Putting hatch on a hard top that came with ambulance doors

nakman

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I can't be the first guy to do this, but am coming up empty on my searches here... the issue is the 4 bolts along the top that connect the upper sill of the hatch to the hard top, they're not lining up with the holes in the hard top. And it's off by at least 1 cm, so not a matter of just squeezing it a little more. I've got the hard top bolted up to both sides and the windshield, loosely, but the position is where it is. But as you can see my upper sill holes are like 1 cm behind the holes through the roof flange.

So before I go drilling holes through the roof flange, just wanted a sanity check here to see if I'm maybe missing something? Or is this just how it is... I think the hard top is ~75ish, has the big windows no flip-outs. The hatch is obviously older, as it would predate the ambulance doors.
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nakman

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Here are all the parts bolted together, before I painted it... (the one on the right) been a bit of a frankenstein build but it all fits, just not the bolts on top of the hatch sill. what do you think, get the drill?

IMG_0931.jpg
 

nakman

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Bet you could get by without bolting it??
Yeah, definitely considered that. And I have never owned a 40 where it wasn't missing at least one hard top bolt, though usually one of the ones going in the tub. My only hesitation is I'm putting a rack on this, with RTT, and I do a rain gutter tower directly over the door, so there's a really slim chance it would stress something say if I were to back this thing into a tree hard enough to bend the rack up & that tower would be able to pull up on the roof whereas the other towers are all bolted where the roof is bolted to the walls.

I have to pull the top off anyway to paint it, today I just needed it out of the wife's side of the garage as it's supposed to snow tonight and she wants her garage parking back... how it goes with these things. So given that, I will likely just blast a couple holes in that roof flange so I can add the bolts next time. It is still odd to me they don't line up, the spacing side to side is correct but one pattern is just more inset to the truck than the other.
 

pjohnson

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Does the header only mount one way? Can you flip it around and see if they line up?
 
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I’ve got a thread on this topic in my signature line below. The hole spacing on the header flange varies between years. Ideally you’d weld the holes closed and drill holes where you need them. Otherwise just drill holes where need them... &/or put nutserts in line with the holes and bolt it together.

Very doable... I’ve done it a couple times before.
 

nakman

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Yeah the header only bolts one way, as the hinges can only swing in one direction. But good to know that I'm not crazy here and there are differences, I didn't think of adding more threads to the sill that's totally doable, and it's not like I haven't already added a half dozen of those to get the lifters & door catches all bolted up. I am terrible at welding holes shut though, think I'll just drill extra holes and move on here. Appreciate all the responses! :beer:
 
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could you widen the holes to make an oval slot in the top just enough to get the adjustment you need? After all, there will be a gasket between the top and the header and that bolt will be hidden.
 

nakman

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could you widen the holes to make an oval slot in the top just enough to get the adjustment you need? After all, there will be a gasket between the top and the header and that bolt will be hidden.
No, they are miles apart. It's tough to see in the photos but it's around 1/2", would be a huge hole. I'll just drill another set of small holes, not a big deal.

@bikersmurf I wish I would have found your thread earlier! Would have saved me a bunch of time with the strut holes, etc... gonna paste it here for the next guy Installing an 81 hardtop onto my 74 (keeping the hatch) who's gonna be me again most likely when the next thing comes up.
 
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Feel free to add pics, comments, thoughts, your insights, etc to my post. I’ve tried to make it as exhaustive as possible.

Are you going to use gas struts?
 

nakman

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Right now I'm using the OEM struts with the springs inside... they have power to lift the door about halfway up, not sure of that's good or bad but twisting the big nuts seem to hold the door up really well, I have come to trust that I won't get smashed in the head by the setup. So far liking the nostalgia of the original struts, it took a little while before I had faith they were going to hold. that door is really heavy!
 

mrboatman

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Take your springs out of the original struts and put the gas struts inside it all retains the original look and works great.
JP
 
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