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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
(I posted this on another forum last Spring and thought this group might like this write-up as well since it getting to be about that time of year to start thinking about hard top removal)

...
Well the temperature is warming up so it's that time of year to take the hardtop off on my 4door JK Rubicon. My goal was to create a hardtop hoist/storage system that was easy to use and could be done by one person. Here's how it went ...

I used a two step approach first lifting the top up to my garage ceiling using hoist bar and hand winch. Once the top was up to the ceiling I lowered it onto a suspended wood shelf.

Hoist Parts:
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10' Channel Strut (Home Depot "SuperStrut" or B-Line B22 Channel; see www.b-line.com for catalog) (qty: 1)
5 hole t-gusset plate (see www.b-line.com for catalog, part #B532 - used to join the two pieces of strut to form the "T") (qty: 1)
Channel nuts/bolts (qty: 9)
Channel end caps (qty: 3)
Channel washers (2-holes qty=3)
Channel washers (1-hole qty=1)
1/2" x 3" eye bolt (qty: 1)
Brake Winch (Dutton Lainson 800 lb brake winch - try Amazon, NorthernTool, Tractor Supply)
3/8" nylon rope (50' length)
2" Block and Tackle set (search google for "National 2" Block and Tackle") (qty: 1)
2" swivel pulley (qty: 1)
quick links (qty: 2)
lag screws (qty: 20 or so)
3/8" square U-bolts (3" inside width x 7.5" tall) (qty: 3)
3/8" vinyl tubing (qty: 2 feet)
36" slotted angle (qty: 2)
foam rubber pipe insulation ( 1 - 7' length)

Shelf Parts:
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60" slotted angle (qty: 4)
1/2" x 6" eye bolts/washers/nuts (qty: 4)
safety snaps (qty: 8)
1/2" or thicker plywood (cut to 75"x48")
2"x3"x8' lumber (5 pieces)
5/16" grade chain (4 - 5' lengths depending ceiling height)

I used slotted angle screwed into the ceiling joist for support instead of using single eye bolts to connect the hoist pulley and shelf chains. This helped spread the weight of the load across several ceiling joists. This may have been overkill but I wanted it sturdy and safe.

Home Depot sells the Channel Strut I used for the hoist bar but sells very few fittings to connect the pieces to form the "T" so I ended up ordering the channel strut and fitting from a local electrical supply shop. First I built the Hoist Bar as shown below by cutting the 10' length into two pieces 44" and 68". I then connected the two pieces using the 5-hole T-gusset plate as shown below.


then inserted the eye bolt using a channel nut. The nice thing about the channel nut is they can be loosed and easily slide along the channel which was helpful when finding the balance point of the hardtop. (on the 4-door hardtop the balance point for the eye bolt ended up being 20 1/4" from the T connection)


As you can see in the first image, the hooks used were made from U-bolts by cutting off one end and covering them in 3/8" vinyl tubing.

After wrapping the hoist bar in foam rubber pipe insulation to avoid scratching the top, the next step was to lay the hoist bar onto the hardtop and connect the hooks.
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Once the hooks are in place and tightened it's time to lower the rope and hoist the top. The brake winch made this task a lot easier:




Notice the chains that are hanging and pulled to the side...Once the top is raised I lower the chains and connect the shelf by hooking the chain to the eye bolts on the shelf one side at a time ...




Once the shelf was raised I lowered the top just a few inches onto the shelf.


The shelf then make a great storage spot for the Freedom Top panels as well ...


All in all I spend around $150 to build the hoist including the hand winch. The shelf was around another $90 for the wood and hardware. That's it, now the soft top is on and I'm ready for summer !!!
 

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I don't have any pictures-but my hardtop storage/ lift consists of this:

4- 4" long "eye" bolts- wood screw type/ coarse thread (150 lb cap)
2- approx 6ft lengths of nylon rope 1/4" dia. (300 lb cap)
1- 2" wide ratcheting strap (1000 lb cap)

*Total cost= approx $25- $30

The roof trusses in my garage are spaced 4 ft apart. (perfect for using this method)
The width (side to side) of the eye bolt mounting locations are 54".

To mount the eye-bolts in the (2x4) roof trusses (beams), I first backed the jeep into place (and took some measurements of the hardtop and then the garage trusses to insure that everything would be centered). Note: 2 bolts in each truss. I then marked and pre-drilled small pilot holes where the bolts would go. With the 4 bolts screwed into place, the "storage/ lift" was done!

After loosening the hardtop screws (6 total) on the jeep, simply back the jeep into position- directly between and under the roof trusses. (NOTE- Front hardtop panels should be removed beforehand.) Lift up on the front of the hardtop and place something ( rolled up bath/ beach towels work great) between the hardtop and jeep on either side ( to keep the front temporarily lifted). (NOTE- If using a friend to help lift it then no towels are needed.) Then tie a large knot at one end of both pieces of rope (large enough that the knot will not slide through the holes in the hardtop (where the mounting screws were removed). Run one rope through the (fwd/ front) hole, up to the first eye-bolt, pull snug, and tie a strong knot. Repeat for the other side. That takes care of the front portion of the hardtop. For the back of the hardtop- (raise the tailgate window and detach the ctr brakelight/ washer harness). Take the strap end of the ratchet strap and hook it to one of the eye-bolts in the second roof truss. Run the strap underneath the rear of the hardtop and out the other side. Hook the ratchet portion into the last eye-bolt and then into the strap end and begin ratcheting up. The hardtop may shift while ratcheting so go slowly and CAREFULLY reposition the hardtop if needed by lifting slightly on the opposite side. Make sure that the (front) ropes and (rear) ratchet strap are holding the hardtop high enough above the jeep- so that when pulling the jeep forward, the top does not contact or scrape the paint. This may be hard to visualize (so I will post a pic if anyone is interested) but it is really simple to do, safe (if you use good quality rope, knots, eye-bolts, ratchet strap, and roof trusses), and will allow ONE person to quickly remove and store their hardtop off of the floor. The most difficult part is positioning the jeep into place. Use the same steps in reverse order to put hardtop back onto jeep. I can easily remove my hardtop w/o hardly breaking a sweat in about 10 minutes. (NOTE- Only 4 of the 6 holes in the hardtop are used to do this...the front and rear ones on either side.)
 

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Hello HG07JK RUBI,
I relaly like your setup there. I am going to build something similar for my hardtop. I want to make sure that the hard top is balanced. The rear part of the hardtop is obvisously much heavier than the forward part. I was wondering if you could tell me how far back the vertical rope is to keep it balanced. From one of the pictures it seems to be about 25" from the back. Is that pretty accurate? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was wondering if you could tell me how far back the vertical rope is to keep it balanced. From one of the pictures it seems to be about 25" from the back. Is that pretty accurate? Thanks
Close...the balance point is actually 20 1/4" from the T-connection.

See this post for a more updated version of the write-up with a few more measurements and more accurate part quantities...
 

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That is by far the most Kick @s*:bounce: solution to hardtop storage. I have been toying around with some different configurations myself to get the top up to the ceiling, but this is awesome. I just might have to steal your idea :beer:
 

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Why the shelf..

I like the setup, but may I ask why all of the effort for the shelf? Why not just leave it hang?


I got my lift for free from my neighbor who got rid of his jeep... BOOOO... but hey, he gives me his old jeep stuff!!! :grinpimp:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I like the setup, but may I ask why all of the effort for the shelf? Why not just leave it hang?


I got my lift for free from my neighbor who got rid of his jeep... BOOOO... but hey, he gives me his old jeep stuff!!! :grinpimp:
Aside from a little extra peace of mind for a very expensive hard top... it makes a nice shelf for the two panels. I also store the soft top on that shelf in the winter. :)
 

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Bump... just so I can find this tomorrow...:)
 

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Let me know if you have any questions :beer:
Hi JKRUBI,

Just one question... how far is the lift point from the back of the T bracket?

Thanks,
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here's some more shots of the setup so you can get a better idea of how it's put together ...



Notice the hook on the right below is longer than the other two. It was extended using a threaded coupler and a scrap piece of threaded rod that was cut from one of the other u-bolts. This longer hook is used on the rear of the hardtop.


A close-up of the block and tackle set. I bought the "National 2" Block and Tackle set" from Tractor Supply and substituted the pulley hook with one that had a safety snap on it just to be safe.





 

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I don't have any pictures-but my hardtop storage/ lift consists of this:

4- 4" long "eye" bolts- wood screw type/ coarse thread (150 lb cap)
2- approx 6ft lengths of nylon rope 1/4" dia. (300 lb cap)
1- 2" wide ratcheting strap (1000 lb cap)

*Total cost= approx $25- $30

The roof trusses in my garage are spaced 4 ft apart. (perfect for using this method)
The width (side to side) of the eye bolt mounting locations are 54".

To mount the eye-bolts in the (2x4) roof trusses (beams), I first backed the jeep into place (and took some measurements of the hardtop and then the garage trusses to insure that everything would be centered). Note: 2 bolts in each truss. I then marked and pre-drilled small pilot holes where the bolts would go. With the 4 bolts screwed into place, the "storage/ lift" was done!

After loosening the hardtop screws (6 total) on the jeep, simply back the jeep into position- directly between and under the roof trusses. (NOTE- Front hardtop panels should be removed beforehand.) Lift up on the front of the hardtop and place something ( rolled up bath/ beach towels work great) between the hardtop and jeep on either side ( to keep the front temporarily lifted). (NOTE- If using a friend to help lift it then no towels are needed.) Then tie a large knot at one end of both pieces of rope (large enough that the knot will not slide through the holes in the hardtop (where the mounting screws were removed). Run one rope through the (fwd/ front) hole, up to the first eye-bolt, pull snug, and tie a strong knot. Repeat for the other side. That takes care of the front portion of the hardtop. For the back of the hardtop- (raise the tailgate window and detach the ctr brakelight/ washer harness). Take the strap end of the ratchet strap and hook it to one of the eye-bolts in the second roof truss. Run the strap underneath the rear of the hardtop and out the other side. Hook the ratchet portion into the last eye-bolt and then into the strap end and begin ratcheting up. The hardtop may shift while ratcheting so go slowly and CAREFULLY reposition the hardtop if needed by lifting slightly on the opposite side. Make sure that the (front) ropes and (rear) ratchet strap are holding the hardtop high enough above the jeep- so that when pulling the jeep forward, the top does not contact or scrape the paint. This may be hard to visualize (so I will post a pic if anyone is interested) but it is really simple to do, safe (if you use good quality rope, knots, eye-bolts, ratchet strap, and roof trusses), and will allow ONE person to quickly remove and store their hardtop off of the floor. The most difficult part is positioning the jeep into place. Use the same steps in reverse order to put hardtop back onto jeep. I can easily remove my hardtop w/o hardly breaking a sweat in about 10 minutes. (NOTE- Only 4 of the 6 holes in the hardtop are used to do this...the front and rear ones on either side.)
I would like to see a photo if you wouldn't mind...
 

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Just a quick thanks HG07JKRUBI for this excellent write-up. Am referring to it as I am rigging up my own lift. Well done!
 
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