Barn Door for JK factory hardtops


Another update - a company approached me about the barn door; they asked about licensing the design and putting it in production and asked me to send them a proposal. I'll follow up with them and if they want to move forward with it I'll report back here.

Great News!


Expedition Leader
I'm hoping it gets warm enough today to work outside - I left the RTT on top of the Jeep when I got back from SEMA so I could work on the changing room. Using an inexpensive canopy wall set from Walmart, I had time to do a mockup before I left for Las Vegas ( but didn't have time to do much more with it.

The canopy wall set consists of two walls (for some reason you have to buy two kits if you want to completely enclose a 10x10 camopy tent), but one set (20' of wall) is more than enough for a changing room. I'll be able to use it almost as it came with only a few very minor mods.

One thing that might be fine for a canopy tent bit isn't idea for a changing room is the zipper pulls - they're ordinary ones with a tab on just one side. More useful would be to have pull tabs on both sides so it's easy to unzip and enter from the outside and then zip back up when you get inside to change.

I ordered some double-tab pulls from (50 cents each) and installed them this morning. The silver pull is the original, the black ones are the new ones.

I'll post details of how it'll attach to the RTT and the few minor changes I'll make to the fabric as soon as it's warm enough to work outside.


Expedition Leader
what is the secret to replacing the zipper pulls. I have never been able to successfully replace one.
It's not hard. There are generally two types of zipper end stops for Vislon (toothed) zippers.

The easy kind has an angled slot in the end stop, so the zipper pull can slide off the end if the zipper is bent so that slot is in line with the travel of the zipper pull. That's the kind these canopy side zippers have. The first of this sequence of photos shows the slot in the stop, in the second photo I'm threading the pull onto that slot and then I'll rotate the pull clockwise as I push it up the zipper and finally a shot of the pull installed.

The other type are plain block stops. For this type, you cut off the stop, remove the pull, slide the new pull in place, and "remake" the stop by putting a zipper tooth between the last two teeth on the zipper. Once in place, use a soldering iron to melt the teeth together, forming a new plan block. Once the melting is complete, trim the edge of the inserted tooth parallel with the ends of the othe zipepr teeth. First in this sequence is the complete zipper showing the block stops, next I've cut off the block stop (and I would have removed the pull and replaced it with a new one) and put a tooth in between the last two teeth, next I've melted the inserted tooth to the two matching teeth and finally I've trimmed off the excess.

I often use the soldering iron technique because it's quick, free and reliable, but you can also buy ready-made stops that crimp onto the end of the zipper: stop. I used them when I first started sewing some years ago but quickly switched to the soldering iron method. For coil zippers I usually still use the crimp-on stop method because that's easier with coil zippers.

I hope this helps.


Expedition Leader
It warmed up enough today to do some work outside on the changing room.

I started by sewing Velcro ( to lengths of Awning Rope ( and sliding the resulting assemblies into the channels at the bottom of the tent platform. I left the velcro long at the corners so it could wrap around and join the corners.

Then I sewed velcro along the top of the walls. The walls hang very nicely using the velcro:

And once the tent skirt is pulled down it covers the joint and will prevent water ingress.

There isn't any channel along the Jeep side of the tent platform, so using screws, I attached short lengths of channel ( to the underside of the platform, leaving a gap in the middle where the ladder will lay against the platform when the tent is stowed.

I made matching lengths of Awning Rope, sewed velcro onto them and slipped them into the channels.

The back wall attaches nicely to the velcro:

The walls in place:

The leaves laying all over the yard were calling me to rake them so that's all I got done today. Everything done today was very simple straight-stitch sewing, very simple as long as your sewing machine is strong enough to punch through the rubber awning rope. All but the very cheap plastic sewing machines on the market today should be able to do it.

What's left to do: I have to hem the bottom so stiffening rods can be slipped in place, and install grommets in the bottom so if necessary the walls can be staked to the ground.

Also I need to trim one of the walls - there are 20' of wall in the package, and only 18' are needed, so where they join in the back there's an extra 2' of fabric.

I'll trim the zipper off the end of that panel, cut 24" of fabric off, hem it and sew the zipper back on. The great news is the excess fabric is plenty to sew a storage bag to store the changing room.

So far I'm very pleased with this project - it's inexpensive, it's easy to modify the canopy wall set into a changing room and it looks and fits great.


Expedition Leader
Finished up the work on the changing room.

I added a hem at the bottom into which fiberglass rods go to keep the sides straight, also added tie-downs for stakes at each corner.

The onyl thing left to do is to sew a storage bag for it using the excess fabric:

Total cost of the project was about $70.


Expedition Leader
The last detail of the changing room project is a bag to store it in, I sewed that this morning from the excess fabric.

I included a pocket for the tent stakes (shown here not fully in the pocket for illustration purposes).



Expedition Leader
This morning's project: a Molle panel that clips to the side of the center console. This attaches with no modifications to the console - no drilling, no adhesive, and can easily be removed.

The Molle grid is leather and will accept Grab & Go bags or Molle bags. Both of the pouches shown in the photo above have belt clips on the back so they attach to the grid simply by sliding the belt clip over the leather strap. They remove just as quickly.


Expedition Leader
Today's project was a tactical flashlight/battery/charger holder. In 3 of the photos below it's shown clipped to the side of the console. Two different size tactical flashlights are shown (the small one is from Harbor Freight). There's a pouch - the large flashlight has replaceable rechargeable batteries, and the charger and two spare batteries are in the pouch (in the upper right photo the charger is shown sticking out of the pocket). There's a hole in the bottom of the pocket for the charger's USB cable to come out of, in these photos the cable is sticking out and is plugged into a USB adapter in the socket above in the dash. In the case of the HF flashlight, which uses AAA batteries, extra batteries could be stored in the pocket instead of a charger. In addition to the provisions for clipping it to the side of the console, this holder has Molle straps on the back so it could hang on any convenient Molle panel.

That's enough sewing projects for a while, I've got a fiberglass project underway, and a metal fab project planned next.


Expedition Leader
I'm not sure what to think about this one... the November issue of Land Rover Owner International has a series of articles on the new Defender. One of the topics is the range of accessories that Land Rover will be offering, including this:

To see what it might look like, I digitally installed one on a Wrangler.

There have been a few cargo compartments for the Wrangler that replace one of the hardtop side windows (and I'm currently working with a company on a cargo hatch window that should be unveiled soon), but what do you guys think of an external compartment like this?


Active member
I would rather just use a trasharoo on the back to reduce winds noise.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk


Expedition Leader
I found this bag in a military surplus store in NYC yesterday, it wasn't expensive so I couldn't resist it. Today I sewed a zipper on the back so it can hang on the seat back using the Overland Outfitters zipper panel. It looks good there; it's got a shoulder strap so a quick unzip and it's ready to go along with me away from the Jeep.



Expedition Leader
Just arrived: two new things to play with...

I've posted that I've been working with a new RV window company to get cargo hatch windows manufactured. They've made samples for me to test, the ones in the photo are designed to install in a JK 2dr factory hardtop. I'll install them and post photos.

At the SEMA Show, a number of companies were showing add-on tire pressure monitoring systems. Mostly I like the factory TPMS system in my JKU and I've been thinking maybe it would be nice to have something similar in the LJ. I talked to a bunch of these vendors at SEMA and this one showed up in the mail yesterday. The battery in the main unit has a solar charger so it's sitting in the sunroom charging so I can test it. I'll post more once I test it.

Last edited:


Expedition Leader
The cargo windows fit perfectly with the existing slider window retrofit kit so installing this one took only a few minutes to remove the slider and insert the cargo window. Photos here show my test modular hardtop; when Robert comes home for Thanksgiving we'll install this side panel on his 2dr modular hardtop to see how it looks and operates on a Jeep.

I'm going to recommend to Retrofit Offroad that these go into production, they've been marketing the retrofit kit and slider windows for the JK/JK2 for the past few years so this is a natural for them.

Inside view:



Active member
Took some more photos and video of Donny's barn door this afternoon.

(The above video is very sharp when viewed on Youtube for for some reason when I view it in the thread it's not so sharp - if anyone has that problem view it directly on Youtube.)

Hi Donny - Going back through this thread I saw this post which shows your tire carrier and bumper. Looks very interesting, especially since you can open the back of the Jeep together with the tire carrier. Please let me know where did you got this set up. Thank you, Claire