For three years I have been dealing with a small but
annoying problem that got in the way every time I wanted to remove my full doors. It
meant a delay of 15 minutes in the process of dropping top and removing my doors.
The problem is that the front roof
rack supports bolt to the front windshield hinges. By itself that isn't really
such a big deal. Three bolts on each side are threaded into the cowl with nylon
spacers to keep the brackets from rubbing the paint. But between that and the bolt
head, it sticks out just enough that the door hinge interferes with it when I tried to
take the doors off.
The first year, I simply left the doors on. To be
fair, the other reason I left the doors on had to do with the mirrors. I was
searching for an elegant solution to relocating the mirrors when the doors were removed.
During that first year, the choices I saw were not very attractive. Some of
the brackets were functional but cheap and prone to rusting. Some came complete with
cheap mirrors that were not very attractive, or very functional for that matter. One
solution even places the mirror in such a location on the passenger side that it is
practically useless. So year one came and went with the doors never coming off.
The next year, I found the solution for relocating the mirrors. It came in two parts.
First, my friend Dave gave me his factory mirrors when he swapped them out for some
that offered a wider angle of view. He gave them to me in exchange for installing his Rancho shocks. That was a
pretty good deal for me and it motivated me to find the mirror mounts. I soon found
the mirror mounts and was happy to install the spare mirrors, and then we could take off
Not so fast... The problem of clearing the roof rack bracket remained. I
decided that I would just remove the uprights each time I wanted to remove the
doors. Tedious but do-able. I spent the next year doing just that - every time
I wanted to remove (or replace) the doors, I would remove and replace the rack
supports. I like having the doors off so I was willing to do the extra work, but
must admit that I was not happy that the rack design overlooked this issue.
Finally, spring came, and with it the desire to remove
the doors once more. Over the fall I had purchased a hand grinder. As I went
to remove the doors, I overlooked the problem with the rack long enough to be reminded as
I tried to lift the door off, of the ordeal of removing the rack supports. I finally
had enough. Last year, Fred, another Jeeps Unlimited member, had suggested that I
simply grind off the threads on the top hinge pin. With this out of the way, the
hinge pin clears the rack mount, and the door can be removed without removing the rack
I lifted up on the door and checked where the hinge pin
lined up when it hit the rack support. Sure enough, with the threads removed from
the upper hinge, it looked like the door would indeed come off. So I plugged in the
grinder, cut the threads off the upper pin (while it was still installed on the Jeep), and
Poof! The door came off as easy as pie! I quietly walked around to the other
side of the Jeep and did the same there. Again, the door came off without any
trouble, with the rack untouched.
The main reason I had not cut the threads off the hinge
sooner was because I had really wanted to keep using the nuts that thread onto the bottom
of the hinge pins. But I got to thinking about it and I reasoned that one nut on the
bottom hinge would suffice, given that I had never rotated the Jeep onto it's top, and
doubt that there will ever be a situation where that nut will really be needed to keep the
door on the Jeep.
I stowed away the spare hinge pin nuts for use in the
event that I lose one!