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Old 07-11-2014, 07:32 PM   #1
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Looking to purchase a SMB with penthouse top alignment issue

Hey guys!

We are looking at a 1994 Dodge with a popup penthouse. The van has 66k miles on it and appears to be very clean. It drives well. I didn't get to crawl under it, but planning to. Generator starts and runs well. No cooktop, but tons of storage.

It does need some suspension refresh as it sounded like some bushings or shocks were toast when pulling in and out of the driveway.

My biggest concern is the top. It is probably skewed to one side by at least an inch. Enough so that the top actually lands on the edge of the brake light when pulled down. This also causes the top to rest over the rain gutter on the passenger side.

Is this easy to fix?

What do you think a good price for this unit would be?

Thanks!

Jason
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:45 PM   #2
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Re: Looking to purchase a SMB with penthouse top alignment i

It is probably not that big of a deal. They are fairly straightforward mechanical spring-loaded tops, so just get some advice from someone who can look at it locally. SMB has 3 locations if you didn't already know, one of which may be fairly close to you, but I would say any good mechanic could understand one of these tops. If you can lift it, brace it and then remove the trim, most of which is held in place with screwed down metal snaps w/ covers, you may just find a real obvious problem yourself. It might just be a bent bar or a chain or cable out of alignment.
Also, you should refer to one of the threads/videos here on adjusting the penthouse springs to get a basic idea of what's there and how dangerous the mechanism is. I recommend a 2nd set of hands and eyes if you investigate yourself.

Larrie has an excellent video on this. Search threads by Larrie.

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Old 07-12-2014, 12:07 AM   #3
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Re: Looking to purchase a SMB with penthouse top alignment i

Tops can float left, right front and back depending on if they are closed while on a un-level surface.
Have you tried opening and closing on a level surface?
Other than that Like others said its a basic geometry system. Just watch closely as you open or close it might show itself during the process.
Tracey
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:51 AM   #4
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Re: Looking to purchase a SMB with penthouse top alignment i

Hi,

The top on my Dodge is a sloppy fit as well.

The solution includes:

1- up and down on level ground

2- have a partner push the top into the sweet spot just as you slowly pull it down

3- jerk the top forward when fully extended upwards and allow it to slide back slightly on lowering. There is a surprising amount of play between the rods and the roof brackets.

Noisy Dodge creaking over bumps? Try the stabilizer bar end link bushings as well as the strut rod bushings. When both are installed EXACTLY as per instructions you will eliminate that creak and groan.

Use name brand or Mopar parts only.

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:41 AM   #5
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Re: Looking to purchase a SMB with penthouse top alignment i

If you have a split penthouse bed, raise and hook the front end of the bed before dropping the top down with the other end still on the rails. That will help guide the penthouse down straighter (and maybe further toward the front).
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:42 AM   #6
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Re: Looking to purchase a SMB with penthouse top alignment i

Make sure you have a window or door open when you raise of lower the penthouse.

Mines a Ford and I agree with being on level ground.
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