Here's an progress report on lifting my loaded PH top:
I completed the LenS cordless drill power lift, pretty much as he described using 1x3x3/4" oak and braced with aluminium angle material. Pictures below. It worked great without a load on the roof. But I don't have any problem lifting the top without a load, so I tried it again with the Yakima bars on and my raft frame on top. The electric drill lift again performed great, the only issue being the raft frame wasn't centered on the roof and when the PH top moved sideways a bit the threaded rod started to bind on the T-nut. That was easy enough to deal with by having my wife operate the drill while I steadied the PH top. The oak board did bend quite a bit under the load, past my comfort zone, so the next iteration will have to be stronger.
I was curious how much force it takes to raise the top, so using a highly scientific method involving my bathroom scale I found the unloaded top (with one solar panel) to take 111 pounds of force to raise before the main springs took over. With the raft frame on board it took 209 pounds of force. I've already adjusted the main springs and the helper springs to help me lift a load, so an unaltered PH top will be different.
I'm pretty happy with the cordless drill lift. My main concern now is how to reinforce the oak cross bar to handle the load. Currently the reinforcing angle aluminium is 1/16" thickness. The options I've thought of so far:
- Replace the 1/16 aluminium angle with 1/8"
- Replace the aluminium angle with steel angle iron
- Use a thicker piece of oak, or glue & screw another piece of 3/4" oak to the existing, since my local big box hardware store doesn't stock anything thicker.
I'd appreciate any and all thoughts, thanks in advance.
2005 RB-50 5.4L V8 E250 "Blanca"