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Old 02-14-2015, 10:34 PM   #1
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Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

I'm having trouble finding where to get a poptop from and installed. I know there is an SMB shop in BC but the guy hasn't gotten back to me. Maybe there's another company nearby. I don't want to drive further than oregon or Idaho or BC. At this point BC is the closest I know of. Thanks. Also, how long does installation take?
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

There is no SMB shop in BC.

The SMB factories are in Indiana, Texas and California.

Canada has a couple of places that install tops, but I think the pivot at the rear, mot straight up. Colorado Camper Vans also installs tops.

Mike
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:49 PM   #3
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Re: Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

I misspoke. I meant GTRV is in BC. Other one is in California.
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:00 PM   #4
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Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

GTRV is in Richmond, BC and Sebastopol, CA. They do tops that pop straight up (called T-Tops) and tops hinged at the rear (called V-Tops). That's unfortunate you haven't heard back from them.

Other pop top manufacturers are Colorado Camper Van (as mentioned), Safari Condo in QC, and Pleasureway. I don't believe the latter two will sell/install just the top, though - only as part of a complete conversion. There may be others, but your best bet is GTRV; I'd keep trying.

As for timing, SMB West will install a top in a day with an appointment. My GTRV T-Top was part of a larger conversion, so I don't how long it would take for just the top. Anyone know how long CCV takes?

Good luck,
Brent
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:09 PM   #5
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Re: Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vwteleman
GTRV is in Richmond, BC and Sebastopol, CA. They do tops that pop straight up (called T-Tops) and tops hinged at the rear (called V-Tops). That's unfortunate you haven't heard back from them.
Good luck,
Brent
It is unfortunate. I got in touch with the California branch but as soon as I mentioned BC was closer, Mike from California wouldn't answer any of my questions and just told my to email the BC guy. BC guy hasn't responded and California Mike has basically said he's not answering any questions unless I'm going to do business thru his shop. Not a single answer and their website has nothing helpful other than they have 2 style tops. Honestly makes me think I shouldn't give them my business.
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:22 PM   #6
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Re: Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

CCV is about 6 to 8 weeks out from time of deposit. I am scheduled in beginning of March for our install.

The tops by GTRV and SMB just do not compare favorably to what CCV has. Interested in what features you are looking for. Is it just the top or are you looking for more of a build out?

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Old 02-15-2015, 03:27 PM   #7
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Re: Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1der
CCV is about 6 to 8 weeks out from time of deposit. I am scheduled in beginning of March for our install.

The tops by GTRV and SMB just do not compare favorably to what CCV has. Interested in what features you are looking for. Is it just the top or are you looking for more of a build out?

Ray
I'd like to not break the bank first of all, but I do know these things aren't cheap. I'd like a powered t-top with bed that tucks away for standing room with some basic lighting and windows. It would be nice to have the clear windows too when the covers are unzipped instead screen only. I need something that can hold mostly whitewater kayaks on the roof and strong enough to stand on for tying down the boats. Also want solar panels and possibly a roof fan but the fan I'm still researching. What'll this cost from CCV? I have a 2006 extended length E-250 Econoline cargo van. Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2015, 04:19 PM   #8
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Re: Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

Hi Bee,

No none of this stuff is inexpensive. Check with CCV - Derek as to how much. There are lots of options:

CCV
Hi Top: 18 to 19 Inches above drip rail
Lo Top: about 5 to 6 inches above drip rail
Soon: Medium Top about 14 inches above drip rail
The stock van roof is about 4.25 inches above the drip rail for reference.

SMB: Is about 6 inches above Drip

GTRV has two tops, one is the lowest profile of any if that is important. It also does not give much room for sleeping up top. But is the lowest profile you can get.

Electric lift is standard with CCV, option for SMB (imho, I do not consider it option but a requirement, you can read other threads on manula vs electric). CCV and SMB Tops are quite strong. CCV Lo top has some limitations on lifting roof top cargo, boats, etc. due to the geometry of the lifting mechanism having to fold down very flat to fit under the low profile. The CCV high and Medium tops allow the lift mechanism to start from a position of batter leverage. Derek can give you the approximate weight lifting capacities. A solar panel or two should be fine on any of the tops. SMB electric lift is 250 lbs I think (someone else ca correct that if I am off)

All the tops (GTRV, SMN and CCV) come with windows and screens. CCV you can get some of teh windows AND screens to be zip down so you get wide open feel. with no screens. Not sure about SMB. The next option will be triple wall insulation on the canvas and extra insulation on the ceiling of the top. PNW area may mandate electing this option. Lights are usually standard. Fan Vent may or may not be standard.

Widest bed and tallest above bed height with top up is CCV. SMB is narrower and lower. Not sure about GTRV. CCV likes to leave the rear 36" or so of factory roof in place but it is not mandatory. SMB does full cut out. ALL leave the over cab factory roof in place for structural integrity. CCV canvas runs 20" or so further forward than SMB which provides for a storage are above cab with top up, and in case of Medium and especially the hi Top storage when the top is down. With the Hi top down you have some storage on the bed platform or can stack the bed pieces for more interior head room. I think the cut out side to side is wider in a CCV vs SMB as well due to the lift mech. being at each end vs on the sides like SMB.

You can search Youtube for Colorado Camper Van an see a comparison of the LO and Hi top as well as a few other video he has posted.

I think when you get the quote from Derek, it will be quite favorable when compared apples to apples with SMB and GTRV. Having seen REF's unit and having spoken to a few CCV top owners, it was clear to me that CCV was the way we are going. Put a budget together for everything you want.

It is NOT inexpensive to do almost any of this unless you find a used top and can do the install yourself. Ad all the other build out things and you are easily at or above what a five to ten year old used unit will cost to buy. The upside is everything installed is today's tech and new and done to the way you want it. Good Luck!

Ray
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:10 AM   #9
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Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

My ears were ringing...have you checked with van specialties to see if they would install one of CCV's tops, or maybe ask Derek if he knows of a shop out there that will install. Derek sells them as a complete kit and will ship it out to you or drop ship it to another shop for install. If I recall, they are around $3000-$3500, uninstalled, depending on options, insulated top, insulated arctic canvas, vent fan....then plan on about that much for install, cutting the roof, prep and wiring, solar.....Once your top and canvas are made, and he's ready for you, it takes Derek about 3-4 days to install. Having had a manual lift SMB pop top on our rig prior to getting a CCV pop top, even comparing an electric SMB top, CCV tops are superior, and I have to expand on what Ray said above, while SMB's fiberglass top may be strong in that you can stand on it, it's also extremely heavy, unfortunately, their hardware, the metal bars and lifting mechanism are not as strong, in fact it's quite the opposite, many have bent the lift arms of their SMB tops, and once it's up, it's prone to being blown around by any wind, the CCV top is built with heavier gauge tubing and a better design that does not budge when up, and as Ray said, provides a wider and longer sleeping platform, another thing to note is that I can now fully sit up in the upper bunk, and leave our bedding up there, vs. having to store it down below taking up valuable space, which is kinda nice.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:53 AM   #10
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Re: Where to buy/install pop top in or near Seattle?

One thing I've wondered about the CCV tops: I think he basically uses "off the shelf" high tops that are originally designed to be mounted as fixed high tops, right? I assume they don't have any real reinforcement embedded in the fiberglass top, since they are designed to be fixed and have multiple points of contact with the van (i.e., all around the mounting area, creating a rigid box). SMB reinforces theirs with wood strips to create a top that is structurally strong even when it is not "sitting" on the van.

Are CCV's tops reinforced in any way similar to SMB's?

BTW, one other advantage to CCV's tops is that you can install a Fantastic Fan or similar in the roof. SMB warns against this, unfortunately.

Regarding GTRV, if I was being treated like that by the Calif shop I would quickly scratch them off my list. I can understand not having time to answer questions all day if they won't get the business, but they could at least be cordial about things.
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