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Old 05-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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Hardtop Hoist Option?

I'm looking at options for one-person removal and storage of our '12 JKU Arctic's hardtop. I'd love to get my hands on a Racor but I'm in Canada and everywhere I've seen online doesn't seem to want to ship here.

If I can't get my hands on a Racor, would using a Thule 571 Roof Box Storage Lift work? I'd need to modify it for it to work. Maximum load is 220 lbs. Would that be enough for the hardtop and both panels? Is anyone else using this setup?

Amazon.com: Thule 571 Roof Mount Cargo Box Storage Lift: Sports & Outdoors

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Old 05-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #2
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I bought the Harken Garage Storage 4 point storage system system of of Quadratec. Not fancy, $129.00 but very solid and easy to install. My only advice is that they tell you to get 2, 6 ft 2x6's as mounting boards but get the board a little longer ( I got 6.5 ft long) so you have some space at the ends to work with.

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Old 05-11-2012, 01:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by psuross92 View Post
I bought the Harken Garage Storage 4 point storage system system of of Quadratec. Not fancy, $129.00 but very solid and easy to install. My only advice is that they tell you to get 2, 6 ft 2x6's as mounting boards but get the board a little longer ( I got 6.5 ft long) so you have some space at the ends to work with.
I see Quadratec ships to Canada. I'll have to check out this system. It'll save me from having to do extension modifications. Thanks!

If anyone else has any other options, fire away!
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
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I like my harken. Installed about a month ago and raised the hardtop for the first time last weekend.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:46 PM   #5
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The Thule system you are looking at looks very similar to the Racor in how it operates. I am very happy with my Racor system and I would think you could easily modify the Thule system to be the same. It is nice having the shelf above the top to store the front panels.

Nothing against the Harkin system, I just think the Racor system is a bit sturdier and less likely to slip. I thought about making my own lift similar to the Harkin, but using a small hand winch to raise and lower the top. This way the system could be locked with less of a chance of a free fall, which is my concern with the Harkin. It is very possible I do not fully understand how the Harkin system works, but if the rope slips out of your hand while you are raising it, will the top fall?
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by schirmyver View Post
The Thule system you are looking at looks very similar to the Racor in how it operates. I am very happy with my Racor system and I would think you could easily modify the Thule system to be the same. It is nice having the shelf above the top to store the front panels.

Nothing against the Harkin system, I just think the Racor system is a bit sturdier and less likely to slip. I thought about making my own lift similar to the Harkin, but using a small hand winch to raise and lower the top. This way the system could be locked with less of a chance of a free fall, which is my concern with the Harkin. It is very possible I do not fully understand how the Harkin system works, but if the rope slips out of your hand while you are raising it, will the top fall?
Not while you are raising it, it won't. The cam lock locks tight every time you let go.

Perhaps when lowering it, but I haven't tried that yet.

While sitting stationary, a boat cleat bolted to the wall stud will keep the line from ever slipping and letting the top drop.

I actually chose the Harken because of the reviews that I saw where the racor failed and let go. I am sure every product out there has some failure rate though.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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I am very interested to see that review if you could find it. I just do not see how the Racor system could let go. Even if you do not engage the lock, there is enough resistance that the top does not lower on its own. Now if the whole rack fell down, that is an installation problem not a problem with the lift itself.

I did not know the Harkin has a cam lock to prevent slippage, that is good and this definitely looks easier to install compared to the Racor.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by schirmyver View Post
The Thule system you are looking at looks very similar to the Racor in how it operates. I am very happy with my Racor system and I would think you could easily modify the Thule system to be the same. It is nice having the shelf above the top to store the front panels.

Nothing against the Harkin system, I just think the Racor system is a bit sturdier and less likely to slip. I thought about making my own lift similar to the Harkin, but using a small hand winch to raise and lower the top. This way the system could be locked with less of a chance of a free fall, which is my concern with the Harkin. It is very possible I do not fully understand how the Harkin system works, but if the rope slips out of your hand while you are raising it, will the top fall?
I saw your write-up and pics from your Racor system in another thread. Solid job! Racor would be the one I'd want if I could get my hands on it. I like the option storing stuff on it when it's not being used for the hardtop.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:51 PM   #9
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Not while you are raising it, it won't. The cam lock locks tight every time you let go.

Perhaps when lowering it, but I haven't tried that yet.

While sitting stationary, a boat cleat bolted to the wall stud will keep the line from ever slipping and letting the top drop.

I actually chose the Harken because of the reviews that I saw where the racor failed and let go. I am sure every product out there has some failure rate though.
I didn't know about the cam lock engaging as you lift the hardtop. That's a good feature to have.

I suppose the Harkin system can get the hardtop closer to the ceiling than the Racor can.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:32 PM   #10
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Yup you sure can get the Harkin close to the ceiling.
We use extra straps and pool noodles for extra peace of mind.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:17 PM   #11
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I built this storage rack for my hardtop during the summer. Cost $65 all came from Lowes and took about 3 hours. If you want more info let me know and I will send parts list. Me and my son easily lifted the top on the rack.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:07 PM   #12
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The harken is amazing. It's been flawless and I've pulled it up and down hundreds of time and no slippage!
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:42 PM   #13
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I just installed my Harken Hoist this morning, and it works great! My garage ceiling height is 9.5ft, and I was able to lift it to within 3 inches of the ceiling, which allows my wife to park her SUV under it with plenty of room to spare. It takes a little time to install and make all the little rope/knot adjustments, but with a little patience it's not a big deal at all. It seems to do exactly what it's supposed to do, at a very reasonable price, so I couldn't be happier with it.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:20 PM   #14
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Guys-
What do you suggest for JKU 2012 hard top owners like me who have a low garage ceiling? Will these hoists work but just chew up a lot of the space?

What other options are out there?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:33 PM   #15
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I looked at both Harken and Racor. I went with Harken because that system required less space between the garage roof and the top. If you are worried about low garage height, you could back your Jeep in to remove the top, then park with the hood under the top. As always, measure twice to make sure you have proper room.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:56 PM   #16
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Another happy Harken user here. I back the jeep in to pull the top, and park the jeep pulled in forwards with hood under the hanging top. I built a 2x4 rectangle that hangs by chains to hold the load once it is hanging so the stress is only on the harken pulley system when installing/removing, great ideas taken off the forum here. Makes me feel more comfortable about parking the 2012 JKUR under it with the chain and wood.

Reinstalled the hardtop for an upcoming mountain road trip tonight first time using the hoist to lower it back on. I had my son around to observe but could have easily done it alone with the hoist setup. Honestly the hardest thing about the reinstall was trying to back the Jeep in with the right alignment before lowering the top...took a little..."wrangling" to get it there...
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:28 AM   #17
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I got a great deal on a hardtop yesterday. I'm going to give the Harken a shot. I'll post a follow up later.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:51 AM   #18
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Question for Kelly0 and Stans1stJeep...I will be installing a lift soon as well. Thanks for your comments and pictures. As I will be planning my installation, my first thought was to put my lift at the back of my garage where I backed my jeep in to remove the top. Yours are at the front where you obviously drive straight in to remove. Any comments or considerations on which is best...ie drive-in or back-in?
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:37 AM   #19
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I went with Racor only for the fact that when Im not using it for the hard top, I have a bevy of other things that I can store on it. So its not useless when not holding Hard-TOp........ Just my 2cents
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:24 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by unionjewel View Post
Question for Kelly0 and Stans1stJeep...I will be installing a lift soon as well. Thanks for your comments and pictures. As I will be planning my installation, my first thought was to put my lift at the back of my garage where I backed my jeep in to remove the top. Yours are at the front where you obviously drive straight in to remove. Any comments or considerations on which is best...ie drive-in or back-in?
Our attic door and the lights (which we have now upgraded) were in the way. We took a chance and were able to install above our garage door with just a couple inches to spare. You can really get it close to the ceiling esp with the extra straps, I think the window is actually touching.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:30 AM   #21
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Our attic door and the lights (which we have now upgraded) were in the way. We took a chance and were able to install above our garage door with just a couple inches to spare. You can really get it close to the ceiling esp with the extra straps, I think the window is actually touching.
Oh, I see that in your picture now...thanks for the comeback!
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:23 PM   #22
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Here is what I use. Takes me less then 30 minutes by myself to switch tops.

jeep jk hard top hoist | eBay
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:33 PM   #23
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Here is what I use. Takes me less then 30 minutes by myself to switch tops.

jeep jk hard top hoist | eBay
How long did it take you to install?
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:57 PM   #24
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I went to Lowes and bought 4 heavy duty screw in hooks. mounted them into ceiling studs and usr rachet straps to remove and store. I can remove and install alone in minutes.

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