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Old 04-12-2017, 03:01 AM   #1
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Solar panel and roof rack on manual pop top?

Hi,

I'm sure this question has been asked before but I was having a hard time finding a good answer.

Does anyone know if you can mount a basket style roof rack (baja rack, cargo rack, cage rack, whatever you call it) and a solar panel on a manual pop top SMB? I already know I would have to take everything out of the basket before popping the top, I'm fine with that. I am more concerned about just the weight of the rack and a solar panel. I am 27yo and in decent shape so I am too concerned about heavy lifting. I realize I may have to change the springs out too. Not a big deal. Would my rack need to made from aluminum or could I get away with steel? Would I need to create some kind of supports to hold the top up from the inside?

[[ https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ptd/6077998910.html
these guys have a killer deal on custom made van racks. You can buy one off the shelf or they will make them to your specs. I want one! ]]

Any info helps

Thanks
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:07 AM   #2
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I installed yakima racks and a small ski rack on my manual SMB pop-top and it was fine after I adjusted the springs even with skis in the box.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:26 AM   #3
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.....usually no spring "changing" but it really helps to adjust spring preload on both the main extension springs and the helper (compression) springs.

I have nothing other than 3 solar panels and two yakima cross bars on the roof (around 45lbs total) with both spring preloads are cranked up pretty far and it takes some effort to raise/lower.......it's reasonable but not "easy"....
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:12 PM   #4
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I have a 25 pound solar panel on the roof of The Van and my 69 year old back can push up the manual Top..But when I add the rowing frame for the pontoon boat (another 25 pounds) it gets a little difficult. So I take the rowing frame off before popping the Top.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:03 AM   #5
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Hey guys I have a Traverse pop top (angled) want to add a yakima style rack to add Solar panel and rocket box. Anyone with experience in this department? Does it get to heavy? Can I change the lifters to something more heavy duty?
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Old 04-17-2017, 09:09 PM   #6
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I have done the Yakima rail system with a solar panel and roof box on a couple different vans. One power and one manual. The manual top I had to tighten the chains up three links and add a little preload to the helper springs. They both work well. Here is a picture of the panel for reference.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dokaman View Post
I have done the Yakima rail system with a solar panel and roof box on a couple different vans. One power and one manual. The manual top I had to tighten the chains up three links and add a little preload to the helper springs. They both work well. Here is a picture of the panel for reference.
That's super tight man! You Putnam the panel directly to the rails? What brand of solar panel is that?
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:39 AM   #8
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I also used the Yakima rails to mount the panels. Well most of the panels as the front one is forward of the end of the rail because of the roof vent. I used the rails only because they were all ready there but it makes it look a bit cleaner. I had a similar experience as dokaman with needing take a few links out of the chains. My roof is manual and these panels are heavy. I tried to find a photo that depicted what I mean but this was the best I could come up with.



These Kyocera panels did not come with mounting brackets so a google search yielded this company that I got the idea for using the Yakima rails. Their brackets/hardware is all stainless and are really clean looking. They literally reference a Sportsmobile in the description. So I bought their brackets. Also not visible in the picture I used six brackets per panel, screwing one in the center of the panel to the roof. In hind sight this is not necessary but it did turn the roof into a truss structure which is super rigid. It really quieted the roof on washboard roads.

https://rvsolarstore.com/index.php?r...product_id=109

If a person didn't want to drill holes within the perimeter of the canvas the rails would be the way to go to mount rigid/fraimed solar.

-Eric
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