Converting a factory JK/JKU hardtop to modular

briandamge

New member
Hey Jeff, I'm glad you got a 2-door to finally install onto! What are your methods of weatherstripping/sealing the interfaces? The interface between the rear and top panels is vertical, and is one of my problem areas for leaking in rain and snow, especially while moving. I've put EPDM foam tape to act as a weatherstrip gasket, but it doesn't lend itself to repeated reinstalls.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Hey Jeff, I'm glad you got a 2-door to finally install onto! What are your methods of weatherstripping/sealing the interfaces? The interface between the rear and top panels is vertical, and is one of my problem areas for leaking in rain and snow, especially while moving. I've put EPDM foam tape to act as a weatherstrip gasket, but it doesn't lend itself to repeated reinstalls.
I use 1/8" x 1" EPDM for all of the joints; for the joint between the top and back panels I put EPDM on both parts so there's a double seal. Haven't had any problems with sealing.

What's important is that the flanges of both parts mate exactly - if they're exactly in the same plane there's not much for the weatherstrip to do but if they're not exact, say one is a few degrees off from the other then there's more reliance on the weatherstrip. This is why when I converted the top I showed joining the flanges to each part when the parts are assembled and the flanges are bolted together - that way when the epoxy cures the flanges mate exactly.
 

briandamge

New member
I use 1/8" x 1" EPDM for all of the joints; for the joint between the top and back panels I put EPDM on both parts so there's a double seal. Haven't had any problems with sealing.

What's important is that the flanges of both parts mate exactly - if they're exactly in the same plane there's not much for the weatherstrip to do but if they're not exact, say one is a few degrees off from the other then there's more reliance on the weatherstrip. This is why when I converted the top I showed joining the flanges to each part when the parts are assembled and the flanges are bolted together - that way when the epoxy cures the flanges mate exactly.
Got it - I may have some body filler work to do!
 

briandamge

New member
Why don't you post some photos of your conversion - I'm sure people would like to see it!
I posted this guy a few years back - since then, the top has worked great except for weatherproofing issues, and my work on it has dawdled since this is my only vehicle.

I'm working on a second iteration, and will post updates soon!
 

Tkhawk

Adventurer
Well, I just placed an order at US Composites! I hope to tackle this project in the next couple of weeks!
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Good luck with your project!

An update on one of the ones featured in this thread - I turned over the 2dr with the modular hardtop to Robert early in the summer. About six months later, he has only good things to report. Hasn't reported any leaks or other issues. He changes the configuration a lot, he has both the hard sides and soft sides, and over the summer he asked me to bring him the factory soft top as well.

When I turned it over to him he lived in downtown DC, now he's in downtown Philadelphia. He keeps the parts that are off the Jeep in his downtown apartment, many of them slide under the bed or in other inconspicuous places so it seems pretty compatible with apartment life.



I converted two tops and I still have the parts for the second one here, parts I haven't turned over to him yet include the roof with skylights, the Freedom panels with openable glass skylights and side panels with opening windows. Maybe he'll get them sometime in the future.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Hey Jeff, how would you go about the cut at the front edge of the 4dr roof? I skimmed back thru and searched, but didn't see anything. Thanks.
If I were doing it I would probably cut it as shown below. The white line separates the roof from the side panel and the yellow line separates the c-pillar from the side panel for use with roll-up soft sides. If you don't plan to ever do roll-up soft sides you don't need to have a separate c-pilalr so you can eliminate the yellow cut. I would build up the inside of the cut line in the door jamb so weatherstrip could go between the two pieces.

 

snowfiend

Member
I would love to do a modular roof for my JL with the OEM soft top windows and a hard roof. Braced from the inside (ala Maximus-3 rack) so imagine this but with no windows :cool:





This is how I usually run it so a hard shell would be nice for roof storage:

IMG_20190614_190844.jpg
 
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jscherb

Expedition Leader
I would love to do a modular roof for my JL with the OEM soft top windows and a hard roof. Braced from the inside (ala Maximus-3 rack) so imagine this but with no windows :cool:





This is how I usually run it so a hard shell would be nice for roof storage:

View attachment 553429
Converting a JL hardtop to modular should work out just fine using the steps and materials as described in this thread.

For the JK it's not possible to use the OEM soft top side windows with the converted hardtop because the size and shape differs enough from the hardtop side panels so that they won't adapt to the modular hardtop. I'm guessing this is probably true for the JL as well, but sewing custom roll-up soft sides is described in this thread and it's not an especially difficult sewing project.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
One nice thing about having a modular hardtop - damaged hardtops seem easy enough to find so you can have use them to make alternate parts you can swap for different configurations. I've got several sets of parts in addition to set that's on my son's JK. These extra side panels have different style windows; I just did the cargo windows at right and Robert and I will test them on his Jeep this weekend, we'll swap out his factory window sides that are on his Jeep now for cargo window sides.

 
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