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Old 12-13-2015, 09:45 AM   #1
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Another penthouse bolt track issue!

Gentlemen, another penthouse bolt track issue! (1994 Dodge B350 RB) Iíve read all the posts on the penthouse bolts bending/breaking problem. Even watched the video on how to replace them. Since the bolts all looked straight and are the series #8 I thought I was OK.

Finally got around to checking more carefully and to my surprise found one of the nuts on the driver side rear bar almost off the end of the bolt. You can see from the photos that the bar has dropped down and has been rubbing on the bottom of the metal U-channel. You can see the metal filings all over the place.

Iíve tightened the nut back up in the photo which pulled the two washers back together that make a support in the slot on the left hand side of the photo. I hope Iím explaining this clearly. The red stuff is grease that I added. Also the inside washer is scraping the bottom of the U-Channel. You can see two shiny tracks that should be black paint.

If you look more carefully you can see how the edges of the outside washer is all torn up and gouged. This appears to have been caused by the very sharp end of the rear cushion spring. (Now I know where the rattling springs are from. They lined the front spring channel but not the rear spring channel. Easy fix I guess.)

Adding a touch of grease made a remarkable difference in lowering the force required to raise and lower the top.

FinallyÖÖ. hereís the problem. The other passenger side bar/spring/track assembly is fine and has about a 1/16Ē clearance between the bottom of the bar and the U-channel. So what to do about he drivers side bar still scraping on the U-channel. Tightening up the bolt didnít raise it up the 1/16Ē needed to clear the U-channel. Gentlemen, Got any thoughts?

Terry
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P1300551.jpg   P1300547.jpg  
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:45 PM   #2
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Where are you in FL? I'm in FL starting Today until Christmas....New Port Ritchey/Tampa/St Pete.

I have a fair bit of experience with the SMB PH mech and could probably shed some light on the issue if you are close by.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:20 PM   #3
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Hellow boywonder,

I've had a chance to look at your site and the work you did with your penthouse top. I see you do INDEED have a much more than a fair bit of experience with PH tops. I'm planning to pull the bolt on this scraping support tube. My thinking is that the bolt may be bent event though it looks straight. I can't think of any other reason that it is scraping the U-channel. Would appreciate any comment you have about this issue. Have you heard of a similar issue? Terry
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:42 PM   #4
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Hard to say without seeing it....be sure to completely unload the spring(s) before servicing.

....could be something as simple as crappy hole location tolerance in the crossbar...the hole in that one may have been drilled further from the end...
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Old 12-18-2015, 07:13 PM   #5
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Good point! I'll check for that, wouldn't have thought of it. I plan on doing it right with safety supports etc. Safety first always! Thanks - Terry
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Old 12-20-2015, 01:37 PM   #6
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Pick up the smallest come-along that Harbor Freight sells of you don't already have one.....they are sub $20 and will make this job at lot easier and safer.
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tip, there is a Harbor freight very close to where I live.

BTW some members have mentioned that PM was not being received. I sent one to you a few days back. If you are still in the Greater Tampa Bay area, would you be able to meet up for an hour? That is, if it fits into your time schedule.

The plan is to replace all existing bolts with shoulder screws. Checking for worn and misshaped tube holes.

Terry
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:59 PM   #8
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Hi: I got your PM........I'm available.....
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:26 AM   #9
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Thank You Boywonder for stopping by and educating me on the penthouse mechinism. A very kind act and extremely helpful!

Attached are photos of two bolts, the Rear one where the bar is dragging on the U-chanel and the one at the cross bars.

The rear bolt shows significant wear on the threads. There is some play in the bar holes from being enlarged and a little slop in bolt movement. If you look closely you can see the three threads that have been crushed by the bar hole right at the same point that other members have had their bolts fail.

The bolt labeled X-bar doesn't look to bad but wait till you see what it has done to the bar. The hole is not only oval shaped but the soft bar material is raised up on the right hand side. See attached photos.

This design is down right dangerous and needs to be checked if the van has some age on it.

Neither the PO or myself have ever have carried weight on the roof. Terry
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P1300559.jpg   P1300564.jpg  
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:42 PM   #10
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You're welcome! If you are so inclined, you can bore the holes in the crossbars out to 5/16" and use 5/16" shoulder screws...that gets the holes round again....or just use 1/4" shoulder screws as we discussed.

The pivots need 2 1/4" long shoulder screws....

Here is a link to Mcmaster shoulder screws; you should be able to source them locally at an industrial hardware supplier.

http://www.mcmaster.com/#shoulder-screws/=10eropn
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