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Old 02-11-2011, 07:53 PM   #1
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Going from Penthouse to Hard Top?

I haven't seen a post where anyone has gone from a Penthouse top to a Hard top. Has anyone done a change & what was involved? I have milled around the idea of doing the conversion for a bit. I like the idea of the fixed top but it's all about cost at this point. I guess that I could resale the Penthouse to help offset the new top. Thoughts????
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:26 PM   #2
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Re: Going from Penthouse to Hard Top?

What would be the advantage for you to switch to a fixed top? Just curious why you would want to go through with the conversion?
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: Going from Penthouse to Hard Top?

I'm 6'2" & the bottom bed doesn't have enough length to let me get comfortable. I was thinking if I had a hard top then it might give me the extra length up top, be easier to boon dock & the ease of movement thru the center isle (I have the dinette in the rear). I'm just kicking around the idea & if it would make it more enjoyable to take out, why not?
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:47 PM   #4
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Re: Going from Penthouse to Hard Top?

I've had both, my unsolicited, two-bit opinion is:

The fixed roof is good in the cold, but dark and hot the rest of the time. The fixed roof is good for mounting crap to, but can be very tall when trying to drive through an In'N'Out burger. Fixed roof rigs are also easy to spot in a parking lot.


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Old 02-12-2011, 09:16 AM   #5
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Re: Going from Penthouse to Hard Top?

I've had three van projects/conversions.
The first a GMC with a 12ft box total stealth. Just looked like a delivery van outside with all the fixings inside to make living for a young single comfortable.
The second was a 1980 Westy with the pop top and bed up there for the kids. But the wet weather in Oregon made it difficult to really enjoy.
The third...we finally got right for our needs. 24" hard top and loving it so far.

I know there have been some posts on a fellow smbForum member that did the switch at some point.
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:40 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:02 AM   #7
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Re: Going from Penthouse to Hard Top?

I did the extra board thing in the PH & got the length there but I was refering more to the Boon Docking aspect, along with the ease of movement in the cabin (I know it didn't come across that way). I think if I had the High Top then I would have accomplish both issues & gain some cabinetry! I'm not going to jump into a new top just yet.....I thought that I'd see what others had to say & see if the fitment was too big a deal. Wheres Bill Wilson at a time like this???????
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