Advice on Hardtop for Soon to be Owner

JeepLeap

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So, after years of being jealous of all of you in your Wranglers... combined with the nonsense over the past year plus, I’ve finally decided to say F**K IT, I’m buying a Jeep!

My order (2021 Willys Unlimited Granite w/ hardtop) has been in for a week - I called to check on it 3 days in and said “SO MY JEEP ISNT READY YET?!?” I was joking. They laughed. I’m gonna be so annoying.

My question: I want to have an easy way to remove and store the hardtop from the get-go since I’m not sure how much summer will be left when I finally get it. Is it worth going all in on the TopLiftPro now or is it at all possible that a single strong person may not have trouble lifting off the hardtop himself and placing it on a cheaper option (scaffolding or )?

Also, curious... has anyone tried one of these engine creepers as a cheaper version of the TLP?

Does anyone know what the 2021 hardtops are weighing in at?

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desmo2

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You will not be able to remove it alone. I have a 2-door, and while the top is still heavy even with the freedom panels removed, it is simply too awkward for one person to muscle without a lot of risk (for both damage and injury).

I just bought a Lange Gen-2 Hoist-A-Cart. It arrived yesterday and I have not yet assembled it. It is cheaper than the Top Lift Pro, and has additional perks such as door storage mounts and you can lower the top and store it on the lift base (sturdier).

The Top Lift Pro lifts the top from underneath, so less overhead clearance is required.
 

Jhawth

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Never tried it, I went with the cheapo DIY ratchet lift for the time being. Think I spent less than $40 for some tie downs, ratchet straps and screws. There are a million videos of people making DIY hard top hoist systems on youtube if you have some time to kill lol!
 
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JeepLeap

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Never tried it, I went with the cheapo DIY ratchet lift for the time being. Think I spent less than $40 for some tie downs, ratchet straps and screws. There are a million videos of people making DIY hard top hoist systems on youtube if you have some time to kill lol!
I can’t do a hoist system in my garage unfortunately!
 
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JeepLeap

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You will not be able to remove it alone. I have a 2-door, and while the top is still heavy even with the freedom panels removed, it is simply too awkward for one person to muscle without a lot of risk (for both damage and injury).

I just bought a Lange Gen-2 Hoist-A-Cart. It arrived yesterday and I have not yet assembled it. It is cheaper than the Top Lift Pro, and has additional perks such as door storage mounts and you can lower the top and store it on the lift base (sturdier).

The Top Lift Pro lifts the top from underneath, so less overhead clearance is required.
Great advice! I also was looking at that Lange Hoist. It’s currently out of stock. Do you know the height of it all when the hardtop is lifted? My clearance isn’t great.
 

Shots

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I agree with Dave that it's just too awkward to safely do by yourself without a lift of some sort. Technically, YES it can be done, but I wouldn't recommend it.

That said I have an electric hoist and a Topsy kit (hooks mounted on the back hinges and a strap for the front). The top can be put on or taken off in minutes, with no effort or help at all.

I have since finished carpeting the entire wood frame that is used to clip into, and put trim around the hoist, but here's a photo from when I was designing/building it.
The frame is just a bunch of scrap wood I had laying around, with 2 eye bolts, and a piece of black iron pipe. The hoist was a cheap one from Harbor Freight for something like $100. In all the set-up cost me about $150 and I don't lose garage space with it.
hoist-and-topsy-6-jpg.jpg



Then this one after some finishing touches, but obviously without the top attached.
20180926_182835-jpg.jpg

Here's a link to the post I made about it in the hoist ideas thread: Hoist thread post
 
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JeepLeap

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I agree with Dave that it's just too awkward to safely do by yourself without a lift of some sort. Technically, YES it can be done, but I wouldn't recommend it.

That said I have an electric hoist and a Topsy kit (hooks mounted on the back hinges and a strap for the front). The top can be put on or taken off in minutes, with no effort or help at all.

I have since finished carpeting the entire wood frame that is used to clip into, and put trim around the hoist, but here's a photo from when I was designing/building it.
The frame is just a bunch of scrap wood I had laying around, with 2 eye bolts, and a piece of black iron pipe. The hoist was a cheap one from Harbor Freight for something like $100. In all the set-up cost me about $150 and I don't lose garage space with it.
hoist-and-topsy-6-jpg.jpg



Then this one after some finishing touches, but obviously without the top attached.
20180926_182835-jpg.jpg

Here's a link to the post I made about it in the hoist ideas thread: Hoist thread post
If my garage wasn’t 100 years old... and barely standing, I’d 100% opt for the hoist from the ceiling method.

Maybe one day, that will be possible. But for now, I’m between scaffolding and the TopLiftPro. I need something I can use in the driveway and then wheel the hardtop/lift into my ancient garage for storage. I’m very hesitant to drop the $1000 on the TLP after dropping all the money on the Jeep but think it may be worth all the extra enjoyment I will get out of it.
 

Shots

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Another consideration is the Bestops's Sunrider for Hardtop.
Honestly I rarely take my roof off now. I can open the front with two latches and don't have to store the freedom panels anywhere. I absolutely love it. The only downside is that it does make taking the roof off a little more time consuming because you have to take the Sunrider off too instead of just the 8 hardtop screws. Not a huge deal of you plan on having the top off for days, but I typically only take it off for a few hours when I do it.
 
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I've been driving keeps since the 80s. CJs, TJ's, JKs, and now a JL. Always been a two person job to remove the hardtop. Like previous posters have said it's not the weight it's just really bulky and awkward. I bought Top Lift Pro, one person job now and rolls where ever you need to store it. Right now it's on the lift, my TJ pulled under it. Check the forums and Facebook marketplace, save $$ buying used.
 

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If my garage wasn’t 100 years old... and barely standing, I’d 100% opt for the hoist from the ceiling method.

Maybe one day, that will be possible. But for now, I’m between scaffolding and the TopLiftPro. I need something I can use in the driveway and then wheel the hardtop/lift into my ancient garage for storage. I’m very hesitant to drop the $1000 on the TLP after dropping all the money on the Jeep but think it may be worth all the extra enjoyment I will get out of it.
That makes complete sense to me. My old house was very old (seriously probably about 100 years) and the garage was far from robust. I wouldn't have done it there either.
I did see a guy who built a rack in his garage that was essentially level with the back of the Jeep. He'd back up to it and slide the top off/on. In my old garage that's probably the way I would have done it. Not the simplest method and it requires some manual effort every time but at least that way you should be able to get it on/off by yourself without damaging the Jeep or top, and without spending a bunch of money.
The only issue I see with that is if you lift the Jeep or change tire sizes (thereby affecting the height) you'd have to adjust the shelf to match.
 

desmo2

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Great advice! I also was looking at that Lange Hoist. It’s currently out of stock. Do you know the height of it all when the hardtop is lifted? My clearance isn’t great.
Out of stock, already? Wow, I guess I just squeaked my order in! Quadratec shows it may still ship by July 22 if you order through them.
The Lange Gen 2 specs say it is adjustable from 80" to 104". My garage door is 81" and my joists are 97". Since I have a stock Rubicon with no additional lift or bigger tires, I think it will fit with a bit to spare. My ceiling isn't finished in the detached garage, so if I have to position it in between joists until the top is removed and lowered, I can do that as a work-around.
 

Shots

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An idea I just had with the shelf idea. You could make a gap in the shelf that the Jeep fits into. Essentially two shelves an inch or two higher than the top rail of the Jeep. Then you back in between them, lift the top and slide a bar across the gap under the roof. I guess technically it would be 2 bars (one fore one aft) but you could lift/slide one at a time.
 

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Buy a Bestop Sunrider for JL.

Good chance you will remove the hardtop and be over doing that so to speak after say 4 times doing so.

You will never "be over" a SR .

There is a reason the Bestop SR is such a winner with the Jeep crowd and why Stellantis is now offering the SR as an option.

It is not all fun-z removing the hardtop... getting caught in the rain sans hardtop, storing the hardtop, damaging the hardtop, etc .
 
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JeepLeap

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I just found someone selling the TopLiftPro from 2019. I’ve seen some say that the TopLift may have changed some for the newer JL’s and a 4” gap vs 8” gap between posts. Anyone have any issues using an older version TLP with a JL?
 

cgagnon99

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I went with the Racor Lift with Topsy brackets/straps and it was super easy to take off myself! My joist orientation made it a bit of a pain to install but well worth it!

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