HMMWV 4-man Soft Top Slant Back

Bulldogger

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I've begun making a soft top for the bed of my HMMWV, in a slant back design. I know that covers exist which extend the roofline back to the tailgate, but I wanted a sloping appearance more like the fiberglass slant backs.
I'm not aware of anyone making or selling these, at least not in a price point I can afford.

Construction is from standard contractor grade 1/2" EMT steel conduit. I'm using standard couplings and a couple of 1/2" iron pipe elbows to serve as the major unions. I've cut apart some screw couplings to serve to join inside portions. I don't know yet how well this will work, but it will be interesting finding out. I'll cover all piping with standard foam pipe insulation to cushion the canvas and give me something wider to wrap velcro straps around. I plan to use the same type of velcro approach as used in the standard soft top, but I don't plan any padding.

My prime reason for making this, besides looking nice, is to keep a majority of rain, debris and snow out of the bed. Given that the M998 HMMWV is a pretty "airy" design, I'm trying to get less water intrusion into the passenger compartment and not have to worry about being parked nose uphill when there is a threat of rain. I now some folks have made bed walls, and that's something else I might could do.


If this works, I may make some to sell, if there is interest. If not, there will be enough pictures at least for someone interested to bash out his own. The sewing will be the hard part, obviously.

Here are two pictures showing how far I got last evening. All the corners that are taped will be welded this weekend, except the back corners which I am thinking of bolting to the union. I'm trying to make this easy to assemble, with an eye towards possible future sales and being able to ship it rolled up, or just being easy to make for a DIY-er. Some of the necessary unions don't exist in the average Home Depot aisle, so that's where I'm welding. I'm not a stellar welder, so this will be good practice for me. I'm getting better, and the repetition will do me good.

The large cavity in the center will be for a marine vinyl window. I will remove the rear curtain when using the slant back, and plan to get one of the suction cup rear view mirrors from the marine market that some on the site have used with good results. It will be nice to have a rear view mirror to add to visibility in the side mirrors.

Bulldogger
IMG_0496[1].jpgIMG_0494.jpg
 

suzukovich

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I've begun making a soft top for the bed of my HMMWV, in a slant back design. I know that covers exist which extend the roofline back to the tailgate, but I wanted a sloping appearance more like the fiberglass slant backs.
I'm not aware of anyone making or selling these, at least not in a price point I can afford.

Construction is from standard contractor grade 1/2" EMT steel conduit. I'm using standard couplings and a couple of 1/2" iron pipe elbows to serve as the major unions. I've cut apart some screw couplings to serve to join inside portions. I don't know yet how well this will work, but it will be interesting finding out. I'll cover all piping with standard foam pipe insulation to cushion the canvas and give me something wider to wrap velcro straps around. I plan to use the same type of velcro approach as used in the standard soft top, but I don't plan any padding.

My prime reason for making this, besides looking nice, is to keep a majority of rain, debris and snow out of the bed. Given that the M998 HMMWV is a pretty "airy" design, I'm trying to get less water intrusion into the passenger compartment and not have to worry about being parked nose uphill when there is a threat of rain. I now some folks have made bed walls, and that's something else I might could do.


If this works, I may make some to sell, if there is interest. If not, there will be enough pictures at least for someone interested to bash out his own. The sewing will be the hard part, obviously.

Here are two pictures showing how far I got last evening. All the corners that are taped will be welded this weekend, except the back corners which I am thinking of bolting to the union. I'm trying to make this easy to assemble, with an eye towards possible future sales and being able to ship it rolled up, or just being easy to make for a DIY-er. Some of the necessary unions don't exist in the average Home Depot aisle, so that's where I'm welding. I'm not a stellar welder, so this will be good practice for me. I'm getting better, and the repetition will do me good.

The large cavity in the center will be for a marine vinyl window. I will remove the rear curtain when using the slant back, and plan to get one of the suction cup rear view mirrors from the marine market that some on the site have used with good results. It will be nice to have a rear view mirror to add to visibility in the side mirrors.

Bulldogger
View attachment 700391View attachment 700392
Good idea. Surprised nobody has done that before.

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
 

Bulldogger

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Making progress

Finished the mock up and got most of the tack welds done yesterday afternoon.
IMG_0509.jpgIMG_0510.jpg

Had to stop welding due to loss of light. Woke up this morning and hit it again finished off all the welds. Then tidied up the back corners. Then put the padding on.
IMG_0514.jpg
 

Bulldogger

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Pictures of all the padding mounted. After some errands and chores I will see about starting pattern making for the canvas top.

IMG_0515.jpgIMG_0516.jpg
 

Mario

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I don't see any hatch support structure.
Have you though about making the whole assembly hinge-able like hatchbacks?
Grocery shopping would be much more enjoyable if you could pivot the whole assembly up.
 

Bulldogger

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Mario, yes I have given a hatchback some thought but haven't quite wrapped my head around the moving parts necessary. I decided to stop hemming and hawing and get to cutting steel and stitching canvas. Mark 2 will be hatchback.

Action, yes, exactly, I have some heavy velcro to use just like in the soft top.

Bulldogger
 

tacmedic444

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I'd be interested in the purchase of a slant back made of canvas. I agree I think its a great idea and can't believe no one else has created this yet that I have seen. Good luck looks great so far. I also think the hinge idea would be genius to make the back more accessible.
 

Bulldogger

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Patterning begun. Will lay them out and compare and contrast, trying to improve symmetry. Then have to think through the order of assembly/sewing and step-by-step to pull it together.

I had intended to rely on pressure to close the gap between the back of the soft top and the slant back, but then realized there is a velcro strip all along the rear of the soft top for just this purpose. I've noticed it many times before but never thought about it. Finally dawned on my what that strip is for. So I will be buying four more yards of both sticky and fuzzy velcro and adding a strip of material to the pattern to join the two sections. The upshot is this will keep water out even better. The downside is my top's velcro channel, or whatever you want to call it, is suffering from years of outside storage and many stitches are broken. There is a lot of hand stitching in my future to strengthen it back up so it will hold. Not looking forward to it, but I don't see that pulling the whole top off and getting it rigged for mechanical sewing is going to be faster or easier, so I'll hand stitch it, much like when I resewed the zippers in my surplus door windows. That is holding fine, so I'll use the same technique. Wish I didn't have to do it standing in the bed, but oh well.

The window is not patterned, as I made the frame and other patterns after deciding the window will be 36"x40" and built the frame accordingly.

I'm planning 1" added material on all seams, with a 1/2" foldover double stitch seam approach. I'll mock up a few short test stitches to see what it looks like and how hard/easy it is to make happen. Also, I'm doubling the length of my stitch on the machine to better match the existing stitches on the soft top (~1/8" long), rather than use the 1/16" stitch length I used on my half doors.

Bulldogger

IMG_0522.jpgIMG_0525.jpgIMG_0523.jpgIMG_0524.jpgIMG_0526.jpg
 
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twisted60

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I'd be interested in the Mark 2 version with hatchback. Great idea, eventually I'll convert my 2 man into a 4 man and the slant back soft top would be awesome.
 

infidel got me

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soft top

Just an idea... how about a 3 sided zipper closure for the center section. I didn't notice it mentioned, but if you did shame on me. It would let air flow through on a long ride, and give access to the rear without raising the whole hatch. Tie it up like the rear flaps that are on the 2/4 man tops. Looks great by the way, your sewing skills are to be envied--- I gave up on my soft door zippers and went to the canvas guy!!!!
 
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Bulldogger

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Just an idea... how about a 3 sided zipper closure for the center section. I didn't notice it mentioned, but if you did shame on me. It would let air flow through on a long ride, and give access to the rear without raising the whole hatch. Tie it up like the rear flaps that are on the 2/4 man tops. Looks great by the way, your sewing skills are to be envied--- I gave up on my soft door zippers and went to the canvas guy!!!!
That's a good idea IGM, I was thinking of a hard frame for the hatch. Zippers would work, though not as easy to undo as a latch, they are much easier to engineer into my existing design... I have to go back to the fabric store for more velcro anyway, I will look at their zipper options. Maybe I could just buy a long length from Amazon, as I am replacing zippers often enough.

Thanks!

Bulldogger
 

Bulldogger

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I should add that inside seams will get 1” added to the pattern edges before cutting to allow a rolled join and outside edges get 3” added to accommodate wrapping around the foam tubing. I need to buy a green sharpie or some sort of green marker so I can mark the canvas without leaving much trace. Alternatively I could pin the pattern on but it’ll get pretty beat up fast if I reuse it much that way.
I’m not looking forward to the hand crank sewing machine and what it will do to my right shoulder, but if I can sew and sell a few tops I can borrow/buy my friend’s upholstery machine he doesn’t need anymore.
Bulldogger
 

Mario

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I found a source for heavy duty zippers at a reasonable price online and spent a few idle hours finishing the pattern.
I’m going to cut canvas soon...
Bdgr
That's the wrong color for my rig. You need to make that in camo since you're going to send me a unit to beta test -- free of charge of cause. :)
 

parklandtrans

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Mr.Bulldoger,
I have got to say that looks just plain "Badass".. that is an awesome idea..and like someone before..can't believe someone hasn't thought of that before..? Maybe patent it or make your type of design safe somehow..
Anyway, awesome idea and definitely see pictures as progress goes on..!!
bob
 

Bulldogger

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Feedback appreciated gents. At this point I am able to source forest green, tan and black. Camo is something you'd need to spray yourselves at this point. I admit I also have a camo HMMWV, so I'd like them to match, but my long term plan is to spray the truck olive drab and lose the camo.

I hope to cut canvas this evening. I had the DTs last night and didn't trust myself to cut straight lines.

BDGR
 
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