Re: Going from Penthouse to Hard Top?
I'd considered this switch, out of sheer frustration with my leaking top. My understanding is the hole for a fixed top is larger, and the way it mounts to the gutter, conversion shouldn't be a problem, just be careful disconnecting the PH springs, you probably have to go down a few links at a time until the tension is off.
I don't understand how a fixed top is going to make your bed longer though- you can currently add a new section to the PH bed to make it bigger, and the pieces can be slid to the front, middle or rear and also moved out of the way (my large piece hangs from the top for day to day, smaller one can be stood on end at the back...)
If you have floor space you can make a cushioned bed section as a box top or something to extend the bed... can't really get away from the rear doors, but at least the bed can be longer.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with doing it, some DIYer will get a PH, you get the fixed top you want and keep your van, I'm just not clear how exactly it will solve the sleeping situation.