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Old 05-09-2016, 05:31 PM   #1
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Pop Top Fantastic Vent install, or How to properly void your SMB warranty

At least that's what I've heard, but the van is a 95 and both me (the former owner/remodeler) and Slacker (the new owner) have agreed that there's very little about a 95 SMB that would still be covered under a warranty, or at least free, if it ever went to SMB for service. This mod has been done a few times, but I was hesitant about doing it for a long time and if I'd known how easy and how big of an improvement it would be I would've done it long ago. I wanted to document a few things learned by trial and error on this mod.

Slacker bought Rusty, my 95 SMB, and soon after purchase gave me a long list of things he might like to do to it. Being the hack van modder that I am I took him up on almost all of it. It's become a full time job for the last couple months. One big thing was to add a Fantastic vent in the pop top roof.

First, there was a worry that it would drastically weaken the fiberglass top. We planned to combat this by adding some thick flat aluminum or steel ribs laterally but learned it wasn't necessary. The top is plenty strong as is, especially for how thin it is. My SMB needed a new ceiling anyway to get rid of the old white paneling, so I did Boywonder's furring strip mod around the inside of the PH to hold the canvas up (Where you can drop roof panels for servicing) and at the same time ran my wiring from the rear right corner with the backup camera wiring already there.

First mystery solved, what does SMB insulate the roof with? In 95 Fresno used one thin piece of Reflectix, which I didn't even know existed in 95. Here are the furring strips and Reflectix with wiring run.



But first, we had to decide the final floor plan of the van. Slacker wanted to add a stove/oven and also have the ability to have a roof fan usable mostly when the PH is down for stealth camping purposes. The thing you have to work out is where exactly to space it where the fan can be accessible with the upper bed panels in place. There's pretty much just one place we worked out, which also had to work with the present 3 roof bars and existing holes. We went just forward of the rear X-frame box on the right side, just above where the stove will be.

Hold breath, drill holes in your pop top, and then assault it with an oscillating multi tool. I was afraid to use a sawzall given its less-than-forgiving nature in my experience. Not sure what the exact name for this jewel is, but it's become one of the most commonly used tools in my shop. This is the cheap one I have and it has earned it's keep tenfold. I may buy a better brand if it ever dies, but for HF it is one of the diamonds in the rough. Did I say it'll cut anything? The trick is to buy good blades, not from them!

Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool w/ Variable Speed

OK, about that hole. Drill 4 holes in the corners and get after it with the multi tool



Test fit. Perfect. Just had to trim some of the depth off the inner trim piece.



Oh, and here's what I always wanted to know. Just how thick is an SMB top and what's in there? Just fiberglass sandwiched between plywood strips. Damn genius



To be continued...

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Old 05-09-2016, 05:50 PM   #2
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So, other than what's between the in and the out of a pop top, I was curious how to fill in the ribbed outer roof and make it weathertight. I didn't want to use wood, no matter how smothered, covered or gooped it was. I figured nothing would bond to fiberglass like fiberglass.

Prepare area by grinding off newly installed Rhino Liner (more on that in another thread)



Make 3 trips up and down the ladder gathering what it takes to actually mix and apply fiberglass. Don't forget to admire your own Raptor Liner handiwork. Raptor Liner is awesome. It should come factory on all PH tops. That is all.



Lay lots of resin in the channels, it took me two applications. Don't get in a hurry. You can see some added 1/4 strips in the 'sandwich' in this pic to give the roof vent screws more to bite into, without risking going through your interior ceiling.



Sand down and start feathering and cleaning



Lay a thick bead of butyl tape



Go back down the ladder at least once and take a pic of what you've done inside, scratch head over weather you've totally screwed up the layout of proposed interior.
Drink a beer if successful, coffee if not.



Don't forget to wire it up! A roof vent needs to be on constant power of course, and doesn't use a lot of it. Make sure you have an accessible fuse somewhere.

Inside shot of finished product, including new ceiling and upholstered boxes, and new Thinlites! More on all that in another thread too.



Spacing of 3 piece bed cushions for use with top down, 2 forward and one behind in my case, with just enough room to access the forward PH latches







I forgot to mention this obvious step, but after you screw the fan down add a thick layer of polyurethane sealant around it and over all screw holes. I used this stuff I recently got for a stove pipe install that will stick to anything. It's clear and awesome and that's all I know about it. I'm sure I threw the empty tube away without noting the name, but there's lots of similar stuff out there. What I used was sold to me by a metal roofing supply house and it's what they use on all of their roof/chimney/gutter installs. I trust it.

Other note: NO reinforcement is needed on a RB penthouse in my opinion. There is plenty of support close by with the X-frame cross members. I can stand right on either side of this vent and the roof barely flexes.

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Old 05-09-2016, 06:06 PM   #3
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ooooh... we gotta talk
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:31 PM   #4
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Sweet.

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Old 05-09-2016, 07:19 PM   #5
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I've always wanted a Fantastic Fan in my PH, but have been reticent to do it. Now you have me thinking again!
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:40 PM   #6
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That is cool (pun intended). A well insulated and parked SMB gets/stays warm in the summer and the fan would be a great way to dump some of that heat. Well done. I've got fan envy.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post

I used this stuff I recently got for a stove pipe install that will stick to anything. It's clear and awesome and that's all I know about it. I'm sure I threw the empty tube away without noting the name, but there's lots of similar stuff out there. What I used was sold to me by a metal roofing supply house and it's what they use on all of their roof/chimney/gutter installs. I trust it.
Nice Scotty! Maybe this stuff you're referring to ( or similar) http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Seal-80066...r_1_15&sr=8-15
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:22 PM   #8
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Nice work Eric!
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:51 PM   #9
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Nope, it's this. I did save the tube.



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Old 05-09-2016, 08:51 PM   #10
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Thanks Jim, and everyone else. More pics in my gallery.


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