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Old 08-25-2018, 10:00 PM   #1
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SMB vs CCV penthouse top comparison and impact on rear AC?

We are amidst a month long trip from Phoenix to Jasper AB and then down the pacific coast with our two little ones in our E350 that SMB did a 4x4 conversion on new but still sits in the passenger ďchateauĒ configuration. We are thinking about potentially adding a penthouse top and wanted to get others thoughts on the CCV vs SMB options. To me the CCV top actually seems superior because of the insulation and the ability to actually zip up all the windows. Is there anything else I should consider that might set the SMB top apart? We are in Phoenix so either install location is going to be inconvenient but we will make an adventure out of it if we decide itís worth it.

Also wondered what happens to the rear AC on either option? I thought I read somewhere on here that the SMB version moved them to the pillars. Does the CCV do the same? And can anyone comment on any change in the effectiveness of the AC after the conversion? AC in Phoenix is really important obviously!

Thank you all! More posts to come with updates and photos from our trip when we return.
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:13 PM   #2
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There's been threads relating to quality control issues with both companies. All things being equal, I would go with ccv based on the width of their bed and the ability to sit up in the penthouse.
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:25 PM   #3
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We have the CCV top on our 2002 E350. With both the front and rear AC running the van stays plenty cool while driving around.
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:22 PM   #4
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I work fork CCV and do all the installs for the tops, we keep the AC in the back and revent using the last 20” of your headliner. It works well and will keep the back of the van cool just as your factory set does now.
Our insulation & canvas are the best in the industry hands down. So you can stay warm or cool when the top is up depending on the season.
You have two top options either mid top or high top plus we can do a color match paint job. paint is done by me or Derek, usually me...
We have more head room than SMB and our electric top is designed better than the newer SMB top. (I just got to spend some time in a new Chevy SMB that we did the full interior build on. It’s fine but I don’t like the old school westy lift box.
Obviously my opinion is biased but I also wouldn’t work for CCV if I didn’t believe in our products. I approach each van as if it was mine as our whole tops team does the same.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:55 AM   #5
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CCV is a far superior product. A LOT stronger, much bigger, larger and more comfortable bed.

Without a doubt.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:44 AM   #6
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I have had a CCV top on a Sprinter for less than a year. Today I will drop them a note about all the issues I'm having (pulling the rest of the pics together as we speak).

We will see the results....but know that it is structural, electrical, and workmanship related.

Also know that I gave them an extra week and a full day after they indicated it would be done as promised (and it wasn't...scheduling issues do happen, I understand...).

I am hopeful it will be resolved as they were responsive when I had water pouring into the van during the rainy season (Fitz and I ended up addressing the issue ourselves however.)
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:49 PM   #7
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ive had my ccv top since early 2014. we just did our 42ish night in it this year last weekend (we average between 40 and 50 nights in it a year). about half the time we camp in 2 places in a weekend so the top gets deployed a couple of times each adventure.

Its been very reliable and still have yet to have any leaks that wernt my fault. the one time it leaked I had something poking out the rear window and it wasn't under the protection of the top so it came in the zipper and just barely got our bedding wet.

one of my favorite features is the storage area above the cab. something that's not an option with smb. it holds so much stuff that sometimes its a bad thing, lol.

the triple canvas with 2 layers of canvas and a thin foam center works great. in direct heat it keeps the inside cool by opening the windows that aren't facing the sun. if its cold out, opening up the blinds and leaving the windows open sucks the heat in quick and holds in the heat well. we have yet to try a heater when it gets really cold, so cant comment there, but weve slept in our van as low as -5 degrees.

overall we're extremely happy with our top. is it perfect? no. but like Derek told me when I purchased it that it was an ever evolving setup. I got one of the last fiberine setups he did. theres issues I have addressed and still a few that need addressed, but like I said, in the end, we are really happy with our setup.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:06 PM   #8
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SMB vs CCV penthouse top comparison and impact on rear AC?

Thereís lots of threads on this subject, some have tended to veer way off course though.
Iíve had experience with both tops, our SMB had their manual lift that we used for years before swapping over to the CCV high top. I can still say after 5+ years with our CCV top, we are MUCH happier with the added width of the upper bed and overall larger space it provides, including the space over the cab, plus we were able to extend our camping season into colder months with the added insulation and full zip insulated windows.
The mechanics of the top have held up, no issues there, and much stouter framing, so doesnít blow around like the SMB top did in lite/moderate wind, keeping us up at night. The only issue weíve had is that some of the screen material for the windows has torn from the zipper seam, having Derek take a look to see if it can be repaired without replacing the entire canvas. This might have been remedied with a bit more material left on there to account for shrinkage......
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:33 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the replies! Feels like we would be a lot happier with the CCV top, we do like to get into the cold (being from Phoenix) and camp from time to time. Logistics of getting it up to Loveland for the install is a little tough so that might have to be worked out somehow. I do see CCV sells theirs as a DIY so maybe I can find a van outfitter in Phoenix that does installs - certainly not something I would tackle myself!
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Old 08-29-2018, 09:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ndubes View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies! Feels like we would be a lot happier with the CCV top, we do like to get into the cold (being from Phoenix) and camp from time to time. Logistics of getting it up to Loveland for the install is a little tough so that might have to be worked out somehow. I do see CCV sells theirs as a DIY so maybe I can find a van outfitter in Phoenix that does installs - certainly not something I would tackle myself!
That is likely a better route...the tops are straightforward...but I don't know what if any documentation is provided. We love our top - the size of the bed and extra headroom it provides. It is a bit ugly (we prefer the older design, but CCV no longer offered it)... except for the workmanship issues, we are stoked. I'm hoping that structural stuff (these are completely flat on top) can be addressed so we don't end up with lots of pooling water. There is a guy in southern California that buys CCV tops and installs them...if I were to do it again, I'd likely go that route. His name is Korey ...if you're interested, PM and I will send you his email address.
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