Winter and Hard Top Installing

Is that time of year, and the Jeep gains 140 pounds.  For most Jeeps installing the hard top is easy.  However with the American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) tire carrier/fuel caddy  makes the process just a little more complex.  Add the 3.5” lift and tires, I just need to lift it higher to clear the tire carrier.

Because I have painted and installed the MOPAR headliner kit, I wanted to keep the interior of the jeep as clean as possible when its not on the Jeep.  I have build a shed/box to put the hard top in and close it to keep pollen, dirt and dust out and keep it clean.  I also use the shed/box to store off my off-road gear, fridge, tent and other camping gear.  This keeps its all organized and clean.

For me to install the hard top its best to have three people but I need at least two.  Like I said, with my Jeep build, I need to keep the rear glass open, and the tailgate partly open (about 1/2 open) .  Having the glass open does not hep with weight distribution of the hard top.  

We can keep the glass closed until we get to the Jeep, which make it easier.  I do park the Jeep fairly close to the garage so I don’t have to walk very far.  Once we open the glass we have to lift the hardtop up and over the tire carrier.  Once we clear the tire carrier we can have a third person fully open the tire carrier and close the glass.  Once the hardtop is on I bolt it to the tube, there are four T30 bolts on each side.  There is also two T30 bolts up on the outside of the “B” pillar.  After you have it secured you can instal the two freedom panels.  I have a video below on how to do that.  

Installing that Hard top is daily easy, its weighted unevenly and it’s awkward.  It’s made of fiberglas; so it is very unforgiving if you drop it.  The glass is also easy to break, so I use painters tape to make sure the glass doesn’t open.

Having the Hardtop on in the winter I believe is good idea if you in a road salt environment or cold temperatures.  The windows do not like cold weather r and can crack.  Also road salt and the other stuff the city’s put down rear havoc on the zippers.  I would wash my soft top regularly and spend alot of time making sure the zippers are clean and I use the Bestop/MOPAR zipper cleaner.  The hardtop does keep the interior warmer, and the headliner kit is even better insulation.

Published by Expedition Team. Overland

As a Boy Scout Eagle Scout, camping, camp fires and maps have always been a passion. After getting my professional carrier established as a Boeing 737 Captain for a Major US Airline, I was able to get back to my routes of playing in the woods, mud and building things. I got my first Jeep in 2012. It was a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ, I did not modify it, and it had many mechanical problems, as I was a novice, and not mechanical, I sold it for a new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited. In 2014 I installed an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) 2.5" lift with Kelly Safari 35" tires. In 2015 I continued my build with AEV front and rear bumpers, snorkel, skid plates, and off road lights. Up until now, I did off-roading at the local Southington Off Road Park, Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania, and Badlands Park in Indiana. was an outstanding resource and I was able to make life-long friendship. In 2015 I did my first big trip with the jeep, first we stopped in Ouray, Colorado. We had two days of trails and did Imogene & Engineer Passes. I left part of myself in the San Juan Mountains and my want to return has been strong since. After Ouray, we went to Moab, Utah for Jeep Jamboree. Moab is "Jeepers Paradise". Endless miles of trails, from dirt roads to the most extreme, Moab offers endless possibilities for the Jeeper, hiker, mountain biker, everyone. Since 2015 I have returned to Moab in 2017 & 2019. In 2018, I traded in my 2013 JKU Sport for a 2018 JKU Rubicon Recon. I did this drastic move, because I was at the point in my build where I needed to upgrade my axels. I made the very difficult decision and striped as much as I could from my 2013 Jeep to move to the new jeep, as they were both the same style of jeeps; JKU's. I spent the spring and summer of 2018 to build my jeep. I once again installed an AEV 3.5" lift, 35" BFGoodrich KO2's and AEV front and rear bumpers. With this build I wanted to move from the "Rock Crawler" to an Overland build. I can still do all the difficult trail of Moab, Rubicon Trail, but also the fire roads and cover many miles full of camping and off road gear. With Overlanding in mind, I have build a cargo platform for my ARB 50q Fridge, and specific loading of the camping gear. Where is the Future? Buying an Earth Roamer and exploring as much of the country as possible? Thats a goal, but I hope in the coming years to get a roof rack, roof top tent, and then doing more Expeditions though Appalachian, Rocky Mountains, desert of New Mexico and Arizona, and the National Parks west of the Rocky Mountains.

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