Four-wheeling in Oregon involves considerable variation in climate as well as terrain. It ranges from snow in the winter months to hot and dry in the three months of summer. In between -- well, it tends to rain a lot. Owing to this variation, we have retained the OEM hardtop and use it together with the full doors during the winter. In the summer, it is nice to run with a bikini top. We also have a Bestop, soft top which provides the important transition coverage during those many months when it can be both great weather and then get quickly wet.
An additional part of our conversion has been the fabrication of a pair of steel half doors. The design of these doors was based on a combination/bastardation of the OEM doors and the Jeep Wrangler doors (perhaps the only part of the "Heep" worthy of being copied and placed on a Land Cruiser). A pair of OEM doors was obtained from a salvage yard. These doors came from a late-model FJ40 that had been rolled. The glass and upper half of the doors were trashed, but the bottoms were relatively straight and free of rust. Rather than simply "cut and cap" the bottom half of the doors (as is typically done), I chose to duplicate the lines of the original door (inside and out) as they existed at the bottom of the window. Basically, I cut the original doors 2" below the bottom of the window, and welded this "cap" section of the original door to the top of the new half door. Since the total length of the top of the half door is longer than that of the OEM door, bending of additional sheet metal (16 gauge) was required. This approach, used on both the inner and outer skins of the door, produced a vacant channel in the center of the top of the door where the window glass originally resided. Into this section, I welded a section containing attachment tubes for soft upper doors (see photos below).
of the original lines of the door at the bottom of the window, and how
this allows the "kick panel" to be integrated are shown in this photo.
On the inside, the semi-rounded upper lip is terminated at the junction
of the kick panel. Note that the OEM door latching mechanism has
been retained, inside and out. The naugahyde used on the kick panel
matches that on the seats. The mirrors are aftermarket replacements
for Jeep Wrangler mirrors. I fabricated a mount for the mirrors on
the upper door hinge plate.
looking a bit funky with only the bikini top on, this image shows how the
half doors are converted into full doors for use with the soft top.
The "soft uppers" were made by modifying the doors supplied by Bestop.
I simply unstitched the Bestop doors, modified the frame to fit my half
doors, and then re-stitched the Bestop uppers to my new frames. Sewn
into the bottom of the upper section is rubber padding which compresses
to produce an air tight seal against the lower door section. Driving
at freeway speeds produces no wind noise, and I have yet to experience
any rain leakage.
photo shows how the soft uppers are attached to the lower half of the door.
The center section of the lower door contains three, 6" long, 0.5" i.d.
steel tubes welded into the capping portion of the steel door. The upper
frame includes three attachment tubes with 0.5" o.d. These fit into
the lower door tubes. The upper attachment tubes are of an expansion
bolt design, much like that used for concrete anchors. One the upper
section is inserted into the lower tubes, turning of the knob produces
a tight fit. With this design, the upper windows can be installed
or removed from the doors in less than five minutes.
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