Converting a factory JK/JKU hardtop to modular

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Finished the roll-up soft sides this morning. I've only got garage shots because it's raining today; no, I'm not afraid of driving the Jeep with the soft sides in the rain (they're weatherproof), but I've got other work to do on the Jeep today and I don't want to work on it wet.





Rolled up:



Inside view:

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
For the times when the hard sides are on and the soft sides are off, I made a set of storage bags for the soft sides and related components. The narrow bag with the drawstring end is for the sides, the wider bag holds the zipper strips, retainers and b-pillars and the tiny bag is for bolts and other hardware.

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
One more detail to finish up on the soft sides... I had a local t-shirt shop embroider Safari logos on a scrap piece of soft top fabric so I can sew logos on the soft sides to give them a more factory look.



I did the same thing on the soft sides for the LJ and the JKU (below are the JKU soft sides):

 

Outdoorsben

Observer
Have you thought about going the other way with it and putting a hard glass rear on a soft top? I often think about that and since there is a seam in the hardtop near the rear it might be doable.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Have you thought about going the other way with it and putting a hard glass rear on a soft top? I often think about that and since there is a seam in the hardtop near the rear it might be doable.
Yes I have, I posted about it early in my barn door thread. Some years ago I built a prototype barn door for the soft top of my LJ and it works great; it uses a soft window rather than a glass window but could easily have a glass window instead. Based on the LJ version, I've done a more sophisticated design for a JK soft top barn door but haven't built one yet.

The LJ soft barn door:





My design for the JK uses the same barn door as my Safari Cab hardtop and a door jamb to seal against which is derived from the Safari Cab rear panel mold.

Here's a concept drawing I posted earlier in this thread:



And both of these Jeeps have a Safari Cab barn door that would work with the soft top door jamb design:

 
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jscherb

Expedition Leader
Once nice thing about the roll-up sides on a cramped 2-door - it's quick and easy to load things into the back seat. Today I'm driving the Jeep to DC to turn it over to my son and I've got the soft sides on for the drive. I'm loading the hard sides into the back seat...

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
You have crazy talent!! Any plans on a Gladiator build?
Thank you.

Here's a concept I'd like to build, I call it the Gladiator Safari.



It uses the roof mold for my JKU Safari Cab to produce a longer roof for the Gladiator and would have canvas roll-up soft sides all around.



I drove a Gladiator a few days ago at the dealer and it's not really something I could see myself owning though, it's much too big for me. And, I'm perfectly happy the the Jeep pickup I've already got... I built it about 10 years ago and it's been a great daily driver/hauler ever since. So unless a Gladiator magically shows up in my driveway I doubt I'll ever build a Gladiator Safari.



 
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JDaPP

Adventurer
Before cutting the hardtop, make up a gauge bar to hold the two sides apart at the correct distance, this will come in handy later. Remove the push fastener that holds the bottom of the weatherstrip in place as shown in the photo below. It comes out pretty easily, but if you have a fastener removal tool like the one in the photo it's even easier and the fastener won't be damaged.



Next, a cut piece of wood long enough to span the two holes and drill holes in the wood for bolts to go through the holes you just removed the fasteners from. #10 bolts work fine here. The wood doesn't have to be very strong, I'm using a piece of pine that's about 1/4" thick and 1" wide.





Once the gauge bar is made up it can be removed and put aside for later.
About to start cutting on a 4 door top. It doe not have the same trim/holes (window area meets rear door and freedom panels meet over front doors). With no factory holes any recommendations? Should I drill a hole? Use the holes used to mount it to the body?
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
About to start cutting on a 4 door top. It doe not have the same trim/holes (window area meets rear door and freedom panels meet over front doors). With no factory holes any recommendations? Should I drill a hole? Use the holes used to mount it to the body?
I'd drill holes, a bar through them when doing the mods helps keep things the same dimensions as the unmodified top so it's worth doing. The hardtop mounting holes are too low, holes higher on the door jamb will be better at keeping the width at the top of the doors the same. You'll be doing multiple fiberglass steps on the parts anyway so at some later step you can fill the holes.
 
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