Slider window/cargo hatch kits for factory hardtop - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-21-2020, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
jscherb
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Slider window/cargo hatch kits for factory hardtop

A few years ago I developed slider window kits for JK and JKU factory hardtops and now I'm working on cargo window/hatch kits for the JK and JKU and the JL/JLU. The slider kits have been on the market for about two years; here's a video of the prototype JK 2dr cargo window kit:



In the process of doing both the slider and cargo window kits I've gotten a lot of requests from people for similar kits for the TJ and LJ.

In all Wranglers, the factory hardtop windows are compound curved - they curve vertically and horizontally. This means a standard RV-style window or hatch can't be directly installed once the factory glass is removed. Because of the way the glass sets in a recess in the JK/JL hardtops, the retrofit kit to provide a flat mounting surface for the slider window or hatch is fairly straightforward but because of the way factory windows are mounted on the TJ hardtop, a retrofit kit for the TJ is a lot more complicated (and expensive).

Here's a concept image showing what a TJ slider kit would look like. The retrofit kit would replace the factory window; it would be bonded in place the same way the factory window is and would have the same plastic trim around the perimeter that the factory glass does. The kit would be a non-trivial shape; it would match the compound curves of the TJ factory glass around the edges and provide a flat mounting surface for the slider window. Based on the tooling investment to produce the retrofit kit and the cost of manufacturing the retrofit kit, I expect a complete slider window kit for both sides of the hardtop couldn't profitably retail for less than $800. I can't imagine too many TJ owners paying that much.



There are two ways a cargo hatch kit could be done - one way would be to use the same retrofit kit that the slider window would use and install a swing-up cargo window in the retrofit kit. This is exactly what I'm doing for the JK/JL cargo window kits.

Another way would be to make the hatch larger - the hatch could be the full size and compound curved shape of the factory window. It would be hinged at the top, latched at the bottom and the sealing surface would be the factory hardtop window mounting surface with appropriate weatherstrip applied. Flush latches and gas struts would be installed and it would be painted to match the hardtop. I would look like this:



A MOLLE panel could be an option; the panel would mount to the roll bar and things could be hung on both the hatch-facing side of the panel and the inside of the panel. Open, the hatch with the MOLLE panel would look like this:



This is what the cargo hatch and MOLLE option looks like on the JKU:



Based on the tooling cost and manufacturing cost for a TJ cargo hatch I estimate a kit couldn't be profitably sold for less than $750 each, and the MOLLE option would probably add another $200 each.

Other than doing the designs, I haven't done any work to implement either slider windows or cargo hatches for the TJ because I just don't think there would be enough demand in the TJ market to make the investment in getting a TJ slider kit or cargo hatch kit to market worthwhile but if people have views to the contrary or other comments on anything above I'd be interested in what you think.


For the record: I don't sell anything and I'm not in business. I'm just a Jeep enthusiast who designs things like this as a hobby and sometimes what I design gets picked up by companies who want to bring the design to market.


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post #2 of 19 Old 01-21-2020, 08:39 AM
fxrsliberty
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I think I've seen your jk kit at Jeep invasion. If not, someone is already producing this. There was also a replacement TJ hardtop that had these style windows. I'm on the email list of they go to production.

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post #3 of 19 Old 01-21-2020, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fxrsliberty View Post
I think I've seen your jk kit at Jeep invasion. If not, someone is already producing this. There was also a replacement TJ hardtop that had these style windows. I'm on the email list of they go to production.

The company that sells the JK kits has displayed them at a number of shows so you probably did see them at a show.

Yes, one aftermarket hardtop company offers sliding windows and swing-up cargo windows as an option with their tops, but they don't offer the windows for factory hardtops - what I posted about are kits that install in factory hardtops.

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post #4 of 19 Old 01-28-2020, 12:22 PM
joe_jeep
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too bad my lj top is not factory!
nice work as usual jscherb!

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post #5 of 19 Old 01-28-2020, 03:16 PM
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Yes that would be pretty expensive--$800, well out of my personal fixed income budget. But I am sure there are those out there that would swing that no problem.
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-28-2020, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BlueFl.Wrangler View Post
Yes that would be pretty expensive--$800, well out of my personal fixed income budget. But I am sure there are those out there that would swing that no problem.
But probably not enough people willing to spend that much to make it worthwhile to bring these to market for the TJ or the LJ.

The JK and JKU slider window kits that I did for Retrofit Offroad have sold very well but they're only about $400 per pair, and they're anticipating the cargo window/hatch kits for the JK, JKU, JL and JLU will sell well too (they'll be a bit more than the slider kits), but at the price the TJ ones would have to sell for I just don't see enough demand.

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post #7 of 19 Old 01-28-2020, 05:44 PM
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Really like the cargo hatch idea but at the price you are talking, I wouldn't be interested. I think you are correct that there isn't a market at that price. Unfortunate because it is a really practical idea.
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-28-2020, 06:31 PM
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Arent there more TJ's out there than JK's & JL's though?

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post #9 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueFl.Wrangler View Post
Arent there more TJ's out there than JK's & JL's though?
Good question.

About 950k TJs made from 97-06.

Source:
https://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/1...s-1944178.html

Almost 1.8 million JKs made from 07-16.

Source:
https://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/1...s-1944178.html
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-31-2020, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelin98TJ View Post
Good question.

About 950k TJs made from 97-06.

Source:
https://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/1...s-1944178.html

Almost 1.8 million JKs made from 07-16.

Source:
https://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/1...s-1944178.html
Shows just how little I know

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post #11 of 19 Old 01-31-2020, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by joe_jeep View Post
too bad my lj top is not factory!
nice work as usual jscherb!
My LJ top isn't factory either .

If everyone had the same LJ top that I do (or the TJ version or this top), doing slider windows or swing-up cargo windows/hatches for it would cost less than the JK/JKU versions that are on the market now.

Unlike the hardtop on my LJ, the curves on the TJ/LJ hardtop make fitting flat windows a challenge, so a retrofit kit that costs more than the window itself is required. Or much more expensive windows with curves. Either solution would be more than most TJ/LJ owners would be willing to pay.



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post #12 of 19 Old 07-15-2021, 04:53 AM
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Do you have slider window kit for a JL
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-15-2021, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dbav View Post
Do you have slider window kit for a JL
In the fall before the pandemic I designed a slider window kit for the JL and a prototype was produced. The pandemic stopped progress on the project because the RV window company that was to do the manufacturing was operating at very reduced capacity and could only manufacture enough to supply their RV manufacturer customers, they didn't have any spare capacity to do this project. The kit was to be marketed by Retrofit Offroad (https://www.retrofitoffroad.com/), you can check with them to ask what the current status of the product is.


A photo of an early prototype being shown at the SEMA Show just before the pandemic:




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post #14 of 19 Old 07-20-2021, 03:17 PM
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i've toyed with ideas for my YJ top... more along the lines of the cargo hatch window kit recently.

Great thread.

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post #15 of 19 Old 07-24-2021, 09:10 PM
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Jscherb, correct me if I'm wrong, but could the retrofit kit be 3-D printed for a much reduced cost? It sounds as if it'd be injection molded, which carries a large start-up pricetag. There are cheaper manufacturing methods, besides 3-D printing. Heck, a DIY guy could make the retrofit panel out of plywood and use an RV window. With a good coating on the wood, you'd hardly be able to tell.

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