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Old 06-07-2016, 09:33 AM   #1
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Electric Penthouse VS Manual lift Penthouse?

What are your recommendations on an Electric Penthouse VS Manual lift Penthouse?



I may be putting 100 pounds on the top.

I am getting a penthouse top installed on my RB Van and need to decide.

Thanks for your advice.

Dan
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:44 AM   #2
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I would definately pick the electric option. It was not available when we purchased our van in 2001 but we retrofitted it a few years ago with the electric option. If the weight on the roof is always the same, you might get away with the manual lift but if it varies, you will have problems either getting it up or down since the tension is set based on the weight.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:54 AM   #3
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The electric top would be considered one of the best options I ordered.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:38 AM   #4
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The only disadvantage of the power top is having to wait a minute for it to raise or lower, which for some reason is frustrating to me. (I have the power top.) But if you're going to vary the weight on the roof, the power top is a must.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:39 AM   #5
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Does SMB still install the manual? I thought they moved to electric only?
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:17 AM   #6
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The Austin factory offered both electric and manual for our 2014 build. I don't have any roof cargo, and was trying to keep the build simple, so opted for the manual. They adjust the tension for you during orientation. Initially it was so stiff, my full body weight hanging from the grab bar wasn't enough to lower it.
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Old 06-07-2016, 12:22 PM   #7
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GET THE ELECTRIC!!!!!! We have our canoe (filled with various camping/fishing musts) on top and never have a problem!!! The ONLY problem we've had is forgetting to unlatch one of the hooks!!!!!!!! I know it sounds idiotic, and yes we felt EVERY BIT when we did it TWICE!!! First time, on our maiden voyage in AK, Blueberry Campground heading into Valdez...second time wife thought I had unlatched them all...I know it has reminder stickers all over...BUT, DON"T FORGET TO UNLATCH! The power is unforgiving to the error! We now have our "Touched hook1, hook two, and hook three" before we even push the power button! Another tip form SMB, top all the way up then down...so (in other words) if you raise it (even a little bit) take it all the way up then down...if not, they said yo can get it off kilter and then you'll have to raise it all the way up/down 5 or more times to get it back in line...hope that helps...and if you check your "search" option, and put electric vs. manual, you'll get a lot more "historic" opinions that sold us back in '13...and bottom line, if Daveb said to do something to your SMB, you do it...Senior contributors like him and others (too many to list) know the SMB and have the best advice you can get.
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Old 06-07-2016, 01:42 PM   #8
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I have a SMB manual top on my rig and would not get one again. They are effectively worthless with any additional load.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:21 AM   #9
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Thanks for your advice everyone.

It sounds like the electric top is the way to go especially if I am going to carry anything on the roof.

Dan
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:46 AM   #10
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Go Electric.
I have a manual and would LOVE to have an electric so we could put some weight on top. The Retro-Fit is way too expensive and we are still pretty close to getting it done.
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