2003 E350 SMB 4X4 w/Penthouse.
I am traveling through Wyoming and Montana. As I was driving (approx 40 mph paved surface) to a camp site yesterday I heard a loud pop/bang - like a rock hitting the side of the van. Since I could not see any damage I continued to drive. Several minutes later there was an even louder pop/bang coming from the passenger side of the van. I parked and attempted to investigate.
I unlatched the Penthouse and slowly pushed it up. It went up 2-3 inches and then the whole top slid about 8 inches over to the driver's side.
It looks to me like one or more parts of the lift mechanism broke - probably the spring or a bolt. The bars are not parallel (the ends are shifted to the dirvers side). The ends of the bars do not appear bent but they are not perpendicular to the block that they insert into.
I have the top up 10 - 15 times a year. No problems before. 100 Watts PV panel on top (<25#) and a Yakima roof rack that I have not used yet. I am in northern Wyoming. Not many resources available and broadband is marginal.
Has anyone had a penthouse top suspension failure?
How much does the PH weigh?
How did you get the top up and back down in the field so that you could assess the damage?
What parts do I need to order (springs/bolts/support bars/etc) before I get the top up?
I have hand tools and a cordless drill. Lots of trees and some rope but no garage to work in.
Since I am into week two of a eight week trip I would like to do the repairs asap. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Michael