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Onboard Half-Door Storage

It's probably safe to say that most folks want to keep their "new" stuff looking new.....at least to the point where it isn't getting messed up for reasons that are not related to its intended use.  In some cases, keeping it looking new serves a bigger purpose than just having it look good.  For instance.....the plastic windows in your upper half doors.  If you have them, you know they are going to get scratched.  It is simply the nature of the beast.  Most will probably agree that looking through a badly scratched plastic window is not all that great and in some situations, might even lead to an accident (sun glaring on a scratched window makes it hard to see the oncoming traffic). 

When I picked up my used soft top, it came with a pair of brand new soft upper windows (never mounted on frames).  At the time, I had no lower doors (metal or soft) but I figured one step at a time.  I used my full metal doors with the soft top for a while and then picked up a pair of used metal half doors that a friend offered at a good price.  A trip to the local Jeep salvage company, AMC 4x4 Salvage, provided me with a pair of used frames that only required a little wire brushing and a few minutes with the rattle can before they looked good as new.  With the help of my wife, we managed to fit the windows to the frame and I was ready to hit the trail with my "new" used half doors. 

Most will agree that the beauty of half doors is being able to remove them when the weather is great.  The fact that you can more easily see your driver's side front and rear tire (compared to the full metal doors) is just extra gravy on the potatoes.  But....what to do with the soft uppers once I was on the trail was a problem I wanted to solve.  A friend of mine leaves the soft uppers at home when he goes on a trail run.  It works....they never get scratched that way but it can lead to some uncomfortable travel time.  I was doing the half door project in January and even though we don't see snow here in the Phoenix area in January, the temps can still hit freezing and commonly do.  Add a 65 MPH wind chill to a 30 something temperature and that hour spent getting to the trail can result in a slightly frozen Jeeper, not to mention his faithful short-hair dogs that are riding in the back of the TJ.  I needed a way to safely store the soft uppers, not get them scratched, and still leave all the room I could in the back for my two 65 pound dogs

 

So....the first thing to accomplish was a storage cover of some type that I could put the soft uppers in when they were not on the half doors.  My wife sews (a lot) and so when I asked her if she could put something together for me, she pulled out this camo flanel material and asked if it would work.  (I won't tell you how much sewing material she has stashed in the back room.)


She took some measurements of the doors and disappeared in her room for about 30 minutes.  When she emerged, I had a storage cover with a divider panel in the middle.  The divider is there only to keep the two windows from rubbing against each other.  I told her a couple of flaps with Velcro on them would be just fine to keep the cover in place.    I couldn't see Donna going through the hassles of doing a full zipper. 


A couple of years back, I picked up some Raingler nets for the TJ.  I had one that I was not routinely using, which was the Partition Barrier net.  Its intended use is to either separate the front half of the cab from the back half (attaching the net side to side on the roll bar directly behind the seats) or using it to close off the area directly above the tail gate (by attaching it to the rear uprights on the roll bar). 

For this project, I decided to attach it to opposite sides of the roll bar.  It would act something like a hammock that was  slung across the roll bar.  Since I also have a mounting bracket right in the middle of that area with my ham radio gear bolted to it, I had to leave a little slack in the 4 mounting straps. 

More Half Door Storage

 

 

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