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-   -   Terrible fitting penthouse top (https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f9/terrible-fitting-penthouse-top-21080.html)

Scalf77 06-30-2018 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snomad (Post 230138)
When we dropped off our SMB at Agile, John Brindell immediately and correctly IDed it as Austin built. He said there were differences in the tops. (forgot what :b1:). It makes sense that each locale would use a fiberglass-top resource close by.

The idea that a known flawed top got used is repugnant. It is really bad for Sunnyday & it undercuts trust in the name on (many of) our vans.

This made me remember a previous thread https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...tion-7879.htmlPost #9

"
Re: Penthouse Roof Information
The following Penthouse Top information is from Nancy at SMB North in Indiana. She has been at SMB North since 1981 and reports they have changed the penthouse tops several times over the years.

ďMany years ago, all the penthouse tops had grooves in them. The grooves were designed so rain water would run off either to the front or the back.

Back in 2003 the Dodge Ram van was discontinued. It was the only van low enough to fit into a 7 foot garage with a standard penthouse top on it. When the Dodge Ram van was discontinued, we had to design a top that was a little shorter to go on the Ford E250 so we would still have a garagable penthouse top available. So our president designed the Garagable top and made it bolt from the inside which made it lower and smoother. That is why the garagable top was designed differently. He also designed the garagable top to go all the way to the top of the windshield instead of stopping at the cab where all the other tops did. However, by designing the garagable top this way (longer), we discovered because of the length of the top, the extra outside latches were needed to secure the front of the top so when you were driving it wouldn't come up at the front. The low top was a good idea, but because of the extra latches, people didn't like having to go outside to unlatch them before putting up the top.

--Note from Jeff: Both of the front outside latches can be unlatched and latched from inside by opening the driver and passenger door windows but I guess people hadnít figured this out.--

SMB West decided they didn't want to install the Garagable top because most of their vans have 4WD and it didn't make any difference whether their vans were garagable or not. Thatís why SMB West didn't install garagable tops. They also have their own mold out there so they donít need to ship their penthouse tops from the fiberglass shop here in Indiana.

SMB West never changed their mold to the smooth top. SMB Texas also installed the garagable tops for a while. However, a lot of garages now being built have either 7 1/2 foot doors or 8 foot doors. We always ask customers if they need the top to fit in a 7 foot garage. If they donít, we always put the standard penthouse top on.

Since molds only last so many years, when it came time to make a new standard penthouse top mold, the president decided he liked the look of the smooth top instead of the grooved top. So when he designed the next round of standard tops for the Ford RB and EB, he took out the grooves. Thatís how that came about. So any top thatís installed by SMB West always has the grooves.

In about 2009-2010, Ford came out with their E150 that has the same GVWR as the E250 vans. Since the E150 is a lower van than the E250 was, the garagable top was no longer necessary to fit in a 7 foot garage. So by just adjusting the standard penthouse top on the E150 van a little, we could install the standard penthouse top and it measured about 83 1/2 inches so we didn't need the longer garagable top anymore. Not having to stock two different tops worked fine for us.
I know this is a long story but thatís the reason why there are so many tops.

All the tops are good tops, it is just a matter of where they were installed and what the need of the customer was.Ē

"
I agree with others, this type of business practice is uncalled for. I would never have Sportsmobile convert another van for me, I also would not entertain the other locations either, unfortunately they all fall under the name Sportsmobile. From the website:
"Sportsmobile Texas is the principal office serving as the coordinating point for design, marketing, quality control standards, etc. Product quality? " I might contact Sprtsmobile West about your concerns.

-greg

86Scotty 07-01-2018 09:58 AM

Nancy is inevitably going to retire someday and I think she deserves a hefty lifetime achievement award. She is a wealth of knowledge and her shoes will be really hard to fill. She is no nonsense, doesn't have a lot of time to waste and makes that pretty clear if you contact her but she does believe in old-fashioned customer service and will help you out! I would like to stop by and meet her and thank her in person someday but it hasn't happened yet.

Thanks for sharing Greg. I knew most of that but many don't. I think that all 3 locations should not write off the Econoline so quickly. There are still tons of them out there and many are great candidates for camper vans unequaled in durability by the new Euro style vans (yes, I own one and I'm still saying this).

:b5:

ctb 07-02-2018 04:30 PM

AGREED SCOTTY!! I LOVE ME SOME NANCY NIX!!!!!!!!! AndScalf..answers that question! On our maiden run we headed up to AK...camping on the DALTON A HALF HOUR OUT OF PRUDOE BAY...
in the morning, I turned on the water pump to get water for coffee and heard the pump continue to run AFTER I turned off the faucet...our water heater had burst b/c if froze over night!?! Shouldn't have happened since we had the furnace running at night...CULPRIT was sink cabinet, backing up to the swing out door, was not a full cabinet with a floor, but open...which exposed the back left corner to the door well area, which is cold enough to expose the back bottom of water heater to the low 20 degree night...I was dropping off Sporty to fix that AND install new poles to PH top (yes bent them after forgetting to unlatch drivers latch...and yes a very memorable break-in trip..lolol)..when I got the bill I was charged the $350 for a new water heater (might have been more but can't remember exactly...ANYWAY) I wrote out a check for the repairs with a note that said I was willing to pay all but thought fair we should at least split b/c I thought it was our builders fault it wasn't fully enclosed...a week later I got a check from SMB for the full amount of the water heater with a note from Nancy saying I was right and they were wrong with a full apology and hopes that didn't spoil the relationship...THAT is customer service!!! And as I read SOME forum members LUMPING ALL SMB BUILDER'S together stating that there is NO DIFFERENCE B/C of the BRAND and wouldn't use SMB at all...I have to call BS! They are ALL DIFFERENT and I am sure they ALL HAVE there good points and bad...BUT PLEASE, don't show your ignorance by stating they are all alike, because THEY ARE NOT! SMB makes a fantastic product and if you look around at other makers/builders they ALL HAVE a percentage of unhappy/unsatisfied customers...so I have stated it once on here...told the North crew...and the folks at SMB North sd they loved it but could NEVER put it up on their wall....

The South Sucks
The West is the Worst
Its North or Nothing

But then again, I AM biased!! LOLOL

Ps..and as stated with pic above, have the solid fiberglass mold/top that fits better is quieter and looks like a champ too...good luck and hope my post with pic helps FUTURE PH top purchasers! I know its in the middle of the country but it is well worth it...and no my mom isn't Nancy...I just like and admire her A LOT!

Scalf77 07-04-2018 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scalf77 (Post 230146)
Sportsmobile. From the website:
"Sportsmobile Texas is the principal office serving as the coordinating point for design, marketing, quality control standards, etc. Product quality? " I might contact Sprtsmobile West about your concerns.

-greg

Need to edit the above post, The last sentence should have said : I might contact Sportsmobile Texas about your top concerns." Since they are the stated coordinating point for quality control.
-greg

Vanimal 07-05-2018 11:36 AM

It seems to me that SMB must be a franchise of some sort because of the vast difference in Quality control. Please correct me if I am wrong? My point in all my SMB post that they are overrated seems to be valid with the exception of North. The scales of quality/service are not balanced, therefore affecting Value of price! On one side you have quality/workmanship/service and on the other is price! To me the scale side with price on it has caused that price side to hit the bottom of the scale and knocked off the other three! Then the arrogance, the belief that hey are exceptional when they are not, knocks price off the other side of the scale and topples it over. I am perfectly capable of doing a hack job on my own, would I , No! Why would I drive hundreds of miles and pay for a hack job? I am sorry it is my opinion but I am tired of seeing and reading about our fellow vanners that are held hostage by SMB and if they are a franchise then North needs to distance themselves from the rest! If all the locations are managed as one then North needs to clean house and get some quality, not arrogant managers in their other locations and improve their deteriorating product and image!

On another note I have about 10 NEW Fiberine 18" tops for for RB vans for sale for 1/3 the price at $600.00! Buy a his and hers and save $200.00 for a total of $1000.00 while supplies last!
Just wanted to humor this post up a bit since it is sad for our fellow vanners. See Ya on the Trail!

Bellpilot 07-05-2018 12:19 PM

Can you send me pictures of the 18" tops? My son has a 16" aerodynamic Fiberline but is having issue getting a roof rack build based on the style of the top. He may just change this top out and was think of putting a Voyager style on.

Vanimal 07-05-2018 12:30 PM

P.M. me a cell #

VocalVirgo 10-04-2018 02:52 AM

I looked at your pictures and read a handful of other people's experiences/problems. Of course, you have probably already read a few of my posts about the horrible instal they did on my ProMaster 11 months ago, so I won’t bring it up again here. But I TOTALLY get what you’re saying. You spent all that money and you go pick up your van and it looks like sh*t and the inside trim is badly done. You’re bummed and you have a right to be. I actually cried when I picked mine up, lol.

But after reading TONS of forums I’ve come to the conclusion that yours, mine, and many others suffer from bad workmanship from the folks at SMBW. I think if we would have had our tops installed at North or Texas, the end result would have been great or perfect.

The worst part of reading through the many comments on this thread is that many customers were treated badly (obviously I’m right in there with you/them) and that just shouldn’t be. The staff and management should WANT to make things right. It blows my mind that they would rather play dumb or tell people their top is “fine” instead of TRYING to fix them.

Wait, that’s not the worst part. My bad. The worst part is them not taking responsibility and not apologizing. It is, for me at least, insulting that they won’t even apologize. Has anybody here who has had problems, like the OP had, ever been offered an apology? Being culpable and offering an apology would have made all the difference to me. I imagine for the rest of you, it’s adding insult to injury.

I had no idea this many people were having or had such terrible experiences with SMBW. They seem to be the common denominator here.

Knowing now what I know and having gone through my own battles with them, I can only imagine what other people have experienced. My mind is truly blown at the way they handle their complaints.

By the way, and I’m not trying to be mean, but your top looks ridiculous from the back. Your van should not have been given back to you like that.

I’ve been b*tching for a few weeks now about my penthouse problems, but some of you have been b*tching for months or years. And you shouldn’t have to. This kind of stuff and the way SMBW handles them takes away from what should have been a wonderful and exciting experience. I, for one, am sorry to all of you other folks whose “Happy Camperness” has been tainted or even ruined by your experiences. I really wish someone at SMBW would READ all of these threads and complaints and try or want to do better than this. This all just kind of bums me out.

The Silver Lining is that it’s not the company or the brand itself that is the cause of all of our frustrations, it’s just some of the people at this location. The lady I spoke to at Texas told me this never would have happened (to me) at their location. I was actually glad to hear that.

I hope they start doing better. I really do.

Again, I’m sorry about your top, and experience. It’s just not fair.

VocalVirgo 10-04-2018 02:57 AM

THIS:

ďIt seems to me that SMB must be a franchise of some sort because of the vast difference in Quality control. Please correct me if I am wrong? My point in all my SMB post that they are overrated seems to be valid with the exception of North. The scales of quality/service are not balanced, therefore affecting Value of price! On one side you have quality/workmanship/service and on the other is price! To me the scale side with price on it has caused that price side to hit the bottom of the scale and knocked off the other three! Then the arrogance, the belief that hey are exceptional when they are not, knocks price off the other side of the scale and topples it over. I am perfectly capable of doing a hack job on my own, would I , No! Why would I drive hundreds of miles and pay for a hack job? I am sorry it is my opinion but I am tired of seeing and reading about our fellow vanners that are held hostage by SMB and if they are a franchise then North needs to distance themselves from the rest! If all the locations are managed as one then North needs to clean house and get some quality, not arrogant managers in their other locations and improve their deteriorating product and image!Ē

...was perfectly said.

lavolpe79 10-04-2018 02:43 PM

Hey Sunnyday, are you able to share some pictures of how it came out after they tried to fix the top?


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