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Old 02-23-2007, 11:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Removable Top XJ Project (Pics)

This thread will attempt to show/describe each step I took in making the top on my XJ removable. Its already done so this won't be a long thread before getting updates.

This is not another "oh sh*t I rolled it time to cut thread", my intent was to to have a convertible rig with a fully functional hard top that can be run with with full doors, half, or no doors.


First step before cutting anything was to beef up the unibody structure to make it hold together once the top was cut off... decided to build an 8 point cage that ties directly into the sheetmetal of all the main body pillars as well as to the floor with sandwich plates and through multiple points in the floor like seat belt bolts, etc. The whole goal here was to tie into as many points as possible to keep the body rigid.











Next up was making a solid roof rack/exo cage for the top that could be used as a lifting point as well as keeping it rigid so it would fit back on once it was cut free from the body. It attaches with the factory rack mounting points as well as bolting into a piece of tubing that was welded along the entire length of the rain gutter pinch seam. This tube works well as a slider on trees and rocks too...



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Old 02-23-2007, 11:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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After the rack I moved on to the rear hatch which needed to be seperated into two pieces. This part was very time consuming since it was fiberglass and needed all sorts of reinforcement. I used a combination of aluminum, foam, fiberglass mat, and even some wood to get the job done.











I decided to attach the tailgate to the body with a "pin" type of setup... could have done hinges but at the time I decided to go this route and it worked out just fine.



These are the female pieces that were sunk into the body and welded in place



It can then be placed in the down position by using the same pins that slide into female receivers in the bumper. The brackets on the sides hold the retaining straps to tabs on the cage.





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Old 02-23-2007, 11:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Clamps on the inside pull the tailgate tight against the weather stripping and keep it from rattling





The liftgate latch mechanism that locks and ties directly to the cage... it rattles a little must I think I need new weatherstripping to put a little more tension on the latch pins.





Had to make a spacer that angled the lock mount so that it went in at the right angle.

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Old 02-23-2007, 12:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice clean work, I really like how you tucked the cage into the A, B, & C pillars.


Last edited by FFRubicon; 02-23-2007 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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After the tailgate/liftgate I decided to tackle the doors. Cut the bottoms off of the factory hinges and trimmed the pins so that the doors just pull out.



The passenger side hinges have the pins pressed in upside down and they need to be taken out completely and I replaced them with 1/4" Gr 8 bolts



Front doors already have wire loom connectors just inside the body but the rears needed to be cut and I just spliced in some cheap trailer hitch connectors.





Through this step...





Enough for today.... I'll post the rest a little later
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Damn dude, that is some nice clean fab work. I like what you've done, very innovative.
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Old 02-23-2007, 01:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You do good work paying attention to details....
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Old 02-23-2007, 02:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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wow, awsome ideas
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Old 02-23-2007, 02:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Impressive!
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Now thats hardcore tech. Dude you got skills!
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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All that sweet fab work, and you didn't put hinges on the tailgate
When you get tired of those pins...make some sweet hinges or use a commanche tailgate.
I can't wait to see the finished chop.
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Old 02-24-2007, 09:10 AM   #12 (permalink)
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DAMN!! that's nice work.
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Old 02-24-2007, 09:41 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Excited to see your top off
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Nice work on the top rack in the garage, nothing worse than a top always being in the way.

Very nice fab work overall, that'll be a very clean truck.
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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nice work...very original. i like it
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Old 02-24-2007, 11:07 AM   #16 (permalink)
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very nice man. i was gona try to do a removable top on my old XJ but i hadnt even thought of braceing the roof like that. i knew i would need to brace the frame though. i was thinkin of usein a simple bolt design like whats used for the top on the old YJ's like on mine. but i sold it before doin to much. Very nice work man i like lol. i also like the finished product looks sharp
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Old 02-24-2007, 04:45 PM   #17 (permalink)
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That's slick! Nice halfdoors, do you have full doors with roll up windows? Eh...if not small price to pay for a bitchin' hardtop convertible. 'Cage looks good, too.

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Old 02-24-2007, 06:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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now you just gotta make the front windshield slide down and forward
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Old 02-24-2007, 06:27 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the comments... well now that the suspense of the finished product is out there, here some more...


Half Doors.... pulled a set from the junkyard for a steal and just had to repair the rust and bang some dents out. Basically I cut everything out above the handle/latch mechanism as well as all the window tracks and hardware. I left the power lock mechanism and welded on a little tab so they can still be locked manually... no real point in being able to lock them becuase you can just reach in and unlock them but figured with possible little ones riding in the future might come in handy.



The inner panels are just aluminum sheet with some a quick random pattern with a grinder. Threw a coat of clear on them finished with some rubber trim and attached with stainless screws.

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Old 02-24-2007, 06:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Nice cage!



looks great
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Old 02-24-2007, 06:49 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The last thing I did before seperating the top from the body was to weld U shaped brackets to the B and C pillars of the body. They wrap around the cage and are drilled for 3/8 bolts to act as guides for not only securing the top once its ready to go back on but also to make sure that it lines back up. Once I started cutting the top free I was surprised how much everything moved, these mounting points definitely came in handy to realign everything.




At this point it it was time to get cuttin on the top, nothing fancy about this stage just taped off a line and went to town with a cutoff wheel. Didn't use the sawzall much as it ended up bending the body all to shit and didn't leave the straightest line.





Also got to use my HF hoist setup and garage storage that I spent a bunch of time building mostly for this purpose but turned out to be very useful for storing all kinds of other stuff.



Lifted it up and out of the way and didn't touch it for about 3 months while I did the sheetmetal work on the body.



I drove it around like this for a couple weeks before getting into the body work... it was awesome, just my old CJ and it was noticeable quicker with all the weight of the top and doors gone.


Last edited by flexy92xj; 02-24-2007 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:33 PM   #22 (permalink)
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NICE work!!Like you said just like your old CJ.Open air!I also notice my CJ is quicker with the top and doors off.By alot!The straight sixes just don't have the power the V8s do.
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:21 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Very Cool! I have been toying with that ides on my comanche, and you just inspired me. Now dont you feel better knowing you have changed the build of a fellow PBB'er for the better!

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Old 02-24-2007, 09:21 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Whats up with your front coils?
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:05 PM   #25 (permalink)
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gunmetal, afa front coils do you mean the way they tilt twoards the front? Pushed the front axle forward ~4" so they have a wierd shape to 'em.
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