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Unread 05-29-2013, 11:10 AM   #1
Airborne Lee
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Lee's Summit, Missouri
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Hard Top Hoist Build

1 x 10 foot super strut $25
1 x harbor freight 250/400 lbs hoist $99
4 x 2 inch 3/8 lag screws
20 x 1 inch 3/8 washers
1 x shackle 3/8 all hardware was under $6
2 x 14 foot cargo straps $18

I used the lag screws to place my 10 foot section of strut across (perpendicular) to the garage ceiling 2x6 joists, in line with my jeep. I used one lag screw in each of the two 2x6ís at each end of the strut so that the center 5 foot of the strut allows the hoist to slide back and forth. This allows me to slide the hoist over the JK, attach the straps, then lift the top up, then slide the top back several feet away from my parking spot in the garage.

I used one washer inside the strut for the head of the screw and the other 4 washers per screw between the strut and the garage ceiling. This allowed me to keep some spacing between the strut and the ceiling so the hoist would slide.

Tricks:
1, Grease the strut in the center so it will slide under load.
2. Make sure the hoist you use has mounting brackets that fit the strut.
3. Slide the hoist several times to clear out the evil popcorn finish on the garage ceiling so it doesnít come down in your eyes.
4. Donít tighten the lag screws so tight that they crush the sheetrock ceiling and press the strut too tight against the ceiling, or you wonít be able to slide the hoist.
5. The center of gravity on the roof is only a foot from the glass door. (That was a surprise).
Issues:
1. I still have to have to be very careful when driving out from under to back under the lifted top to ensure the top does not turn or get bumped by the roll cage and swing.
2. A twelve foot section of strut would have been better to get 6 total 2x6ís in the ceiling rather than just 4.
3. I may go up in the attic and add a brace between the joistís to run along the strut and allow me to add more lag screws.

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Unread 05-29-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
Airborne Lee
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Unread 05-29-2013, 12:04 PM   #3
Airborne Lee
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Unread 05-29-2013, 12:05 PM   #4
Deuskid
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good job
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Unread 05-29-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
jefbob
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Would you trust this to hold your hard top over your Jeep for a whole summer while running a soft top? Until now getting a hand removing my hard top hasn't been an issue since I have several friends and family members within minutes of my house, but we're moving a bit further away and my wife can't really help with my hard top because of the size. I'm trying to figure out how I can set myself up to put it on for the winter and take it off for the summer alone.
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Unread 05-29-2013, 12:49 PM   #6
AlbertaJeeper
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Good work! This is first on my list as soon as I get back from Moab! Probably going to go with a hand crank to lift it all up though. Is it just connected by straps, or do you have some kind of frame under the top?
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Unread 05-29-2013, 01:21 PM   #7
Airborne Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefbob View Post
Would you trust this to hold your hard top over your Jeep for a whole summer while running a soft top? Until now getting a hand removing my hard top hasn't been an issue since I have several friends and family members within minutes of my house, but we're moving a bit further away and my wife can't really help with my hard top because of the size. I'm trying to figure out how I can set myself up to put it on for the winter and take it off for the summer alone.
I have taken it off and replaced it 3 times now. Yes, I do trust the configuration but I dont trust my 1972 home construction. So I AM going to re-enforce it in the attic by adding a crossmember between the two joist's at each end of the strut! Then I can put two more lag screws on each end, 4 on each end total. The strut can take way more weight than the hoist.

My issue with long term storage is that the straps I'm using are too narrow and I fear damage to the rubber weather stripping on the top itself. I'm looking at hooks or wider straps for long term.

As for long term storage like this, Yes it would be ok but it is still a hard top hanging in the middle of the garage so it is still in the way.

This hoist lowers the top all the way to the ground where it could be put on one of those carts and rolled away. It would still be a solo job.

I have three helpers in my own house, still a PITA to get help! So I had to make this a one man job. I can do it in 1 minute longer than it takes to remove the bolts from the top! Seriously, the hardest part is backing the jeep into the garage and not hitting my bikes hanging on the side!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertaJeeper View Post
Good work! This is first on my list as soon as I get back from Moab! Probably going to go with a hand crank to lift it all up though. Is it just connected by straps, or do you have some kind of frame under the top?
Just straps alone! for now! I should have gotten wider straps, 16 foot 2 inch wide tow straps would be perfect. Home depot had them for $22-24 each. then you would need two more lockable shackles or screw closed D-Rings.

I am ok with the straps as long as I'm not damaging my weather stripping.

I looked at the $29-50 hand cranked lifts, my issue, and it is a big one; is control lowering with the top on the lift. Lowering it while cranking means I'm against the wall turning the crank, hoping I don't drop it. with the electric lift button, I have one hand on the top while lowering it and lining up the holes. Also, a hand crank lift on the wall connects to a single 2x4 stud rahter than 4x 2x6's no hand crank on the wall can ever be as secure. But it could work...
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Unread 05-29-2013, 02:00 PM   #8
jefbob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborne Lee View Post
I have taken it off and replaced it 3 times now. Yes, I do trust the configuration but I dont trust my 1972 home construction. So I AM going to re-enforce it in the attic by adding a crossmember between the two joist's at each end of the strut! Then I can put two more lag screws on each end, 4 on each end total. The strut can take way more weight than the hoist.

My issue with long term storage is that the straps I'm using are too narrow and I fear damage to the rubber weather stripping on the top itself. I'm looking at hooks or wider straps for long term.

As for long term storage like this, Yes it would be ok but it is still a hard top hanging in the middle of the garage so it is still in the way.

This hoist lowers the top all the way to the ground where it could be put on one of those carts and rolled away. It would still be a solo job.

I have three helpers in my own house, still a PITA to get help! So I had to make this a one man job. I can do it in 1 minute longer than it takes to remove the bolts from the top! Seriously, the hardest part is backing the jeep into the garage and not hitting my bikes hanging on the side!


Thanks for your input. My new house the garage ceiling is drywall about 12 foot high, so honestly it would be cool to find a solution I felt comfortable with it hanging over my Jeep. That saves floor space! But I do have a storage dolly so if I implement this (or something like it), I'll just make sure the cable length is enough to get it to the floor to also get the hard top on the dolly.
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Unread 05-29-2013, 02:29 PM   #9
Airborne Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefbob View Post
Thanks for your input. My new house the garage ceiling is drywall about 12 foot high, so honestly it would be cool to find a solution I felt comfortable with it hanging over my Jeep. That saves floor space! But I do have a storage dolly so if I implement this (or something like it), I'll just make sure the cable length is enough to get it to the floor to also get the hard top on the dolly.
That lift from harbor freight has a 38 foot cable. doubled over for 400lbs capacity you are totaly fine! You loose a foot to the height of the hoist, mounting brackets and strut and two foot for the top itself so you only need cable for 9 foot. But on second thought, it comes with a thin 1/8 inch cable. There is room on the spool for 3/16ths cable for the same or close to it length. If your worried about strenth it is another option for someone wanting to leave it up year round. or even better add eyelets to the ceiling on either side and slip load bearing straps under the lift/top at ceiling height and lower the top back on to the straps so the weight is on the straps not on the lift for the summer. For now, I have been lowering the top to the floor while I'm out. Over this last holiday weekend I left the jeep in the garage all week end with the top lowered on the jeep unbolted but still connected to the lift. Having said all of that, I know rationally there is no issue leaving it up for long periods of time, but I'm thinking of doing this because I am a safety freak and I don't have 2k to get a new top if something goes wrong.
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Unread 05-29-2013, 07:50 PM   #10
jefbob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborne Lee View Post
That lift from harbor freight has a 38 foot cable. doubled over for 400lbs capacity you are totaly fine! You loose a foot to the height of the hoist, mounting brackets and strut and two foot for the top itself so you only need cable for 9 foot. But on second thought, it comes with a thin 1/8 inch cable. There is room on the spool for 3/16ths cable for the same or close to it length. If your worried about strenth it is another option for someone wanting to leave it up year round. or even better add eyelets to the ceiling on either side and slip load bearing straps under the lift/top at ceiling height and lower the top back on to the straps so the weight is on the straps not on the lift for the summer. For now, I have been lowering the top to the floor while I'm out. Over this last holiday weekend I left the jeep in the garage all week end with the top lowered on the jeep unbolted but still connected to the lift. Having said all of that, I know rationally there is no issue leaving it up for long periods of time, but I'm thinking of doing this because I am a safety freak and I don't have 2k to get a new top if something goes wrong.
Thanks for more feedback. I'm a bit of a safety freak too when it comes to my Jeep. I don't want to end up with a hard top falling on it in the middle of the summer. So I'm most definitely going to keep all your thoughts in mind and concoct some storage solution. Honestly I'm currently sitting here thinking about doing what you've done and having some kind of strap backup. But, I don't get to move into the house for a week, so I'm sure once I can actually be in the garage and get my bearings straight, I'll come up with a good solution.
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Unread 05-29-2013, 07:54 PM   #11
zenman
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Quite a few youtube videos on this.
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Unread 05-29-2013, 10:39 PM   #12
AlbertaJeeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborne Lee View Post

I looked at the $29-50 hand cranked lifts, my issue, and it is a big one; is control lowering with the top on the lift. Lowering it while cranking means I'm against the wall turning the crank, hoping I don't drop it. with the electric lift button, I have one hand on the top while lowering it and lining up the holes. Also, a hand crank lift on the wall connects to a single 2x4 stud rahter than 4x 2x6's no hand crank on the wall can ever be as secure. But it could work...
That's a good point, having something to guide it in might help, I'll have to see what I can find for pulleys to slow it down maybe
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Unread 09-10-2013, 04:23 PM   #13
Deuskid
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Airborne Lee,

Now that you've had this up for a while, what is your thoughts?

Would you change, add anything?

I am about ready to do something like this.

Thanks,

john
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Unread 09-10-2013, 05:34 PM   #14
Airborne Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuskid View Post
Airborne Lee,
Would you change, add anything?
John,

Taller ceiling!

I would have put it farther back in the garage than where I normally park. Right now the top sits exactly above where I normally park. I should have pushed it back 5 feet farther. I can push it (slide it) back on the strut but I don't do that much out of fear of making it swing. But mostly I use the 5 foot of play I have for centering the top when I put it back on. I can pack forwards of backwards directly under the top but my ceiling is a foot to low to walk under it without ducking.

Other toughts...
longer lag screws. should have used three inch lags.
I put a lag screw in two crossing ceiling joists at each end of the strut.
This takes up nearly two feet on each end. I should have done some blocking in the ceiling to take up less lenght of the strut.
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please buy this NEW IN BOX:JK Rugged Ridge Light Bar
2013 JK Rubicon, Commando Green, CB, GPS, KC lites
KC Jeep Club Info - M416 Trailer Project
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