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Old 06-13-2011, 06:34 PM   #1
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Hole in the roof

Greetings. I tried a search. Read back a few pages on a couple forums. This may be a cross post question about the size of the hole in da roof. Dunno. Little help?

If someone can link to the proper thread, thanks in advance.

I was up close and personal with some late model Econoline's at the boneyard on Sunday for a looksie at a bare interior. It would seem that a hole could be cut from the header above the front seats damn near all the way back to the third brake light. Side to side could be cut to where the interior framing meets the roof skin. The result would be in the 10' x 55" range.

The roof cross braces are bolted to the side framing. The roof skin appears to be glued to the cross braces.

I tired to get some measurements from the floor to the top of the interior framing. It seems that the measurement was pretty even making the interior framing level. And yet, the roof has a slight front to back bow.

I am of the opinion that one could make a nice rectangular level hole in the roof.

I'd like to know the cut out size that SMB uses for their Penthouse tops. Anyone?

I'm really leaning toward a homebuilt roof made from sticks and plywood with some 'glass on the exterior. Maybe even hard sides instead of fabric. I can't find a low profile fiberglass top that is similar to the SMB style.
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:48 PM   #2
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Hole in the roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by regis101
I'd like to know the cut out size that SMB uses for their Penthouse tops. Anyone?
Jage seems to be out having a terrible time in Moab while the rest of enjoy work. However, don't be surprised when this thread gets locked for asking a specific question about SMB's design...

That being said, it would be difficult for most to answer as the frame for the PH Top extends inward a bit and masks the actual dimension of the whole that is cut. However, it sounds like you've got the general idea. If you are going to build something of your own design, it would only seem to matter what the dimension of your hole is.

Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:21 AM   #3
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Re: Hole in the roof

Here's a hint.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:18 PM   #4
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Re: Hole in the roof

Thanks for the replies.

I can't see why asking about the cut out would cause a locked thread. It should be common knowledge. No trade secrets are being exploited on my end. If I was to drop some coin for the PH from SMB, a trip to their Fresno factory would be rule numero uno anyway.

Plus, along those lines, since our rig is a window van, I'd like to be able to revamp some of the interior roof material so as to blend into their cut out. Before I go and cut a huge hole into my interior fabric, it'd be nice what size hole I'm dealing with.

So my question is legitimate, IMO.

Regards,
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:10 PM   #5
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Re: Hole in the roof

I don't believe this thread has been locked. All new posters have to have their first three postings approved by an administrator to prevent spammers.
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:57 PM   #6
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Re: Hole in the roof

SMB would be considered the industry standard. I can't find any competition.

The size of their cut out might be considered as a base line for home builds. If the home build doesn't work out, it'd be off to SMB for one of their units. I can make the hole bigger but can't make it smaller.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:46 AM   #7
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Re: Hole in the roof

I believe the width of the cutout is 45 1/2" or so. Seems like the penthouse bed is 41" wide and then reinforcing support rail on each side must take up between 2" and 2.25". It isn't as wide as what you might think. If you were doing a DIY and were never going to consider a SMB top it might be cool to have the opening a few inches wider if possible in my opinion.

If you think that you might have SMB put in a top down the road I'd contact them first to see if they would consider a rig that already had a hole cut in the roof. For liability purposes I'd guess they might need to do the install start to finish but it would be worth a call to SMB to find out.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:21 PM   #8
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Re: Hole in the roof

Good thoughts. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:06 AM   #9
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Re: Hole in the roof

GTRV is an alternative, ColoradoCamperVans.com is a second. I'd contact CCV directly and ask Derrik, he's likely to chat structure and roofing, I know he's cut more than a few holes through roofs.

The "rule" under discussion visible above in any part of this section. Hopefully a clear distinction is made between asking how to copy a commercial builder's solution and information. Tread lightly, thinking you're right is not justification for rule violation. However, mainly because you can ALWAYS ask the question, "Is this OK to ask?" first if you're concerned.

Closer to topic, SMB reinforces the sides after cutting out, it states or used to state on the website that the result is stronger than with a roof intact so it's not just a matter of measuring the hole anyway. From the outside it looks like the EB and RB Ford PH is the same, so you get an over-cab space on the EB with the left over van. I don't think this is structural, just easier since there is probably not enough demand for a full EB top mold.

Could cut a hole from X to Y doesn't mean should... I wonder if there is some Ford supplied "body builder" codes you could get ahold of. I know things have been mentioned for the window cutouts.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:29 PM   #10
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Re: Hole in the roof

When my van was converted, I was told by GTRV that Ford does not allow the roof to be cut into the cab area. I believe there is a rib immediately behind the front seats that must stay intact. I believe it is for structural reasons.

No reference, just second-hand info.

Cheers,
Brent
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