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Old 06-07-2012, 07:59 PM   #1
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Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

We seem to camp in windy areas fairly often. Is there a maximum wind speed that is considered safe for raising the penthouse? Has SMB done any testing of the stability of the open top in winds?
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:38 PM   #2
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

50 mph. But gusts are hard to determine. It might also depend on the year. With my 06 I was told 50 and I do have an electric top. In high winds I try to position the van so the ends are pointing toward the air flow and I always avoid tree limbs that can brush against the top canvas.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:21 PM   #3
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Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

I spend one or two weekends a month in eastern Oregon photographing auto racing. The track is just south of the Columbia Gorge. The only thing that is up there is wheat fields and wind turbines. I always park across the wind so that the van acts as a wind break. My 1989 penthouse does just fine in the wind whether the zip up windows are open or closed. Typical wind speed is between 30 and 50 mph. Even at 3:00 am.


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Old 06-12-2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

Thanks for the info. I'm not good at guessing wind speed, so just ordered a handheld anemometer.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:42 PM   #5
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

I have measured constant speeds very comfortably to 32knots with SportsMobile broadside to the prevailing wind direction and clocked speeds to 39 Knots continual for an hour and one half heading into the wind at which time I decided that worrying about the unmeasured gusts were not worth the worry and dropped the Electric Penthouse . Our top has a full sized Aluminess Rack with attached Kyocera Solar Panel and 5 LED Floodlights so I always try to error on the side of caution . if temperatures permit you can unzip your Vynal Windows to reduce the amount of foiling on your top .
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

What if we get somebody to leave their top up and roll down the highway, when it snaps the supports and pulls the top off, record the speed and then we know.

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Old 06-15-2012, 09:53 PM   #7
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGVANS
What if we get somebody to leave their top up and roll down the highway, when it snaps the supports and pulls the top off, record the speed and then we know.

Would that be measured with a GPS for accuracy?

Seriously though has anyone had damage to a Penthouse top by the wind? What was damaged?
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:32 AM   #8
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

Years ago on the Yahoo chat list, someone reported that they once accidentally left the penthouse latches unlatched and had their penthouse open up on the highway at around 60 mph. No damage to the penthouse or supports although it took awhile for the driver to stop shaking...
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:19 PM   #9
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

I had two wind related experiences.

On the Coquihalla in BC doing speed limit (at least 60+MPH) top came up (my negligence; unlatched). Dramatic but no damage whatsoever (I have a manual penthouse).

Another time with latches secured I was driving in wind on 50 near Utah/Nev border; going about 65 in winds gusting to maybe 40. The top blew up and snapped the support just aft of the driving compartment where the latches secure. The arch there just broke and the top went up a foot or two before I stopped. Had to rig tie-downs to the seat and floor to hold it down until I got to SMB in Fresno for repairs.

I believe the problem was that the wind got under the penthouse fiberglass and inflated the fold of fabric underneath, making a very effective air bag jack. I blocked the runnels on the top and make sure to secure the top as tight as I can, but I think you'd need a unique (and unlucky) combo of wind and bouncing to make this re-occur. Even so, I put my hand back there on occasion to feel whether it's ballooning the fabric up....

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Old 07-02-2012, 11:01 AM   #10
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Re: Safety issue? Maximum wind speed with Penthouse raised

Thanks everyone for your replies. It's been helpful. I've been checking speeds at home with the anemometer and finding that, in general, I overestimate the speed by quite a bit. I think I will feel more confident now when the wind is blowing, especially with our soon to be new electric top.
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