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Old 06-15-2015, 12:13 AM   #1
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Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

Greetings,

A few months ago we picked up our third Sportsmobile - a brand new 2014 Ford E350. All of our SMB's, including this one, have had a Penthouse Top. However, our new van is the first with a power assisted Penthouse Top.

We are heading to SMB Fresno next week with a few "fit it" items. My question...

Our new SMB makes LOTS of noise when going over bumps, such as railroad tracks, pavement irregularities, and such. We noticed this late last year when we picked up the new SMB. We were told that with the power Penthouse Top one need to "raise" the top after securing the latches. We NEVER had the rattles and noises with our "manual" Penthouse Tops (which were driven over 250,000 miles. Raising the top slightly after latching helps, but does not eliminate that rattles in the top.

By the way, the noise is NOT from the side areas where the springs, etc. are located. That's another story. These noises are from the U shaped support arms that are nested in the vinyl covered pads in the center of the PH top.

I would be most grateful for any experience others have had with the power Penthouse Tops.

Many thanks!
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

I had a minor squeak and shot a little silicone spray in each side of the bar you reference that is covered. Small hole in each end. I keep top down all the way, adjust latches so snug and no issues.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:38 AM   #3
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl
I had a minor squeak and shot a little silicone spray in each side of the bar you reference that is covered. Small hole in each end. I keep top down all the way, adjust latches so snug and no issues.
Thanks for the info - just to confirm you PH Top is the powered raise and lower version?

Also can you please give a little more detail on where you shot the silicone spray?

MANY thanks.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:44 AM   #4
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by CascadeWalnut
.......On a side note, we have been dealing with a loud metal chatter coming from the driver side penthouse since our 4WD was installed. It was more pronounced on dirt roads and we was manageable with the tennis balls we wedged in between the closed cross members of the lifting mechanism. Well when we had John at Quadvan install our Aluminess roof rack, the tennis balls were not cutting it anymore.

After the Badger Lake trip, something had to change. My wife was prepared to spend the last part of her summer to take the rig into Sportsmobile West, and called them to schedule an appointment. Should have probably called sooner because they knew exactly what the problem was, the material linning the channel for the lifting mechanism had become dislodged. This allows the penthouse spring to "clang" inside the channel while driving.

Two days later we received these:



WOW! What a huge difference these make. At some point they had stopped linning the channel with material and instead utilize these inserts. Just another great example that if you have a question or concern about your rig, give these guys a call, we should have done that two years ago.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:49 AM   #5
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

Matt - those pads work great for spring noise in the channels. On our new unit the channels are lined with the same type of material, and fortunately we don't have noise from the springs.

Out noise is from the top of the 'U' shaped support bar rattling within the vinyl covered pads in the roof. Something we never had with the manual lift Penthouse tops on our 1992 and 203 SMB's.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

We have a sprinter with a power penthouse.
It has had serious rattle issues from the moment we picked it up July 2014.
I took it back to SMB west to have other, more serious, issues "fixed" and they drove the van and determined that it doesn't rattle and there would be nothing they could do to fix it.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:28 PM   #7
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

I am sorry to hear about your Sprinter power top rattle problem, and about the fact that SMB could not hear the rattling noise. I am praying for a better outcome.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:56 PM   #8
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Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

My penthouse latch handles rattled incessantly against the hooks, I wrapped all three hooks with the appropriately sized vinyl tubing. No problem since.



Describe the rattle. It seems to me that the U- frame would make more of a muffled rattle whereas the latch handles make a piercing, high-pitched rattle.

Z
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:30 PM   #9
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by agprint
Matt - those pads work great for spring noise in the channels. On our new unit the channels are lined with the same type of material, and fortunately we don't have noise from the springs.

Out noise is from the top of the 'U' shaped support bar rattling within the vinyl covered pads in the roof. Something we never had with the manual lift Penthouse tops on our 1992 and 203 SMB's.
If you've made sure the noise is not from another source other than where the tubes are I'd ask them to pull those covers and also ask if the tubes are hollow. I wonder if something is inside the tube or if something is vibrating against it?
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:49 PM   #10
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Re: Penthouse Top Rattle Over Bumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta
My penthouse latch handles rattled incessantly against the hooks, I wrapped all three hooks with the appropriately sized vinyl tubing. No problem since.

Describe the rattle. It seems to me that the U- frame would make more of a muffled rattle whereas the latch handles make a piercing, high-pitched rattle.

Z
Nice fix. Our older SMB had the same latches, and the same rattling, as yours. I wrapped the hook shaft with silicone stretch tape, and it solved the problem. Your fix looks much cleaner. The new latches are COMPLETELY different - much beefier with safety lock pins and they have added a foam sleeve to the J hook.

Our noise is definitely from the U-tube bouncing against the top within the opening of the vinyl pad box area. We noted it when we picked up the vehicle, and were told to raise the top slightly, which muffles the rattle, but creates other issues.
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