I was doing a little thinking on this today.....
While I am tempted to just use the JK8 kit parts that come from the J8 to convert the vehicle forever, I have to wonder if that is the best choice in the long run? I think a 'final' conversion would be the best for me, but I just think its SOOOO much work overall....and cost. The door replacement method seems to be about the right balance in the long run. Here is a JK8 (ish) conversion I saw at EJS.
The rear doors access storage boxes between the wheel tubs and the seats. I don't know, creative concept, but I think its just a little bit too busy for me in this form. I think that same feeling would carry over to an 'insert door' style conversion?
Now this style of conversion....
The complete JK8 conversion with the factory 4-door sides removed just seems SO much cleaner and simpler in the end. I think I am so attracted to this style of conversion because what I really want is the long wheelbase J8 '3-door'.
In this style conversion the B-pillar from the factory 4-door JK body is eliminated and replaced with the same style as the short wheelbase 2-door.
On another note, the top, I did have an idea about making a jig for an aluminum top by making said jig out of a honeycomb errector set looking arrangement of laser or waterjet cut plates. The aluminum sides and top would then be cut to shape according to the modeling. The sheets would then be 'bent' over the jig structure to form the complex shape of the JK top. I think this would be about the best long term solution for making a top.
Anyways, just a few thoughts.
A few quick 'chops....
I think this is basically what you would get with the J8 style body conversion and a top that was a 2-door front top section with a 4-door rear top section that was spliced together......
I'm digging this one without windows. I think its very 'commercial' looking. No fluff, no extras, just a simple top. This would probably be what I would build out of aluminum currently. I wonder what the best system would be to make a double wall structure and beef up the edges a bit? Generally most aluminum tops seem to have a condensation problem. I wonder what the best way around that would be?
Roof top vent. My mail jeep has a vent to help reduce the amount of condensation that can form.
1975 DJ-5d "Dave, the project" w/20+ MPG
1976 FJ40 "55 is Fine"
Yes, this was a four-door JK at one point.
Specs can be found here: http://www.warn.com/blog/2011/04/18/..._big_red.shtml
It currently has an M8274-50 on the front and some custom beadlocks. Otherwise, the specs are correct in the link.
I just got done looking that over at EJS last friday....very nice.
The vehicle has been shortened over a standard 4-door wheelbase correct?
I think fiberglass would probably be the most common way to make the top....I think the factory top is basically made that way?
Making the buck for the fiberglass top would be the hardest part I think. Basically I think you would have to build foam model in the vehicle to get the shape right, and even then I think it would be pretty challenging to get it symmetrical left to right. Once you get the top shape you have to wax it up and make the mold. Then pull the mold off. Prep the mold. Then make your final model. Things like the door edge openings would be REALLY challenging I think.
Coming from a background in computer design in my engineering job I just want to design the entire top in Solidworks I'm still leaning toward a nice functional aluminum top. I think with the aluminum top you may end up with a stronger design that would hold up better to heavier off road use. I'm still very interested in having the corners made out of heavy wall aluminum tubing to act as reinforcement.
I do like the no-window commercial looking color matched top. I think it looks like Tom Sheppards G-wagon a lot....clean, simple, utilitarian.
For out and about travels I think having less windows might be better. It does limit visibility a bit, but with decent mirrors I don't think its a big deal. With the no window sides the rear cargo area would be more secure....and private if you where sleeping in there.
I did another chop on a vehicle that was modified a little bit more...the JT concept truck based on the J8 body.
The more I think about this style of vehicle the more I like it. I didn't think I would like the simple utilitarian top without any windows, but I think it just goes the best with the long wheelbase 2-door chassis.
Ok Jeep, now build me one With a diesel And a heavy duty axle package
Honestly though. I think the difficult parts to make, mainly the J8 style body package is available currently, though at what I would say is a pretty high price. I wonder how much you could sell the top, insert, and rollbar parts for from the kit. I don't need those.
The top is a big question mark, but there are at least 3-6 major fiberglass topper manufactures in the USA still right....ARE, snugtop, etc. I may have to approach of those companies to see if they would be interested in the idea? I wonder how applicable a vehicle like this would be to utility companies, state gov, wildland fire, or other uses? It would seem that there is a gap in the domestic market for a mid-size off road utility vehicle with increased off road performance over your standard off the shelf pickup truck ( other than the full size powerwagon ).
For me a vehicle like that just fits. I hear Burnsville can pull off the 2.8 diesel swap in the JK now with imported ( and EXPENSIVE ) parts from germany or whatever.
2005 Dodge Grand Caravan (my DD)
2006 Mongoose XR-75 (my backup)
2010 Kia Sedona (GF's DD)
OUTLAWED OFFROAD FORUMS