Hard/Soft Top Yearly Swap - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 07:01 AM
DrZ123
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Hard/Soft Top Yearly Swap

So I just got my 1991 D90 as a car to go to and from the train station, and for fun on the weekends of course!

I would love to be able to have it as a soft top, especially in nice weather. However I am concerned that in the winter here in NY, leaving it at the train station all day with a soft top may not work out so well.

Is there any convenient way to have a soft top in the warmer seasons, and switch to a hard top in the winter?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 07:14 AM
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xjahx
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Yes, buy a Jeep.

Given that it is a ROW truck, you will be able to swap from a hoop set with soft top to a standard station wagon sides and hardtop. Either direction takes 2 guys less than 2 hours. The difficult part is the rear door: unless you find a split SW setup (like seen on 1994 POE trucks or NAS soft tops with the fiberglass hardtop), you will need to switch between a half door and a full rear door each season. Not hard to do, but definitely the least desirable part of the job.

I know I joked about the jeep, but keep in mind that the aluminum hardtop is much more fragile / dent prone than what we see on a Jeep. Remove and store the SW top carefully.
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  #3  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 07:33 AM
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Hah, true a Jeep is easier to swap. We have a wrangler and it's fun, but can't compare obviously.

So the toughest physical componentry sounds like a flip down tailgate and making sure the SW top doesn't get destroyed.

Does anyone do this regularly?
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  #4  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 07:37 AM
Naplm00
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I used to swap from truck cab to full length soft top every year. I stopped and. Sold the truck cab.

Truck cab was 1000x warmer during the ny winter, but I stopped. Caring and prefer the soft. Top
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  #5  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 08:16 AM
DrZ123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naplm00 View Post
I used to swap from truck cab to full length soft top every year. I stopped and. Sold the truck cab.

Truck cab was 1000x warmer during the ny winter, but I stopped. Caring and prefer the soft. Top
I would be fine with the soft top year round, my worry is sitting outside for 12 hours a day through rain, sleet, and snow is that the soft top will leak and become insolvent...
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  #6  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 08:57 AM
Naplm00
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1983 110 200tdi 3 door soft top
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------ Follow up post added June 22nd, 2016 09:01 AM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrZ123 View Post
I would be fine with the soft top year round, my worry is sitting outside for 12 hours a day through rain, sleet, and snow is that the soft top will leak and become insolvent...
A canvas top definitely will only last about 5 years in the elements year round. My top is pvc and has lasted but the straps haven't. The pvc top is also noisy as shit and pretty much needs to be rolled up all.thentime.

Ski gear, gloves, hat everything is.needed during the winter, especially with out a fume curtian (I also don't have)
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  #7  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrZ123 View Post
I would be fine with the soft top year round, my worry is sitting outside for 12 hours a day through rain, sleet, and snow is that the soft top will leak and become insolvent...
You will have a gentle whiff of heat, but if you view the soft top as an every 5 year item and can handle the cold cabin temps, that is the easiest way to go. Road noise will be higher as well.

They make good weather proofing spray for boat canvas, which sees sun for 4month per year. I used this on my series ST, and although I did not do an experiment, I was please with the water beading up and never soaking the top. Snow is obviously quite different.
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  #8  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 10:05 AM
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If you have the storage and the facilities to do the work, you can swap it yourself in less than a day when you know what you're doing.

The main reason for a metal top in the winter is all the windows are glass and scrape-able.
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  #9  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 10:13 AM
Naplm00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
If you have the storage and the facilities to do the work, you can swap it yourself in less than a day when you know what you're doing.

The main reason for a metal top in the winter is all the windows are glass and scrape-able.
Definitely, and if you are going to truck cab from soft top the swap takes Maybe 2hrs, leaving the top support sticks in place
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  #10  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 09:42 PM
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Is it easy to take the metal roof on and off and keep it safe?
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  #11  
Old June 22nd, 2016, 10:03 PM
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Charles Galpin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrZ123 View Post
Does anyone do this regularly?
I do this every year with my series 88". Similar, but not exactly the same. I do it solo but have a winch on an I-beam in my garage so it's easy

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  #12  
Old June 23rd, 2016, 07:57 AM
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Doc - noticed that you have a young child. Are you considering adding a roll cage? If so, this could potentially complicate having a part time HT / ST. This is dependent on the cage you choose.

You could potentially convert to full time ST, garage it and pick up a $500 beater as your train station car.

One other thing you need to consider is what to do with the rear safari door. I do not believe that the swing out tailgate (for soft top configuration) hinges are the same placement as the safari door hinges.

One pricey option you have is to pick up a NAS cage, fiberglass hard top and soft top.
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  #13  
Old June 23rd, 2016, 08:02 AM
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I do have a 9 month old and was just discussing with my local guy what back seat to put in that could accommodate a car seat. Honestly, with her in the car we will never be going on a highway, only backroad driving with max speed of maybe 35mph. And not too often at that.

So I was not leaning toward a roll cage.
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  #14  
Old June 23rd, 2016, 08:25 AM
mmgcny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrZ123 View Post
I do have a 9 month old and was just discussing with my local guy what back seat to put in that could accommodate a car seat. Honestly, with her in the car we will never be going on a highway, only backroad driving with max speed of maybe 35mph. And not too often at that.

So I was not leaning toward a roll cage.
For your rear seat you should look to see if there is something you could bolt in to accommodate the LATCH mechanism on the car seat.

I am in a similar situation with my kids. Cage for me is a must have since i have no conteol over the other drivers on the road, and having a home near the vineyards means you get a good share of drunk tourists on the roads. I am looking into car seat options too. I prefer something that has a 5 point harness even though my oldest is normally in a booster seat.
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  #15  
Old June 23rd, 2016, 08:28 AM
DrZ123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmgcny View Post
For your rear seat you should look to see if there is something you could bolt in to accommodate the LATCH mechanism on the car seat.

I am in a similar situation with my kids. Cage for me is a must have since i have no conteol over the other drivers on the road, and having a home near the vineyards means you get a good share of drunk tourists on the roads. I am looking into car seat options too. I prefer something that has a 5 point harness even though my oldest is normally in a booster seat.
Yea I was thinking of having a bench with a lap belt and then I could get a separate base for our car seat that could be held in by the lap belt.

Agree that I cannot control other drivers. Town is 2.5 miles and the beach 3.5 mile, all 30mph or under speed limits. And not a touristy area. Also, would only be once or twice a month. So don't think I am going to go for the roll bar.

Also, the carseats nowadays are insane. I am pretty sure her carseat could support a car, not that I ever want to try it out!
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  #16  
Old June 23rd, 2016, 03:08 PM
DrZ123
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Just talked to my guy and he said it's no problem for him to take off the hard top. The soft tops he uses, Badger, are pretty darn expensive!

Are there cheaper options or is it really over $2k for the soft top?
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