Simple question leads to mini garage remodel - Racor hoist and Topsy bracket done!

jjonesx86

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When I brought the new Jeep home my kids asked an innocent question. "We thought a Jeep was a convertible, how do you take the top down"? Having a hard top I quickly removed the freedom panels and they were less than impressed :)

I tried to take the top off myself and then with my wife's help but it just wasn't going to work. Time for a garage project.

Here is the finished project...success! After a few weeks, more than a few hundred dollars and a lot of sweat, I am able to go topless and have a great multi-use storage solution!
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I started by ordering the Racor hoist and the Topsy bracket. The Topsy bracket went on quick and easy, I wish I could say the same for the hoist!
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Uses the factory bolts for a quick installation:
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This is my garage when we first built the house, just to show the standard overhead garage door opener. It turned out my project was going to require moving or replacing it to get the headroom I needed. The project just got bigger but I always wanted this gone anyway :)
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The garage now after 7+ years of adding storage and stuff. Now I have the full 10 1/2 feet of height to use!
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I went with a jack-shaft garage door opener and while they are picky in terms of install requirements, ours went in easy, just a few hours to swap everything out:
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The Racor installed and connected to the brackets, all ready to lift:
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Installation of the Racor lift is pretty straight forward but I'm too old to be working on such a high ceiling and holding everything up there myself. I wasn't patient enough to wait for help so after a few nights of work and some Advil I was all set:
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All seems to be working well:
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This strap comes with the Topsy bracket kit and is pre-made to work. It seems the fiberglass top carries more weight than I would like but I'll check to see if this is causing any damage...seems like it should be fine:
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Shooting or Jeeping

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Pretty badass, right?! Same deal here. Had a Jeep for years and the wife was my sole source of top help. So often the kids would ask “can we take the top off?!” And immediately I got the evil eye from the wife. Finally after dropping it on the JK, she said “never again, you figure out a better way- I’ll even pay for it” (fighting back tears and grabbing a knife to swing at me simultaneously. She’s a very complex woman).

Flash forward to the JL and within a few days I had the same itch. After researching, I found the Topsy guys. Completely questioned the product, as I had never heard of them. However, I liked the ability to lift without pinching the rear window moulding

Went on amazon to get the Racor lift and wow- heaven. Top off and stored within minutes each time. Why in the world I didn’t know about this sooner- but it’s a much happier world for everyone involved!
 
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Chocolate Thunder

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Approximately how heavy is the hard top without the freedom panels? Why is it so difficult for two people to lift off and remove?
 
OP
jjonesx86

jjonesx86

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Approximately how heavy is the hard top without the freedom panels? Why is it so difficult for two people to lift off and remove?
I've read that the hardtop shed some weight from the JK to the JL and weights ~ 100 pounds. Like most things, the total weight isn't the hardest part. The way you need to lift it off doesn't give you great ways to handle the weight. It's awkward. Certainly more than my wife could handle which would leave me looking for a friendly neighbor every time I wanted to remove it. Then I would have to deal with moving it around the garage. The lift gives me an easy way to remove it and store it given our high ceilings in the garage.
 

BlairF

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It is VERY awkward... not heavy, just large and off center of gravity.
 

JIMBOX

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Yeah, the trouble with personal jockeying is, one little slip and the result can be a $2500 mistake--

I've had my RACOR for over 8 years and even though it's a P.I.T.A. to put up on a 10ft ceiling-----ti's "SOLID AS A ROCK"

You can store a lotta stuff on the RACOR also--neat

W.E.

JIMBO
 

am1978

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Same here on the remodel.
- Installed a Lange Hoist-a-Top crank for the wife’s JLU back in May, works great! I don’t use the crank handle, it’s drill/socket operated.
- Decided we don’t need my truck anymore
- Ordered a JLU on 7/3, will sell the 2012 F-150 FX4 Off Road SuperCrew at CarMax, they made a good offer.
- Decided we don’t use the 2007 SeaDoo Challenger 180SE as much as we used to and it takes up half the garage-SOLD.
- Moved my workbench from one side of the garage to the other now that the boat is gone, relocated an entire wall of Gladiator GearTrack with shelves, trackwall and bins, etc. and installed two more shelves.
- Added two MyQ LED lights to my garage to increase lighting; motion activated.
- Ordered a Lange Power Hoist-a-Top for the second JL because my shelving doesn’t allow for a clear path for cables routing to the crank.
- Still waiting on my JL, been in JB status 8/4.
 

Tfom

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I was looking at option for hardtop and soft top storage. There are several reviews on Amazon about catastrophic failure. What happened there? Should I have any concern? Also, why does Amazon have it coming in a pack of 2?
 

Bubba33

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It weighs around 90 or so with the freedom panels out, not 120. My wife helps me or a neighbor, I made a hoist deal with a harbor freight boat winch. Didn't like it hanging in the way. So built a cart for the hard top. I have the soft top now ,so I won't be taking it off but once or twice a year.
 

x7tristan

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@jjonesx86 hoist looks great! What's your garage ceiling height? Looking to see if this will work in my garage.

Oh and does the storage shelf lower all the way to the ground in order to load stuff on the shelf? Seen people use the shelf to put their soft top on during the winter
 

Shooting or Jeeping

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@jjonesx86 hoist looks great! What's your garage ceiling height? Looking to see if this will work in my garage.

Oh and does the storage shelf lower all the way to the ground in order to load stuff on the shelf? Seen people use the shelf to put their soft top on during the winter
If you’re worried about height, I have a very low garage ceiling and it still works. I believe mine is 8’7. Doesn’t leave a ton of room, but it still works.

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JIMBOX

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Yeah, the RACOR HOIST is really wonderful--

Good job-I've had mine for over 8 years and used it for EVERYTHING !

Congrads-

JIMBO
If you’re worried about height, I have a very low garage ceiling and it still works. I believe mine is 8’7. Doesn’t leave a ton of room, but it still works.

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CNY-JLUS

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If you’re worried about height, I have a very low garage ceiling and it still works. I believe mine is 8’7. Doesn’t leave a ton of room, but it still works.

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Fully retracted, what is the distance from the top of the hardtop to the ceiling? Wondering how much room the lift needs at a minimum. My jeep is stock, but ceiling is lower than yours. I guess as long as you can lift it a couple of inches that is enough to pull the jeep out.
 
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