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Old 08-13-2019, 04:44 PM   #1
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Penthouse top on a transit

I am looking at building a van out at SMB Texas. I want to put a penthouse top on a transit. I would prefer to do it on a passenger model to get the windows and other features, rather than going to the additional expense of having to build out the interior of a cargo van.

SMB says they can only add a top after a dealer has disabled and put a sticker on the rear curtain airbags stating they have been disabled.

The dealer they work with in Texas says they won't disable the rear airbags.

Has anyone else ever done this? Any suggestions?
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:12 PM   #2
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The airbag module can be reconfigured with Forscan. Meaning, you can reprogram the module to a different air bag layout. The problem is, cargo vans have curtain airbags that start at the base of the A-pillar and end at the B-pillar. Passenger vans have curtain airbags that start at the base of the A-pillar and end behind the last seat the van was configured for. You'd be disabling a pretty big airbag that covers a lot of the driver/passenger space....

I took the airbags out of our Transit (passenger van) to build our interior but I'd like to find some out of the cargo van to replace at least the bag above my head/shoulder.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:31 PM   #3
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Oh, so the whole curtain airbag is a single unit? I thought it would be modular based on location. I thought they would have a drivers unit and then a rear passenger's unit.

It sounds like i am going to have to move toward a cargo van, which is annoying.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:58 PM   #4
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Are they saying they have to be diabled permanently? Or just for the install (which makes sense to me, to avoid damaging them).

If it is permanent, would the airbags have to be disabled on a medium roof? Seems like there's enough space for both the roof hardware and airbags. Maybe CCV would be willing to do it and keep the airbags?
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:08 PM   #5
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is there any information available yet as to the option of swapping the airbags out of one of the upcoming 2020 crew vans? I assume they will be shorter airbags...
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:11 PM   #6
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I think they have to be permanently disabled. SMB won't do a pop top on anything but a low roof van.

CCV can do it. I will see what they say.
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:36 PM   #7
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SMB pointed me to a body shop near them that will disable the airbags. Their estimate for the work was $1000 or less, depending on whether they need to put the headliner back and some other stuff. I thought it was high, but fair. So it looks like we are a go!....in nov/dec.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:19 PM   #8
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I'm in the wrong business.

I can confirm that most conversion companies won't alter the roof of a passenger van with curtain airbags. My friend was turned down with his new Chevy passenger van by SMB.

Yes, the side curtain airbag on a Transit passenger is about 15' long. It is a giant, scary bag of tricks and is an absolute bitch to remove.

CarringB, I don't think even CCV would fool with working around them. Another problem converting a passenger van is that the airbags would then be behind cabinets. No bueno. Kind of like a wooden pipe bomb in an accident.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:53 PM   #9
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Luckily Iím not doing any cabinets. Because my build out is so basic, I donít worry too much about the interior ballistic. Iím basically turning it into an econoline inside.
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