We've all wondered how much interchangeability there is between parts of the CJ/YJ/TJ series. I've seen hundreds of posts about this part or that part, but everyone always said the hardtops wouldn't switch. I knew that YJ tops fit CJ, and vice versa, but I just always figured that the tub was a different size, or windshield angle prevented it, whatever. Then I saw a pic of a TJ w/ a YJ top on craigslist, and could see that it physically fit. I could also see that it wasn't pefect, but what the hell, I'd give it a try. Now, before you ask "Well, why not just buy a TJ top and be done with it?" I'll answer that thusly... (1) I have a baby on the way, so dropping $500+ on something I didn't really "need" wasn't going to fly, and (2) I like to tinker.
So, armed with enough information to make me dangerous, I started looking for a Cj top local to me. My exhausting search of 3 minutes led to watch an auction on eBay, then snipe a Cj hardtop in the last 10 seconds for the princely sum of $51.00. It had a couple of problems....it was butt-ugly and and tailgate was rotted pretty badly. (it could be fixed, but DAMN!). No problem, I wasn't interested in the gate, and I had planned on doing a respray on the top anyway.
Here's what I drug home....
I promptly ground the finish/ roughed the gelcoat out of the seams and filled them, just as a matter of aesthetics. Then I fixed the cracks and gouges...the rear tailgate area was pretty beat up. Then the whole thing got sanded in anticipation of primer.
No phtos of primer, or even shooting the finish...I needed two hands and forgot to take pics. I did use spray bedliner on the outside, gives it a nice satin sheen and a little bit of texture...looks nice. Cost for bedliner $40.
First test fitting. I knew I was going to have to trim the leading edge, as I could see the roof "climbing" in the TJ with a YJ top pic. So I took a blind leap and trimmed a little bit. Not enough, not even close. I had about 1" of gap at the joint of door/a-pillar.
So I cut a bunch more off. Finally removed the entire weatherstrip channel from the CJ top. Approximately 1/2"-3/4" or so. By doing this, I was able to leave the stock TJ rubber seal in place on the windshield.
Set it in place a 2nd time, and bingo. The doors actually close tighter now than they ever did with the factory surrounds.
I scavenged the latches from the stock softtop, they bolted directly to the mounting rail in the CJ after drilling some fresh holes.
For grins, I threw a roof rack on it. Went down to the local pick-a-part, got one off the top of a Blazer for $5
Next problem was that I didn't have a back window. A call to the local glass place for some lexan took care of that issue. One 26x48x.25" sheet, $58.82.
I trimmed it to fit, using the stock tailgate as a pattern. Slipped in place on the first try. All the stock hardware from the tailgate swapped right into place. 2 rolls of weatherstripping, and one roll of door sweep made a watertight seal the whole way around. Weatherstripping cost, $19.00. How I don't have any pics of the back window is beyond me. I'll have to grab some tomorrow if anyone cares.
Okay, so total cost:
$5 roof rack
$30 consumables (sandpaper, cutting disks, primer, etc)
As you can see, I pretty much made the $200 budget, but I'm not happy about the overage.
So, I'm selling the tailgate here, as the glass and rubber parts are still in great shape. Any proceeds from that will be used to offset this build, and bring me in under budget...the rest will be spent on bacon and beer.
So, there you go, a definitive answer. YES, a Cj top will fit on a TJ, but it is not a direct bolt-up swap.