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Old 07-31-2011, 06:18 PM   #1
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Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

On a recent camping trip one of the scissor bolts snapped. The bolt is affixed at the intersection of the spring loaded steel supports in the pop top. (ie The bolt joins the two steel pop top rising mechanism supports where they form an 'X'.) While trying to repair in the field, the other snapped. Now the pop top is almost impossible to lift to even get at the broken bolts. Driving to Fresno or other Sportsmobile dealer is not an option. Does anyone know any tricks or hints at resolving this particular issue? Thanks ahead of time from Colorado. Keith
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:32 PM   #2
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Well, first make sure you've got replacements... no sense getting the top up and having it stuck.

The top is very heavy, you probably need two things- a way to lift if and a way to support it. Ideally I'd say a two hi-lifts with a beam to the roof and a flat board to distribute the force. The highlift has the travel and capacity to lift the top, whereas a scissor jack can get you up a few inches, but it would be on the edges (you'd need 4) and the stroke might not raise the top fully.

If it stays up great, if not you'll want to brace it (probably as a safety measure anyway), chunks of 2x4 vertically in each corner before messing around, putting your head or fingers in there. Then again 7 other guys standing in the van could take the place of both jacks and braces...

I'm not sure on the mechanism- you obviously lost your spring assist, but I can't picture how collapsed that will affect things, like are you fighting gravity and the springs, or just gravity?

Where are you? Let me know if I can help... sounds like fun on a bun.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:34 PM   #3
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Thanks for the reply jage. I did indeed get the top up and supported with 2x4s and blocks - not an easy task but I got it done (the only casualty was my rear florescent light - guess I'll have to call Sportsmobile for that one since it looks like a custom unit). Getting the Grade 8 bolts through the holes was also difficult but I got that done as well. What I also found was that one of the rear bolts that rides on a slider of sorts was bent - I'll have to replace that tomorrow, I'm not sure how to proceed on that but one thing is clear - I'll need to counter-act the tension of the spring. I guess I'll have to take the inside roof molding/headliner border out to get to the bolt but that should just be tedious and time consuming - not necessarily difficult. As it stands right now the unit is somewhat functional - just need to replace that bolt on the slider and it should be good.

Thanks for the words of wisdom and feel free to pass along any more tidbits of knowledge.

Keith
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:28 AM   #4
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Is the bent bolt in the top or bottom? If top, do it with top down- there should be no stress on the bolt*, e.g. no need to take the interior down. Codicils being, 1. things might be shifted 2. my experience is with a power PH, not a spring PH, but I'm pretty sure there it would be easy...

If bottom, there is an "adjusting the spring tension" link around here somewhere that would be helpful.

Also I've got some of those fixtures in my garage- you're welcome to them, same type not sure same size.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:45 AM   #5
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Also, how did you get the top up, brute strength?
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:38 AM   #6
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Any idea WHY the PH scissor bolts broke??? This problem has been reported here several times. So far the discussion has been on how to replace the broken bolts and not on how to prevent it from happening again. Sure could ruin a trip. Has anyone asked SMB about this problem? Also sounds as if the age of the penthouse top is not a factor.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:10 AM   #7
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Yes, brute strength... I'm sorry to say. (I applied Teddy R's philosophy "Do what you can, where you are, with what you have") Started with short 2x4s and then added blocks until I could get a longer 2x4 etc until the unit was all the way up. Even all the way up, the holes in the supports were not lined up and I had to resort to a ratchet strap and small jack to line them up. Whew!

The bent bolt is indeed on the bottom. I should digress here and add that the bent bolt is probably the cause of the scissor bolt shearing because it added significant resistance to PH up/down movement. The increased resistance from the bent bolt transferred to the scissor bolts causing them to shear. It seems that the top plastic slide upon which the roller rides and is guided, became dislodged and binded the bolt causing it to become stuck and bend because it couldn't move freely.

I searched the site and found the tensioning post but I'm not sure there is enough detail there to be useful because I don't understand how a chain connected to a spring can be tensioned w/o essentially disassembling the unit. The bent bolt is attached to the chain which is attached to the tensioning spring - I don't see any adjustment mechanism (maybe I didn't find the right post?). It seems that in the PH up position, the spring tension will be at a minimum so I'll start with the PH up. I believe I can secure the mechanism in place with a ratchet tie-down and blocks of 2x4 and other assorted tools. Then it will be just a matter of getting wrenches in there to remove the bolt and replace. I will be applying some grease to the sliders for easier movement in the future. That would be a worthwhile application since the plastic seemed dry and may have provided enough friction to dislodge the plastic slider. I also need to replace the plastic slider - I'll see what I can find around the house and at Home Depot.

A lot of work but my Sportsmobile is worth it.

By the way - great site! Thanks again.

FYI. I have a DIY custom solar system in my van to run a fridge, microwave, coffee pot, power tools etc. It works great. I'd be glad to help others who want to go this route.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:39 AM   #8
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

"Adjusting" is just moving a link down on the chain to increase tension- to do so you have to release the chain, so even though you're putting the bolt back in the same place, I figured it would be relevant.

Quote:
FYI. I have a DIY custom solar system in my van to run a fridge, microwave, coffee pot, power tools etc. It works great. I'd be glad to help others who want to go this route.
Feel free to make a thread...
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:05 AM   #9
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Acknowledge the "adjusting" via moving attachment point on the chain. Thank you.

One other remark. I use my SMB often and in many instances its in dusty conditions (ie Baja Mexico). Even though the spring mechanisms are covered and isolated, over time I believe dust and dry conditions may increase friction on the plastic sliders. If they thus become dislodged due to their increased stickiness and jam the roller or just experience increased friction I believe that over time this causes shear forces to be applied to the scissor bolts. It is in this light that I think a bi-annual cleaning and application of a thin film of grease to the sliders could greatly extend the life of the scissor bolts and system in general.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:15 AM   #10
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Re: Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise

Custom solar... out of curiosity, how much weight do you have on top of your penthouse roof?

If you use the PH a lot there may be wear on the surface under the bar mounts on the ceiling too where the cross bar slides forward and backward which may contribute to the friction of the system. Not sure if things have changed, but the wear system of my 80's vintage PH just used the wood paneling as the wear surface. Consequently I added a piece of HDPE sheeting when I reassembled mine to help in that area.
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