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Old 02-03-2010, 10:05 PM   #1
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Crazy Question!

I'm getting very close to placing my order with Sportsmobile and wanted to ask if there is any alternative to what looks like rubber material around the edge of the PH Top...I assume it is rubber, it looks like it is in the pictures I've seen.

Here is the reson I ask and where it gets crazy: I am trying to protect the top of the vehicle from damage from vultures. That's right vultures! Where I fish in the Everglades National Park there is a huge population of them and their favorite midday snack is the rubber seals on the roofs of cars; around the tops of door seals and the edges of sun roofs. I just had $970 of damage to those items on my suburban. I actually saw them eating it when i got back to the ramp. I asked the ranger about it and he basically said, "sure it happens all the time."

Since this is one of the primary places I travel too, I need to eliminate any rubber from the top of the vehicle if possible. I'm sure the rubber molding on the penthouse must act as a buffer to keep from scratching the roof, vibration dampener and possible water seal but is there any alternative? I thought I saw a picture of a rig the other day with stainless steel trim around the bottom of their Penthouse Top but I may be mistaken.

If I can't eliminate this rubber strip then i will have to cover the roof everyday when I head out which i would really like to avoid. The mosquitoes aren't bad at all once out on the water but they are the worst I have ever seen at the launch ramp during the wet season. I want to minimize my time there as much as possible.

Any ideas appreciated.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:14 PM   #2
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Re: Crazy Question!

Contempo, Cruiser, Voyager fixed tops.

Maybe not what you're looking for, but some options to consider.

If you're set on a pop-top, you'll need the rubber seals to keep out rain. You do get rain in Florida, right?


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Old 02-03-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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Re: Crazy Question!

Not being a smart*** but how do the birds react to tape? Couldn't you cover the black rubber with white duck or gaffers tape? It would still seal. You just might have to replace it once or twice a year.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:33 PM   #4
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Re: Crazy Question!

Herb,

I thought the soft walls kept out the rain. The rubber 'gasket' is there to protect the painted metal from the fiberglass top.

At least on an EB, the ribs in the sheetmetal extend well forward of the poptop and continue under the top, ending under the softwall and it's seal. Water collects in the ribs and runs easily under the rubber gasket.

It may be possible to use a white vinyl covered trim instead of the black rubber. See McMaster-Carr page 3740:

http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/116/3740/=5nxv34

Part way down the page is some vinyl edge trim that has a spring metal core. It fits thicknesses from 1/64" to 1/2" and is up to 5/8" tall. Not a direct replacement, but it may work.

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Old 02-04-2010, 12:10 AM   #5
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Re: Crazy Question!

Could be Mike, I do recall that it's a loose "seal" of the PH rubber with the van roof. If I think about it, I'll take a look in the daylight.

I wonder how much the PH top would want to "lift" at highway speeds without the rubber seal keeping much of the air from getting underneath the top?


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Old 02-04-2010, 07:39 AM   #6
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Re: Crazy Question!

The Sportsmobile "Anti-Vulture" option is available for around $25K. It consists of a roof-mounted 20mm NATO compatible ammo chaingun, with automatic targeting software and optics. Really good for for putting the fear of SMB into those obnoxious campers in the campsite right next to you as well. It is probably legal under the new relaxed gun laws for national parks.

Make sure to get the electric penthouse option.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:06 AM   #7
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Re: Crazy Question!

I like Ed's solution the best. I'm sure the Park rangers would just love it too.

I have thought about a fixed top as an option but I don't know much about them. I really need the second bed that the PH offers. If you do put a bed in one will it stow up against the roof like the PH top? How much air drag do they create going down the highway? I tow from NC to the Keys as often as I can and it's about 1,000 miles one way.

This brings up another question, how much wind noise is there at highway speeg from a Penthouse top. I hadn't even thought about that until this discussion about the seal around the edge.

Thanks.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:04 AM   #8
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Re: Crazy Question!

The complete rubber gasket replacement is cheap ($40-50). You may want to buy a couple of 3 foot strips and treat them with something and see if you can find a formula that the vultures don't like.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:13 AM   #9
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Re: Crazy Question!

I haven't noticed any wind noise from the penthouse while traveling. Don't think that will be a problem at all.
We had a vulture on the roof of our rig when there last year, but luckly it hadn't done any dining yet.
As far as I can tell, the rubber on the penthouse does stop some water from getting under there while traveling, but it's not anywhere near close to being waterproof. I would think you could go without it. Main problem, in my humble opinion, would be the rubbing and scratches from the edge of the penthouse. Twas me, I'd go with the stock SMB setup and see what happens. The stuff is pretty easy to replace, but I don't know about the cost. What about some of that U channel stuff like you can put on the edges of car doors to prevent parking lot dings? That would be real tough for them to get off and would protect the roof. Nothing for water though.
What about just setting something that the things are afraid of on the roof when you leave? I was thinking something stinky, but stink doesn't seem to be something that bothers them.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:18 AM   #10
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Re: Crazy Question!

I didn't know vultures did that too. We were on South Island in New Zealand hiking at a glacier and the local Kea birds loved to tear weatherstripping or rubber off any car, truck, or motorhome in the trailhead parking lot. I watched one tear the rubber off windshield wipers. It didn't look like the Keas ate any of it, it was just something to do. Very destructive.

Many birds are immune to spices, but maybe a vet would have suggestions about something unappealing to put on the PH seal to keep them away. I don't think tape would stop a determined beak. How about several of them plastic owls?
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