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Old 07-19-2010, 11:19 AM   #1
jbb048
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Hardtop removal

Hey guys, new to the forum. Just got my first Jeep and I am lovin it. However I only have the hard top for now. I am saving up to get a soft top but they are expensive. I am looking for suggestions for taking the top off by myself. I dont have a garage so a hoist is not going to work. I have a 2dr so I figure it will be lighter. Any ideas?
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:58 AM   #2
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It can be done, but i wouldnt suggest it. Get someone to help you take it off.

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Old 07-19-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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It can be done, but i wouldnt suggest it. Get someone to help you take it off.

corey d
^ yeah, what him said. Get the help.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:24 PM   #4
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I do it by myself all the time, but I have a homemade deal to help lift and store it (2 ropes/ eye-bolts/ ratcheting strap).

With the 2dr, it's not so much about being able to lift it as it isn't that heavy. It's more a matter of how cumbersome it is to try to move after it is lifted.

X2- You need to get some help from someone, or devise a strap/ hoist type thing to help you.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:54 PM   #5
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Buy a soft top and you only have to take the hard top off once.....
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:26 PM   #6
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I took mine off by my self. Like everyone else said its not heavy, just big. It CAN be done but you would be much better asking a buddy for a hand.
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:30 PM   #7
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look at the prices of hardtops before attempting to remove it by yourself, if you think a soft top is expensive get a buddy to help
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:27 PM   #8
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Believe it or not, I have a 4-door JK, and I took the top on and off four or five times last year by myself. I nearly dropped the damn thing on several occasions, and scared the sh*t out of myself in the process ($$$), but made it. After unfastening everything, I laid on my back, leg-pressed it up into the air, and then lowered it from my feet, to my fully-stretched arms. Then I schooched (official Jeep term), slowly off out of the back, and then walked it out and set it down. This year, I have a broken leg, so my hardtop removal system is non-functioning. I'll need to wait for a friend or try something new.

One other option that I thought of, and if you need additional storage for anything, is renting a monthly storage unit that you can back into. Then you might be able to frame up a hoist, where you'll be able to back in, hoist it off, and then drive away...

Just an idea; don't know if it will help.

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Old 07-20-2010, 03:24 AM   #9
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Another option vs the standard hoist method is if you happen to have an engine puller. This is a method I'm considering if I don't end up building a carport in the backyard for a hoist system first. My current garage is not hoist friendly and with all the metal work and wood working I do, the top is better off staying on the Jeep for now.

Some of the engine pullers have an extension on them that will allow you to get the end over the top just enough to lift the top high enough to drive out from under. Its not better than the ceiling hoist method, but it could be an alternative.

Yet another method is to build two "tall" saw horse style stands and position them on either side of the Jeep, lift the top up enough to slide two 2x4s or steel U-channel under the top(one behind the roll bar and the other just behind the rear seats), make sure the boards are not resting on the tub. You will need to remove your spare for this next part. Once you have the top resting on the wood, slowly drive forward till the wood almost hits the rear roll bars. Carefully lift the top and reposition the wood to clear the cage and finish pulling away. Remount your spare and your top is now sitting on the "saw horse" stand and up off the ground.
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruzcode View Post
Believe it or not, I have a 4-door JK, and I took the top on and off four or five times last year by myself. I nearly dropped the damn thing on several occasions, and scared the sh*t out of myself in the process ($$$), but made it. After unfastening everything, I laid on my back, leg-pressed it up into the air, and then lowered it from my feet, to my fully-stretched arms. Then I schooched (official Jeep term), slowly off out of the back, and then walked it out and set it down. This year, I have a broken leg, so my hardtop removal system is non-functioning. I'll need to wait for a friend or try something new.

One other option that I thought of, and if you need additional storage for anything, is renting a monthly storage unit that you can back into. Then you might be able to frame up a hoist, where you'll be able to back in, hoist it off, and then drive away...

Just an idea; don't know if it will help.

RC
Hardtop removal system Rep +5
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Total earned Rep: +13



Back on topic; I too have a hard-top 2dr JK and am very soon going to remove it to install my Bestop Supertop I ordered from Quadratec.
I've gone with the idea of using a buddy to help remove it as I've read many times before, most people say it's not that heavy, just awkward to move around once you get it off.
Goodluck with the process and enjoy your soft-top
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:26 AM   #11
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Thanks Loki, that is something like what I was thinking about. My idea was to build a frame out of PVC where each side looked like a right triangle. I would use 1" PVC for the frame. Then on each side I would put a piece of 2" with a 2"-4" adapter on back and a 2" Tee on the front. These would go on the angled part of the frame. I would set the back of the top onto the 2" pieces and then slowly lower it down by hand. The adapter would be used to have a lip on the back of the 2" piece so the top wouldn't slide off and the tee would connect the 2" pieces so they would slide down evenly. What do yall think?
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:29 AM   #12
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Hardtop removal system Rep +5
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Back on topic; I too have a hard-top 2dr JK and am very soon going to remove it to install my Bestop Supertop I ordered from Quadratec.
I've gone with the idea of using a buddy to help remove it as I've read many times before, most people say it's not that heavy, just awkward to move around once you get it off.
Goodluck with the process and enjoy your soft-top


If I didn't have worries that my company will be relocating me in the next 90 days, I probably would have already built a hoist or put up the Quadratec one by now. If you have the space in your garage, I think that is a really good choice.



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Old 07-20-2010, 08:44 AM   #13
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I had a friend (YJ owner) help me remove the hard top was light enough but very awkward. Before you remove it think about where and how you are going to store it. I keep mine in my shed, built a 2x4 frame with casters to rest it on hatch side down...was about $20 in materials from Home Depot.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:13 AM   #14
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I don't have a garage (or one that'll fit the Jeep ) and don't want to risk it lifting alone. What I did was built a.... I donno what to call it. A gate I guess. My wife says it looks like the entrance to the OK Corral.

Anyway what I have is two vertical posts with a horizontal section at the top joining the two. The whole arrangement is about 9 feet tall and about 8 feet wide. There are two 45* sections at the top to provide bracing. On one post I mounted a manual boat trailer winch and with this I'm able to lift the top pretty easily all by myself. Drive in, drive out. Top on to top off or off to on in about 10-15 minutes. All the lumber, hardware, winch, etc. cost between $90-120. I can't recall the exact amount. If you're interested I'll try to get some pictures tonight.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:15 AM   #15
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I don't have a garage (or one that'll fit the Jeep ) and don't want to risk it lifting alone. What I did was built a.... I donno what to call it. A gate I guess. My wife says it looks like the entrance to the OK Corral.

Anyway what I have is two vertical posts with a horizontal section at the top joining the two. The whole arrangement is about 9 feet tall and about 8 feet wide. There are two 45* sections at the top to provide bracing. On one post I mounted a manual boat trailer winch and with this I'm able to lift the top pretty easily all by myself. Drive in, drive out. Top on to top off or off to on in about 10-15 minutes. All the lumber, hardware, winch, etc. cost between $90-120. I can't recall the exact amount. If you're interested I'll try to get some pictures tonight.
Yes pictures please!!
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ipe View Post
I don't have a garage (or one that'll fit the Jeep ) and don't want to risk it lifting alone. What I did was built a.... I donno what to call it. A gate I guess. My wife says it looks like the entrance to the OK Corral.

Anyway what I have is two vertical posts with a horizontal section at the top joining the two. The whole arrangement is about 9 feet tall and about 8 feet wide. There are two 45* sections at the top to provide bracing. On one post I mounted a manual boat trailer winch and with this I'm able to lift the top pretty easily all by myself. Drive in, drive out. Top on to top off or off to on in about 10-15 minutes. All the lumber, hardware, winch, etc. cost between $90-120. I can't recall the exact amount. If you're interested I'll try to get some pictures tonight.
Thats what you call a DIY Gantry crane or lift. Same concept I was considering only I figured if I was going to built that , then I might as well build 2 more, add a roof, and call it a carport...

My 2 minute artwork:



jbb048,

I doubt the 1" PVC would be strong enough due to PVC's flex and bow factor. I would stick with a wood construction and if it going to remain outside then I'd use PT lumber.

More 2 minute artwork:
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:45 PM   #17
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What Loki drew is virtually dead on. The only difference is the base, but seeing as I didn't mention the base he'd have no way of knowing

The whole structure is built using mortise and tenons with all the joints in compression. It took an afternoon to build. Sorry about the blurry cell phone pics.





The base (blurry, but you get the idea)


What I call "the lifting cross". This has hooks which lift the top itself. Depending on if I'm just lifting the cross, or lifting the top with the cross I can move the rope loops to adjust the center of gravity. If I got super motivated I could mount a pair of ring hooks into the cross, but I think I prefer the adjust-ability and being non-reliant on a single set of threads to hold the whole thing in the air.... so I'm keeping the rope loops
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:30 AM   #18
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This guy makes it look simple

YouTube - Removing a 4 door JK hardtop
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:12 PM   #19
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Impressive!
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:52 PM   #20
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That was really good! I did me (earlier post) facing the back of the Jeep, and schooched, rather than using a step-ladder (which was really smart).

Nicely done.

Although now that my rig is 50 feet off of the ground, I'm going to re-evaluate the removal process, but am open to suggestions...

RC
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:22 AM   #21
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You guys should be engineers. Honestly, some great ways to take the top off.
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:49 AM   #22
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I take mine off by myself all the time. Like Cruzcode, I sit in the back facing out and lift it with my hands it's easy to balance and just scoot out. I used two 6 foot table to put the top on. I space the two table so I can walk between them and set it down. Really easy. I wouldn't use a step ladder like the video. I think thats a little risky.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:38 AM   #23
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I use a system of pullys, rope, steel braided cable and a hand crank

One cable is hooked to the crank and it goes up to meet a metal ring, then four additional cables come to that ring and go up to pulleys and hang down with those mountain climber type clips on the end. I back under it and I have two ropes with the same kind of metal rings braided into the ends. I clip the four individual clips into the rings on the four ends of the ropes which lay under the hard top. Then I crank it up an drive away. I also built a stand of sorts which I lower the top down onto so its not hanging from the rafters the whole time and blowing in the wind. Im going to lengthen the ropes later and I should be able to lower the top to the ground, or very close to it anyways.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:35 AM   #24
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We have a 2dr, I would honestly refer you to some of the comments made at the begining of this thread, get some help. This is my Wife's Jeep, the first summer we got it she had to have the soft top on, even with the two of us, we manage to mangle the corner of the cut fiberglas top. Not really noticeable at first glance. I built a roll around rack to store the top and the panels on, kinda nice roll it out of the garage line it up with the back of the jeep lift it and than slide it over (either direction). No bending or stooping.
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