Maybe something different 2018 unlimited Kalahari addition

shays4me

Willing Wanderer
some outside shots , and a photo a friend found of someone modifying a factory cage. It’s what I would like to do in the back, Almost looks like a 2 door cage added then a cross bar welded in place. Anyone have info on it by chance?
I might be wrong, but I think that's Dan Grec's JKU getting modified for his custom Ursa Minor J30 top before he went to Africa.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I will be doing a barn door. I’m not sure if it will be fiberglass or if I’ll just build a frame and use sheet metal, I’ve been reading about fiberglass it seems strait forward, but I’ve never worked with it in anyway.
‘I’m definitely more comfortable with a welder.
Back in 2017 someone asked me about doing a barn door for the Smittybilt top so I drew these concept images. The left image is the stock glass liftgate, the center image is a barn door in the stock Smitty hatch opening, in the right image is "what if Smittybilt had made the hatch taller instead of using the same hatch they use on their other hardtops" and would require modifying the hardtop to have a larger opening.

SmittyBiltSafariBarnDoor_zpsxzcrmvx5.jpg


A barn door really improves the access to the cargo area, I highly recommend doing one.


I find a rear wiper really handy, especially in the winter. The Smittybilt top doesn't offer a wiper so when you're building your barn door maybe you want to consider adding a wiper. Mine has a wiper and a washer jet and I use it all the time in the winter.

 

ZONE ZERO

Member
I might be wrong, but I think that's Dan Grec's JKU getting modified for his custom Ursa Minor J30 top before he went to Africa.
I’ll have to dig into that, the picture looks like a silver Jeep I didn’t even think it might be his . Thanks for the heads up
 

ZONE ZERO

Member
Back in 2017 someone asked me about doing a barn door for the Smittybilt top so I drew these concept images. The left image is the stock glass liftgate, the center image is a barn door in the stock Smitty hatch opening, in the right image is "what if Smittybilt had made the hatch taller instead of using the same hatch they use on their other hardtops" and would require modifying the hardtop to have a larger opening.

SmittyBiltSafariBarnDoor_zpsxzcrmvx5.jpg


A barn door really improves the access to the cargo area, I highly recommend doing one.


I find a rear wiper really handy, especially in the winter. The Smittybilt top doesn't offer a wiper so when you're building your barn door maybe you want to consider adding a wiper. Mine has a wiper and a washer jet and I use it all the time in the winter.

I know we had talked a bit about doing fiberglass work, in your opinion would you open it up to take advantage of the hight or work with the factory opening? I’d have to find rear tailgate glass to work with the opening also. I’m thinking of deleting the rear windows in favor for boxes or mounting the rack system with the o track to the sides.
 

ZONE ZERO

Member
I had originally considered building a top like this from the Jankel J8 troop carriers but with a barn door for the back . searching for fiberglass information has been slow I’d like to extend the rain gutters to the back and around the rear but honestly I’m not sure what they are called in the automotive industry all I come up with is house gutters.
‘I guess it could just be aluminum c Chanel bonded into the fiber. being that it’s winter i have the time to do the Research and begin to gather parts and pieces to do the job.
 

Attachments

  • CE8C77AE-47D6-4B52-9022-75BCA0894C70.jpeg
    CE8C77AE-47D6-4B52-9022-75BCA0894C70.jpeg
    504 KB · Views: 26
  • E5FE457A-4E8D-4ECB-B8A4-BD56D02AAEB6.jpeg
    E5FE457A-4E8D-4ECB-B8A4-BD56D02AAEB6.jpeg
    778.4 KB · Views: 29
  • 679192E8-F4D2-49A8-B540-9BEF272795F1.jpeg
    679192E8-F4D2-49A8-B540-9BEF272795F1.jpeg
    979.8 KB · Views: 27

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I know we had talked a bit about doing fiberglass work, in your opinion would you open it up to take advantage of the hight or work with the factory opening? I’d have to find rear tailgate glass to work with the opening also.
I don't see any point in enlarging the rear opening if you don't raise the roll bar up to the roof. The stock roll bar would limit the usefulness of a larger opening to some degree. If I had that top and raised the roll bar, I would seriously consider raising the roll bar, enlarging the rear opening and doing a large barn door.

When I designed my barn door I made it so that it would accept flat glass even though the barn door itself is a compound curve. Doing that, you can either have a glass shop cut laminated safety glass to put in the barn door (I did that with my LJ barn door), or have a glass shop cut ordinary glass and have it tempered, which is what I did with the JK barn doors I've made for myself and friends. This is a photo of a barn door without the glass, you can see the recessed flat area for the glass:

BarnDoorBonded1_zps86624903.jpg


Glass then gets installed easily with ordinary glass gasket.

RearPanelPlexi2_zpsef8bb1d9.jpg


I’m thinking of deleting the rear windows in favor for boxes or mounting the rack system with the o track to the sides.

Replacing the windows with hatches would be fairly simple and there's a good chance you could find RV hatches that would be the correct size. Here's a proof of concept I did with an RV hatch a while back. I found this hatch at an RV surplus place and it was an almost perfect size for the window opening.

CargoCompartmentPanelTestFit2a_zpsn4mamhbc.jpg


You could either do a cargo box to go behind the hatch (a straightforward fiberglass project) or you could just make a MOLLE panel to go there as in the photo above; if you just did a MOLLE panel it could be used from both sides.

CargoCompartmentPanelTestFit2b_zps3ana7l5i.jpg


CargoCompartmentPanelTestFit2j2_zpsrrfoabcw.jpg


With a modified roll bar the inside MOLLE panel would be even more useful, as you can see the stock roll bar is in the way of the panel.

I had originally considered building a top like this from the Jankel J8 troop carriers but with a barn door for the back . searching for fiberglass information has been slow I’d like to extend the rain gutters to the back and around the rear but honestly I’m not sure what they are called in the automotive industry all I come up with is house gutters.
‘I guess it could just be aluminum c Chanel bonded into the fiber. being that it’s winter i have the time to do the Research and begin to gather parts and pieces to do the job.

The best way to extend the drop rail all the way around is to make it in fiberglass. A very simple mold could be made out of wood to mold the channel and once molded it could be bonded to the hardtop with epoxy. A fiberglass-to-fiberglass bond with epoxy would be a more reliable bond than trying to bond aluminum to fiberglass.

In my experience modifications to fiberglass hardtops are best done with fiberglass. Making metal parts and integrating them with a fiberglass top and its compound curves can be more difficult than it seems at first glance and fiberglass isn't that hard to master. I'm happy to provide any advice and guidance on any of these ideas.
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
some outside shots , and a photo a friend found of someone modifying a factory cage. It’s what I would like to do in the back, Almost looks like a 2 door cage added then a cross bar welded in place. Anyone have info on it by chance?

That final pic is what my friends and I made in my JKU for the Africa trip. I did that so I Could stand up and walk around in the back when the Ursa Minor J30 is open.

We didn't use any part of a 2 door roll cage or any bolt in solution. We just cut out the original, and made what you see from scratch. It has worked very well over the years, I drove it today in fact.

Here you can see the work in video which will show you more of the progress:

-Dan
 

ZONE ZERO

Member
I don't see any point in enlarging the rear opening if you don't raise the roll bar up to the roof. The stock roll bar would limit the usefulness of a larger opening to some degree. If I had that top and raised the roll bar, I would seriously consider raising the roll bar, enlarging the rear opening and doing a large barn door.

When I designed my barn door I made it so that it would accept flat glass even though the barn door itself is a compound curve. Doing that, you can either have a glass shop cut laminated safety glass to put in the barn door (I did that with my LJ barn door), or have a glass shop cut ordinary glass and have it tempered, which is what I did with the JK barn doors I've made for myself and friends. This is a photo of a barn door without the glass, you can see the recessed flat area for the glass:

BarnDoorBonded1_zps86624903.jpg


Glass then gets installed easily with ordinary glass gasket.

RearPanelPlexi2_zpsef8bb1d9.jpg




Replacing the windows with hatches would be fairly simple and there's a good chance you could find RV hatches that would be the correct size. Here's a proof of concept I did with an RV hatch a while back. I found this hatch at an RV surplus place and it was an almost perfect size for the window opening.

CargoCompartmentPanelTestFit2a_zpsn4mamhbc.jpg


You could either do a cargo box to go behind the hatch (a straightforward fiberglass project) or you could just make a MOLLE panel to go there as in the photo above; if you just did a MOLLE panel it could be used from both sides.

CargoCompartmentPanelTestFit2b_zps3ana7l5i.jpg


CargoCompartmentPanelTestFit2j2_zpsrrfoabcw.jpg


With a modified roll bar the inside MOLLE panel would be even more useful, as you can see the stock roll bar is in the way of the panel.



The best way to extend the drop rail all the way around is to make it in fiberglass. A very simple mold could be made out of wood to mold the channel and once molded it could be bonded to the hardtop with epoxy. A fiberglass-to-fiberglass bond with epoxy would be a more reliable bond than trying to bond aluminum to fiberglass.

In my experience modifications to fiberglass hardtops are best done with fiberglass. Making metal parts and integrating them with a fiberglass top and its compound curves can be more difficult than it seems at first glance and fiberglass isn't that hard to master. I'm happy to provide any advice and guidance on any of these ideas.

I have an RV place close by, when I built my camper box on my 1010 ambulance I picked up 4 windows and an emergency window. I’ll have to stop in and see what they have or can get .

im anticipating moving the cage up and modifying the rear to fit the top I hate the back of the cage anyway I never understood why they slanted it over the more traditional ”family” style in the 2 doors.
all that being said I think I full barn door that’s taller with a bigger rear window would make sense .

im not going to lie Im definitely intimidated by the fiberglass work especially having to cut my hard top up to get what I want .
what would you recommend to start this ?
design and make the barn door first then modify the top to fit the door?
I have wood working tools and I can get another tailgate cheap to mock it all up in my garage .
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I have an RV place close by, when I built my camper box on my 1010 ambulance I picked up 4 windows and an emergency window. I’ll have to stop in and see what they have or can get.
The best RV surplus places are in Elkhart, Indiana. Elkhart is "the Detroit of the RV business", there are more RV companies there than anywhere else in the country. Because of that, quite a few RV surplus places exist where the manufacturers sell off their excess parts so there's always a great selection of things to build overland vehicles and campers with. My favorite is Bontragers (https://bontragers.com/rv-supplies-accessories/). They don't list all of their inventory in detail on the web site though, so I always go there and search their several warehouses and usually find what I need. I've gotten many things at these places - windows, hatches, sinks and related parts when I was designing the MORryde Trail Kitchen sink option, wiring components, fabric, etc.

im anticipating moving the cage up and modifying the rear to fit the top I hate the back of the cage anyway I never understood why they slanted it over the more traditional ”family” style in the 2 doors. all that being said I think I full barn door that’s taller with a bigger rear window would make sense .
The rear of the roll bars is slanted so the soft top can hinge around them. If the rear of the bars were vertical there's no way the soft top could work the way it does.

im not going to lie Im definitely intimidated by the fiberglass work especially having to cut my hard top up to get what I want .

what would you recommend to start this ?

design and make the barn door first then modify the top to fit the door?

I have wood working tools and I can get another tailgate cheap to mock it all up in my garage .
I'd recommend starting by reading a few books on fiberglass. Thriftbooks (and online used bookseller) has quite a few: https://www.thriftbooks.com/browse/?b.search=fiberglass. I've got these in my library, they're all good:

FiberglassBooks.jpg


The book on the left is from the 70's but the techniques you'll need haven't changed so older books are worth reading. The book in the middle is very comprehensive and I highly recommend it. The book on the right is useful too, modifying a hardtop and repairing a fiberglass boat basically involve the same processes, so it's worth reading too.

After reading a few books, I'd recommend starting with a small project that doesn't matter. For example, you might make a short section of drip rail, to give you practice in making a mold and making a fiberglass part. The mold can be made from wood (I can provide details to guide you) - you could make a short mold as practice, maybe 2' long. Once you've made a successful part you could go on to make a much longer mold to make the actual drip rail extensions you'll add to the hardtop. But making a part that doesn't matter is a great way to get started with the materials and techniques you'll need for parts that do matter.

I often make molds for small parts out of wood, and very often make mold masters from wood. A mold master (sometimes called a pattern, or "plug" in the fiberglass business) is a wooden replica of the part you intend to make. A mold is made from that master and then the part is made in that mold. For examples, you can see the wooden mold masters I made for my barn door in the early pages of my barn door thread.
 

ZONE ZERO

Member
The best RV surplus places are in Elkhart, Indiana. Elkhart is "the Detroit of the RV business", there are more RV companies there than anywhere else in the country. Because of that, quite a few RV surplus places exist where the manufacturers sell off their excess parts so there's always a great selection of things to build overland vehicles and campers with. My favorite is Bontragers (https://bontragers.com/rv-supplies-accessories/). They don't list all of their inventory in detail on the web site though, so I always go there and search their several warehouses and usually find what I need. I've gotten many things at these places - windows, hatches, sinks and related parts when I was designing the MORryde Trail Kitchen sink option, wiring components, fabric, etc.


The rear of the roll bars is slanted so the soft top can hinge around them. If the rear of the bars were vertical there's no way the soft top could work the way it does.


I'd recommend starting by reading a few books on fiberglass. Thriftbooks (and online used bookseller) has quite a few: https://www.thriftbooks.com/browse/?b.search=fiberglass. I've got these in my library, they're all good:

FiberglassBooks.jpg


The book on the left is from the 70's but the techniques you'll need haven't changed so older books are worth reading. The book in the middle is very comprehensive and I highly recommend it. The book on the right is useful too, modifying a hardtop and repairing a fiberglass boat basically involve the same processes, so it's worth reading too.

After reading a few books, I'd recommend starting with a small project that doesn't matter. For example, you might make a short section of drip rail, to give you practice in making a mold and making a fiberglass part. The mold can be made from wood (I can provide details to guide you) - you could make a short mold as practice, maybe 2' long. Once you've made a successful part you could go on to make a much longer mold to make the actual drip rail extensions you'll add to the hardtop. But making a part that doesn't matter is a great way to get started with the materials and techniques you'll need for parts that do matter.

I often make molds for small parts out of wood, and very often make mold masters from wood. A mold master (sometimes called a pattern, or "plug" in the fiberglass business) is a wooden replica of the part you intend to make. A mold is made from that master and then the part is made in that mold. For examples, you can see the wooden mold masters I made for my barn door in the early pages of my barn door thread.

I have nothing but time right now to read, ill have to jump in head first. I did go back sever times looking at your door build I was curious about the wood mold or ”plug”. I was assuming you have to make it slightly smaller than your intended fit to allow for the thickness of the fiberglass gel coat and paint. I watched a few YouTube videos and they used foam boards and built up the shape from there.

I talked to a friend of mine in the automotive restoration field today about it, he thought it might be worth doing the hole door assembly and completely negating the factory tail gate using the hinges You designed to support the weight then move the tire to a swing out or a different mounting system.
we did agree that the cage has to go its a complete waist of space .

what software are you using to do the mock up photos you have done with the jeeps?
‘I’ll need to design the cage changes to bring to the shop for bending the tubing.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I have nothing but time right now to read, ill have to jump in head first. I did go back sever times looking at your door build I was curious about the wood mold or ”plug”. I was assuming you have to make it slightly smaller than your intended fit to allow for the thickness of the fiberglass gel coat and paint. I watched a few YouTube videos and they used foam boards and built up the shape from there.

The mold master (or "plug" if you prefer that term) is made exactly the same size as the final part will be. A female mold will be made from the master and the gelcoat and fiberglass will be laid up inside the mold which doesn't increase the outside dimensions of the part.

In my experience, using foam boards to make a master is much more difficult than making the master out of wood. For something like a barn door, where a precise fit is required, it's much easier to make a wooden master fit exactly than it is to shape foam to the exact size and then try to put a perfect finish on it.

This is the wooden master for the inside skin of the JK barn door, it would be very hard to get this level of precision by starting with foam.

Framework11_zps95db0075.jpg


I talked to a friend of mine in the automotive restoration field today about it, he thought it might be worth doing the hole door assembly and completely negating the factory tail gate using the hinges You designed to support the weight then move the tire to a swing out or a different mounting system. we did agree that the cage has to go its a complete waist of space .

I thought about doing a complete door (concept drawing below) but decided that doing just the upper had many advantages:

- Much easier to build just the upper than the full door which would require additional reinforcement the areas where the hinges and latch get mounted

- A lot more reinforcement would be needed inside if the spare were to be mounted on the door. Yes you could do a swing-away tire carrier, but it you use something like the MORryde tailgate reinforcement on the stock tailgate you have a one-step open and close operation instead of a two step. If you're eliminating the liftgate to go to a one-step operation, why add a swing-away carrier and go back to a two-step operation when something like the MORryde can easily support a very large spare and keep it a one-step operation.

- It's very easy to mount the upper to the stock tailgate to form a very rigid assembly. If you look at the video I posted where I'm opening and slamming the barn door, you can see how rigid the whole assembly is. If you want the look of a one piece door, just paint the upper the same color as the body.

OnePieceBarnDoorDesign2.jpg


what software are you using to do the mock up photos you have done with the jeeps?
‘I’ll need to design the cage changes to bring to the shop for bending the tubing.
Mostly I just use a drawing program. I've been using Microsoft Visio for years, all of the drawings in my threads are done with it and I find that it meets all of my design and drawing needs.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Another reason to do a separate upper barn door - the flexibility to run without the upper. If you're running half doors or just want the rear open, you can easily remove the upper.

And you could do as I've done and make a soft upper, just like the soft uppers for half doors. It's easily removable on the trail and I can store it above the roll bars because it's very thin and light.

This is a soft barn door upper, I did it using factory Spice soft top fabric so it matches the Spice paint on my hardtop. Just like a factory half door upper, the window unzips and rolls down so the open air feeling can be had without removing the upper.

SoftBarnDoorDone11_zpsnv8mtwfl.jpg


SoftBarnDoorDoneOpen_zpsvm3d6nds.jpg
 

ZONE ZERO

Member
The mold master (or "plug" if you prefer that term) is made exactly the same size as the final part will be. A female mold will be made from the master and the gelcoat and fiberglass will be laid up inside the mold which doesn't increase the outside dimensions of the part.

In my experience, using foam boards to make a master is much more difficult than making the master out of wood. For something like a barn door, where a precise fit is required, it's much easier to make a wooden master fit exactly than it is to shape foam to the exact size and then try to put a perfect finish on it.

This is the wooden master for the inside skin of the JK barn door, it would be very hard to get this level of precision by starting with foam.

Framework11_zps95db0075.jpg




I thought about doing a complete door (concept drawing below) but decided that doing just the upper had many advantages:

- Much easier to build just the upper than the full door which would require additional reinforcement the areas where the hinges and latch get mounted

- A lot more reinforcement would be needed inside if the spare were to be mounted on the door. Yes you could do a swing-away tire carrier, but it you use something like the MORryde tailgate reinforcement on the stock tailgate you have a one-step open and close operation instead of a two step. If you're eliminating the liftgate to go to a one-step operation, why add a swing-away carrier and go back to a two-step operation when something like the MORryde can easily support a very large spare and keep it a one-step operation.

- It's very easy to mount the upper to the stock tailgate to form a very rigid assembly. If you look at the video I posted where I'm opening and slamming the barn door, you can see how rigid the whole assembly is. If you want the look of a one piece door, just paint the upper the same color as the body.

OnePieceBarnDoorDesign2.jpg



Mostly I just use a drawing program. I've been using Microsoft Visio for years, all of the drawings in my threads are done with it and I find that it meets all of my design and drawing needs.

Thanks for the helpful information, the wood plug looks great you can see the time and effort put into it.
‘I ordered the books last night can’t wait for them to come in.

im actually going to meet up with another friend today that has a LiDAR 3d scanner and a photogrammetry scanner to see what he can come up with. I’ve always used a tape measure and cardboard to mock up designs and panels .
He can 3d print a lot of parts to test fit, I’m pretty excited I’ve never used anything like that before.

I also managed to find a company close by that does boat repair the owner said he would take a look at the project after the new year, He’s slow in the winter anyway and is into jeeps.

ill post up the images tonight if they are finished and come out looking like something that shows a design that will work.
 

AggieOE

Trying to escape the city
What size lift, wheels, and tires are you running? It looks like you're not using wheel spacers with stock wheels, any rubbing?
 

Forum statistics

Threads
181,722
Messages
2,828,854
Members
217,287
Latest member
BillVacek
Top