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Old 02-06-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
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custom soft top

i am fed up with the design of the standard soft top, granted, mine is old and weathered. i am looking to customise my own one. i have some design aspects in mind to make it more user friendly and durable. any thoughts on this? has someone on WF done this before, if so what did they do to improve on the design? im open to suggestions. my goal - make this the ultimate jeep soft top.

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhino161531
i am fed up with the design of the standard soft top, granted, mine is old and weathered. i am looking to customise my own one. i have some design aspects in mind to make it more user friendly and durable. any thoughts on this? has someone on WF done this before, if so what did they do to improve on the design? im open to suggestions. my goal - make this the ultimate jeep soft top.
I've got a Rampage frameless top on my TJ and get a lot of comments on it. It's got more of a rounded back on it and only runs about $400. All windows come out and store up inside the top. It's probably the best top I've ever owned.

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Old 02-07-2011, 01:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meijin

I've got a Rampage frameless top on my TJ and get a lot of comments on it. It's got more of a rounded back on it and only runs about $400. All windows come out and store up inside the top. It's probably the best top I've ever owned.
ill look onto that, thanks. Maybe i can take elements from the rampage design and incorporate it into my design?
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:44 PM   #4
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a safari top with the rear side window zippers and velcro on the top so the back windows can still be put it
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:01 PM   #5
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Rhino: The only custom top I think I've seen was someone modifying a full top down into a half top (so the rear window was right behind their seat). It looked OK.

Issues to consider:
1. Header. Connecting to windshield is tough. It's why some of our competition actually just buys them from us (even though people complain about ours!). You can too, of course.

2. A "nicer" top would mostly likely have really heavy fabric. Expensive, and hard to sew. The Rolls Royce soft top is something like 5 layers.

3. Windows are heat sealed at the factory. If you just stitch thru clear vinyl it will leak.

4. Tiny details. Things like rain gutters, reinforcing gussets and stuff like that.

5. Doors. Really complicated. I've seen some homemade upper doors. I haven't been too impressed.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
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Rhino..... I'm right there with ya bud! I've been throwing design ideas around in my head for months now. I have several I want to try, but I am way too busy with paying work to get to them yet.

I am a professional seamstress/fabricator/patternmaker ect ;D I make marine canvas and do a lot of millitary equipment where I work. (I cover 53 foot hellicopters. LOL )

I see a lot of crossover between marine and auto. Heatsealing is best for sure, but sewn doesn't always mean it will leak. We don't even own a heatsealer (though we are looking) and our windows don't leak. I would suggest you use seam tape in your seams it helps to seal the stitch. There are also some silicone products made just for that purpose.

If you want to get real fancy, check out Tendra thread from Gore. Its about $100 or more a spool wholesale but its guaranteed for life to never rot. You can also look for waterprof zippers (used mostly for wetsuits) by ykk. I use them for our millitary work and I plan on using them for some of my "reworked" top projects.

For basic suggestions I recomend using a heavy duty industrial walking foot sewing machine. Home machines will not do what you want. Trust me on this.

Headers are for sure your hardest part. I would suggest getting them from besttop, unless you really want to experiment a lot.

I haven't been able to do much because of time constraints, but I have over 20 years experience in marine canvas. I can't wait to hear what you come up with. If you have any questions or want to bounce ideas, I'm game anytime. I'll try to get someting done soon. I want to rework my supertop a bit. I'll post what I've done if I ever get time to do it. (Not looking good in the near furture )
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:49 PM   #7
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Jaunvie,

thank you very much for that information. It has opened my eyes to a lot. I will surely contact you to bounce ideas off you and ask for some help as i need it.

At the moment, i am yet to consider materials, and have rather spent my time toying with soft top layouts and what would best suit me. Once i have arrived at a design i will seek further assistance from you regarding materials and methods.

I think for the header, at this stage, i will use the original or see what Besttops have on offer.

I will keep you all posted on my progess with this project and will post pictures once i start producing anything tangible.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:53 PM   #8
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To everyone,

thanks for all the input, any further ideas will be appreciated. Any suggestions for improvements you can offer will help me to try and produce the best designed soft top i possibly can.

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