I had been exchanging some e-mail with another Jeeper, Ken Schmitz-Lammers, and he mentioned he had done some work on his hard top. We decided to put it here so others could benefit from Ken's experience. He sent me some e-mail comments and pictures. So, hoping I don't get things too badly out of order, here is what Ken did during his hard top project.
The first thing to do is round up the supplies needed for the project. This includes the following:
-indoor/outdoor carpet, about 5x6 ft. from Home Depot: about $23 (It's the type often found in boats)
-3M high strength 90 glue (1 can will do it, but it's cutting it close): $10
-2 cans of Krylon Fusion semi-gloss paint (or whatever you prefer, but the semigloss keeps the dirt off) : $5 each (the Fusion works well, b/c it has a plastic bonding agent...it also works well on the plastic exterior parts of your jeep...and you can also choose your color for the interior of the top)
-straight edge ruler for marking the carpet and a dry-marker to draw the cut lines
-box-cutter or a sharp scissors (Ken indicated he had the best luck with the scissors)
-clear plastic sheeting and masking tape for covering up windows for painting
Ken started by removing the hard top from his Jeep and placing it upside down on the lawn. He found that he could crawl around on the fiberglass portion of the top without causing any problems to the top. (Your mileage may vary if you eat to many pizzas or Whoppers for lunch!) To keep foot prints off of the top, Ken used a large piece of cardboard on the area he was positioned on while he worked on the other section.
Next came the windows. Using the plastic sheeting and masking tape, take your time and do a good job getting everything taped over. The last thing you want is spray paint on your windows. The rear window struts, mounting clamps, and dome light were removed.
The Krylon Fusion was applied in multiple thin coats, allowing about 20 minutes of drying time between each application. Better to spend extra time with multiple coats than get paint runs dribbling down your interior. Ken indicated that he did not paint the center section of the top as it would be covered with the carpet before everything was done. I think that was good thinking....hoping the adhesive would stick to new paint is something you really don't need to investiage. Be sure to get the bottom (top as you look at the roof when it is upside down) of the mounting rail where the bolts hold the top to the tub.
Ken also advises measuring twice and cutting just once. A most excellent approach to keeping your carpet expenditures to an absolute minimum. Mark your lines on the carpet and carefully trim away the excess. Ken said he also took the uncut carpet and laid it in the hard top to ensure he got the corners cut correctly. Although Ken did not do it, if you are so inclined, you could make a template if you were worried about a good fit. Decide on just where you want your carpeting to go and get those measurements so all is symmetrical and evenly laid out.
I'll toss this picture in here now so you can see where Ken ran the edges of his carpet. You can see the hard top latch at the bottom of the picture.
You will want to make sure you are satisfied with your cutting before you get to the adhesive step. Check the fit in the corners and along the edges.
OK....the paint is dry and you have your carpet cut to specs....time to break out the adhesive. This stuff is usually quite flammable and if so, it goes without saying that you need to use it in a well ventilated space. Don't try this in the confines of your garage!
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