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Old 04-11-2022, 12:26 PM   #21
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Oh....and I'm in Sacramento.
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Old 08-21-2022, 08:27 PM   #22
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About that helper spring....

Well, I pulled the motors out of my sprinter pop-top today. It turns out the folks in Fresno haden't installed two small bolts that were supposed to attach the cross bar to the rails back in 2016 when they did the top. The back end of the motors attach to the cross bars, which very likely bent the very first time the top went up and got worse and worse over time. It was a big mangled mess back there....looking much better with some inertial assistance (AKA, a small sledge).

But I think the motors are staying out. It's not too hard to push the top up, and easy to get it down. The big thing is that I'm getting way more height than before -- the attach point of the motors was further back than it should have been because of the bent cross bar, so we only had about 24" above the mattress. It was tight! I think for now I'd like to keep every inch of height we can get and without the motors the travel is maximized.

Even though it's not too hard (for me) I'd like to put a helper spring in for my future, older self or my wife.

Anyone have a make/model of a spring that has worked for them? I can adjust from there. Or a picture of a spring with something to scale off? Or wire diameter/# of coils and length? (I'm a mech engineer).

I think I'm going to like my "new" pop top a whole lot better - though we loved it the way it was too.
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Old 08-21-2022, 09:41 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by SEA_Sprinter View Post
Well, I pulled the motors out of my sprinter pop-top today. It turns out the folks in Fresno haden't installed two small bolts that were supposed to attach the cross bar to the rails back in 2016 when they did the top. The back end of the motors attach to the cross bars, which very likely bent the very first time the top went up and got worse and worse over time. It was a big mangled mess back there....looking much better with some inertial assistance (AKA, a small sledge).

But I think the motors are staying out. It's not too hard to push the top up, and easy to get it down. The big thing is that I'm getting way more height than before -- the attach point of the motors was further back than it should have been because of the bent cross bar, so we only had about 24" above the mattress. It was tight! I think for now I'd like to keep every inch of height we can get and without the motors the travel is maximized.

Even though it's not too hard (for me) I'd like to put a helper spring in for my future, older self or my wife.

Anyone have a make/model of a spring that has worked for them? I can adjust from there. Or a picture of a spring with something to scale off? Or wire diameter/# of coils and length? (I'm a mech engineer).

I think I'm going to like my "new" pop top a whole lot better - though we loved it the way it was too.
I'd call SMB/Field Van and ask. You might want to check if the damage is covered under warranty. At a minimum they might send you the parts if you want to do it yourself or feel going to Fresno is too much of a problem.
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Old 08-21-2022, 09:48 PM   #24
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I've adjusted about a dozen SMB penthouse tops (all econolines) and there have been two types of helper springs.....they are the same except for length.

Several of the EB body tops I have adjusted have 1 ft long springs; my RB had 2 ft long springs, otherwise everything is the same.

The EB's with the shorter (1 foot long) springs worked far better than my 2 ft long springs, likely because the spring rate is double.


helper springs in EB body that work great:


1.920" OD
.250" wire dia
11.75" Free length
rate 52 lbs/in
23 active coils


My springs (RB body):

1.920 OD
.250 wire diameter
24" free length
rate 20 lbs/in
47 active coils


I have replaced my helper springs with a 3 stage gas spring arrangement.....it works better than the helper springs but I have to replace leaky gas springs every so often.

This thread should be of interest....starting here:

https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...ed-5080-7.html
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:20 AM   #25
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Thanks! I read thru a few more threads and it seems I have some work to do to make life easier in the future.

I need to finish banging the mangled metal back into submission and putting in a version of the bolts that should have been there, then do a helper spring, then shoulder bolts at the X, and then probably a better solution where the arms connect to the spring carrier. I also need to do something where the paint is worn off where to top comes down on the van top. It's a bad as a house!

My top is about 6 years old, and we have used it a ton. I tried to guestimate up/down cycles and I come up with near 1000 for my top. I have no idea what's typical, but it seems pretty clear to me that SMB "engineered" this top to be sold and made cheap, not to last very long. Actually a whole lot of this top is an engineering disaster area.

Ah well - more projects. Thanks!
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