DIY OEM soft top bows (1 Viewer)

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I used to have a web site about making the OEM soft top front bow from OEM hard top sides, but my ISP took it down and I don't remember where I put the back up for the html code. I didn't think that there was any interest in doing this anymore because of commercially available reproduction bow sets, but a number of people have been asking about it, so I thought I would just do a thread on the subject using the same pictures.

The objective is to make the OEM soft top front bow from OEM hard top B pillar and the strip that goes over the door to the windshield.

Materials:

1. OEM hard top sides with the metal strip that goes over the doors.
2. 1.5 inch 16ga angle stock (6 feet)
3. 5/8 inch 16ga HREW square tube (10 feet)
4. 1 inch diameter 16ga HREW tube (6 feet)
5. 2 inch radius 90 degree mandrel bends in 1 inch 16 ga tube. (2)


Steps:
1. The 5/8 square tube is used to make the C channel that retains the edge of the top fabric. The fabric ends in a loop that slides into the C channel and then it is locked in place by sliding a 1/4 inch metal rod into the fabric loop. You make the C channel by cutting a 1/8 inch slot on one edge of the tube and smoothing and deburring the cut edge with a grinder. I cut the slot using an abrasive metal blade in a radial arm saw. You could also cut it manually with a cut off tool.
Cchannel2.jpg
 
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Step 2.
Then cut the hard top sides using a cut off wheel to the correct dimension for the OEM soft top bow. Sorry but I don't have this measurement anymore, but maybe someone will post it up.
Bow1.jpg
Bow2.jpg
 
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Step 3.

Cut a piece of the 1.5 inch angle stock to match the length of the hole in the hard top side and cut a piece of the 5/8 C channel that is 2 inches longer. The C channel extends about 2 inches below the botton of the hard top side.

Drill holes in one side of the angle stock to spot weld the C channel to the angle stock. If your hard top sides are later than 73 or 74, they will have a slight bend in the middle. If so, cut a slot in the angle stock so that you can bend it to match the angle of the hard top sides. Then weld the C channel - angle assembly into the hole in the hard top side.
Bow4.jpg
Bow3.jpg
Bow5.jpg
 
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Joined
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Step 4. Spot weld C channel to top strip

Drill holes in the top strip for spot welds. Cut a piece of C channel that will extend from the front of the strip to the C channel at the B pillar post. This is about 4 inches longer than the top strip. Spot weld the C channel to the top strip. Assemble top strip pieces and the B pillar post and you are ready to make the tube part that connects the two sides.
Bow6.jpg
Bow7.jpg
Bow8.jpg
 
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Step 5. Make the bow that connects the two sides.

The hard part for this step is to make the 2 inch radius 90 degree bends in the 1 inch tube. I noticed that I had a lot of junk lying around my house that had 2 inch radius bends in 1 inch tube, like the frame from my old junk propane grill. Instead of bending the tube, I cut out these bends from my junk and welded them to the tube. The tube has a slight curve to it so that it is about 1 inch higher in the middle. Sorry, but I don't have any pictures of the tube.
 
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Charlie....here's your old site: Internet Archive Wayback Machine

loved that write-up :)


I see a room in your house with just a server full of all the info you have stored away. You sent me pictures of early FJ40s a few years back. I have them a couple of places. One they are the size of a postage stamp. The other their are huge. I want to have a print made of one and can only find the postage size file. Don't know how you do it Johnny. Keep up the good work.:cheers:

On a tech note about soft top bows it is the 90 degree bends that are tough. A standard 3/4" conduit bender is a round corner compaired to OEM which is very sharp.
 
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Jul 22, 2012
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producing

I just need the measurements for the soft top its self. I will start producing these when I'm done, so if people want to buy them I will make them.:bounce:
 
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Aug 25, 2007
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Opinions: I have a Repro Factory Soft Top for my truck but really dont want to drill into the rail of my tub.

A buddy stopped by yesterday in a FJ40 he just bought and it has a Bestop Supertop with cool retainer system on the tub rail.

Im wondering how hard it would be to incorporate this rail into my softop and therefore eliminate having to drill into tub.

Thoughts?
Bestop Supertop Retaining Rail.jpg
 

SouthBostonFJ40

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Alex- I would think about installing the twist locks on the Bestop piece instead of modifying the top to fit the rail lip. You could also loose the straps on the corners and use twist locks there too if you didn't want to drill for footman loops.
 
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SouthBostonFJ said:
Alex- I would think about installing the twist locks on the Bestop piece instead of modifying the top to fit the rail lip. You could also loose the straps on the corners and use twist locks there too if you didn't want to drill for footman loops.

Yep, that's what I was thinking.

I'll probably put footman loops on tailgate as the Bestop uses Velcro on the tailgate.
 
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KY Longhunter said:
Yep, that's what I was thinking.

I'll probably put footman loops on tailgate as the Bestop uses Velcro on the tailgate.

Make sure to post up how this goes as I have been contemplating the same thing.

Thanks
 
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I have been garthering parts for building a set. Couple questions on the rear bow are the angles facing the rear or the the side? Also i saw that oem was like 33· and 57· degrees or something how important are these to being correct can i use two 45· for example they are just to move the bow even with the edge of the tub correct. Ive never a oem soft top in person ill take any advice thanks
 
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Which angles? If you lay the rear bow flat on its rear surface, the bottom feet are angled up at 26 degrees.


The angles of the other two bends at the end of the feet are about 30 degrees from horizontal each.
rearbow.jpg
rearbottom copy.jpg
 
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Those big black numbers are why i didnt see it thanks pinhead 26· degrees. Where it says 30· is it fesible to use a more common angle make to the bend out to the tub? Am i correct with my guess that just angles the bow from the wheelwell to the outer edge of the tub. Does anyone have a link that shows these rear bows from a few angles i tried searching and i couldnt open your org writeup in the wayback time machine or whatever on my tablet. Thanks
 

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