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burton160w 03-09-2010 10:59 PM

How To: Roof and Door Removal
I figured the WF community has done a lot for me, so I might as well give back. Summers coming quick and I know they're going to be some newbies asking how to remove their doors or roof and why it's impossible to do! So while I was taking off my own doors and roof I decided to do a write-up.

Now this is for a 1999 Wrangler, but I assume the variances between TJ/LJ and 1997-2002 and 2003+ aren't too much different. This is also for the full steel doors.

Door Removal

  • PB Blaster
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Hydraulic Lift (optional)
  • 2x4 lumber

I will say this right now. If you don't have a hydraulic lift, go out and purchase one. It will become one of the most used tools within your Jeep maintenance, I guarantee. Plus, it makes this job a piece of cake.

Locate the the small nuts at the bottom of the door hinges. Spray some PB Blaster onto the nuts and wait fifteen minutes.

Use the wrench or pliers to unscrew the nuts CLOCKWISE if you are facing DOWN at the hinges. Take care not to scratch the body of the Wrangler. It is easier to paint the nuts then paint the Jeep.

Then roll down the window. It's added protection against flexing and shattering.

Pull straight up on the doors with the most comfortable grip. I find putting one arm over the window and holding onto the inside strap and the other arm at the bottom with the window frame resting on my shoulder is the easiest way to set the door.

If you have trouble lifting the door out, rather then exert excessive energy, do the following.

Find yourself a piece of lumber and cut a small notch about 3/4" deep.

Place it on the hydraulic-lift with the door frame sitting the notch of the wood. You can put a towel between the lumber and the door to protect it from scratching. I wasn't too concerned. Try to get it as close to the bottom of the hinges or the inside of the door.

Lift up and the door should start to come out of the hinges. Be sure not to let it come all of the way out before finishing the job yourself. You may want to cut away the bottom of the pins on the door so you don't have to worry next time about removing the nuts.

Hardtop Roof Removal

  • T40 Star Bit
  • 3/8" driver (or your choice)
  • Two strong people (I cannot stress this enough)

My materials.

Begin by climbing into the backseat and locating three T40 bolts on each side.

Depending on your vehicles past, there may not be all six present (or even four present :rolleyes:).

Some of the bolts (if not all) have a nut behind them, so be sure to put your free hand underneath to catch anything that falls. Losing those would be lame.

Then take your sun visors and pull them back revealing two beautiful latches. Pull up on each latch and remove the notch piece from the channel lock.

Now here comes the tricky part. The hardtop weighs about 150lbs. I'd recommend not dropping it or be prepared for the glass to shatter. Easiest thing to do is open the tailgate, lift up the rear window, and then close the tail gate.

Then, have two people stand on each side of where your doors used to be (they're off right :cool:). Push UP to pop loose the roof, but don't remove it just yet. Once your sure the roof is free from the front, being to lift up right in center where the rear windows end. Grab with the other hand right below the middle of the rear window glass and walk towards the back of the Jeep. This way, the weight is distributed and not awkward.

Now ENJOY and go get 'er muddy!

YAHAHA 03-09-2010 11:18 PM

Good writeup. Don't forget to unplug the electronics for the wiper/defroster and the washer fluid hose first! Trying to remove the hardtop with these still connected will ruin your day. You can also use an allen wrench if you can't find your torx bit.

burton160w 03-09-2010 11:20 PM

Thanks! Added to the write-up. I didn't think about this because I don't have a rear wiper or defroster on mine.

APPSTATEwrangler 03-09-2010 11:29 PM

and ya have to do something about those overhead lights with the doors off.
i just take out the fuse, but you can buy some cheap mods also.

Kilroy 03-10-2010 06:12 AM

The bolts that hold the top on screw into threaded, rectangular shaped pieces of 3/16" thick steel. These are original equipment and are used instead of nuts so they will not spin when tightening or loosening the bolts. You do have to catch them when removing the bolts. Esecially the ones up front, else they will fall where they cannot be reached. And many Jeeps do not have the plates because they were lost, or didn't come with the purchase of a used hardtop.

burton160w 03-10-2010 09:08 AM

Yea, mine were a hodgepodge of nuts. Wing-nuts, hex-nuts, and the rectangle nuts. Plus big nuts.

Unfortunately, I can't do any editing of the OP if a mod would like to help out.

T-BONE N BIXBY 03-10-2010 09:37 AM


Originally Posted by burton160w (Post 567252)
Yea, mine were a hodgepodge of nuts. Wing-nuts, hex-nuts, and the rectangle nuts. Plus big nuts.

Unfortunately, I can't do any editing of the OP if a mod would like to help out.

Of your hodgepodge of nuts, and besides the factory rectangular nuts, which have worked best for you. I have (2) original torx head bolts, (3) original rectangular nuts, and the others are just small, galvanized bolts with hex nuts. I'm lucky though, because the nuts don't spin on me when I am removing them.
I'm wondering if the wingnuts would work good if you feed the bolt in from the bottom, with the wing nut on top of the tub rail. They really don't need to be much more than finger tight, and a wing nut allows that extra bit of leverage to tighten up good.
Anyone ever tried this?

vasoxjeep 07-13-2010 01:25 PM

Anyone have any ideas on what could be causing my 2003 hardtop to not come off after I removed all 6 bolts, unhinge the windshield latches and disconnect the rear window defogger? I just bought this thing and I don't think the top was ever taken off. I tried wedging a chisel between the top and side panel, but I don't want to force it too much. The top portion at the windshield releases but it seems there is something in the middle of the top that just won't let go. Help please!

yjkid95 07-13-2010 01:38 PM

i just leave the bolts off my doors when the doors are latched shut they arent going to bounce off or anything plus as long as its not raining the doors are always off typically from the end of april to the end of october and i just unplugged the overhead light at the door surrounds.

Kate 07-13-2010 01:43 PM

vasox - there is a foam weatherstrip between the top and the tub.
It sometimes sticks to the tub making it hard to break loose.

Sounds to me like you got all of the fasteners loose. If it were me I would spray it down with some windex or even WD 40 (or something) in the hopes that it would help get it started.

Otherwise you might crawl up in the back of the Jeep and put your shoulders under the center of the top and push gently but firmly. Pushing from this position will get it started breaking loose on both sides and with luck get it to come off.

Better still, if you can get someone to help you, stand on the ground and both push up at the same time. Lift Front to back.

I wouldn't use a chisel or other metal instrument for fear of cracking the top or scratching the paint. Maybe a plastic putty knife but then you'll likely have to replace that weatherstrip. You'll prolly have to anyway though because it could tear when you finally get it going.

vasoxjeep 07-13-2010 01:53 PM

Thanks Kate. I have only owned soft tops in the past, so I didn't want to force the issue, thinking I might break something off. But in reading other posts and now yours, its obvious that I haven't missed anything as far as bolts, etc go. I just need to apply a little more pressure with a second person on the opposite side of the top. Thanks again.

Kate 07-13-2010 02:49 PM

My pleasure!
I hope it helps, keep us posted!

TjTheo 07-13-2010 02:59 PM

I dont think the jack to push the door out is a good idea. iv'e heard of people bending their hinges like that.

yjkid95 07-13-2010 03:00 PM

Just another thought to add too kates post when you put down the new weatherstripping spray a little silicone on it so that it wont glue your top to the tub again and just spray the silicone on it whenever you notice that its looking a little dry to prevent it from happening again.

vasoxjeep 07-13-2010 05:55 PM

Silicone, good idea. I'll use that when/if I get the damn top off.

SurfKaster 07-13-2010 06:10 PM

Eye bolt through rafter, rope pulley, & a couple of ratchet straps gets the job done for me.

robbiecc 10-04-2010 09:14 PM

what's the strap in the back going to??

InvertChaos 10-04-2010 09:50 PM

I don't know about you guys but I can handle the doors with out a jack and I'm only 6' 165lbs...

burton160w 10-04-2010 11:12 PM

It's when you first remove them a lot people are finding that corrosion had made it difficult to pull up and lift the doors off. The jack helps pop the doors off. I can lift 'em no problem, but my passenger sided wouldn't lift out the first time.

GoldTJ 10-05-2010 07:44 PM

@robbiecc-I hope it is attached to the rear of the top,otherwise it will be SEVERELY unbalanced and tip rearward and shatter the rear window-simple physics!

robbiecc 10-05-2010 09:37 PM


Originally Posted by GoldTJ (Post 804106)
@robbiecc-I hope it is attached to the rear of the top,otherwise it will be SEVERELY unbalanced and tip rearward and shatter the rear window-simple physics!

i see the one in front going from side to side and the front/back one is hooked to it-but what's it hooked on in back-i can't think of anything to hook it up to back there

robbiecc 10-05-2010 09:39 PM

rear glass off maybe??

ABJeep 01-10-2011 01:15 AM

CAN you use an allen wrench? I thought you had to use a Torx to avoid stripping...?

robbiecc 01-10-2011 04:41 AM

i would use the correct tool-depending if they have been changed or not will decide what to use.

I used a slightly modified version of this lift-i used 4 rachet straps and lifted/replaced the hard top by myself. Was worried after i removed it since rachet straps only 'rachet' one way but the top is light enough that you can release the straps a few inches at a time to get it down( and i took it all the way to the ceiling)
I now have my rolled up soft top hanging from 2 of the straps.

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