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Old 07-26-2012, 07:37 AM   #1
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"Barn Door" option for factory JK hardtops?

Several years ago I designed and built my custom "Safari Cab" hardtop for my LJ Wrangler. It's been a fantastic addition to the Jeep, and now I'm thinking of doing some similar work for the JK. I've licensed the design to Gr8Tops and they're working on bringing it to market for the LJ and TJ. Here's a few photos of the LJ version:



The hardtop is fully modular, so the side panels can be removed and replaced with roll-up soft side panels:



It's designed with roll-bar tie-ins, so it can support heavy loads up top, like a roof-top tent, without resorting to something like an exocage:



And for easy access to the cargo area, it's got a "barn door". The barn door "upper" attaches to the factory tailgate, so the entire assembly swings open as a one-piece door.





Here's why I'm posting today:

As a first step towards building a JK version of the Safari Cab hardtop, I'm thinking about building a "barn door" option for factory JK hardtops, and I'm wondering what you guys think of the idea. The barn door would be a part of the eventual full JK Safari Cab hardtop, but it would be designed so it would work with factory JK hardtops.

Here's a few concept drawings of what it might look like.





The barn door upper would be made from fiberglass, and would attach to the JK tailgate. A rear wiper could be an optional part of the package.




What do you guys think? Would a "barn door kit" be a useful option for a JK? Or would I be wasting my time?


I know there are two different with hatch openings in the early vs. later model JK hardtops - the barn door would work natively with early JK hardtops. For later JK hardtops with the wider hatch, I'd probably do filler panels to narrow the wide opening in the hardtop to the earlier width.

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Old 07-26-2012, 08:12 AM   #2
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tell me more about the soft windows hard top hybrid you got going there. i run a trektop nx and never take the the top piece off.

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Old 07-26-2012, 08:22 AM   #3
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i love the idea. i love my hardtop and it would be great to have the side window roll-up option for the rear-side windows.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:29 AM   #4
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If the mod hard top with roll up soft windows and all that ever comes out ill be buying it
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:29 AM   #5
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Do you have pictures of the TJ option? Is there a link where I can buy one?
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:36 AM   #6
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I like the roll-up rear window area, but prefer the current tail gate design for my needs.

My geezer world includes camping but will not be seeking any roof mounted tents or access ladders.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:43 AM   #7
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I like the barn door, but I agree with other posters that the modular top is even more exciting. I don't know whether I'd spend a lot of money on the barn door alone...
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:45 AM   #8
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tell me more about the soft windows hard top hybrid you got going there. i run a trektop nx and never take the the top piece off.
The Safari Cab design is fully modular, the roof, sides, rear corners, barn door and door surrounds are separate pieces. The sides and rear corners/barn door can be removed and swapped for roll-up side curtains. The side curtains slip into the factory soft top rail at the bottom, and are attached to the hardtop parts the same way the hard panels attach. The side panels can be rolled up as shown below, or they can be completely zipped off, just leaving the narrow zipper strips in place.



When rolled down, it's completely weatherproof. It's also very quiet on the highway, there's no "drumming" that you typically experience with the roof of a standard soft top.



And when you're not using the hard panels, they take little space to store, unlike a traditional hardtop:



If I decide to build the complete JK Safari Cab, it would have all of these features.

For now I'm just trying to decide if I'll build a JK barn door to go with the factory JK hardtop.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:04 AM   #9
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Do you have pictures of the TJ option? Is there a link where I can buy one?
Gr8Tops is working on bringing the LJ/TJ full and half-cab versions of the Safari Cab to market. They're working on the LJ version first, and will be showing one or two preproduction units at the Bantam Jeep Festival in Butler, PA in two weeks. Once they get the LJ version done, they say they'll do the TJ version. They're at GR8TOPS Half Hardtops for Jeeps, and you can see photos of several preproduction Safari Cabs on their facebook page: Gr8tops | Facebook.

This is a conceptual photo/drawing of the TJ version:

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Old 07-26-2012, 09:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jscherb View Post
The Safari Cab design is fully modular, the roof, sides, rear corners, barn door and door surrounds are separate pieces. The sides and rear corners/barn door can be removed and swapped for roll-up side curtains. The side curtains slip into the factory soft top rail at the bottom, and are attached to the hardtop parts the same way the hard panels attach. The side panels can be rolled up as shown below, or they can be completely zipped off, just leaving the narrow zipper strips in place.



When rolled down, it's completely weatherproof. It's also very quiet on the highway, there's no "drumming" that you typically experience with the roof of a standard soft top.



And when you're not using the hard panels, they take little space to store, unlike a traditional hardtop:



If I decide to build the complete JK Safari Cab, it would have all of these features.

For now I'm just trying to decide if I'll build a JK barn door to go with the factory JK hardtop.

ill buy that for 2 door jk. infact if you start a preorder let me know and ill be the first on the list.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:10 AM   #11
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Really like the idea. Looks good and lots of options as well.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:13 AM   #12
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I'd be interested in a safari top with the soft window option (I'd forget the hard panels as they seem to take up a ton of room).

This would become my summer top lol
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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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
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:21 AM   #14
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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!
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:26 AM   #15
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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!
The LJ/TJ version has a wiper option. It is powered from the factory hardtop wiring, and I've also designed an add-in harness for LJ/TJ's that don't have factory hardtop wiring. On the LJ/TJ version, the factory washer squirts through a different nozzle. Here's a shot of the washer in action, the wiper is mounted at the bottom of the barn door so it's hidden behind the spare when parked. The wiper motor is completely enclosed in the barn door upper, there's a small access panel on the inside of the door for the motor.

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Old 07-26-2012, 09:28 AM   #16
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very cool. i like that.
and i agree the flat roof would be my preference
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jscherb

The LJ/TJ version has a wiper option. It is powered from the factory hardtop wiring, and I've also designed an add-in harness for LJ/TJ's that don't have factory hardtop wiring. On the LJ/TJ version, the factory washer squirts through a different nozzle. Here's a shot of the washer in action, the wiper is mounted at the bottom of the barn door so it's hidden behind the spare when parked. The wiper motor is completely enclosed in the door.
Why didn't jeep think of putting the motor there! That would solve so many visibility issues the motor causes
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:36 AM   #18
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Why didn't jeep think of putting the motor there! That would solve so many visibility issues the motor causes
I think they put the motor on the top because the weight causes less leverage on the liftgate glass when it's mounted up there. Also slamming the liftgate with a heavy motor on the bottom might risk cracking the glass?
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:39 AM   #19
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very cool. i like that.
and i agree the flat roof would be my preference
I've done several variations of Safari Cab designs for both JKU and JK Safari Cabs. Haven't published any yet, I want to keep that under wraps until I make a decision to go ahead. I will say the lines are a little more angular to better integrate with the more angular JK design; there's a "flat roof" version like the factory top, and a "raised roof" version that could have "Alpine windows" on the sides of the roof in Land Rover fashion and also provide more headroom in the back.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:47 AM   #20
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more head room in the back is a good thing.
i dont know where youre located but if you need any help building a proto type id be glad to a lend whatever assistance you think i can.
ive wanted that top since i saw it on a concept vechile in one of the jeep rags. love it.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:50 AM   #21
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more head room in the back is a good thing.
i dont know where youre located but if you need any help building a proto type id be glad to a lend whatever assistance you think i can.
ive wanted that top since i saw it on a concept vechile in one of the jeep rags. love it.
Thanks. I'm in Upstate NY, so a little far to borrow yours . To do the barn door, I'd want to borrow a JK for a few days. To do the full hardtop, I'd probably buy myself a JK .
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:51 AM   #22
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BTW there's another option that goes along with the barn door for the hardtop - a soft barn door that works with the factory soft top. It mounts to the tailgate using the same hardware as the hard barn door, so it's a good option for people who run a hard top in the winter and a soft top in the summer. Hard barn door for winter, soft barn door to go along with the soft top. It's soooo much nicer to open a soft barn door than it is to have to unzip the rear window of the factory soft top .



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Old 07-26-2012, 10:09 AM   #23
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is there a quick release feature for top down?
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:16 AM   #24
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is there a quick release feature for top down?
You mean for the soft barn door? Yes, four thumbscrews.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:18 AM   #25
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sweet. sometimes its not warm enough to drop the whole top but the back window is frequently out.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:12 AM   #26
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Funny, I've been thinking for the last week that if you could produce a removable rear window that was compatible with the JK hardtop you would sell a bunch. Obviously, you are much further along and connected that I in that game, so please, have at it so I can buy one! Having the rear window open to promote airflow makes driving the JKU with the front windows open much, much better. I was even considering something like a "slider" back window but not sure how big the hole would need to be to allow enough air. The full blown modular top idea with the hard top and soft removable modular sides is completely awesome. All jeeps should just be built that way, it looks vastly superior to the factory choices.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:28 AM   #27
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Awesome idea man, no doubt these will sell. And very good work.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #28
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thats a good idea. if the glass barn door piece quick disconnected so you could take it completely out with out taking the top off that would sell tons.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:38 AM   #29
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thats a good idea. if the glass barn door piece quick disconnected so you could take it completely out with out taking the top off that would sell tons.
Yes, since both the hard barn door upper and the soft barn door upper use the same mounting brackets, both can be removed in a minute by loosening four thumbscrews.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:41 AM   #30
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what are you using for the glass? some kind of plexi?

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