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Old 06-04-2018, 03:08 PM   #11
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Or a ratcheting cargo bar from the hardware store. It gets it past the tough part, then you can push up easily.

Round Tube Adjustable Load Bar/Cargo Bar with 2''X4'' Pads - Extends from 89.75" to 104.5" - Great for Interior Van Trailers and Semi Trailers - NOT FOR USE WITH SUV's OR PICKUPS https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004HV9JBO..._pPAfBbX10803J


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Old 06-04-2018, 03:46 PM   #12
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Sounds like another application for a Hi Lift jack???
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beasty Boy View Post
Dusty you can listen to who ever you want,but.... if the voice of experience
means anything to you,here goes. Been there,Done that. Adjusting the springs
WON'T help. Got rid of my first SMB cause of it. My friends that bought it had a problem to. Aluminess has a air actuated device that will bring it up and down
EASY. They use it,works great. $280

Good luck and Happy Campin
Coming from the experience of putting my own penthouse top on a couple weeks ago I have to disagree. Adjusting the springs will definitely help. Now if the top has been loaded up with 100s of pounds of extra weight then yeah you could be in trouble. But I would hope that if you have a manual top it would be intuitive that you can't really do that...
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
Or a ratcheting cargo bar from the hardware store. It gets it past the tough part, then you can push up easily.

Round Tube Adjustable Load Bar/Cargo Bar with 2''X4'' Pads - Extends from 89.75" to 104.5" - Great for Interior Van Trailers and Semi Trailers - NOT FOR USE WITH SUV's OR PICKUPS https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004HV9JBO..._pPAfBbX10803J


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This is what I have for my wife to put the top up. The issue with adjusting springs is they might not be able to get it back down once itís easy to get up. My wife can do pull ups from the handles before the top comes down.


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Old 06-04-2018, 04:42 PM   #15
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Shouldn't overlook the effect that the "helper" springs have on the initial effort to lift a manual top.

There's one on each side, positioned on their side at the rear of the van in the x-brace track --- and they exist (as far as I can see) solely to give an added boost to the effort required to get the top started upward from its lowest position. Once the top has raised five or six inches upward, they aren't doing anything anymore. EDIT: In retrospect, they seem to have an effect on at least the first full foot (or more) of roof lifting effort.

Here's the passenger side helper spring. (Visible once you pull back the fabric trim.)



On my rig, someone who had owned it before me had added 1.5" thick wood shims behind the helper springs....apparently to give even more added boost (more spring compression when top is in down position.) You can better see them sandwiched in there in this close-up shot:



I recently removed those shims to see if the top would settle down tighter without them.....



....and here's what I found:

YES, the top settles down a *tiny bit* more snug against the roof when its down.
BUT: The initial "oomph" of effort to get the penthouse top to go up is SIGNIFICANTLY greater without those shims. Not worth it. And I don't even have anything stacked on the roof to add weight.

Long and short: I'm putting these shims right back in.

Dusty, it might be worth checking to see if your helper springs already have shims behind them or not.....might be worth a shot to add some if you don't have any in there.

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Old 06-04-2018, 05:31 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer View Post
Shouldn't overlook the effect that the "helper" springs have on the initial effort to lift a manual top.

There's one on each side, positioned on their side at the rear of the van in the x-brace track --- and they exist (as far as I can see) solely to give an added boost to the effort required to get the top started upward from its lowest position. Once the top has raised five or six inches upward, they aren't doing anything anymore. EDIT: In retrospect, they seem to have an effect on at least the first full foot (or more) of roof lifting effort.

Here's the passenger side helper spring. (Visible once you pull back the fabric trim.)



On my rig, someone who had owned it before me had added 1.5" thick wood shims behind the helper springs....apparently to give even more added boost (more spring compression when top is in down position.) You can better see them sandwiched in there in this close-up shot:



I recently removed those shims to see if the top would settle down tighter without them.....



....and here's what I found:

YES, the top settles down a *tiny bit* more snug against the roof when its down.
BUT: The initial "oomph" of effort to get the penthouse top to go up is SIGNIFICANTLY greater without those shims. Not worth it. And I don't even have anything stacked on the roof to add weight.

Long and short: I'm putting these shims right back in.

Dusty, it might be worth checking to see if your helper springs already have shims behind them or not.....might be worth a shot to add some if you don't have any in there.

hold on a sec, your springs are compression based? Most I have seen are stretched out in the down state of the top and become almost completely compressed in a relaxed state when the top is up.
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Old 06-04-2018, 05:56 PM   #17
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hold on a sec, your springs are compression based? Most I have seen are stretched out in the down state of the top and become almost completely compressed in a relaxed state when the top is up.
Nope! Again, these **aren't** the main roof-raising tension springs --- mine has those too, just like any other penthouse roof does.

What's in these photos is a **second** pair of springs --- the helper springs --- that work in tandem with the main support springs. But again, they only engage at the bottom of the roof's travel....in those first 6 or 12 inches of initial roof raising effort that are usually the hard part.

I'd be very surprised if your roof doesn't have them!
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Old 06-04-2018, 05:59 PM   #18
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The roof lift raises the top and lowers it each way around 30 seconds. The draw back about the electric top I hear from everyone is that u have to hold the button down every time u raise and lower the top for a minute and 30 seconds. that's the reason I never got one. just two weeks ago my good friend John Wintersteller just installed a switch you don't have to hold down.It has a sensor in the control that knows when to stop.John said he didn't want to add up the hours he spent holding the button for the 10 years,funney! I have a sky box fulley loaded, 2 solar panels, and a heavy duty aluminess lite rack that holds 4 hellas and a golite. Never had a problem lifting roof.
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Old 06-04-2018, 06:18 PM   #19
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Here's some more pics of what the "helper springs" look like, these are photos that forum member LenS posted in a separate penthouse adjustment issue thread.

Driver-side helper spring (see where it resides just behind the trailing edge of one of the roof's main x-braces in the channel; as the roof closes, that trailing edge of the x-brace transitions rearward and compresses the helper spring in its contained cubby.



And viewed from the side (again, this is driver side....this is located in the rear of the channel for the penthouse roof's x-braces (and main support spring/chains) to slide within.)



Again, note that they are only engaged when the top is down. (And by "engaged," I mean that they simply get squished under compression. That stored compressed energy in those small helper springs is what helps give the fully-dropped top it's initial "oomph" to begin its rise and start to open up the X-braces into a geometry that can better utilize the main springs' energy for support/final lift.)

Adding a spacer behind the helper springs serves to position the spring further forward in the track....so when the roof is dropped, the x-brace contacts it sooner, and compresses it more aggressively......and thus it will have more compressed energy in it when the top is down. More compressed energy = more initial boost to push the top up.....

Referenced Thread:
Pop top scissor bolts snapped & will not rise
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...html#post63971
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:16 PM   #20
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I've also put various wood blocks behind my helper springs as MBR has shown above...when the top is up, with the blocks I have now the helper springs are just completely unloaded when the top is fully up.


I've experimented with even longer blocks that compress the helpers further but very quickly you figure out that the SMB design of the parts that keep the helper springs in place is a bit marginal (I'm being nice here).


I've been thinking about experimenting with gas struts in place of the helper springs...this would allow potentially more compression force on the springs and lift mech and add some compression damping without rebound damping.


The compression damping would allow a nice slow landing when bringing the top down. Rebound damping would work against you when trying to lift the top quickly.


Getting the top to work balanced requires playing with both the main extension springs and the helper springs. Do this after you've put everything up on the roof that you want...if you only want to do this exercise once.


Interesting....my helper spring config is a bit different than what MBR is showing above....the top plate has a tab on the aft end that the spring works against and my springs are naked.
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