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Old 10-02-2022, 10:15 AM   #1
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Catastrophic penthouse collapse

As I was lowering the penthouse yesterday, I paused to bump out the front canvas as usual with the top down most of the way. As began to lower it the rest of the way I heard a loud bang and the whole top suddenly dropped down and askew about 6" to the passenger side. When I tried to lift it at all I meet great resistance, in part because of the weight of the solar panel and empty Thule box, but also I think because of one or more springs still holding on.

This is a 2001 E350 RB. The van's parked at a slight tilt forward, and I wonder if that puts a greater strain of parts of the penthouse structure, but never had any issues before and the weight that's up there now is small compared to what used to be there.

Obviously, from the pics the struts may be pretty messed up.

Right now, I'm not sure where to even start with this mess. I was going to move the van to a level spot and start carefully lifting the roof with a jack's assistance trying to keep things even and level as I do it by blocking the roof up. Hopefully then I can assess damage.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!!! Is there any place in Salt Lake that can help with this?

Thanks
Scott
Salt Lake City
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Old 10-02-2022, 10:27 AM   #2
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Maybe look at a few threads like this one?


https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...ual-13069.html
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Old 10-02-2022, 10:28 AM   #3
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That's insult to injury...to start, here are a couple Threads that may help - more available if you use the 'search' function.
https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...ideo-9838.html

https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...psed-5080.html
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Old 10-02-2022, 10:32 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, I think that's what I needed to get me started.

This forum is the best!

Scott
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Old 10-02-2022, 02:09 PM   #5
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Well, there's the culprits, a busted bolt and leather strap on the driver's side.

I lifted the top enough to get a photo and hoped I'd be able to simply shove the top over enough to lock her down for a trip to a RV repair shop but it seems to be held tightly in place by tension by the remaining hardware.

I'd hate to drive her through crappy Salt Lake streets this way but will if I have to. Any suggestions on my next move?
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Old 10-02-2022, 03:08 PM   #6
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Replace them both when you get to that stage.
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Old 10-02-2022, 07:28 PM   #7
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There are a number of threads here about broken pivot bolts...common issue....very inadequate design from SMB.

Consider using shoulder screws and saddle spacers for a much more robust fix.

...do both sides......one side at a time.....


Here is some useful info:


https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...ed-5080-6.html
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Old 10-02-2022, 11:05 PM   #8
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I have some extra saddle spacers I can share with you and might be able to help with the rest. Send me a PM with your contact info and we can coordinate.
Now would be a good time to make Boywonder’s bar strengthening adjustments.
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Old 10-03-2022, 09:10 AM   #9
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Scott- I haven’t had to do this repair on my van yet, but I would be willing to help you do it. PM if you would like some help.
Jeff
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Old 10-03-2022, 09:45 AM   #10
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Another photo showing orientation now.

I'm headed out of town for a week tomorrow and will likely have to deal with this when I get home.

After reading the stories of other people's troubles with fixing this top, I'm fine with having a pro fix it. It sounds like a difficult job. If I could find one in Salt Lake! Any suggestions on that would be helpful. Was hoping to drop it off today... Warner Vans doesn't do repairs...
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