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Old 09-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #1
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Electric PH Top

We're in the process of making our final selections our new Sportsmobile, IN. What are the thoughts about an electric PH top versus manual? The electric option has to be selected now. And a related topic is too rack or not. We may decide to haul an inflatable Air Kayak that could be carried on top along with fishing gear and plein air painting stuff. If we rack now what are the better options.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:26 AM   #2
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Re: Electric PH Top

One of the biggest complaints I have about my rig is the lack of electric PH top. If you don't choose any other option at least choose this one! It is a pain to lift it manually. I know my springs can be adjusted etc. My wife cannot lift the top at all as she lacks the strength. Put a little weight on the top like a Thule box and forget about it. I will not pop the top for short periods of time and I would really like to, to get headroom if we stop somewhere. Usually I have stuff on the roof and that all has to come down before the top goes up. DO the electric PH

I am seriously thinking about paying the big bucks to have it retro fitted. Will cost me around 5k to do this after the fact. So do it NOW!!!

A full rack is the Aluminess one and it is the best. Or you can go the route of just having Thule bars like mine. Depends on what you will be hauling up there?
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:42 AM   #3
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Re: Electric PH Top

Thanks. I will make sure it's added now.

About the rack. Well at some point we'll get a kayak, probably one of the Air Kayaks. Additionally will carry fishing gear and plein air stuff (easel). I don't know if just Thule rack will do it but I don't know. What are the thoughts about the rear ladder to access the top?
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:52 AM   #4
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Re: Electric PH Top

If you have anything on top to access..... the rear ladder is the only way to do it. If mine didn't have a ladder then I could not get on top unless I carried an 8' step ladder around with me. The ladder is definately not there for looks! It is the only way to access the top.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:40 AM   #5
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Re: Electric PH Top

I think Roonie has given you solid advice. Definitely get either a rear or side ladder for the van. Go with a side ladder if you are (or ever will) get Aluminess boxes for the rear bumper. Otherwise, the rear ladder will be just fine and will probably give you a better profile on the van.

I don't have any trouble raising / lowering the roof with the manual top with three Thule crossbars and kayak racks. However, when we travel with kayaks or surfboards on the roof, I need to remove them every time I wish to raise the roof. This isn't a problem at all when we get to our destination camp site. However, we don't raise the roof for a short lunch stop or something similar. I think not getting the electric PH is my only regret regarding the build out of our SMB. At the same time we were looking to save money anywhere we could. Knowing everything I do now, this is the only option I would change from a purely convenience standpoint.

Good luck with the SMB, looking forward to hearing about it.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:56 AM   #6
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Re: Electric PH Top

+1 on the Electric PH and Aluminess Safari Rack! If we go with the PH top again for the rig, we will definately add the electric PH. The Only downside to the E-PH is the plan B on lowering it just incase a motor fails on the field. If they can figure out how to lower the top easily if the failure occurs, I will be 100% for it instead of 99.9%

The Aluminess rack is definitely awesome. There are endless possibilities on configurations on the safari rack. Dave and the gang will work with whatever you're thinking off.

Ray
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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Re: Electric PH Top

I also think you will like the E-PH. As far as the rack, it can be added at a later date but if you're adding solar now do the rack as well. And while your at the build level, it's a good idea to pre-wire for solar and maybe any electrical for lights up top even if you don't do the rack now.



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Old 09-18-2010, 12:51 PM   #8
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Re: Electric PH Top

Those of you that have a manual roof I can convert those to electric for a lot less than 5k. I have not done one yet but I studied the last manual top I had here at the shop. There is plenty of room to retrofit my actuators to the manual smb top with out to much modification. If your interested let me know.
Thanks
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:06 PM   #9
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Re: Electric PH Top

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsw4x4
There is plenty of room to retrofit my actuators to the manual smb top with out to much modification.
I'd been thinking about that too (not offering to convert, but that there was room for an actuator). When I had it opened up to fit spacers in the assist springs, I wondered if some of that spring could be swapped for an actuator. The hard part of lifting the top is the first foot or so (before the main springs start working) - that's all that'd need to be powered.

If anyone figures it out, let me know!

Cheers,
Mike.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:35 PM   #10
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Re: Electric PH Top

Probably discussed elsewhere, but how much weight can you safely leave on top and still raise the elec PH top and not worry about overload and not bend the bars? Are there any early warning signs, creeks or noises that would shout out that you have to much weight on top? (short of your bars bending) Thanks
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