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Think Outside the Catalog
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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Here are the final photos. All that is left to do is some detail work. It's functional as it is now.

1) Completed top.


2) New door surround upper rear mounts. Simple sheet metal that hooks over to hold the top rear corners secure against the door. That's actually a threaded bolt into the end of the tube, so that hold-off is removable and swivels when off the Jeep.


3) Side panel. Uses same technique as a normal soft top, two pieces with the proper curve, sewn together at the tube point, then velcroed to itself inside.


4) Inside top tube detail. This part is sewn to the lower side of the main top panel so this goes around the door surround tube while the top main panel goes out further to provide a mini-awning over the door top edge.


5) A couple simple velcro tabs to hold the upper rear corners together. There is not a lot of force here in wind, so not much is needed, just to deal with rain. There is another tab on the back face of the top just outside the family bar.


6) The front edge was made bikini style. The fabric was just folded and sewed 1/2" wide or so to build it up to enough layers (6) to make it snug in the normal windshield channel.


All in all, it was a tough, frustrating job. It cost me $220 for the fabric, the window panel, and notions (snaps, thread, velcro, etc). I did it because I could, had the time, and no one made what I wanted. Overall I am pleased with how it turned out and hope it lasts a long time. It is hugely easier to carry and put up than a full soft top and all it's hoops and zippers and parts. It's also really small to carry day to day when you generally ride with no top or doors all season as I do.
 

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Think Outside the Catalog
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
...And how did you manage to keep a 300D looking so good in upstate NY?
It's a 1984 that I bought new. It's clean in that the paint is fine, but it dies have rust on the rear fender doglegs and lower front fenders. It has 'only' 182,800 miles and runs great. I hang out a bit on the benzworld forum too.
 

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Think Outside the Catalog
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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Post-Use feedback:
I finally got a chance to use the Jeep in the rain, sort of. It rained the day I trailered 100 miles to a 3 day event, and I put the soft top on before leaving. It was still on after the trip, including 50 miles of I-90, with only the normal amount of top panel ballooning for any soft top. There was about zero water anywhere inside after we got there. I'm happy.
 

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Outstanding work! Looks damn good. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

FYI if anyone has a stock style soft top with the square 1/2 uppers, you can get a complete 1/2 cab soft top for about $200 shipped off a popular auction site. It uses the factory soft top hardware too, nothing to change out.

 

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it almost looks like a scrambler with the extra long rear, but his sig says JK?? either way it looks really good. and don great job, real men now there way around all machines and that includs a sewing machine.
Greg
 

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I was just wondering the same, it looks wicked
Thanks guys. I used to have a JK, that's where my forum name came from. My YJ tub and wheelbase has been stretched to the length of a TJ Unlimited and has Genright TJ Unlimited body armor and rocker guards on it. It has 4 linked JK Rubicon D44's front/rear, new 5.9 Dodge Magnum (FI), 4spd OD, and NP231J with a Teralow 4:1 kit.
 

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I hate to bump this old-ish thread....

Have you not heard of the Bestop Half-Top? You pretty much mimicked that top except for the fact that the tonneau part is sewn to the rest of the top, but I imagine you'd be able to separate it the way you wanted.

I'm sure you could have contacted Bestop and orderd just the half-top skin. The door surround hardware you made is all the half-top uses too...

Don't get me wrong, I admire your skills, but there is a top on the market that had 99% of the features you wanted, yet you made your own?

EDIT: Just remembered that the half-top has a frame under the top skin for the sunroof feature. I wonder if you could have changed it to a bikini top style?

Just curious.
 

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Think Outside the Catalog
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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
... but there is a top on the market that had 99% of the features you wanted, yet you made your own? EDIT: Just remembered that the half-top has a frame under the top skin for the sunroof feature. I wonder if you could have changed it to a bikini top style?
The Bestop used a frame as you said. It also has a proprietary windshield channel for the flip top. Then the tonneau attached. The whole point of mine is trivial hardware, no changes to using a regular tonneau, and ability to use a regular bikini when I just want sun shade (same windshield channel).

Bestop always tries to make a one and only do everything top, thinking that automagically makes it for everyone. As said above, this one is really small to carry/store and doesn't interfere with other tops and cover options I use... and it was less than 1/3 the price.
 

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Think Outside the Catalog
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
that came out great! how hard was it sewing with the window material?
Thanks. The window plastic was the toughest, harder than going through 6 fabric layers for the windshield channel. The plastic grabs the needle more, more friction, so not fun. Once I got the needle type and settings dialed in pretty well with scraps (wasn't breaking thread every foot), I managed to get the four sides done ok in one pass each.
 

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Very admirable Don. I had no clue you were a fellow sewer. I've been doing it for approx. 20+ yrs. and enjoy it as a hobby. I'm glad I was afforded the opportunity to see you abilities at work.
I run a Kenmore Imperial from approx. 1940's -50 and it is made of all cast iron and steel. I'm able to go threw 3-5 layers of material and it strains on really heavy stuff. I've gotten a little better over the yrs. My mother also thought I should learn how to sew. Lol! Thanx mom!
It has been a gift to treasure. I do all my own tire covers and I make items for inside "Silver"....

C.
 

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I think if I were going to attempt the top you made I would choose to have the windows as a separate panel sewed to just one piece of the denim and then incorporated with a self righting zipper and Velcro. Beautiful work.

C.
 

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Think Outside the Catalog
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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I think if I were going to attempt the top you made I would choose to have the windows as a separate panel sewed to just one piece of the denim and then incorporated with a self righting zipper and Velcro. Beautiful work. C.
Thanks. The zipper idea was my first too. I passed on it because this was easier and I figured less likely to have a problem.

This was never meant to be a normal use 'leave it on for days/weeks at a time' top. My Jeep is basically either no top for 8 months and hard top for 4. This top is mainly for getting caught in unexpected rain (like go out on all day trail ride with weather 'sunny with 20% of rain'), or going for a 3 day event and wanting to cover for possible rain one day. The window folds fine and the whole top folds up into a 18"x20"x1.5" flat one piece item. I have had it on for a few days (after it turned cold a few weeks ago and my work force wasn't available to help lift the hard top). If it got warm in mid-day I just unzipped the soft door windows.
 
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