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Old 04-28-2011, 08:06 PM   #1
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Fixed top questions

Hi there,

Pondering a fixed top for our rig. We'd appreciate advice on:

1) Install contractor -- who to pick.

Getting the 4WD and van from SMB west, most likely. Need to pick the top installer.
Some of the forum posts raise valid concerns about SMB west workmanship on top installs. My conversation with Fiberine didn't instill confidence in their workmanship.
Seeking a quality installer.
We just need a basic install (steel cutting, bolting, glue, sealant) since our contractor will be doing the interior insulation, headliner, and wiring. However, we want solid work because we'll be putting a lot of weight on the roof.

2) Coating.
We've read that you either have to wax the top annually or get a polyurethane coating on it. We're installing a bunch of gear on the roof, so are not sure that periodic waxing is practical. Any advice whether to do the polyurethane coat? On what sort of contractor can apply it?

3) Color

We're considering white vs Pueblo Gold. The gold is appealing for hiding dirt. Regarding the painted fixed tops, how well do they match the rig color? How well does the paint job hold up to abuse? Does a polyurethane coat affect color matching or durability?

Thanks for the advice!

The Yeti: SMB 4x4 Ford EB, super camper top, RVI interior build
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:33 PM   #2
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Re: Fixed top questions

Van Specialties in Portland does very good work. Their tops are made in the PNW and apparently are higher quality than Fiberine.

I think the polyurethane coating is the same thing as painting it. It can be done by any auto painting shop but the polyurethane paint is top-of-the-line.

As far as leaving it white, I'm guessing you could but it would need to be painted after it got oxidized which could take a few years if it's parked in a garage.

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Old 04-29-2011, 01:44 AM   #3
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Re: Fixed top questions

x2 on Van Specialties.

Polyurethane is a just a type of paint. There's just less paint options now due to VOC limits. Any good paint or body shop can do a decent job matching.
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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Re: Fixed top questions

Do nothing to the gel coat on the top. The gel coat is a far more durable surface than paint. You plan to put gear on top and it is inevitable it will get scratched if painted which then leads to its own issues. If anything have it clear coated which is now being done to new boats to avoid having to wax.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:26 AM   #5
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Re: Fixed top questions

I have a fixed top and Pueblo gold van and they match perfectly. Had mine done at SMBW. The Pueblo gold really hides the dirt well, I'm very happy with it.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:26 PM   #6
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Re: Fixed top questions

My unpainted, gelcoated top turned dull and chalky after a couple of years. It was very difficult to get it to shine again.

I tried a product for fiberglass boats and it worked well. First you have to prep the surface, clean all wax and residue from it, then apply several coats of Poli-glow. Yearly you have to wash and apply a couple more coats. But, it keeps the shine and is much easier to clean than before.


Painted tops are cared for the same as the painted body of the van.

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Old 04-29-2011, 06:05 PM   #7
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Re: Fixed top questions

Thanks for the great advice.

Regarding Van Specialties, does anyone know who their top supplier is? Or if they have a Cruiser/Super Camper -type top.

Regarding SMB West and Fiberine, if folks have had good experiences with install, please re-educate me. Maybe there's a particularly quality conscious person there that we should ask for?

Regarding a coat on the top: Sounds like the stock gel coat, polyurethane paint, or a clear coat could be options.

Our van is going to be out on the road most of the time. Proper waxing or thorough washing will be difficult because we'll have a lot of permanently fixed gear on the top. And well, because we'd rather play than wash the car. We're hoping to get it coated/treated around install time such that we can have minimal maintenance after that.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
The Yeti: SMB 4x4 Ford EB, super camper top, RVI interior build
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:36 AM   #8
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Re: Fixed top questions

Is Rhino-lining a fixed top an option, or would it add too much weight? I would think that going this route may be a viable option.
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Old 05-01-2011, 01:42 PM   #9
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Re: Fixed top questions

The Raptor linning is similar to Rhino and Line-X but I don't know the reason why SMB went with the Raptor. It is sent out to do from what I understood during my upgrade. Maybe give them a call. As far as weight, I don't have a problem with my electric lift and wouldn't think the difference between the three would be much.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:43 PM   #10
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Fixed top questions

Here is what my fixed top has going on. I figure a new rack is going to hide most of it.
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