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Old 12-15-2013, 01:12 PM   #1
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Another beginners question - Hard top removal

While I am waiting to pick up my first Jeep tomorrow (2001 TJ w/hard top) I was wondering how hard is it to remove a hard top and how kong does it take? I assume it is a 2 person job. Do you have to worry about leaks after you put the hard top back on? Thanks for your help.

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Old 12-15-2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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6 torx bolts (3 on each side)
And 2 latches on the windshield...
No worries about leaks
2 person job

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Old 12-15-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
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Definitely a two person job, unless you have a hoist. but its not too hard. just some bolts on the inside tub rails that you remove, and the clips on the top windshield. And if its a good hard top it really shouldn't have leaks unless its cracked somewhere. just take a good look at it.
Watch out for the back window also, those crack easily when stored
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:06 PM   #4
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Depending on how long the hardtop has been on that Jeep, sometimes mine likes to stick on the factory insulating seal between the top and the tub.
I find it much easier to break the seal by lifting up on the top near the windshield. More leverage.
Also make sure you keep a finger on the square nuts and not let them drop when removing the bolts. The nuts up front like to drop right into the seat belt mechanism and are a PITA to get out.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:51 PM   #5
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I do it by myself with the Hoist-A-Top Jeep Top Removal. I use the manual version.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:18 PM   #6
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If you have a rear windshield wiper setup, make sure you unplug the wiper and water hose first. It's an easy removal, but does take 2 since it's kind of awkward. It's best if you have a set of saw horses to store it on as it makes picking it up and putting it down a lot easier.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:55 PM   #7
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I attached some 2X4's with a few lag screws to the rails. Made it easy to store the top. You can also use a Hardtop Storage Cart if you're tight on space
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:47 PM   #8
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Also if it has the rear wiper make sure u plug the washer hose.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:45 PM   #9
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It can be a one person job. I set up a hoist with rachet straps and made my own dolly. Compliments for you tube. Do your research first and take your time.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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X2 on the hardtop dolly. Built on for my YJ, but it works the same for my TJ top.

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Old 12-15-2013, 09:06 PM   #11
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Like others have said, definitely build yourself a hoist. It makes it a one man job and provides a good place to store the top out of the way.

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Old 12-15-2013, 09:28 PM   #12
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Yes a hoist is nice, keeps the top out of harms way...
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJDave View Post
... I find it much easier to break the seal by lifting up on the top near the windshield. More leverage...
How do you lift up, near the windshield?
Do you mean push up from underneath the top, near the windshield?



Quote:
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... Also make sure you keep a finger on the square nuts and not let them drop when removing the bolts. The nuts up front like to drop right into the seat belt mechanism and are a PITA to get out.
Both of the front nuts fell to the carpet. Could have been a PITA if they would have fell into the hole below them.

How do you re-install the nuts? My fingers are too big and that area is way too small to hold those nuts into place. Is there a trick to it?
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:02 AM   #14
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Lol it ain't hard a friend and I stand at The side glass lift gate open and hands on the back where the glass closes and where door closes. Up and to the rear. I've taken it off alone but it sucks because it's awkward. Basically sit in tailgate area and pick it up. Edit. It's not hard. Removed mine every year for 14 years no leaks. Also never bought crazy crap to remove it. Takes 10 min. Before I had a large shed I would lay it on a large tarp. Duct tape It up the sides then secure a smaller Tarp over the top. Keeps it protected in the yard.

Hold nuts in place and spin bolts
Into them. They are shaped not to spin.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwch99tj View Post
6 torx bolts (3 on each side)
And 2 latches on the windshield...
No worries about leaks
2 person job
I removed the 6 Torx bolts, & unlatched the 2 latches.

I pushed up on the front of the hardtop near the windshield, but the top didn't budge much. I realize that the top may have not been removed for a long time and I didn't want to damage it. So I didn't continue to push on it.

I noticed 2 yellowish plastic clips near the torx bolts, right behind the roll bars that are behind the front seats.

It appears that these 2 plastic clips are attached to the hardtop AND to the Jeep tub, just like the Torx bolts are.
  • What are these 2 clips?
  • And do they need to be removed PRIOR to removing the hardtop?
  • If so, how do you remove them?
  • What is the purpose of these clips?
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:55 AM   #16
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Yes those clips are holding the top on. You need to "pinch" them. They will stay on the tub and the top will slide over them. So you have to pinch them and lift the top at the same time kinda.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:59 AM   #17
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They are mainly there as a guide for when you put the top back on. If you have the clips lined up and through the holes, then the rest of the torx bolt holes should be all lined up without you having to slide the top back and forth to try to get the holes lined up.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Yes those clips are holding the top on. You need to "pinch" them. They will stay on the tub and the top will slide over them. So you have to pinch them and lift the top at the same time kinda.
They are guides to line the top on the tub. They stay on the top. I've never taken them off or "pinched" anything. Unless my wife is helping me!
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Yes those clips are holding the top on. You need to "pinch" them. They will stay on the tub and the top will slide over them. So you have to pinch them and lift the top at the same time kinda.
Incorrect. Those are guide pins that align the top to the Jeep body. Do not remove them.

OP, if you removed the 6 bolts and unclipped the windshield, then your top is stuck on the weather stripping. Keep working the corners. Once you can get an edge to come free, the rest of the top will peel off.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:40 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vertical horizons View Post
How do you lift up, near the windshield?
Do you mean push up from underneath the top, near the windshield?

Both of the front nuts fell to the carpet. Could have been a PITA if they would have fell into the hole below them.

How do you re-install the nuts? My fingers are too big and that area is way too small to hold those nuts into place. Is there a trick to it?
Yep. I push up while sitting in the driver's seat. Rotate the latches completely out of the winshield frame holes. If the top has not been off for a long time, it may be stuck pretty good on the tub.

I have short fat fingers. The front two square nuts I rest on my finger and shove it up there. Spin the bolt while positioning the nut until you can feel the bolt coming through it.

It gets easier every time you remove it, and you'll develop your own tricks that work best for you.

Can't wait to take mine off, but it's still snowing here.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:25 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJDave View Post
... I have short fat fingers. The front two square nuts I rest on my finger and shove it up there...
Between the rollbar padding & the design of the tub right there where that front square nut is supposed to go, I can't really figure how you'd get your finger to hold the square nut into place.

I'll try to take a picture of that area to show you what I mean.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vertical horizons View Post

Between the rollbar padding & the design of the tub right there where that front square nut is supposed to go, I can't really figure how you'd get your finger to hold the square nut into place.

...
No pictures needed. This is how to do it.

Quote:
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...
I have short fat fingers. The front two square nuts I rest on my finger and shove it up there. Spin the bolt while positioning the nut until you can feel the bolt coming through it.
...
Have you tried it? It really is as simple as Dave describes. Balance the square nut on your finger tip and place it under the lip of the tub. Drop the bolt into place and spin it until it catches.

Many many things are assembled & disassembled using this technique.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:41 PM   #23
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Mine (bought new) has the holes for the plastic clips ( in your photos) but didn't come with them. I'd say they are trash left over from the assembly process.

Edit. I also have the dual top option. Maybe these are for hard top only models intended not to be removed. Either way I'd say they are trash. Not needed for the top to stay on.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:51 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Mine (bought new) has the holes for the plastic clips ( in your photos) but didn't come with them. I'd say they are trash left over from the assembly process.
Factory dual top as well. My hardtop has the alignment pins. Does your tub not have corresponding holes for the alignment pins?

Definitely not left over trash. Certainly not necessary if missing.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:58 PM   #25
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No. My door frames for the soft top are all that has pins. Never seen plastic body plug things until photos here. Thought they screwed up and drilled wrong holes in top until now lol.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:13 AM   #26
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Yours is a 2000, correct?

Odd. Why would the tops be drilled for pins, but not all tubs? I wonder if this was somehow related to the redesign that occurred in 2003.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:17 AM   #27
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Yours is a 2000, correct? Odd. Why would the tops be drilled for pins, but not all tubs? I wonder if this was somehow related to the redesign that occurred in 2003.
. Yes 2000. My top is drilled not the tub.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:22 AM   #28
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Well...just so you know, there are TJs rolling around you every day with two oval shaped holes in the tub rail meant for a hardtop.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:27 AM   #29
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I was glad to find out some crackhead at the factory didn't drill extra holes in my top. As pointless as they are for me.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:22 AM   #30
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Two person minimum unless you have a garage and can install a hoist, which is what I'll do once we get out of apartment living.

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