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Old 08-25-2014, 07:48 PM   #1
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Question about the SMB pop top

I was trying to find info or videos on the pop top. I am trying to compact the electrical vs manual pop tops. I have been talking with Nancy nix from smb north about getting my van converted there. I am from jersey so I'm not in the place to go out there to check this out and I can't find and videos or much info on my question. I was trying to weigh my option on the manual vs electrical pop top. I am 25 and will have the van hopefully 15+ years. I don't want to have a problem down the road with the top, I would like to have the most efficient top for myself, price wise, time wise, and longevity wise. For the extra 1200$ for the electric is it worth it? How long does the top take to pop up with the electric? Is it slow or fast? And have you had any real issues with the electrical pop top? Also the manual top, is it hard to push up and pull down? I'm 6'3" and strong but would my 5'5" 115lb gf be able to handle it? (She works out at the gym and is in good shape but still) and have you had any problems with the manual tops? Also I would eventually plan on putting a solar panel on the top in the bear future, just big enough to help out with the batteries and appliances. Thanks for all the help in advance, and greetings for my first post in this smb modification section. -Chris
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:53 PM   #2
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

Hi, not sure where you are in NJ, but if you want to check out my manual PH SMB (built in Indiana, but back in 1998) I'm happy to show you. I'm in the Philadelphia area.

I have no experience with the electric PH, but our manual one is really easy to put up and down and I've never wished for an electric one. From what I hear, it's a good option if you plan to carry heavy stuff up there like kayaks, surfboards, etc. I don't think I'd worry too much about solar panels, unless you are putting a mini solar farm up there or something.

I imagine the electric PH would have better resale value, but you'd have to decide whether the initial outlay is worth it. $1200 isn't that much more for the electric lift, all things considered (I'm surprised it doesn't add more $$ than that). But it's more "stuff" to break down the road. I like to keep things simple. There are a lot of older SMB with the manual PH still on the road, even from back in the 60s-70s-80s, so obviously that design can stand the test of time.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

mine is manual and my 110 pound wife can hang from it while up.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:03 PM   #4
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

Thanks gooseberry, might get interesting if I go with the manual and my gf can't lower it. Lol

BrianW thank you I appreciate that. I'm from freehold area off 195 and about 15 minutes from the shore. Might be a possibility I will definitely keep that in mind. Thank you for the offer and for the input. That's what I was thinking, manual had been around so long and seams to have held up. So idk we shall see. I appreciate it.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:08 PM   #5
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

Just got my penthouse installed - I got the electric - totally worth it.

To answer your other questions:

Quote:
For the extra 1200$ for the electric is it worth it? YES How long does the top take to pop up with the electric? About a Minute Is it slow or fast? And have you had any real issues with the electrical pop top? Not Yet Also the manual top, is it hard to push up and pull down? Don't know
Of course, I'm twice as old as you and I really appreciate the ease of the lift...

FWIW

Phil
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:16 PM   #6
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

We are happy with our electric PH. Jan 2012 build. No problems so far. One big advantage to the elect lift is that you can load up the top, 200lb I believe. We sometimes haul canoes and they go up with the top without any problem. With a manual top you would have to unload any cargo on the roof before raising the top. I would recommend the elect top.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:29 PM   #7
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

I have the electric lift & haven't used a manual lift top before. I was a bit surprised how slow the top raises with the electric lift. It's probably a good idea since it will give you time to react if anything catches on the way up. Don't expect power window speed though.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

I guess I'll chime in with a plug. Having switched over to a CCV (Colorado camper van) top from a manual lift SMB pop top, I would highly recommend to anyone looking at adding a top to take a look at Derek's tops, they are a huge upgrade in my opinion, higher profile, longer/wider bed, superior frame and electric lift mechanism creates a very stout and sturdy top, insulated canvas option goes all the way forward to the glass creating a great usable space above the cab for storage, our little guy sleeps up there, it raises up higher so you can fully sit up in the upper bunk, includes LED lights and I think it's around the same price, not sure what SMB is getting for theirs. It's worth at least taking a look, very happy with our upgrade.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:28 AM   #9
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

The manual pop top is great if you never plan to add anything later (solar panels, roof rack, Aluminess etc.)

$1200 up front or $3500 to retrofit...
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:44 AM   #10
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Re: Question about the SMB pop top

Another vote for e pop for reasons mentioned above. Also never heard of any smb owner say "I wish I got the manual top". But often hear "I wish I got that e top".
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