I'll try to get pictures, as I'll be dropping my hard top for the Spring shortly (tomorrow?)
I have 9' ceilings, and room to spare. I modified the Quadratec hard top hoist that I bought for my TJ to fit the longer/wider hard top on the JK. I essentially sistered the 1" square steel cross members with 1" thick maple.
I use a 2k lb come-along and eye-hook to hoist the top up, and use ratchet straps as a fail-safe and for stability. I can think of better hoist frames than what I've got, and I might change it in the future, but the overall method works.
I can park the Jeep's hood under the top during the Summer. It just hits my radio antenna. Twice a year, I back in to raise or lower the top.
__________________ New and shiny: 2012 JK Rubicon Unlimited 5-speed auto Gone but not forgotten: 2004 TJ Rubicon 5-speed manual
I have a 9' ceiling in the garage and made my own with unistrut, some eyebolts, two pulleys and a brake winch from Northern Tool. I found a write-up a couple years back which had the dimensions and materials list, then I modified it slightly for my garage. I spent a little under $100, and i have peace of mind that the unistrut will support all the weight with no problem. Haven't taken the top off yet this year, but as soon as this weather clears up, I will.
When the top is lifted off the jeep, it sits about 8" below my ceiling when it is as high as it goes. I just back in to my garage, lift it off, then drive out. Enough clearance to park with the front of the jeep under it, but I drop it down to the ground and store my freedom panels under it (I have enough length in the garage to do this so it doesn't stay suspended). If you'd like, I can Post a pic when I take the top off in the next day or so. It was a cool DIY project that didn't break the bank.
Great posts! In a house with all 10' and 11' ceilings, my garage is only 8'.
Will be installing something for my JKR, but may be very minimalist. Should still work better than me getting under the top and lifting with the flat of my back onto a couple of big boxes like I did last spring.
I've been working on my lift this weekend. Here are the photos as promised the OP. My garage ceiling is barely 8'. I used a cheap block and tackle rope lift I got from Amazon for $16 and change. The hardware was fairly cheap too, about $12 total. The wood I had on hand, an 8"- 2x4 and some 1/2 sheathing. I intentionally did not over-engineer this thing. I kept it as simple as I could. The rope hoist is rated at 4,000 lbs. I'm thinking they got that by multiplying the tensile strength of the rope by the number of wraps on the pulleys. I would not put that kind of weight on it. It's pretty lightweight really but plenty strong enough for a 2dr hardtop. With a 7/1 lift ratio, I can easily lift it by hand, without a ratcheting crank - that's overkill in my opinion as are the metal frames.
I think I will go with the Harkin as it seems to be pretty easy to set up. Not sure how high my apartment with a garage ceiling is, but I would imagine it is around 9 feet so this should work well enough. I will only be using the garage to store my hardtop and park my Jeep. I will be moving in on May 20th so I will make decision at that point.
I just installed a Harken hoist a few days ago. I have a 10' ceiling and I guess Quadratec only sells the 12' ceiling kit, there was no option when I ordered it. I just have some extra rope that I'll cut off after I finish fine-tuning everything.
It works fine and lifts the top completely above the Jeep, whether I pull straight into the garage or back it in. It has a 6:1 pull ratio, so if the top weighs 140 lbs it feels like you're lifting around 23 lbs.