Converting a factory JK/JKU hardtop to modular

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You can email me through this forum by clicking on my user name in the upper left corner of any of my posts and selecting "send email".

If the reason you want to contact me is to ask for advice about doing repairs on a hardtop, why don't you start a thread about it and post photos of the damage - I'll respond to the thread with advice on how to do the repair and you (and others) can ask followup questions in the thread. Repairing damaged hardtops is a common question and if that's what you want to contact me about we might as well document it in a thread so others can benefit too. If you start a thread email me a link so I don't miss it.

And if that's not the reason you want to contact me, email works fine.

jeff
Ok I posted in the Jeep section "hardtop repair"
 
I've been following this thread for a while, but haven't been able to work up the courage to cut my top up yet. I run a TrekTop nx most of the time so I can remove the sides and back pretty easily. But I recently got a fridge and am now in and out of the back more and opening the rear window has become a pain. I also just purchased a FrontRunner roof rack so that has sealed the fate of the soft top. I was wondering since the frontrunner rack attaches through the roof to the roll bar if you think it would work to run without the sides and back? Also did you remove the locating pins from the top to make installing/removing the sides easier? Thanks!
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I've been following this thread for a while, but haven't been able to work up the courage to cut my top up yet. I run a TrekTop nx most of the time so I can remove the sides and back pretty easily. But I recently got a fridge and am now in and out of the back more and opening the rear window has become a pain. I also just purchased a FrontRunner roof rack so that has sealed the fate of the soft top. I was wondering since the frontrunner rack attaches through the roof to the roll bar if you think it would work to run without the sides and back? Also did you remove the locating pins from the top to make installing/removing the sides easier? Thanks!
If the rack attaches through the roof to the roll bars, then it should be possible to run without the sides and back, although it depends on where exactly they attach. I'd have to see the attachment points to say for sure.

I left the locating pins in place, they're very helpful for a modular top. The front ones are especially important if you convert the sides to have separate b-pillars for roll-up soft sides, the pins help secure the b-pillar to the tub. I described that starting here: https://www.expeditionportal.com/fo...hardtop-to-modular.160775/page-7#post-2156562
 
Thanks, I guess I missed that section on my reread of the thread. I'll remove the pin and bolt it on like you did, that way I can slide it straight out and don't have to lift it up any.

Each of the 4 feet have 4 bolts thru the roof. There is a aluminum spacer that fits the id of the holes drilled in the roof, so I'll have to see how tight the rack clamps the roof when I install it next week. Here a few pictures of it for reference.
krjw020t-7.jpg
krjw020t-2.jpg
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Thanks, I guess I missed that section on my reread of the thread. I'll remove the pin and bolt it on like you did, that way I can slide it straight out and don't have to lift it up any.

Each of the 4 feet have 4 bolts thru the roof. There is a aluminum spacer that fits the id of the holes drilled in the roof, so I'll have to see how tight the rack clamps the roof when I install it next week. Here a few pictures of it for reference.
Looks like that will support the roof just fine without the sides or back panels installed.
 
Looks like that will support the roof just fine without the sides or back panels installed.
Hello jscherb,
Just read through this thread, and I must say you are amazing! Not only because of the enhancements you developed but also sharing your detailed information about how to make those enhancements. I particularly like the barn door and the windows that open in the back of the hardtop. Unfortunately I don't have the skill, tools and space to make my own door, but thank you for the pointer to the slider windows. I believe that is something I could handle.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Hello jscherb,
Just read through this thread, and I must say you are amazing! Not only because of the enhancements you developed but also sharing your detailed information about how to make those enhancements. I particularly like the barn door and the windows that open in the back of the hardtop. Unfortunately I don't have the skill, tools and space to make my own door, but thank you for the pointer to the slider windows. I believe that is something I could handle.
Thank you very much, I'm glad you found something useful in this thread.

I hear from Retrofit Offroad that lots of the hardtop slider window kits have been sold for both 4-door and 2-door hardtops and they've had no reports of installation troubles.
 
The basic conversion steps:

1. Cut the factory top apart.

2. Add bolt flanges to one side of each joint between the panels. I did this by fiberglassing the flanges directly to the panels with clamped-on forms.

3. Add matching bolt flanges to the other side of each joint. To make sure we end up with flanges that perfectly match those in step 2, I created these flanges separately and bonded them to the hardtop panels - this method makes the process very accurate and easy.

4. Final touch-up.

Obviously this leaves out lots of details, but at the highest level, it is what the project is about. All of the details will follow in this thread.

The materials I used are as follows; I'll cover each in detail when I get to the step where the material is used but for now here's a list:

- 1.5 oz. fiberglass mat
- 2" wide fiberglass tape
- West System Six-10 epoxy, with extra mixing nozzles
- 5-minute epoxy, such as Devcon from a home center
- SMC-compatible resin (1 qt)
- General purpose polyester resin (2-3 qts)
- White tint for resin (optional)
- 5/16" weld nuts/tee nuts, and 3/4"-long bolts + washers for each (t-nuts optional)
- Weatherstrip to seal the bolt-together joints between panels

Not every one of the materials in the list is strictly necessary, I'll cover what's required and what's optional when I get to those steps.

Other things you'll need:

- Masking tape. Mostly I used Scotch blue 2"
- Acetone. For cleanup after fiberglass work, it's a solvent for the resin.
- Waxed paper
- 80-grit sandpaper and some finer grits

I'll cover the tools necessary as I use them. Mostly hand tools, a sanding block, drill and bits, some clamps. Most of the tools the average DIY-er is likely to have with the possible exception of clamps that are long enough to span the panels.

Cost - Materials should run between $100 and $150 depending on where you buy things.
Jeff, I am looking to start this project and opened this back up. Is this the final list of items needed to do this?
 
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