Jeep XJ Westfalia Poptop Camper Build - The "Jeepagon" V2

You installed frame stiffeners yet? IMHO, that should be the very first "mod" any Xj owner does if they plan to build it. Extends the life of the unibody exponentially.
I have not installed the traditional 3/16” plate stiffeners as JCR and others make.

The way my sliders were installed it welded into the unibody at 4 places/side with reinforcement then welds into the cage at two points. Cage stitches into all the pillars and also with floor plates at the other points. I have braced the front along the Steering with plate, but still unsure of the weight and bulk of fully plating front to back.

Thinking of fully plating the front, and my bumper/gas skid system in the rear will take into account reinforcements.
As long as it keeps body flex to a minimum without placing all the load on small points, you should be fine. As good as the XJ platform is, they just don't have the stamina of an on-frame vehicle over time. Glad you've addressed it and the Jeep is sweet! Do you ha e any more pics or a link to that drawer style fridge? It's pretty cool!
Thanks! I was at ORW yesterday here in San Diego and had a chance to look over their XJ. Beyond being fairly built the reinforcements were considerably beefy but didn’t run a full plate to cup the unibody rail, rather a series of small section plates that work together.

Thinking something along these lines could work with some 1/8 or 3/16 plate to fit around my steering brace, rocksiders etc and add extra structure without going all in as I would without he cage system.
Also noticed the additional steering box brace, anyone have input on these?

Here’s is the 30qt drawer dometic cooler I’m running. I believe Engel makes a slightly larger one as well that runs a little more $. @overlandhistory has one on his XJ setup and it’s a sweet little thing.
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Very cool. I followed the original build thread way back in the day on Jeep Forum. I was kind of sad when it just sort of abruptly ended. I am pretty excited to see this project of yours!
Thanks Greg! I had been trying to message the owner of the previous jeepagon while starting mine, and finally got in contact when he saw my thread pop up. Sounds like it made is way to other owners after he initially sold it and hasn’t gotten word of it since, but has built a good few other rigs since. His thread gave me a lot of idea on how to adjust it to fit my build best.

Touching on the other areas of my build, here is my one ton steering setup on the cherokee. It is the cavfab OTA trackbar and alpha Steering Kit. Has a new mount welded on the axle trackbar side. Runs a Currie Johnny joint to a RE frame trackbar bracket on the other end. Also have the cavfab short arms installed. Beefy, killed my death wobble, and they have a “no bs” warranty they already honored for a failed builder part.

Since that picture I changed the draglink to run under the pitman arm and that eliminated the little bumpsteer the XJ had.

Here’s a picture before the cage setup as well. Working at the beach the top is the ultimate luxury. Beachfront property anyone?
Found some more builds that give a good insight into the poptop process.
First of all, some of the suburban guys adapting their own diy system here.

^Interesting take on a full DIY top from the fiberglass to the hinge system.
Especially the Cantilever system with the electric actuated component.

Also, found an extremely detailed build of both a fiberglass pop top mold and the finished shell on a 3500 EB Chevy van Here.
Really clean top, and better than even some production runs I've seen.
Opens up the possibility to recreate the top many times and custom fit the vehicle.
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2nd link is the same as the first, I would love to see the E350 top. Awesome build, getting inspiration for my comanche.
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Pulled the top again today and started on the edging for the roof chop. See the difference from the original temporary cut and fold I did below:

I used some 1”x1” angle steel plate. The length was 73” as pictured and cut a slot further forward in the roof for it to sit flush. Once I get more material I’ll wrap the whole roof edge of the cherokee like this, and devising a system to mount the hinges straight to it and be able to remove them easily to run topless.

The flat bar sits pretty well among the back 3/4 and lines up over the factory roof rack mounting points. I cut off the rack nutserts and spot welded it all in place for now. The front 1/4 needs bent with clamps to fit the curve up to the windshield.

Looks way better in person compared to the old fold method.

Tacked up the front hinge brackets today, and test fitted it all to be sure of fitment.

The original hinge’s lower mounting point (to the car) sits on the outside of the hinge itself, but I welded a new piece of 3/4” bar to stick out the other way. This will provide easier access from the cab to quickly remove the top, and also allow me to have the perimeter angle bar to mount the canvas, without having to run it underneath the hinge.

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As I'm progressing on renovating the camper concept, taking into account long run interior concepts and modifications for travel and living comfort.

I've removed most all the rattles by fixing the dash and removing loose interior plastic panels, but the lift gate bounces like crazy.
Anyone have any experience adding an additional seal, latch, or otherwise idea to eliminate this?

I will pick up some new screw in "bumpstops" to see how much of a difference that makes, but as of now is the only part of the body constantly bouncing/moving.

Also threw code P0740 (torque converter clutch circuit) again today, throws it occasionally and seems only when doing a lot of errands around town, stop and go and once heated up. AW4 Trans runs fine, fluid levels proper, any idea on heat affecting solenoids or wiring as a possibility? Insight appreciated.

Picking up more material from IMS tomorrow and then will finish the passenger hinge and rear push-bar brackets.
Are you planning on making a sleeping platform up top or just using the pop up for standing room?
Still unsure on this. The lower will definitely have a full-time full-size bed. This holds the advantage of more head room with the top up, and the ability to still stealth camp comfortably with the top down.

I have a hammock/cot concept or to do something like the GFC Tacoma platform, but really don’t see a point except for hot nights or sleeping extra visitors/friends?

Sleeping on the lower with the top up feels overly roomy it’s a bigger difference than you’d think when laying down too.

Stopped in the metal supply this morning and got the remaining material for the roof edge lip. The cherokee took two 10’ angle steel to run the perimeter. IIRC it was 73.25” long and 44.75” wide.

Lining it up wasn’t too bad, just took time and patience with the clamps. Forgot how much I dislike flux core welds though... exchanged my empty 75/25 mig cylinder for straight argon to use with the spool gun and in the meantime have flux for everything steel.

The rear was the hardest section to fit. The front surprisingly went ok, but bending the angle to the curve of the rear took a good minute. Didn’t help that where I needed my clamp to sit was along the rear joint of my cage. Figured it out eventually and had to run the full inch weld right away as the spots would snap by the time the clamps started slipping. Now is fitted nice along the curve.

Test fit everything once again, then run stitch welds into the body and go around with seam sealer to fill the remaining gap.

If I were working on someone else’s rig I think I’d just go ahead and rivet the edge frame into place like a lot of van conversion shops do along with rtv. Think it would be better than worrying about welding thicker metal to the 22gauge roof.


Expedition Leader
Another option for more interior space is to reshape the floor. I ran a t-case drop on mine so the tranny hump rear of the front seats and the back seat "well" area all got removed. Enough area is created to add a good size water tank or ???

Just an idea I thought I'd pass along.
Another option for more interior space is to reshape the floor. I ran a t-case drop on mine so the tranny hump rear of the front seats and the back seat "well" area all got removed. Enough area is created to add a good size water tank or ???

Just an idea I thought I'd pass along.
Stop!! Don’t tempt me to chop my body more until I can finish the current project

Nice work though, I was thinking about relocating the ebrake adjustment bracket along the drive side of the Floorpan and putting a 4 gallon rectangle water tank under there with a belly pan to keep the interior open.
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Another option for more interior space is to reshape the floor. I ran a t-case drop on mine so the tranny hump rear of the front seats and the back seat "well" area all got removed. Enough area is created to add a good size water tank or ???

Just an idea I thought I'd pass along.
Just crawled under the jeep and actually seriously considering this now.

How hard was it beyond taking the time to bend the new floorpan and fit it all in place?
Any issues with driveshaft clearance when the rear suspension is fully compressed?
My bed platform will sit over this regardless, but that’s a good bit of storage for this size camper