Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Sorry to hear of your troubles. Well, not really, just sorry they happened to you. Tell us about your troubles!
And welcome along, none of these things are trouble free but sounds like you may've unknowingly won the prize.
Glad to help if we can.
Oh, I can definitely tell you about what has happened with this top. Firstly, and this is huge – they told me the top for the Promaster would give a 6 foot standing height to the regular lower roof van. They only planned on putting these tops on the lower roof, 136” vans, but obviously since mine they have stopped doing them altogether. This is how I literally have the only promaster Sportsmobile in the country (although one of their employees put one on his van but without the actual canvas or roof being able to be raised, they just cut the roof off and put just the fiberglass top down on it. The fiberglass roof doesn’t go up in any way, it is permanently attached to the roof rails – however they did that, and of course there is no loft bed or anything else. He did make it look pretty cool though. And I guess they had 4 fiberglass roof’s that they couldn’t use now, so, this employee just decided to put the fiberglass top on his van. And yes, he did have to move his radio antenna, LOL… Read on). Anyway, after they had the van for two days, (having waited five months for the appointment while waiting for the fiberglass roof’s themselves to be manufactured- which I did not know at the time) I stepped into the van and it was exactly the same height as it was when it had its own roof on it. I almost passed out. I could not believe that the $30,000 van that I bought and then plopped $10,558 into this top with the promise that I would have 6’ of standing height throughout the entire van (which was an absolute MUST, and they knew this- that I didn’t want to duck in my van) was still the same 5’ 7” as it was when I bought it. The loft bed rests on top the rails where the roof once was. The salesman assured me that this new roof they made raises the standing height when down (driver mode) to 6’ tall. They apologized, they made excuses, they made up lies, and then they even changed their website to show that the promaster would have 5‘7“ of standing height. But I have a screenshot of what their website showed before. I’m not stupid. And in the end, they decided to offer me a refund in the amount of the cost of the loft bed itself, physical two pieces that make up the bed. Their logic behind that was “if you don’t have a bed in the van, you can walk back-and-forth throughout with inches to spare.“ I replied “but then where do you expect me to sleep in my camper van?“. They recommended I hang a hammock. Swear to God. That was the first huge blow.
Then we had the major leak. The top they designed was not well designed, it wasn’t thoroughly thought through ( and as stated above, never actually put on the van before mine.) The actual top would unknowingly knock the radio antenna out of its housing on the cab roof every time it went up and would scrape it when it went down, but would not seal it up again. So the first time it rained, the whole cab of my brand new van flooded. And when I say flooded – I have a video of water just pouring down from the headliner down the windshield all over the radio and the electronics- the whole dashboard. The head unit fried, fuses were blown, and these are all things I had to get fixed/replaced on my own from Ram. Sportsmobileks answer to this was to take my radio antenna off, and shave down part of the housing so the roof would clear it, and then seal it into place with silicone hoping that the roof would be able to clear it, and if not, hoping there is enough silicone to avoid the roof pulling it out of its housing. I don’t have an antenna now- seriously. But that’s fine, I don’t listen to the regular radio anyway. The other design flaw is that the roof comes down and settles/locks into place over the satellite antenna, so when you’re driving you can’t get satellite radio or GPS. Ridiculous. So when I had the head unit replaced by Ram because the leak fried the original unit, they were very kind and gave me a new unit without satellite radio or GPS- *for free*, probably because they felt bad for me, LOL. Besides, with the roof down I would not be able to utilize the GPS or satellite radio anyway. I did end up paying for parts/labor for blown fuses etc. When all was said and done with that first week, Peter DelToro told me that the driving lights on the roof where the culprit. But then John, who works in the bay and I now have a lot of respect for, told me that he was told to tell me that the water came in from the drive lights on the roof, but it was actually water coming in from where the radio antenna had been knocked out of its housing. I asked him if he felt bad trying to lie to me and he said yes he did. He said he didn’t understand why they just didn’t acknowledge what the problem was and get right into just fixing it. I asked him why my van leaked when the website brags that “leaks are a thing of the past and have been for some decades now…”. John told me that many vans do actually come back with leaks and it’s usually right away after the new owner experiences rain or their first wash, and it’s usually in the front of most of their vans that leak. He was completely honest and I completely respect him for it. It’s the rest of the show runners in there that choose to not tell the truth.
So a few of the other problems were lights in the ceiling pads had fallen out– literally falling out of the ceiling while I was driving. The metal poles that raise and lower the roof we’re scraping up against the ceiling leaving these long black streaks on what was a beautiful white ceiling. Screws were falling out of the ceiling. I’m not sure how else to explain that without it sounding ridiculous, but it’s true. The canvas itself is completely crooked, to the point where it looks ridiculous from the outside and hideous from the inside. The front window is so crooked and pulled in the wrong direction on top from where it is set on the bottom, that it cannot be zipped and unzipped without having the top partially down. And then there are three other leaks that I became aware of all at the same time when I lightly and carefully washed the van. It was leaking through the side of the canvas, through the stitching down onto their cute little fabric trim. In 3 places. Oh and here’s a cute one, they backed my van into their own garbage dumpster while pulling the van into their Back Bay to work on it one of the times I was down there for repairs. Luckily, my motorcycle rack was locked onto the trailer hitch, so no damage was done to the van itself, just to my new motorcycle rack. I literally did not even make a big deal out of it because I knew they would do nothing about it. I barely got an apology for that one.
I have been back-and-forth to Fresno for repairs 6 times. I have only had anything done to the van while it was there 4 out of those 6 times. The other two appointments that I had, I waited for 3 or 4 hours for them to come over and tell me there was nothing they could do about the canvas being so crooked or the lights in the ceiling. The appointments were to build a new bed that would give me more clearance (which they ended up just writing me a refund check for the original bed instead) and the other was to separate the canvas from the top ceiling piece and then reinstall it, make a new pad to cover the front pole and make holes for and re-install three new lights and bend the poles so they wouldn’t scrape the ceiling. I guess after 3 or 4 hours of me sitting there they decided they just didn’t want to do it, so they came in and said there’s nothing we can do to correct those 3 issues and then they handed me my keys. Seriously. I live three hours from Fresno. I have never seen such bad business in my entire life. We are now waiting on the document stating that the lifetime warranty for the top will be extended to the second owner. They have stated several times that all the second owner will have to do is to go to sportsmobile and show them that their name is now on the title and they are the new owners, and they will honor it. But I don’t buy it for a minute. I want it in writing. And that is what we are now fighting for now. I have it stated in several emails, but so far they have not drawn up an actual document stating so, something that I could give to a new owner, should I decide to sell it. The way they do business is gross, and I am so disappointed because I have been such a huge fan since I was a kid. The day my top was finished I met the owner, he came to get me at my motel room after the van was done and I now realize why. He gave me this grand tour and was so nice and so open etc. etc. etc. and I’m sure it was because when my van was done they realized there were a bunch of problems with it. And maybe me meeting the owner who I had admired for so many years, I just wouldn’t say anything or complain. Actually, when they actually gave me the van, there was nobody there but the salesman who gave me no paperwork and barely gave me instructions on how to work the top. It was 5:30 PM and he just wanted to go home. The whole experience was unbelievably ridiculous and I would never ever recommend anyone getting a sportsmobile. Our neighbors have one and they said they have had several leaks (it’s a 2014) and they’ve had to bring their van down to Fresno several times. At some point, sportsmobile just started mailing them some brush-on sealant for the canvas to stop the leaks. They just did that to me as well. They don’t want me (nor did I want) to go back down to Fresno and make a stink, so they sent me this sealant for the canvas. No instructions of course, LOL. Ridiculous.
OK, rant over… You asked! :-)
But just so you know, I absolutely *love* my van. I love the #VanLife. I love that we built it ourselves and used 75% repurposed wood, and that it has everything I want and nothing I don’t. And I have so many trips planned. I’m not going to let a company who did their job incorrectly get me down. I am still going to put a few hundred thousand miles on the van and have a great time doing so, crappy sportsmobile poptop or not. I am just chalking this up to a really bad learning experience that I have to swallow. No big deal. But God help them if I see them at an RV show. I have a big fat #PottyMouth and I am super not afraid to use it, LOL.
Thanks for reading. That was actually kind of cathartic!
I promise I will post links to the videos that I do on the van, and especially on the sportsmobile top. Those will be fun!