Barn Door for JK factory hardtops

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I like the spare tire bag, adds a bit of sophistication to the Jeep. Almost like the old luggage on the British car boot rack, from years past (I had the rack my old TR4a) or a vintage trappers backpack. I think that is why people like it so much. It looks classy vs a sack hanging off the back. It is certainly what I like about it.
Thank you - that's exactly the look I was going for - the look of classic luggage on a British car boot rack with leather straps.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
If anyone is thinking of implementing solar, this weekend would be a good time to start - Harbor Freight has a 25% off coupon that can be used for a solar panel.



The panel I bought has gone up to $129 and with the coupon it will be $97.49. For a 100-watt panel capable of over 6 amps out output, that's a great deal. List price on the panel was $99 when I bought mine, and with a 20% coupon it was only $80, but even at the new price its a great deal.

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I like the spare tire bag, adds a bit of sophistication to the Jeep. Almost like the old luggage on the British car boot rack, from years past (I had the rack my old TR4a) or a vintage trappers backpack. I think that is why people like it so much. It looks classy vs a sack hanging off the back. It is certainly what I like about it.
More about the spare bag - OO supplied the fabric for me to make the prototype and it's great. It rained very hard all the way across Oklahoma and into Missouri on the way home, and Friday I had to go to NYC for something and it rained hard 4 hours on the way home and the inside of the bag was completely dry after both rainstorms. And a quick spray from the garden hose cleaned off all of the road dirt accumulated during the wet trips.

A couple of people at the show thought it might be too much work to undo the leather belt buckles each time they wanted to get into the bag. I told them the leather belt are mostly for looks but they are adjustable in case there's a large load in the bag and it needs to be expanded a bit, but the stbelt buckles don't have to be undone to open the bag, hiding behind the belt buckles are parachute buckles for quick release.



OO has asked me to do final pattern drawings and document the sewing details so they can put the bag in production. They're talking about versions in tan like this one and also in black like the earlier prototype I sewed for my LJ. I don't know when it will see the light of day though, they tell me they've been so making products to fill current orders that they don't know when they'll get to it :(.

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I have bad luck with windshields on my JKU. Several years ago I left the Jeep outside at Newark airport in the winter for a month while I went to India. When I came back there was a vertical crack on the passenger side, almost from top to bottom. There was no apparent reason for the crack. I had the windshield replaced.

After replacement, there was a high pitched whistle, so I told the glass company and they removed/reseated the glass to try to fix the problem, apparently this isn't uncommon with JK windshield replacements. That didn't fix the problem, so using masking tape I tried various edges of the glass and discovered the whistle was coming from the top edge, so I added extra caulk and that solved the problem.

A few months later a stone was kicked up by a pickup truck and put a small star crack in front of the driver's position. It was just below my normal field of vision, so not wanting to abuse my insurance, I lived with it for about a year (My insurance has free glass replacement but I was told that if I use that privilege too often they may revoke it). I had that windshield replaced this January just before the Jeep was due for inspection. It would have passed inspection with the crack because the crack was below the legal limit for inspection, but since I had lived with the crack for over a year I decided to stop living with it.

Yesterday a stone came off a truck and struck the windshield below the visible area just above the cowl panel. This was also in front of the driver's position. It sounded like a large stone, but no apparent damage was caused. A few hours later, a crack appeared. It started at the bottom of the glass, went vertical for a few inches and then curved left towards my registration sticker. It's only maybe 2 1/2 inches above the bottom of the glass, so definitely not in the viewing area but the horizontal part of the crack catches the sun in a way that it glares in my eyes.

Since I just had the glass replaced in January, I'll wait a while to invoke my insurance again. But to solve the glare problem from the crack, I pulled out my Cricut machine and made a matte black sticker to cover the crack.



I don't really like the sticker being there, but it solves the glare problem, it's in line with my registration and inspection stickers and from the outside anyway it looks like the black border around the glass so it's not too obvious.

I'll probably get this windshield replaced just before inspection next January. Ugh.
 

BradS

Member
I have bad luck with windshields on my JKU. Several years ago I left the Jeep outside at Newark airport in the winter for a month while I went to India. When I came back there was a vertical crack on the passenger side, almost from top to bottom. There was no apparent reason for the crack. I had the windshield replaced.

After replacement, there was a high pitched whistle, so I told the glass company and they removed/reseated the glass to try to fix the problem, apparently this isn't uncommon with JK windshield replacements. That didn't fix the problem, so using masking tape I tried various edges of the glass and discovered the whistle was coming from the top edge, so I added extra caulk and that solved the problem.

A few months later a stone was kicked up by a pickup truck and put a small star crack in front of the driver's position. It was just below my normal field of vision, so not wanting to abuse my insurance, I lived with it for about a year (My insurance has free glass replacement but I was told that if I use that privilege too often they may revoke it). I had that windshield replaced this January just before the Jeep was due for inspection. It would have passed inspection with the crack because the crack was below the legal limit for inspection, but since I had lived with the crack for over a year I decided to stop living with it.

Yesterday a stone came off a truck and struck the windshield below the visible area just above the cowl panel. This was also in front of the driver's position. It sounded like a large stone, but no apparent damage was caused. A few hours later, a crack appeared. It started at the bottom of the glass, went vertical for a few inches and then curved left towards my registration sticker. It's only maybe 2 1/2 inches above the bottom of the glass, so definitely not in the viewing area but the horizontal part of the crack catches the sun in a way that it glares in my eyes.

Since I just had the glass replaced in January, I'll wait a while to invoke my insurance again. But to solve the glare problem from the crack, I pulled out my Cricut machine and made a matte black sticker to cover the crack.



I don't really like the sticker being there, but it solves the glare problem, it's in line with my registration and inspection stickers and from the outside anyway it looks like the black border around the glass so it's not too obvious.

I'll probably get this windshield replaced just before inspection next January. Ugh.
My record for a new windshield is 2 weeks. Inevitably somebody kicks up a rock and a new cycle of chips/cracks starts all over. The angle of our car window fends off cracks far better, but the hood is all pockmarked with rusty chips. A tell tale of how bad our local highways are and how many rock strikes go unnoticed if they don't hit the windshield. I've been curious how well the Gorilla Glass replacement would do, but my wallet always gets the better of me.
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
I have a friend who just got a new JLU Sahara with factory installed gorilla glass. Interested to see how it goes. The flat angle windshield Is just asking for it. We made it about 6 months before ours got a good crack. Fortunately we got rid of state inspections the same year and it’s not in line of sight so no worries on that end. Planning to run it as long as possible, then get a new one to crack.
 

DCH109

Adventurer
More about the spare bag - OO supplied the fabric for me to make the prototype and it's great. It rained very hard all the way across Oklahoma and into Missouri on the way home, and Friday I had to go to NYC for something and it rained hard 4 hours on the way home and the inside of the bag was completely dry after both rainstorms. And a quick spray from the garden hose cleaned off all of the road dirt accumulated during the wet trips.

A couple of people at the show thought it might be too much work to undo the leather belt buckles each time they wanted to get into the bag. I told them the leather belt are mostly for looks but they are adjustable in case there's a large load in the bag and it needs to be expanded a bit, but the stbelt buckles don't have to be undone to open the bag, hiding behind the belt buckles are parachute buckles for quick release.



OO has asked me to do final pattern drawings and document the sewing details so they can put the bag in production. They're talking about versions in tan like this one and also in black like the earlier prototype I sewed for my LJ. I don't know when it will see the light of day though, they tell me they've been so making products to fill current orders that they don't know when they'll get to it :(.

Well that is some good news.
I will be keeping an eye on their site. Probably email them as well.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
For cooking in the wild, I have a 2-burner Coleman stove, but I rarely use it because almost always one burner is all I need, so most of the time I carry a small one-burner butane stove:



The Coleman has wind guards but these butane stoves, variants of which are available from many suppliers, generally don't have wind guards, so in conditions like we had at Overland West - up to 55-mph wind gusts - it can be hard to use a butane stove that doesn't have a wind guard.

Some years ago when I first encountered this problem, I made a simple wind guard for the stove. It's always on there and I had forgotten how well it works until the winds at Overland West and until several showgoers noticed me cooking my lunchtime hot dogs in the heavy wind and asked me about it.

It's very simple - I made mine from a piece of 16-gauge stainless sheet metal I had on hand. It's 1 1/4" high and it's a snug fit over the stove.



It could also be made from aluminum strip which can be found in most home centers and hardware stores, although typically they're 1" wide and for full protection from the wind they really need to be 1 1/4" high. It's just 4 simple bends, could be done easily in a vise or possibly even with pliers, and the ends are joined with a short piece of metal and some pop-rivets. The ends could also be overlapped and riveted to make it even simpler.



Two people at the show said I should market the wind guard but it's so simple to make I think most people could easily make their own.

Another tip - to make the stove easier to store and quieter on the trail (the various metal parts of the stove can easily rattle), I sewed a simple bag for it out of arctic vinyl (arctic vinyl doesn't get stiff in the cold).



Just passing these tips along for anyone who uses these simple but very effective butane stoves, maybe someone will find these ideas useful.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Well that is some good news.
I will be keeping an eye on their site. Probably email them as well.
There's a mailing list on their site you can sign up for. They don't send too many emails, maybe once a month, but I'm sure they'll announce the bag there when it's ready.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
For cooking in the wild, I have a 2-burner Coleman stove, but I rarely use it because almost always one burner is all I need, so most of the time I carry a small one-burner butane stove:



The Coleman has wind guards but these butane stoves, variants of which are available from many suppliers, generally don't have wind guards, so in conditions like we had at Overland West - up to 55-mph wind gusts - it can be hard to use a butane stove that doesn't have a wind guard.

Some years ago when I first encountered this problem, I made a simple wind guard for the stove. It's always on there and I had forgotten how well it works until the winds at Overland West and until several showgoers noticed me cooking my lunchtime hot dogs in the heavy wind and asked me about it.

It's very simple - I made mine from a piece of 16-gauge stainless sheet metal I had on hand. It's 1 1/4" high and it's a snug fit over the stove.



It could also be made from aluminum strip which can be found in most home centers and hardware stores, although typically they're 1" wide and for full protection from the wind they really need to be 1 1/4" high. It's just 4 simple bends, could be done easily in a vise or possibly even with pliers, and the ends are joined with a short piece of metal and some pop-rivets. The ends could also be overlapped and riveted to make it even simpler.



Two people at the show said I should market the wind guard but it's so simple to make I think most people could easily make their own.

Another tip - to make the stove easier to store and quieter on the trail (the various metal parts of the stove can easily rattle), I sewed a simple bag for it out of arctic vinyl (arctic vinyl doesn't get stiff in the cold).



Just passing these tips along for anyone who uses these simple but very effective butane stoves, maybe someone will find these ideas useful.
I was in Lowes today and saw this:



At 1 1/2" wide. it's slightly tall for a wind guard for these butane stoves, but it would work and all but the largest pots and pans would work with it; a larger pan my be supported by the wind guard instead of the stove's regular pot supports but that would probably be fine.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Roof Top Tent Repairs and Upgrades, Part 1

I've had my roof top tent for about 8 years. It's served very well over the years and I've been very happy with it. But after 8 years a few repairs were necessary and I decided to do a few upgrades.

Ladder Upgrade

The original ladder is fairly narrow and requires an extension to properly reach the ground in most situations. The extrusions it is made from are a bit weak and a bit of deformation developed in the slide channels over the years.

A year ago I did some design work for Tentrax, the trailer company. They recently began selling their own RTT design, which includes a very nice, modern tubular ladder (https://www.tentrax.com/rooftop-tent). Their ladder is wider and stronger than the one on my tent and they were nice enough to provide me with one. Being wider, a little drilling was required to adapt it to my tent, but it was a very quick mod - I was able to use the existing ladder mounting brackets and just had to space them a little wider to accomodate the new ladder. The new ladder extends longer than the original one, so no extension is required, it's wider, the foot treads are bigger so it's easier on bare feet, and it collapses much easier. A great upgrade. In this photo, the old ladder is (3 sections including the extension) is leaning against the Jeep:



The new ladder is a lot more compact and wider.



Travel Cover Straps

One component of the original tent that was showing signs of a lot of use are the straps that secure the travel cover.The original straps secured with a pair of d-rings and velcro, which work finbe but I've decided to upgrade to parachute buckles, which will be easier to undo than the d-rings. I'll also include velcro in the upgrade to secure the loose ends of the straps.

The original worn straps:



Upgraded:







The travel cover fits a bit more loosely because the old ladder stacked upon itself while the new ladder collapses within itself, which is why the cover looks a little untidy in the photos above. I normally carry two folding chairs on top of the tent/under the cover, maybe I'll stow them on top of the ladder in the future to take up the extra space in the cover.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Roof Top Tent Repairs and Upgrades, Part 2

A few holes in the screen


Over the years a few holes have developed in the screen at the main entry to the tent. I believe the original screens may be nylon, which is subject to degradation due to UV exposure.

I temporarily used Coughlan's screen patches, but they're not very pretty.



I decided to replace the screens at the entry and back of the tent with new fiberglass "noseeum" size screen. I ordered enough of this screen to replace all the screens in the tent if I decide to, but for now I only did two of the 4 screens because the side window screens are in fine shape. The new fiberglass screen is much stronger than the original and not as susceptible to UV as the original.

Replacing the screens is a bit involved, requiring the tent canvas to be removed from the structure, and the sewing can be a little tricky to get everything fitted properly and tight, but each step of the process required is not too difficult so taking it a step at a time it's possible to replace the screens successfully.

To start - if the tent has a fly, remove it for better access to the screens to be repaired.

I find it best to fit the new screen with the tent erected so that everything is tight. I taped a piece of the new screen over the old screen.



Then I traced about 1/4" inside the center of the zipper with a silver Sharpie marker.



Remove the new screen and cut along the Sharpie line. Once cut to size, I applied Bias Binding tape around the edges. To secure the binding at this stage I used 3/8" Seamstick Basting Tape (https://www.sailrite.com/search?keywords=seamstick). The 3/8" width is a good size for applying to the inside of the Bias Binding (it's applied to the binding at the bottom of the photo below, the backing hasn't been removed yet).



Stick it to the edge of the screen with half of it on the screen and half off the screen and the fold it over to stick to both sides:



Bias Binding in place with Seamstick:



I then applied 1/4" Seamstick to one side of the bound edge:



Take the bound screen to the tent, remove the backing from the 1/4" Seamstick, and stick the new screen in place over the old screen:



Once all of the screens you intend to replace have new screens basted in place with Seamstick, remove the canvas from the RTT structure. I won't picture this because your tent may disassemble differently than mine. In my case, the bottom edges of the canvas have a tube sewn in the seam that slips into a slot in the tent base. For my tent, the best way to remove the edges from the slots was to have the tent folded to relieve tension on the canvas and slide both sides out of the channel at the same time.

With the canvas free of the structure, take the canvas to the sewing machine and stitch the bias binding to the old screen. The process of removing the canvas from the structure may have disturbed the new screen's adhesion to the old screen, so adjust the placement of the new screen as you sew. Also sew the bound top edge of the new screen to the canvas.

With the sewing done, reassemble the fabric to the structure. Probably this is the reverse of the removal process but your tent may be different.

With the tent erected and the new screens in place, if everything checks out, cut the old screen out from behind the new screen.



Done.





Replacing the entry screens with new fiberglass screen is much stronger than the original nylon screen and the repair should last many years.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Roof Top Tent Repairs and Upgrades, Part 3

A few last details. The pull string on the zipper of the travel cover became frayed from all the highway miles, so I replaced it with new paracord, which should last much longer than the original.



And finally, I lubricated the travel cover zipper; the accumulated dust and dirt over the years was making it a little stiff ot operate. Now it slides better than new.



With the upgrades and repairs in the last 3 posts, I expect my RTT to give good service for many more years.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
As long as I'm on the subject of RTT improvements, I'll summarize some other improvements I've made over the years. All of these are detailed in this thread.

You don't want to bring your dirty shoes into the tent, so I made a pair of shoe caddies (https://www.expeditionportal.com/fo...factory-hardtops.127687/page-275#post-2693203). Only one is shown in these photos; the second one hangs on the other side of the ladder.





I made a changing room from some inexpensive canopy side walls I found at walmart.com (https://www.expeditionportal.com/fo...factory-hardtops.127687/page-279#post-2703114):



Inside the changing room, I added a closet organizer I found at Walmart. It's hung in such a way that it folds up with the tent (when it's empty of course).



Also designed and sewed what became known as the Camp Cabinet now that it's a production product:



All of the above are inexpensive/DIY upgrades that really add to the functionality and usability of the RTT (except maybe the Camp Cabinet, but since it's a product now you can just buy one if you could use it).
 

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