Land Rover ideas for Jeeps

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Land Rover Owner regular contributor Vicky Turner has this short piece in the October issue. She says she got the "bucket" in Lidl (a German-owned grocery store much like Aldi). I've seen buckets/basins like these in Walmart, sporting good stores and other places here.



I used a similar collapsible basin when I designed the sink option (now in production) for the MORryde Trail Kitchen. I found one that was easy to adapt to a bar sink drain:



These basins can be used in multiple ways - MORryde sells the sink option in a basic and a deluxe version. Both versions include the hinge-out sink tabletop and the same basin, but the basic option is only the basin in the tabletop with no drain (lift out the basin and dump it). The deluxe option comes with the drain, a pump, hoses, quick disconnects for the hoses and a hose adapter for a Rotopax container as a water supply.

There are a bunch of different collapsible basins on the market and they can be useful just as Vicky says, but also many of them can be adapted to more formal sinks as I did.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Series and Defender Land Rovers have a drip rail around the entire roof, which can be very handy for mounting things. The JL also has a drip rail along the entire side, and the other day I came across this one in a parking lot with a hardtop-side Rotopax mount that doesn't require drilling:



It mounts between the drip rail and the bottom of the hardtop. More info: https://www.trailrax.com/products/pak-rax-jl-2018-current



They also offer a similar product for the JKU, but since the JKU drip rail doesn't extend past the back of the rear door, drilling through the hardtop is required for that model.

I've got drip rails all the way around my JKU and LJ Safari Cab hardtops, so I could pretty easily build something like that for myself, but it got me thinking more about the factory JKU and JK hardtops - rather than drill the hardtop for a single-purpose mount like that, if you've got to drill it anyway why not drill to install a drip rail extension?

A drip rail extension wouldn't have to go all the way around the back like it does on my hardtops, it could just extend from the drip rail over the door to the back of the hardtop. Once installed, something like the Rotopax mount pictured above could be installed, or a Molle panel, generic mounting grid, etc., and when that accessory was removed, the drip rail extension would still be in place so there wouldn't be any holes from the accessory to deal with.



Another benefit of installing a drip rail on a factory hardtop is that roof racks that mount to drip rails could be used with the hardtop.

The drip rail extension would be powdercoated aluminum or steel and would bolt to the hardtop. Holes would be drilled in the hardtop to secure it, and it would be epoxied to the hardtop for extra strength and to seal the screw holes. A metal backer strip would go inside the hardtop to reinforce it. Something like this:



Seems to me that a permanent addition like a drip rail would be more useful than drilling holes for an individual mount like the Rotopax mount above.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Different places to mount things... this expedition-equipped Series Land Rover has jerry cans mounted on the rear body. Maybe that's a better place than mounting them on the swinging tailgate/rear door? It does require relocating the tail lights and the license plate but it should be a stronger place to mount them.



I posed two jerry cans on my JKU to see how this might work out on a Jeep...



The angle of this next photo makes it look like two cans are too wide, but on the right you can see the two cans really wouldn't stick out past the fender flare.



I guess it doesn't look any worse than the Land Rover above :).

It wouldn't be too hard to do something like this on a Jeep, although as on the Land Rover above, cans probably could only mount on the driver's side because the cans would interfere with the tailgate-mounted spare if they were mounted on the passenger side.

The Land Rover above also has cans mounted on the rear corners of the hardtop. The article says they hold water. I don't have any cans the right size to pose a photo like that, but an air tank could mount there.

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Doing the photo in my last post showing and air tank posed on the rear quarter of the hardtop made me think more about rear quarter windows - my hardtops have them and so do many Land Rover defenders. The glass in these is held in place with simple glass gaskets, which makes them easy to remove so a range of aftermarket options are available for the Land Rover, including blank panels (drill them to mount what you want) and opening hatches.





This one provides access to air connections for on-board air:



Both in terms of extra visibility and optional functionality like the photos above, I think the Jeep world is missing out by not having rear quarter windows.
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
As has been said many times in this thread, the Jeep hardtop is sorely lacking in many areas. I want a better quality version of that Smitybilt Safari top.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
As has been said many times in this thread, the Jeep hardtop is sorely lacking in many areas. I want a better quality version of that Smitybilt Safari top.
Since my hardtop came before the Smittybilt was introduced, I consider the Smitty to be a low-quality knock off that's missing many of the important features that mine has :)





 

pith helmet

Well-known member
Since my hardtop came before the Smittybilt was introduced, I consider the Smitty to be a low-quality knock off that's missing many of the important features that mine has :)





hard to argue with that. put me one together like yours with 6 more inches of headroom. i'll swing by in late march to pick up and wont haggle on the price. im sure you need a good winter project. 😀
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
hard to argue with that. put me one together like yours with 6 more inches of headroom. i'll swing by in late march to pick up and wont haggle on the price. im sure you need a good winter project. 😀
I've done a few barn doors for friends, but a complete hardtop is more work than I have time for.

If you're looking for headroom, here's what you want...





I posted these images earlier in this thread.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
One of the first pop-top campers for the Land Rover was made not in the U.K. or even Europe but in Colorado in the 1960's. It was called the X-Panda-Cab and was available for 109 Land Rover 88's and 109's. It was basically a pop-up frame that bolted between the factory hardtop sides and roof (it's so nice that Land Rover hardtops cab be disassembled!). Latches are inside so the top can be raised or lowered from the inside.

Unlike the present day Alucab and Ursa Minor, it opens in the front.

A sales brochure:









Check the jerry can mounts too...



The sleeping platform was made of sheets of plywood; one could be moved aside to allow stainding inside the tall end of the camper:



The entire Land Rover hardtop/X-Panda-Cab removed:



Sure would open up (pun intended) a lot of options if the Jeep had designed the Wrangler hardtop like the Land Rover so it had a separate roof panel that could be unbolted.

It is possible to modify a JK or JL hardtop to allow disassembly but it sure would be nice if it came that way from the factory.
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
Even if there was an option for a non freedom panel version it would make modifications much easier. Sure it would be more cumbersome to remove the entire hard top but would also potentially kill the leak issue.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
poptoproofs.co.uk (https://www.poptoproofs.co.uk/shop/product-info.php?id=30392) offers a wide range of pop-ups for different vehicles. They install over a hole cut in the roof.



It's £2255.00 (+£451.00 VAT) or about $3700, it's an insert that can be installed in many roofs. They have an online installation guide (https://www.poptoproofs.co.uk/installation_guide.php), but basically you cut a hole in the roof and install the pop-up over the hole.



They come in a wide range of sizes and styles to fit many vehicles: https://www.poptoproofs.co.uk/datasheets/Size-Guide-2020-V4.pdf

These would be a challenge to install well on top of Freedom Panels, but I've been thinking about how to do that and I've got some ideas I'll post soon.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Here's another pop-up conversion. From DriveLodge, it also gets installed over a cutout in the factory roof. There's no pricing on the web site but other I've seen some sources say they sell for about 2k GBP ($2700), installation extra.







A closer look at the fitting between the pop-top panel and the factory roof:



Their web site: http://drivelodge.co.uk/new-products/land-rover-defender-110-product-description

I'm working on a design for installing pop-ups like these on top of a Freedom panel factory hardtop, I'll post some concept drawings soon.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
These Land Rover pop-top conversions have made me think about how a DIY pop-top conversion could be designed for a Wrangler hardtop. Here's how it could be done...

If a "Freedom panel replacement" was made as part of the base of a pop-top conversion, the camper top could be pretty easily installed on a factory hardtop. Here's a concept drawing to explain:



1. A pop-top unit is made to form-fit to the roof - its bottom is shaped to match the roof shape so it fits directly on the roof.

2. Part of the base of the pop-top is a one-piece Freedom panel replacement. It latches in place similarly to how the two Freedom panels do, except that it's a single piece and it's part of the base of the pop-top unit. In this drawing the panel is outlined in red for clarity. Latching it in place secures the front of the pop-top unit to the Jeep. The rear of the pop-top would be secured to the roof using the bolts that hold the liftgate hinges.

3. Optionally, a hole is cut in the factory roof to enable inside access to the sleeping area, just like an Ursa Minor. If this hole is not cut, the sleeping area is entered via a ladder up the back, or perhaps more conveniently up the side (to permit the tailgate to open freely). Since this hole is optional, the DIY installer can decide whether he wants inside or outside access (or both).

A bit of reinforcement of the factory hardtop is required, but that's easily done by supporting the inside of the roof to the top of the roll bars.

Installed:



Making molds for a kit like this is a fairly straightforward project and actually would be less complicated than building, for example, the molds I built to make my JKU Safari Cab hardtop. The sewing is pretty simple as well and a prototype for the canvas already exists (the Jeep-tub pop-top based on my TrailTop fiberglass trailer topper components):



I expect a DIY conversion kit like this could be manufactured to sell for maybe half what the leading JKU "hardtop replacement camper pop-top" sells for (without mentioning it by name ;)).
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
It's an interesting project that nobody's done before and it would be fun to do. But since my Safari Cab doesn't support Freedom panels (I don't like them so I didn't make them part of my hardtop design) there's no point in me doing it for myself. If someone wants to take on a project like this I'd be happy to participate.
 
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