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Old 11-22-2011, 01:46 AM   #1
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Talking OMG! My BACK! First time ever putting on a TJ hardtop...

Hello fellow TJ owners, I've got a 2001 sport that included a beat up hardtop as part of the sale. Winter will be here soon and I'd like to make use of this hardtop and actually put it to use.

From what I can track down about this hardtop, this was the jeeps original top, and it was not used extensively by the previous 2 owners (I being owner number 3). In fact since I know owner number 2, I know for a fact that this hardtop was stored under his deck for about 2 3/4 years, just acting as a hide-y hole for various spider communities.

Anyway, I've got the top at my place and I plan to put it on for the winter but I have a few questions.

Just a few things to keep you in the loop...

1. The hardtop has a very small crack on the bottom of the back fiberglass (right near the back window) it's about 3.5 inches and runs parallel to the rain channel. I've had previous experience with fiberglass so I'm going to try my hand and seal / strengthen it up. (no pics as of yet, let me get out to where it's stored and I'll post them later in the week).

2. Dirty Dirty Dirty... apparently years of acting as an all-mighty spider commune left this black, now blackish grey top uber dirty, but I plan to clean that with some elbow grease... advice?

3. The TJ has a wiring harness on both the jeep, and the hardtop, for the back wiper / defrost. Now if they work... you'll find out when I do.

4. The TJ has a bestop supertop installed on it right now, and I know for a fact that I need to take off the extra mounting hardware that comes with the supertop in order to put on the hardtop.

5. I do also have the 4 bolts complete with the wacky washer looking things (look, I have no idea what those parts are called) that should help mount the top to the rails of the jeep....

6. Yes, I do plan to take the spare off to help facilitate the loading process

My questions to all of you is simple... what is the best way to install a hardtop? I plan to clean it (any advice is always welcome) fix that tiny part of the fiberglass, and then put it on.

Advice on installing this hardtop is always appreciated, so are hardtop horror stories... so what do I do? What steps have you taken to make this simple operation as easy and stress free as possible? Links and advice are always appreciated. Oh, as a side note, I noticed the remains of weatherstripping on the bottom rails of the hardtop... it's beat up and destroyed so do I need to get some new strips?

Pictures will be updated as the project gets underway.

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Old 11-22-2011, 01:48 AM   #2
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Now don't take this the wrong way but please don't give me the I've got a winch made in my garage / barn / living room that holds the top for me and I can put it on the jeep in about 5 minuets all by myself. I understand you paid good money for that contraption, or engineered it with household items and you'd like to show off your skills, but I just want to put the top on, not build or install a winch from quadratec.

Whenever this install will happen in the coming weeks (freaking work schedule, yay nightshifts) I will have the available manpower of one other person who helped me lift this damn thing into the truck bed to bring it back home. No cool power winches needed

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Old 11-22-2011, 02:08 AM   #3
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i took my hard top off by myself, I wont tell you how, because I dont recommend it! My wife and I put it back on by getting the jeep and top lined up top right behind the jeep, one on each side by the glass, one hand at the corner by the door, one at the curve by the rear window. tilted it back, got a good lift with the knees and walked it forward, as soon as the front corners were over the back rails, we set it down, after that we slide it slowly forward.

now because I know you want to know...took it of my self by opening the tail gate, sliding it rearward until it was just before the tipping point of balance. stood with by back to the jeep, hands over my head in a "powerlift" ( i use this phrase lightly) stance, lifted and inch and started walking. easy as pie....not having a elevated place to put it, not so easy! I had to slowly crouch in the garage until it touched the ground, with me all fetal position under it like a kids fort or something. you may now
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:19 AM   #4
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Woah! That's a hell of the way to take it off the jeep

I would have never made it 10 feet.
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:21 AM   #5
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Sliding it does make a whole lot of sense. Did you need to get new weatherstripping for it?
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:34 AM   #6
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No need to take the spare off, just open the back window.
You can get the top close enough so that you don't have to slide it very far.
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:35 AM   #7
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PS
I replace the weatherstriping every year before I throw it back on. You can get a roll of the weather striping at Lowe's for $6.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_66679-81-022...ping&facetInfo=
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:42 AM   #8
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Thanks Phil, you rock!
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:47 AM   #9
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:47 AM   #10
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Wait, do you put the weatherstriping on the windshield too, or just the bottom rails?
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:58 AM   #11
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I put it on the rails and the top of the hard top. I haven't put it on the windsheild frame yet, though I guess putting on the top of the hard top is the same thing
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:01 AM   #12
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Good deal!
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:04 AM   #13
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How heavy are the tops? I used to have a 78' CJ-5 with a hard top,soft top & bikini tops. I would park the jeep off my driveway which has a slop,and crawl under the top and lift on my back. I would hold the top @ the door jams and step into the back of the Jeep.I have done this many times with no problems and removed the same way.I know this will be a problem for some due the height of the Jeep,but I'm 6'4" and this Jeep had 35" radial Bridgestones.I don't see how this could be that much more weight.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:16 AM   #14
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I don't think it's a matter of Weight but size and interior of the jeep. I also took mine off by myself and would never again, it's possible but not worth the risk dropping it and cracking it or breaking a window it's too big to balance.
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:36 PM   #15
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I don't think it's a matter of Weight but size and interior of the jeep. I also took mine off by myself and would never again, it's possible but not worth the risk dropping it and cracking it or breaking a window it's too big to balance.
I'd have to agree. It's not necessarily the weight, simply the size and complexity of balancing the fiberglass by yourself...

This thing is already cracked, and I've read stories about people busting out a side or back window due to dropping the top while moving it...
That's why I was looking for ideas or a simple heads up on what to look for when actually putting it on.

Like the phrase, "Measure twice, cut once..." I just want to ask questions, and install it in one
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:39 PM   #16
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PS
I replace the weatherstriping every year before I throw it back on. You can get a roll of the weather striping at Lowe's for $6.

Shop M-D Building Products 10' x 1/2" Gray Closed-Cell Foam Window Weatherstrip at Lowes.com=
Don't use that. You are putting it on every year for a reason, because it sticks to the tub and tears.

Go to Autozone and pick up a roll of camper seal. It's dense rubber foam with a woven covering that will not stick. I tried the frostking seal and did have to replace it. The Camper seal does not stick.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:05 PM   #17
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The four bolts should actually be 6. One at each corner and two in the middle. I use to remove and install my hard top myself. I stored it on the ground which made it more difficult to lift.
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Old 11-24-2011, 12:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil F.

Don't use that. You are putting it on every year for a reason, because it sticks to the tub and tears.
Mine has never been torn when I took it off
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Old 11-24-2011, 07:06 AM   #19
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I always use two people.... No sense getting hurt or dropping the top.

I have also never had to replace weather stripping either.

What do you plan to use to clean it?
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:01 AM   #20
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I removed and re-installed the hard top on a CJ many times and never had a problem with slippage or dropping the top.I guess being tall and not a couch potato helps.
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Old 11-25-2011, 06:47 AM   #21
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I do not think the tops are fiberglass. Or maybe the resin is not the same as used on a car body or boat. You may want to research this before you patch the crack.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:33 AM   #22
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Hit the gym. Squats and shoulder presses help. Be careful. Mine slipped once and I was fortunate enough not to break anything. The back part with the glass is the heaviest(duh!).I open my tailgate all the way,crawl in,push the roof back until there is about 2" left on the rail. Then I climb out so I am standing up and this is where the shoulder presses help. I push up and move away from the jeep and kind of spin a bit to clear the tire/tailgate(this is the point of no return and where I also dropped mine). Good luck. Lol
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:56 AM   #23
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Leeroy, I just wanted to voice that I appreciate your handle.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:55 AM   #24
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:49 AM   #25
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Get help, I have the same year jeep with soft and hard tops. I tried to take the top off myself one year and was successful, but I would not do it again. Not too heavy, just big and bulky. My wife has helped take it off, but she is not so much help putting it on. A person on either side will make it a 5 minute job after the soft top is removed.

You should have six bolts with rectangular nuts to attach the top to the tub. The nuts may even have this little plastic shroud which will snap onto the tub frame and hold them in place while you drop the bolts through. Make sure you take off the door surrounds (if a supertop has them) prior to trying to put the hard top on. Open all the doors also while moving the top into position.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:47 PM   #26
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I always use two people.... No sense getting hurt or dropping the top.

I have also never had to replace weather stripping either.

What do you plan to use to clean it?

Well, I plan to use simple elbow grease, some basic watered down simple green, a sponge and an old tooth brush!

Thanks for the extra thoughs on the camper idea, and I'll double check the Fiberglas...
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:52 PM   #27
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So... I used the most simple technique known to man... water and a bucket for the first interior wash.

Then I used a diluted mixture of simple green / water for the second application about 1 part green 5 parts water and went over the areas that had excess buildup with the old tooth brush to scrub out the mold and embedded dirt. The normal, dip the brush, scrub for 5-10 seconds, dip again, scrub, try not to think of the water rolling down your arm etc. I think it went rather well.
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:05 PM   #28
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I found a product called PC-11 that I used to fill some holes in a hardtop. It seemed to adhere well to the top material. It is made by PC products in Allentown Pa.
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:06 PM   #29
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Can you tell where I was scrubbing?


Clean


Not Clean


Done


Simple basic preventive maintenance in about an hour... I just had to keep dumping the water.

Even though black water may be a subject for an interesting classic rock song, it's still a sub-par cleaning agent...
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:11 PM   #30
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The four bolts should actually be 6. One at each corner and two in the middle. I use to remove and install my hard top myself. I stored it on the ground which made it more difficult to lift.
I found 2 bolts in the box the PO gave me... They didn't have these hinges attached like the other four, but these bolts looked as if they were the same size and manufacture. Are these the ones for the middle?

They look like they would be it... are these middle bolts just that? Bolts?

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