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Old 04-02-2011, 03:19 PM   #1
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Manual Poptop

All.
I have a deposit on a van. Exciting! I went to look at the van in person and everything checked out as I wanted except ...
The poptop is manual not electric.
All the other vans I have looked at have electric tops.
This may be a deal breaker... At times my wife will be using this van without me. She is pretty small and I don't think she will be able to raise and lower the top manually.
SMB said they can change the spring tension so the top is easy to raise OR easy to lower. I don't know if this is an acceptable solution.
SMB also said they could quote me a price for retrofitting the top so it is electric.
I am not sure how much the retrofit will cost but I am inquiring to you all to see if you have any insight on additional solutions. I have heard that there are some 'manual lifts' being used but have not heard from anyone using these first hand.
Thanks for your insight.
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:24 PM   #2
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Re: Manual Poptop

Since used SMBs are hard to find, I would think you would try real hard to make this one work.

You could try adjusting the springs for the penthouse and see if that will work for you. If not the electric penthouse retrofit is doable. I don't remember the cost, but it seemed like it was more than $1000, less than $2000.

Or wait and see if another van comes up that is more to your liking.

Mike
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Old 04-02-2011, 04:40 PM   #3
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Re: Manual Poptop

I couldn't push the top up..... (5 ft 4 in. Female) the fellows at SMB Huntington had me stand on a small step stool. This gave me enough height to push it up. We bought a small folding step stool at walmart and I have no problem ....plus the step stool takes up hardly any room.
Worth a try and alot cheaper.... cost about ten dollars.

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Old 04-02-2011, 05:36 PM   #4
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Re: Manual Poptop

Forget the electric lift, save yourself $4000, and buy a ratcheting cargo bar. It works perfectly as a lift and you can buy them at Home Depot for about $35 bucks.

Here is how it works:



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Old 04-03-2011, 11:00 AM   #5
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Re: Manual Poptop

My wife has trouble lifting the ph top on her own too. I adjusted the springs and this made it easier but it is still difficult to get it going initially. Also the more you adjust the springs to make it easier to lift the harder it becomes to close it. I have contacted SMB and they said it takes 1 week and about $3654 to add electric.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:54 AM   #6
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Re: Manual Poptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by macmcintire
Forget the electric lift, save yourself $4000, and buy a ratcheting cargo bar. It works perfectly as a lift and you can buy them at Home Depot for about $35 bucks.

Here is how it works:



Nice!!

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Old 04-07-2011, 07:57 PM   #7
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Re: Manual Poptop

That ratchet is a great idea! After I had the top Line-X'd I can barely lift mine up once I put the Warrior Rack back on top. I'm strong but I was struggling even with the springs adjusted to full lift. THANKS!
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:56 PM   #8
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Re: Manual Poptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatO
That ratchet is a great idea! After I had the top Line-X'd I can barely lift mine up once I put the Warrior Rack back on top. I'm strong but I was struggling even with the springs adjusted to full lift. THANKS!

Try the ratchet and see if it works with your rack on top. I have nothing on my roof other than a solar panel. I'm interested to learn just how much weight this thing can actually lift. Remember, it doesn't lift the top up all the way, it just gets the lift started so you can push it up the rest of the way. The full extension is only 70". But that first 6"-10" is all my wife needs to push the top up the rest of the way.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:55 PM   #9
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Re: Manual Poptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roonie
My wife has trouble lifting the ph top on her own too. I adjusted the springs and this made it easier but it is still difficult to get it going initially. Also the more you adjust the springs to make it easier to lift the harder it becomes to close it. I have contacted SMB and they said it takes 1 week and about $3654 to add electric.
I have a manual top, and since i have made adjustments, my wife and I honestly dont have a problem with poping the top, in fact, I have the spring tension set pretty tight and it pops right up with little effort. Adjusting or tightening the springs works well, but the springs take over from the initial lift provided by wood blocks placed behind the springs. I cut a little larger block to fit in behind the spring and tested the top for closing tension and set it by cutting a little larger block or shaving a little off, do this in 1/2" incriments. I tested until i had adequate initial lift and not too much tension on pulling it down, I then adjusted the spring tension with a HD ratcheting strap.

Hope this helps, and FWIW, get the van with the layout and engine you like, manual top should not be the deciding factor.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:29 PM   #10
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Re: Manual Poptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by REF
do this in 1/2" incriments. I tested until i had adequate initial lift and not too much tension on pulling it down, I then adjusted the spring tension with a HD ratcheting strap.
Did you fine tune it with the spring tension, or did you set the spring tension to replace the wooden block offset?
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