longer), we discovered because of the length of the top, the extra outside latches were needed to secure the front of the top so when you were driving it wouldn't come up at the front. The low top was a good idea, but because of the extra latches, people didn't like having to go outside to unlatch them before putting up the top.

--Note from Jeff: Both of the front outside latches can be unlatched and latched from inside by opening the driver and passenger door windows but I guess people hadnít figured this out.--

SMB West decided they didn't want to install the Garagable top because most of their vans have 4WD and it didn't make any difference whether their vans were garagable or not. Thatís why SMB West didn't install garagable tops. They also have their own mold out there so they donít need to ship their penthouse tops from the fiberglass shop here in Indiana.

SMB West never changed their mold to the smooth top. SMB Texas also installed the garagable tops for a while. However, a lot of garages now being built have either 7 1/2 foot doors or 8 foot doors. We always ask customers if they need the top to fit in a 7 foot garage. If they donít, we always put the standard penthouse top on.

Since molds only last so many years, when it came time to make a new standard penthouse top mold, the president decided he liked the look of the smooth top instead of the grooved top. So when he designed the next round of standard tops for the Ford RB and EB, he took out the grooves. Thatís how that came about. So any top thatís installed by SMB West always has the grooves.

In about 2009-2010, Ford came out with their E150 that has the same GVWR as the E250 vans. Since the E150 is a lower van than the E250 was, the garagable top was no longer necessary to fit in a 7 foot garage. So by just adjusting the standard penthouse top on the E150 van a little, we could install the standard penthouse top and it measured about 83 1/2 inches so we didn't need the longer garagable top anymore. Not having to stock two different tops worked fine for us.
I know this is a long story but thatís the reason why there are so many tops.

All the tops are good tops, it is just a matter of where they were installed and what the need of the customer was.Ē
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:25 PM   #10
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Re: Penthouse Roof Information

Smooooooov
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