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Old 07-26-2012, 09:15 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by jscherb View Post
Not sure what you're asking about. The hard barn door option? The soft barn door? The full JK Safari Cab with all of its options?
The full cab with all options. How much less with just the soft barn door? I like the hard but not being able to flip it up would make me lean towards the soft option.

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Old 07-26-2012, 09:24 PM   #62
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The "soft barn door" concept looks awesome. I hate having to work around the zippered rear window and the tailgate bar to load or unload anything while the soft top is on, and this would be absolutely perfect. The rear window being rigid adds extra appeal, though soft plastic with a frame could make it more stow-able should one want to remove it but keep it in the Jeep.

I'll be monitoring the threads to see if it's a production-likely item!
Agreed, that rear window is the worst thing about the soft top.

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Old 07-26-2012, 09:26 PM   #63
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I really like the modular, defender-esque approach and would seriously consider purchasing if your design makes it to market. Great work!
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:28 PM   #64
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Want top now!
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:41 AM   #65
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How much extra weight do you think the barn door piece will be? People have had tailgate problems (spot welds breaking, tailgate sagging) with bigger spare tires, might need reinforced hinges.
The barn door is about 15 pounds. There haven't been any problems with it on the LJ/TJ version, and the JK's tailgate and hinges are stronger than the LJ/TJ components, so I wouldn't anticipate a problem.

But in the event someone needed more strength/carrying capacity on the tailgate, there's another product I've designed for the TJ/LJ that could be done in a JK version. It's called the Exogate Tailgate Reinforcement/Heavy Duty Hinge kit, and it is like an exoskeleton for the tailgate with heavy-duty, greaseable/rebuildable hinges. I've got one on my LJ, but it's more for supporting extra cargo on the tailgate than for the barn door - the barn door is just fine with the stock hinges.





But if heavy duty hinges were needed, a JK version of the Exogate hinges could be produced. Here's an Exogate hinge compared to a stock TJ/LJ hinge. The Exogate hinges have replaceable bronze bushings, should they ever wear, and a grease fitting to keep the hinge pins lubricated.

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Old 07-27-2012, 06:00 AM   #66
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Looks really cool. Any idea what kind of price range this would end up costing?
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The full cab with all options.
Being just a guy who builds this stuff in his home garage and has to pay retail for most of the raw materials, all I can really tell you is how much the materials costs are at retail. Manufacturers would pay significantly less than I do for materials because they buy wholesale and in quantity, but they'd also have labor costs, overhead costs and profit margins to add in, so I can't tell you how much a finished product might retail for.

The JK Safari Cab would use roughly the same amount of materials as the LJ Safari Cab does, and based on what the LJ Safari Cab cost me to build, I think it's safe to say that the materials cost for an "entry level" JK Safari Cab with none of the fancy options would be roughly the same as a traditional JK hardtop, but the manufacturing labor would be a bit more because of the increased number of parts to be molded/trimmed/finished vs. the more-or-less one piece traditional style hardtops. So start at the price of a traditional aftermarket hardtop for the JK, and add an additional labor factor for the modularity, and you've got a top that costs a bit more than a traditional top. I've seen aftermarket JK hardtops listed new for around $2200, so I would guess this would be a little more than that, but it's just a guess, it all depends on the manufacturer, their overhead, profit margin, etc.

My LJ Safari Cab is "optioned out" with everything, including rear wiper, full wiring harness with interior lights and powered overhead console, roof rack, roof-rack roll-bar tie-in brackets to support heavy loads, a full headliner, the full set of roll-up side curtains, etc., so a configuration like that would be more expensive. The good thing is that all of it is modular so the top could be purchased at an entry level and then outfitted and accessorized as finances allow.

Doing all the labor at home like I did, it's really fairly inexpensive to build these hardtops, since my labor is free. I've often wondered if there were enough DIY people out there who wanted to build their own hardtop, a set of unfinished fiberglass parts could be offered at a very attractive price and people could finish off their own top. Not sure there are enough people with that motivation out there though.



Last fall I finished up the design and construction of a fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit, and I licensed it to a company that's now got it on the market (Home). It's sold as a kit of bolt-together parts that the buyer has to finish himself (or he could run the trailer in white gelcoat as it comes), and it is much simpler than a hardtop would be, but the base kit of fiberglass parts only for the trailer is sold for around $800. A hardtop couldn't be that cheap, because of windows, etc., but still I wonder if I DIY hardtop kit would be marketable...



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Old 07-27-2012, 06:41 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by jscherb

Last fall I finished up the design and construction of a fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit, and I licensed it to a company that's now got it on the market (Home). It's sold as a kit of bolt-together parts that the buyer has to finish himself (or he could run the trailer in white gelcoat as it comes), and it is much simpler than a hardtop would be, but the base kit of fiberglass parts only for the trailer is sold for around $800. A hardtop couldn't be that cheap, because of windows, etc., but still I wonder if I DIY hardtop kit would be marketable...
I like that trailer. Does it also have a top that can go over it, if it rains? Or is it wide open all the time?
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:06 AM   #68
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I like that trailer. Does it also have a top that can go over it, if it rains? Or is it wide open all the time?
The company offers a really nice soft tonneau for both size trailer kits (the tub kit is available in either a 4' 5" length or a 6' 6" length):



They're also planning a hard cover, which may or may not look like the one I've designed for the kit, here's one of the design concept drawings:



I also built a tent platform for the proof-of-concept trailer:

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Old 07-27-2012, 07:55 AM   #69
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The hard tonneau is nice. I like how it has the rails on it too. I should've figured they'd have a top for it.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:04 AM   #70
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So basically you're a Jeep mad scientist.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:51 AM   #71
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So basically you're a Jeep mad scientist.
I guess that would one way to describe me .

BTW, my current project is a bit of a mad science project, involving parts from different era Jeeps. I'm building a "CJ Grille Conversion Kit for the TJ/LJ", which enables a factory CJ grille to be installed on a Wrangler.

In the photo below, I've got a factory CJ Grille installed with a TJ tub and custom hood, fenders and cowl panel. The fenders are "CJ styled" but designed to have the larger wheel wells of the TJ and accept factory or aftermarket TJ flares. The hood has styling elements of both the CJ and the TJ hoods, and the cowl panel ties everything together in a factory way. I'm just in the process of making the molds for the parts right now.

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Old 07-27-2012, 10:25 AM   #72
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You're genuinely skilled in the actual fabrication of these items, but what impresses me beyond that is your imagination. Just the ability to conceptualize some of these things in beyond most people's capabilities!

I know you've stated repeatedly that this is a hobby for you, and as that I hope it's always enjoyable, but honestly I think it's a pity that you're not getting major $$$$$ just to dream up and engineer designs for a company with the resources to bring them to market, whether Mopar or some aftermarket manufacturer.

At the same time, though, I understand that when a hobby becomes your livelihood, it loses a lot of its luster. Many, many thanks to you for sharing your concepts and prototypes here!
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:42 PM   #73
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Are you going to introduce us to that red pickup in the third pic of post #68? Looks like more custom sorcery to me...
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:15 PM   #74
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Are you going to introduce us to that red pickup in the third pic of post #68? Looks like more custom sorcery to me...
Ok, that's my "Retro Wrangler", a 2006 LJ that I turned into a modern version of the Willys pickup...



The extra wheelbase works very nicely off road:



And it's better than the old Willys because it's got all the modern conveniences, and also a removable hardtop replaceable with a sunrider soft top:



It's my daily driver parts getter...



It was featured in the June 2009 issue of JP Magazine.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:43 PM   #75
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That thing is awesome.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:00 PM   #76
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That thing is awesome.
Agreed!
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:19 PM   #77
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Very cool idea, normal garage door clearance may be an issue for lifted jeeps.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:14 PM   #78
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jscherb,

I've been lurking reading your build threads for a while - even before I finally decided I was definitely going to get myself a JK. I'm very impressed with how you handle all aspects of your mad Jeep experiments, and with your willingness to share with others not just the finished result, but the painstaking details of planning you do ahead of time.

As for the topic at hand - I like the idea of the finish-it-yourself full blown kit.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:16 AM   #79
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The retro wrangler is just as awe-inspiring as your other builds. You're an artist, sir.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:22 PM   #80
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Super great stuff in here, I want all of it!
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:46 PM   #81
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Just awesome. Fantastic. Outstanding idea. Best new jeep product I have seen in awhile. A fully modular top, with soft/hard mix options, and a barn door rear option is genius. Not to mention it has a very Land Rover Defender vibe that adds extra coolness. I volunteer my jeep to "test" your products.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:23 AM   #82
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I just saw this thread again and am still in love with the safari style soft top and roll up windows. Such a cool look.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:47 PM   #83
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I love the idea you have. I will be buying a 13 JKUR in Jan so I would be looking at the JKU model when you build it. My only dislike is that the sloped front and rolled top gives the Jeep a Range Rover look / Euro styling. I don't know if I would buy one just for that reason. I like the jk box look. Also I would want to maintain the freedom tops. Maybe you could design in using the factory freedom tops or developed your own. But using your own would make them hard to find say 10-20 years down the road possibly.

Just one guys thoughts...
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:50 AM   #84
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Agreed that this thread shouldn't die. Lets see some more of these ideas. Where are those trailer kits for sale at?
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:50 AM   #85
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I would like to see a garage door style, having the window slide up to the inside roof when open as opposed to a barn door
Cool idea
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:51 AM   #86
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Extremely interesting concept.

Would the rear wiper be powered off the same plug that the current hard top uses? What about rear window sprayers? I definitely like the flat style roof like the stock one and the one you use in your mockups vs. the sloped one you have on your example. As others said... reasonably priced I could see selling my stock hardtop and putting that $$ towards this top. Im surprised MOPAR hasnt done something like this or you havent sold them the idea. Hope you put in a design patent!
Hell yeah
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:11 AM   #87
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The retro wrangler is just as awe-inspiring as your other builds. You're an artist, sir.

You should've seen his Gaucho build
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:39 AM   #88
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Ok, that's my "Retro Wrangler", a 2006 LJ that I turned into a modern version of the Willys pickup...



The extra wheelbase works very nicely off road:



And it's better than the old Willys because it's got all the modern conveniences, and also a removable hardtop replaceable with a sunrider soft top:




It's my daily driver parts getter...



It was featured in the June 2009 issue of JP Magazine.
Excellent work!
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:15 AM   #89
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Absolutely. Beautiful. Work.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:39 AM   #90
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Agreed that this thread shouldn't die. Lets see some more of these ideas.
More ideas? How about a tailgate storage compartment/trail table idea? This one's on a trailer tailgate, but it also fits Wrangler tailgates.





Could be done with the locking door/table or with a net, this one's on my LJ:



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Where are those trailer kits for sale at?
The Jeep-tub trailer kits can be purchased at Dinoot Trailers - Dinoot Jeep Trailers.


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