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Old 09-01-2021, 04:24 PM   #1
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Manual pop top lift assist

I bought my first SMB! Just returned home 500 miles. Zero issues, runs great, no regrets: '97 E250RB with manual pop top. I knew I couldn't lift the top myself before I bought it and would need an assist. Yep, I was right. I don't want to adjust the springs because then it will be too difficult to bring back down. What successful solutions have you come up with to lift that top when flying solo?
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:17 PM   #2
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Garage
Aluminess makes something to assist:

PENTHOUSE TOP LIFT – LARGE
https://www.aluminess.com/accessorie...r-accessories/
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Old 09-01-2021, 06:03 PM   #3
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Look for a 12 volt jack that raises about 12-18 inches. Figure out how to attach (temp) a length of pipe to assist in pushing the top up from center point of roof - to the height desired. I've seen some on Amazon for about $75-$85 bucks.
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Old 09-01-2021, 09:23 PM   #4
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Truck cargo bar.
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Old 09-02-2021, 07:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glippie View Post
I don't want to adjust the springs because then it will be too difficult to bring back down.

Are you sure about this? Most tops come down easier than they go up. I would adjust the springs and if that turns out to be the case then look for another solution.


I've adjusted at least a dozen tops and one went down harder than it went up. Also, the first few inches when raising is the toughest, due to the geometry of the mechanism. You can easily adjust this aspect of the roof springs with minimal tools and it's very easy and safe.


Being an engineer, I view all of these assist devices as band-aids.....not addressing the root cause...and who wants to carry those around? I understand the need if folks have physical limitations, etc.
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Old 09-02-2021, 07:36 AM   #6
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Glippie: Two questions.....


Where are you located?


Is there anything else on the roof other than the crossbars? solar panels?
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:02 PM   #7
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I'm in NorCal. Came with Thule racks and two solar panels. I knew going in that I wouldn't be able to lift it, but I LOVE the penthouse and decided to roll the dice. Dice are still rolling...
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:48 PM   #8
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I'm in NorCal. Came with Thule racks and two solar panels. I knew going in that I wouldn't be able to lift it, but I LOVE the penthouse and decided to roll the dice. Dice are still rolling...

The panels add weight....so the odds are high that you would benefit from adjusting the springs, unless someone has already done that.

If you can get to So Cal I'd be happy to adjust them for you.

Here is a good test:

With the roof up, slowly pull the roof down and you will likely notice that the last 3-4" when it is almost down it really wants to speed up to land on the van roof. This 3-4" (at the beginning when lifting) is also the most difficult to raise. You can make some wood spacer blocks for the helper springs to get the initial lift-off easier very easily and safely.

The helper springs are totally loose/unloaded when the roof is up..so really easy to play with. The long main springs are the ones that require some tools (a come-along) and close attention to safety.

Unscrew the upholstery screws and pull back the fabric on one side and you will see what I'm talking about. If this is beyond your comfort level I understand.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Glippie View Post
I'm in NorCal. Came with Thule racks and two solar panels. I knew going in that I wouldn't be able to lift it, but I LOVE the penthouse and decided to roll the dice. Dice are still rolling...
BoyWonder is the penthouse whisperer. If you can physically get to him to help you, that would be best, if not, I recommend you take his advice. He's helped out a lot of people here.


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Old 09-02-2021, 02:30 PM   #10
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You are so kind. Thank you for this info and your offer to assist. I'll find a "volunteer" in my neighborhood to take a look at it this weekend with me. Really appreciate this guidance!
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