Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

The [[FAILED]] Make-Your-Own-Soft-Top Thread.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by colbystephens, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Posts:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Oregon
    ok, so i am about to embark on a mission to cheaply build a soft top for my '83 k5. I'll be transferring over info from my other thread entitled "[pic request] soft top supports and seams" or whatever it's titled.

    So, here's the basic idea of my plan. Thanks to jekbrown, i have a second hard top which will be subject to a great deal of cutting in the near future. I will chop it a couple inches back from where it mounts to the cab, and take this down to just above where the fiber glass meets the bed rails. it will be sanded down smooth and have a nice straight look.

    now, i will take some sort of tough and pliable polymer sheet and cut a piece out to match the shape of the back of the cab, drilling holes where the bolts hold the hard-top frame to the cab. i will attatch this to my soft top fabric, probably using both a glue and a thread method. this will then be permanently attatched to the frame cut from the hard top.

    the canvas will have a zipper such that each side can be rolled up so there's only a canopy, but canvas will be permanently attatched to all the outter portion of the hard top which is left over so it has a nice clean look. in these roll-away sections will be windows of some nature.


    now, here's what i'm trying to figure out.
    1. i want to be able to use the back window glass from my tailgate, so i want to keep the back of the hard top so that the glass will roll up into it. however, this portion of the top needs to be removable, as when the top is rolled open so that it is in it's complete convertable state, because i don't want to have a big ass spoiler on the back of my truck. i'm not too sure how i want to go about making it removable. i'm wondering if the top is solid all the way thru, and maybe i should cut the back portion off parallel to the ground. then maybe i'd drill out a large section in the middle and put some type of metal tubing into it so that it can slip down into the remaining portion of the hard top, then a bolt will screw into it from a couple different sides to hold it into place (i'll try and draw up some diagrams later this week so this makes more sense).
    2. i don't know how i'd make the top detachable from this rear section so that it looks real clean.
    3. how should i sew the fabric together, and what should i use to make the seams weather proof?
    4. how should i attatch the windows, and what type of material should i use for windows?
    with this set up, i could run a simple H structure from the cab to the back remaining portion of the hard top which would support the top piece of canvas. the canvas will have straps to hold it secure to this lattice. to make it fully convertable, i will be able to roll this canvas forward and strap it down. the H lattice will be able to be taken apart with only a few bolts, and stowed in a storage box i will be building under my bed rails. taking down the support system will only take a matter of minutes in this construction, and will leave the bed rails looking nice and clean - no bracketry visible from the profile.

    that's all i can think of right now.... :o

    let's keep the chatter to the minimum in this thread, and try to conserve it for useful conversation.
     
  2. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Posts:
    2,425
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oakridge, OR
    Well whatever you end up doing, have fun getting fiberglass dust all over yourself. I don't envy you.:eek1: I await your results though.

    You'd probably need a pretty hardcore sewing maching to do the seams. I think a standard home one would prove to be problematic. As far as making the seams weatherproof, could you seal the inside/backside of the seams with something? Otherwise they'll seep water at all the thread holes.
     
  3. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Posts:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    here
    Just pop the side windows out and repalce with canvas or plastic. Unzip and roll the back window down and now you have a hard safari top.
     
  4. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2002
    Posts:
    15,142
    Likes Received:
    572
    Location:
    Iowa
    You may want to stop at a place that makes covers for boats. They have all the stuff you'll need and may be able to give some advice and who knows, maybe some help to.
     
  5. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Posts:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Oregon
    yeah, that's what i'm planning on doing. there's quite a few boat places up by the columbia, so it shouldn't be too hard to come across one.
     
  6. Citizen Rider

    Citizen Rider 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Posts:
    1,415
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Plano, Texas
    Tip for removing fiberglass from skin-
    DO NOT RUB YOUR SKIN! Go home, buy a cheap pair of pantyhose(i know i know), take a cool shower, and while in the shower rub soap onto the pantyhose and rub allllll over your skin.

    I promise this works.

    "Chimal" is a gel skin sheild that works like a charm for keeping fibers off your skin.
     
  7. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Posts:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Oregon
    cool tip. thanks - i haven't started cutting yet, so that'll come in handy. maybe i'll just wear pantyhose on my arms and head while cutting instead tho... :D (sig material, i know)
     
  8. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Posts:
    45,031
    Likes Received:
    366
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    well, whatever happens, I'm glad my old top is going to come to some use. :thumb: It needed a new home in the worst way, so I was glad that CS ended up needing one. I've got a lot of clutter 'round here, so its good to get rid of a few things that won't ever be going back on my "K5". :thumb:

    It was good to meet another ck5'er too. Truth be told, I'm an anti-social bastage... so I haven't met many... but all have been cool. CS included. :)

    j
     
  9. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Posts:
    10,453
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    ...oh how right you are...
     
  10. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Posts:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Oregon
    what type of saw blade would you use to cut fiberglass? i want to use my circular saw for most of it. what should i use?
     
  11. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Posts:
    2,425
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oakridge, OR
    I think I'd use a sawzall. 3/4" stroke at variable rpms should kick up less dust than a high speed circular blade. At least I'd think so.
     
  12. fireplug

    fireplug 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Posts:
    1,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Colby I'm jumping back into the soft top thing. I 'rebuilt' my STC, and made some improvements but I'm still not completely happy. So I've decided to copy your idea of using a cut up hard top.

    I've been away from the site for a while, have you made progress at all? Is it posted somewhere else?

    I'm about 10 minutes away from the initial cutting...I'll report in.
     
  13. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Posts:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Oregon
    actually, i scrapped the idea because i built myself a '73 blazer and have a permanent soft top for it (built the cage so it would be the structure of the top - and it's too big for a hard top to go on now). i think it's still a great way to do it tho.

    however, someone else has posted up a similar thread recently to this one. there's some great pics of what someone did to a toyota 4runner hard top in that one...

    i did cut up a hard top for this project tho - i did use my circular saw and a face mask. didn't really kick up much dust at all. just be careful of the metal supports front and rear in the fiberglass.
     
  14. fireplug

    fireplug 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Posts:
    1,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
  15. BGKYK5

    BGKYK5 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Posts:
    5,936
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    on the crapper...
    'scribed for updates. :waytogo:
     
  16. freakshoww1983

    freakshoww1983 Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Posts:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Racine, wi
    How did this work out for you? Ive got an 84 that I want to make a soft top just for summer and put my hard top back on in the winter. Don't like the idea of spending a K plus though.
     
  17. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Posts:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Oregon
    I have to admit, I cringed when I saw this "OFFICIAL" post pop up in my feed. :doah: I never did this, and have since decided that I would just buy a Softopper top for my truck this fall. Sorry!!
     
  18. freakshoww1983

    freakshoww1983 Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Posts:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Racine, wi
    I bet. The last post was years ago. How much did you find one for? Or are you still looking?
     
  19. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Posts:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Oregon
  20. 82355

    82355 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Posts:
    13,558
    Likes Received:
    1,688
    Location:
    Bradish Nebraska
    You should edit the thread title to "The Unofficial Make-Your-Own-Soft-Top Thread".

    Martin
     

Share This Page