4 man soft top modifications

Steel Soldiers is supported by:

ogsched

New member
5
1
2
Location
Dallas, TX
I’ve had my 4 man 1993 M998 for about a year now, and finally getting through the punch list to get everything working reliably. Final item is replacing the (original?) ratty soft top that came with the vehicle when I purchased from GP. I removed it first thing a year ago, and so for check rides since then I have been driving the truck around town with no top. C pillar is removed, and sometimes I get a kick out of putting the windshield down for extra enjoyment. Now that I’m getting ready to put the vehicle back into service at our weekend place where it won’t be garaged full time, I’m looking for some ideas on the following:

1) has anyone seen modifications to the standard soft top config to allow easy removal of the top and the windshield lowered without having to remove the side rails (labeled “handrails” in the TM)? Since the C pillar isn’t very stable on its own, it needs the handrails installed to secure the top of the C pillar to the B pillar and prevent the C pillar from wobbling around while driving. So in order to remove the soft top and lower the windshield, the stock setup requires the side rails and C pillar to be removed. I’m wondering about mods to the handrails to allow the section between the B and C pillar to remain installed, while either omitting the section between the windshield and the B pillar, or mod-ing for easy removal of just this section. Since this would be a lightly used “fair weather” vehicle, I’m willing to deal with a less than perfect seal around the front doors. One thought is to omit the handrails between the windshield and B pillar and cut a piece of plywood instead to sit on the top of the windshield and B pillar to span the gap and support the soft top where the front bow would have been.

2) has anyone seen anything that resembles a Jeep bikini top for humvees? Basically just a lightweight piece of canvas that is primarily designed to keep the sun off of vehicle passengers that could be installed/removed in 1-2 minutes. I was thinking it could be secured to the strap hooks the rear curtain uses, instead of having to wrestle with dozens of turnbuckle studs.

3) what is current best practice for mods to reinforce the underside of the soft top? From my 1st Cav days 25 yrs ago I recall we had plywood inserts that were installed on top of the pillars/bows to support the soft top and help manage water pooling up there after storms. Anything else worth considering?

Many thanks!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

Crapgame

Active member
449
66
28
Location
Navarre, FL
The VW/Audi Type 183 Iltis 1/4ton had a vinyl top that secured to the windshield frame by two latches attached to the windshield frame and the latch hooks attached to a 1" square bar set inside a pocket at the front edge of the vinyl roof.
VW 183 Iltis Windshield Latches.jpg
Same style system is used to install the Amtech helmet top to the windshield frame.

I would think you could remove the metal channel strip screwed to the windshield frame, attach it to the vinyl top permanently or semi-permanently, maybe use stainless steel pop rivets to attach "L" shaped brackets to the now reinforced vinyl top front edge to work with latches attached to the windshield frame.

Iltis windshield frame has a L shaped top profile I recall, opening to the front, the square bar sets in to create some isometric tension and keep some of the weather out. U shaped cutouts for the latches to pass through

A Humkini Top could use the same system, just shorter reinforced front edge, attache to the sides and C Pillar with the existing Turn Lock Fasteners.

This store has the mil-spec green/black and tan/black vinyl fabric by the yard $23.15/yd:

I would use a cheaper 1000d Cordura Nylon at about $10/yd for experimenting and tests fitting.

SailRite.com has a tool for installing the female side Common Sense Turn Lock Fasteners $11.95 or gently use a flat tip screwdriver and small ball peen hammer: https://www.sailrite.com/Prong-Bending-Tool-for-Common-Sense-and-Lift-The-Dot-Fasteners
 

Coug

Well-known member
677
285
63
Location
Olympia/WA
The VW/Audi Type 183 Iltis 1/4ton had a vinyl top that secured to the windshield frame by two latches attached to the windshield frame and the latch hooks attached to a 1" square bar set inside a pocket at the front edge of the vinyl roof.
View attachment 800999
Same style system is used to install the Amtech helmet top to the windshield frame.

I would think you could remove the metal channel strip screwed to the windshield frame, attach it to the vinyl top permanently or semi-permanently, maybe use stainless steel pop rivets to attach "L" shaped brackets to the now reinforced vinyl top front edge to work with latches attached to the windshield frame.

Iltis windshield frame has a L shaped top profile I recall, opening to the front, the square bar sets in to create some isometric tension and keep some of the weather out. U shaped cutouts for the latches to pass through

A Humkini Top could use the same system, just shorter reinforced front edge, attache to the sides and C Pillar with the existing Turn Lock Fasteners.

This store has the mil-spec green/black and tan/black vinyl fabric by the yard $23.15/yd:

I would use a cheaper 1000d Cordura Nylon at about $10/yd for experimenting and tests fitting.

SailRite.com has a tool for installing the female side Common Sense Turn Lock Fasteners $11.95 or gently use a flat tip screwdriver and small ball peen hammer: https://www.sailrite.com/Prong-Bending-Tool-for-Common-Sense-and-Lift-The-Dot-Fasteners
That channel strip is much too flimsy to do this with, you'd have to add a lot of reinforcement to make it not self destruct as soon as the wind started flapping the top.
Also, you don't want to use stainless steel rivets into the aluminum of the windshield frame, or body for that matter. Extremely bad for galvanic corrosion.
 

Chief B

Active member
159
58
28
Location
Milton, FL
I looked into Mojojeep tops and they are willing and able to do custom tops. They told me one with graphic would be around 350 as the width of it they have to print it on two tops and sew them together.
 

TOBASH

Father, Surgeon, Cantankerous Grouch
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,330
186
63
Location
Brooklyn, NY
That channel strip is much too flimsy to do this with, you'd have to add a lot of reinforcement to make it not self destruct as soon as the wind started flapping the top.
Also, you don't want to use stainless steel rivets into the aluminum of the windshield frame, or body for that matter. Extremely bad for galvanic corrosion.
Coug, just to play Devil's advocate:

While normally I would agree, my Aluminum truck has a steel Slantback top held together with steel bolts.

They also use steel bolts to connect the frame to the body.

I think stainless will be a bit better than the steel bolts used by AMG, although your point is valid.

I live by the beach, anda while ago I decided that I am going to bolt Zinc metal blocks to the frame and roof to lessen the issue, although I notice that our military never took notice or prophylaxed against galvanic corrosion.
 

Coug

Well-known member
677
285
63
Location
Olympia/WA
Coug, just to play Devil's advocate:

While normally I would agree, my Aluminum truck has a steel Slantback top held together with steel bolts.

They also use steel bolts to connect the frame to the body.

I think stainless will be a bit better than the steel bolts used by AMG, although your point is valid.

I live by the beach, anda while ago I decided that I am going to bolt Zinc metal blocks to the frame and roof to lessen the issue, although I notice that our military never took notice or prophylaxed against galvanic corrosion.
When the trucks were built for the most part they have things to help minimize the corrosion, but once it's out of the factory you get whatever the person thought would be a good idea at the time.
I know for mine I primarily do zinc plated rivnuts for everything, then it doesn't matter so much what the bolt going into it is made of.
I also use PVC tape between the dissimilar metals whenever assembling things to lessen the chances of corroding out.

Usually it isn't too bad, but stainless steel bolts directly into aluminum is a big no-no. Regular steel isn't as bad, and zinc plated is a lot better than either, but only until the sacrificial zinc is gone.

 
Last edited:

ogsched

New member
5
1
2
Location
Dallas, TX
Fellas - thanks for the good thoughts and the fabric source/mojojeeps idea. I’m leaning towards using the existing metal channel that is in place on the top of the windshield. Will repurpose the “leading edge” from the ratty old soft top that feeds through the channel to have sewn in as the front end of my new humkini top. Will do some measurements this weekend to see how best to tailor the top, and where to attach straps to fasten to the rear curtain footman loops. Will also evaluate recovering the existing old soft top with new fabric and amputating the two appendages that fasten down the C pillar (and cover the rear passenger seatbelts). This way might be easiest as can use the existing fastening system, don’t have to struggle with new installation.

Now just need to find a capable seamstress. May have to bribe the wife to see if she willing to lend a hand.

I am still thinking through how best to go with humkini top off / windshield down and not having to remove the C pillar to keep it from bouncing around...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Crapgame

Active member
449
66
28
Location
Navarre, FL
Humkini Stowage/C Pillar Stability: Figure 321 Item 25 Parts 12447124-1 and 12447123-1 Bracket, Mounting LH and RH, help stabilize the soft top C Pillar. What do you think about rolling up the Humkini top around the windshield strip, and use a couple of cinch straps attached to C Pillar with footman loops to secure the Humkini roll?
 

ogsched

New member
5
1
2
Location
Dallas, TX
Thanks c-game - got my hands on a pair of those mounting brackets. However figure 321 isn’t very clear about how those attach to the c pillar. I assume they mount above the striker latch and the c pillar slips over the upper bracket extension and then secured by #24 rivet blinds? Will have some time this weekend to head to the shop and figure it out. Will also get the old soft top and start thinking through how best to trim it up into a svelte humkini top!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Crapgame

Active member
449
66
28
Location
Navarre, FL
Humkini Stowage/C Pillar Stability: Figure 321 Item 25 Parts 12447124-1 and 12447123-1 Bracket, Mounting LH and RH, help stabilize the soft top C Pillar. What do you think about rolling up the Humkini top around the windshield strip, and use a couple of cinch straps attached to C Pillar with footman loops to secure the Humkini roll?
Those LH and RH Brackets attach to the doorway and C Pillar by Item 29 Part B1821BH031F113N 4each 5/16-24x 1 1/8" and
Item 24 Part CR3243-6-5 8each Blind Rivets. You can google search those Part #s to get the exact specs for that hardware.
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website like our supporting vendors. Their ads help keep Steel Soldiers going. Please consider disabling your ad blockers for the site. Thanks!

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks