Hard Top Install

Done! - Click to EnlargeDone with a side of Cherokee! - Click to Enlarge


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I decided that I would get the hard top installed promptly this year.  It had already snowed once and I didn't want to wait for it to snow again before I dug the hard top out of the back of the garage and got it up on the Jeep.

Hard Top in Place


If my garage was in some kind of order, it probably wouldn't be a big deal to install the top.  But my garage is still crushed from the weight of a move almost a year in the past.  That may sound a bit lame but consider:  I got rid of five cars when I moved, and a garage full of parts.  That left nothing but the tools and some odd bits of things.  But when you have restored six cars like me, your tools are large, the things you have around (engine stand, hoist, 12-ton press, floor jacks, etc., etc.)  take up some space.

Then there's the matter of household items that have not yet been unpacked.  All our formal dining stuff is waiting for a cabinet; many other things once on a set of bookshelves awaits the refinishing of the room that will be their home.  And the kids toys and all our bikes (and a few spares), plus the lawn tractor and the gas can racks and the gas cans and the...  and the...

When all that had finally been hauled out of the stall, a clear path to the back of the garage appeared.  Only once before had the Jeep been in the garage:  last spring when I removed the hard top!

But before I could swap tops, I wanted to take car of a few other things.  So I flipped back the rack and removed the soft top

Raising the Rack to remove the Soft topRare Rack-Up PhotoExternal GPS Antenna set to the sideSupport Stays for Rack
Rare Rack-Up Photo 2 - Click to Enlarge

That was mindlessly easy.  It only took the usual 20 minutes plus the time to undo the bows from the sport bars. 

Quick Release pins for soft top bowsMini bungee cords stowedDoor Surrounds removedAll the stuff that is stored in the Jeep and rack

Once the soft top had been set aside, I got down to business.

Last rays of sun for the soft top windows...

I turned the Jeep around and backed it up to four stacked tires.  I flipped the rack back and balanced it on the tires, removed it from the supports and leaned it up against the house with a moving blanket between it and the house to prevent damage to either.  I pulled the Jeep a few feet forward and parked it.

Next I removed the rear support bars and took a wire brush to the bottom of each one.  I did the same to the thick support bracket mounted to the bottom of the tub at each corner, and to the two brackets on the upper part of the tub.  With the loose scale and surface rust knocked off I sprayed the rust converter/primer and the satin finish rust preventative paint onto the supports.  While I was doing this I painted the back of the number plate and touched up some spots in the rear bumper and the d-shackles.  Why not hit every spot that needed it?

While all this was drying, I backed the Jeep into the garage and lowered the top onto the tub using the hoist I made

Rare Jeep in Garage Photo - Click to Enlarge

It was nice to finally have this thing work the way I had designed it.  It was so easy to put the top onto the Jeep it was anticlimactic after all the work to clear the path and all the work to remove the rack, refinish some more parts, and get the Jeep eased back in there.

Stray tools and hardware on cowlStray tools and hardware on cowl

Then I had a little anxiety over finding the six bolts and two nuts that retain the hard top to the tub.  I knew I had placed them in a place where I could find them, but sometimes that ends up being problematic.  This time I was rewarded with finding the nuts and bolts in the top drawer of the tool chest just like I thought they were.

Key bolts for Hard Top - Click to Enlarge

I got the top lined up and then bolted it down.

Installing retaining bolts for hard topInstalling retaining bolts for hard top

Then I dusted off some of my truck bed paint that I use to touch up the top and hit the rough spots.  This paint is so good at blending and covering that when it dries you can't tell where a touch up has been done.  I used this opportunity to show Ted how to do some painting with pieces of cardboard to keep the overspray from getting on windows and things.

With the top reinstalled I reassembled the rack support parts and then lined up the Jeep to put the rack back in place.  I had Ted help me hold the rack while I got it bolted to the uprights again.  He lost control of it when it overbalanced and it went smashing into the side of the (brick) house.  Fortunately the moving pad keep the house and the rack from getting marked up and most important, Ted was just fine though a bit worried I would chew his ear off.  I didn't.  We just got it straightened out and finished putting it together.

While I had it in pieces I adjusted the antenna bracket because it had been a little crooked when I installed it after the repaint last week.  With those details done and the antenna leads reconnected, I flipped the rack back up and bolted it down.  Done!  Started at 10:00am; finished at 2:00PM, with some leaf blowing, kid watching, garage cleaning, and restoration work mixed in.  I don't multi-task well... 


Done!Done!Done!Done with a side of Cherokee!



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09-Feb-2008 12:39 AM