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Old 02-14-2008, 06:57 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2
Penthouse - Cross winds, snow, sitting properly

I just picked up a 1999 Dodge SMB from Austin and drove it to Massachusetts On the way through VA we hit 50 mph plus cross winds, to the point that it was lifting the penthouse, straining the hooks. We stopped and strapped the driver side handle to the frame of the seat below it. Then tried to continue and found the back was still being lifted. We stopped again and waited out the winds till they died down to 30 mph and ran a strap across the back, from just behind the rear tires across the top. It was pretty scary for a while there.

Has anyone else had their top almost lift off?

We know that the top shifted in the wind and now looking at it closed, it seems to be still not closing tightly. Not having examined it too close from the beginning I'm not sure if it's different or not. Looking back at the Texas OP page at the picture, (It's the MacLean SMB, first one under SOLD) it looks like the rubber edge is running properly along the drip ledge. Now it's not, it's overhanging about 1/2". The driver side sees to be sitting properly. That is the side the wind was blowing on. Any advise/pointers/suggestions welcome.

Also being up north, we get lots of snow. Are there things to be aware of with snow? Should I make a point to clear snow off the penthouse? Will water flow under the penthouse in the front if the van is not perfectly level?


1999 Dodge SMB

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Old 02-14-2008, 07:35 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Foster, RI
Posts: 38
misaligned roof


If your roof has shifted so it overhangs the raingutter on the passenger side, then you should be able to move it toward the drivers side by pushing it to that side. I lift my roof slightly(mine's electric) to make this adjustment. If it isn't electric, you may need to do it with the top up. It is not fastened to the u-tubes so it will slide side to side.

I'm from RI and I don't garage my van. I just go out after it snows and brush the roof off so I won't get ice up there. Since I've had my SMB, when I see snow I now think about heading to CA! (Certainly considering it today.)

Also, if your roof isn't latching tight when its properly seated in each raingutter, you should see if you can adjust the j-hook by threading it into the holder. If that is not the problem check that the metal at the roof securing bolt is not bent down.

Hope this helps,


Al Jaffa
2006 EB-50 Q4x4 V10
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:36 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Washington - Ridgefield
Posts: 4,727
I've never noticed or had a feeling of the PH lifting while in wind, driving or otherwise. I have put the top down because of high winds in the plains.

I keep my latches tight. Tight enough that my wife has difficulty latching or unlatching them. But, when the top is latched it stays put.

Sometimes the top will come down off to one side. When I put the top down I always check that it is centered and sitting properly on both sides. When it is not centered, I undo the latches and lift slightly and push the top into position.

I wouldn't worry about snow buildup, unless you are camped out in the snow. Too much snow on the top could cause it to come down!! Could be a rude awakening.

When the top is down, it seals quite well - except at the front where the roof ribs are. If the front of the van is uphill, water could run under the top (via the roof ribs) and cause some problems when it freezes later. I store my van with the front downhill or level.

Good luck with your new rig!!!

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Old 02-14-2008, 09:05 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Parker, CO
Posts: 7,640
I think your hooks were loose from the get-go and that allowed your top to shift freely. When I picked up my used van the rear hook would flop out of the hole it was so loose. And it the threads were bottomed out... So, you may have to dremmel off the hook threads to tighten properly.

When closed, there should be a little bit of tension, to where the hole plates flex up a few millimeters at most. (this is personal experience/preference).

The plates themselves should be solid and not turn freely or move up and down when the hooks are disconnected.
it was good to be back
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