DIY Hardtop Dolly for $100

Jamison C

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I will do my best to be clear with the measurements I used, but you are ultimately responsible for making sure your measurements will work with your application. This is intended to work for a factory top and a factory top only.

I'm one of those guys that likes having and using the hardtop in the colder months. Believe or not, NoAZ gets lots of snow and ice and the factory defrost and wiper have come in handy multiple times. Most of us know the factory top is big and bulky, takes up room, and hard to move around. I went out on a whim and built a dolly that allowed me to maximize space, and move it around if need be. You can get flimsy hollow tube dollies for this price, and your bulkier heavy duty ones will cost way more. This is extremely stout and stable. Your total used space should be L60" x W30" x H78" when this is finished.
IMG_1809.jpg


Let me start with the list of things you will need. You can mix and match if you feel there are better variations of what I used.

IMG_1796.jpg


I started with the furniture dollies. I need to make sure they were spread equally and lined up. These dollies aren't perfect, so I didn't NASA engineer the dimensions. What I did was cut my 2x6 pieces to 60", and clamped one to the underside of the first furniture dolly. If you're using a speed square to make your cuts, then it should line up pretty well. Then I used said speed square to make sure the 2x6 was square with the 30" braces of the furniture dolly, countersunk the holes, and ran the screws into place though the top. I clamped the other side of the 2x6 to the edge of the second dolly, and used my speed squares and a straight edge (see picture below) to get it in line and square with the first dolly. Once satisfied, I screwed down the other side to get both dollies locked into place, and attached my other 2x6.
IMG_1797.jpg


When both sides were mounted together, I attached the garage hooks to what I decided would be the front of the dolly. I mounted them to the underside so I could utilize the padding on the dolly for protection when the top was resting against the hooks. Outside hook to outside hook is 54" apart. You have to get them right up against the outside 2x1 on the dolly with the casters. This puts the outside of each hook on the lip of the hardtop right before it starts to curve in the rear.
IMG_1798.jpg

IMG_1908.jpg


Next, I moved to the cross brace. This is where you really have to make sure your measurements are more accurate than the rest. You want your top sitting as vertical as possible, which means you need to know the relative angle of the rear of the top. To figure out the angle of the rear of the top, I used a straight edge and held it against the body of the jeep, then measured from the top rear of the top (right above the glass hinges) to the straight edge. I would call it at about 5-6” further in on the top than the bottom. Horrible illustration below, but you get the point.
IMG_0859.jpg


You ideally want the cross brace resting on the top and not the hinges. My measurement from bottom of the top to right above the hinges was 27”, so I set my cross bar back that far from the edge of the front hooks. This is where your galvanized pieces come into play. I used the 48" galvanized steel for it's strength. Maybe there are better options, but I'm confident that what I sued won't sag over time under the weight. I used the 2" vertical threaded pieces between the 90 degree elbows and the floor flange fittings because I felt that could give me enough up/down movement to level the top vertically. This takes a little trail and error, so take your time. The brace assembly was mounted to my 2x4 blocks, which I mounted to the top of the dolly in the rear. When it was all said and done, the top of my cross brace to the surface of the dolly was 5.5" (recall the above paragraph and photo where I determined the angle of the top put it at about 5-6" difference. Add the pool noodle to the bar and you get about another 1/2" or so. I centered the flanges side to side, but again, made sure the top of the brace was back from the front by 27".
IMG_1799.jpg


Here's how it looked when I felt satisfied with my dimensions and placements.
IMG_1800.jpg
IMG_1801.jpg


With the pool noodle.
IMG_1806.jpg


The beauty of this cart is with the top, it sits at 78" tall and 30" at it's narrowest, which means you can get it through a standard 36" x 80" doorway. This allowed me to roll it right through my house to the sun room instead of having to wheel/carry it around.
IMG_1808.jpg


The results? It is extremely well balanced and sturdy feeling. The 2x6 bracing with the two dollies on each side help to distribute the weight evenly and roll smooth without sagging. When we first set the top on, we set it on the dolly in its normal position with the rear of the top resting on the front padding, with the hooks on the inside. As we raised it vertical, it slid forward against the hooks and smoothly dropped against the cross brace in the rear. It was such a natural and smooth transition, I was very surprised with how easy it was. I had no issues rolling it through the house, and it's length is long enough at 60" that going over the step from my sliding door to my sun room didn't feel off camber at all. Another bonus is that the width of the dollies are close enough together to keep the glass closed and secure.

I already showed it above, but here it is in the sun room which is 66" wide or so. This was a simple project that only took a couple hours, and cost a fraction of what something if this quality would cost new.
IMG_1809.jpg
 
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I will do my best to be clear with the measurements I used, but you are ultimately responsible for making sure your measurements will work with your application. This is intended to work for a factory top and a factory top only.

I'm one of those guys that likes having and using the hardtop in the colder months. Believe or not, NoAZ gets lots of snow and ice and the factory defrost and wiper have come in handy multiple times. Most of us know the factory top is big and bulky, takes up room, and hard to move around. I went out on a whim and built a dolly that allowed me to maximize space, and move it around if need be. You can get flimsy hollow tube dollies for this price, and your bulkier heavy duty ones will cost way more. This is extremely stout and stable. Your total used space should be L60" x W30" x H78" when this is finished.
View attachment 533195

Let me start with the list of things you will need. You can mix and match if you feel there are better variations of what I used.

View attachment 533196

I started with the furniture dollies. I need to make sure they were spread equally and lined up. These dollies aren't perfect, so I didn't NASA engineer the dimensions. What I did was cut my 2x6 pieces to 60", and clamped one to the underside of the first furniture dolly. If you're using a speed square to make your cuts, then it should line up pretty well. Then I used said speed square to make sure the 2x6 was square with the 30" braces of the furniture dolly, countersunk the holes, and ran the screws into place though the top. I clamped the other side of the 2x6 to the edge of the second dolly, and used my speed squares and a straight edge (see picture below) to get it in line and square with the first dolly. Once satisfied, I screwed down the other side to get both dollies locked into place, and attached my other 2x6.
View attachment 533197

When both sides were mounted together, I attached the garage hooks to what I decided would be the front of the dolly. I mounted them to the underside so I could utilize the padding on the dolly for protection when the top was resting against the hooks. Outside hook to outside hook is 54" apart. You have to get them right up against the outside 2x1 on the dolly with the casters. This puts the outside of each hook on the lip of the hardtop right before it starts to curve in the rear.
View attachment 533199
View attachment 533202

Next, I moved to the cross brace. This is where you really have to make sure your measurements are more accurate than the rest. You want your top sitting as vertical as possible, which means you need to know the relative angle of the rear of the top. To figure out the angle of the rear of the top, I used a straight edge and held it against the body of the jeep, then measured from the top rear of the top (right above the glass hinges) to the straight edge. I would call it at about 5-6” further in on the top than the bottom. Horrible illustration below, but you get the point.
View attachment 533219

You ideally want the cross brace resting on the top and not the hinges. My measurement from bottom of the top to right above the hinges was 27”, so I set my cross bar back that far from the edge of the front hooks. This is where your galvanized pieces come into play. I used the 48" galvanized steel for it's strength. Maybe there are better options, but I'm confident that what I sued won't sag over time under the weight. I used the 2" vertical threaded pieces between the 90 degree elbows and the floor flange fittings because I felt that could give me enough up/down movement to level the top vertically. This takes a little trail and error, so take your time. The brace assembly was mounted to my 2x4 blocks, which I mounted to the top of the dolly in the rear. When it was all said and done, the top of my cross brace to the surface of the dolly was 5.5" (recall the above paragraph and photo where I determined the angle of the top put it at about 5-6" difference. Add the pool noodle to the bar and you get about another 1/2" or so. I centered the flanges side to side, but again, made sure the top of the brace was back from the front by 27".
View attachment 533217

Here's how it looked when I felt satisfied with my dimensions and placements.
View attachment 533220View attachment 533221

With the pool noodle.
View attachment 533222

The beauty of this cart is with the top, it sits at 78" tall and 30" at it's narrowest, which means you can get it through a standard 36" x 80" doorway. This allowed me to roll it right through my house to the sun room instead of having to wheel/carry it around.
View attachment 533223

The results? It is extremely well balanced and sturdy feeling. The 2x6 bracing with the two dollies on each side help to distribute the weight evenly and roll smooth without sagging. When we first set the top on, we set it on the dolly in its normal position with the rear of the top resting on the front padding, with the hooks on the inside. As we raised it vertical, it slid forward against the hooks and smoothly dropped against the cross brace in the rear. It was such a natural and smooth transition, I was very surprised with how easy it was. I had no issues rolling it through the house, and it's length is long enough at 60" that going over the step from my sliding door to my sun room didn't feel off camber at all. Another bonus is that the width of the dollies are close enough together to keep the glass closed and secure.

I already showed it above, but here it is in the sun room which is 66" wide or so. This was a simple project that only took a couple hours, and cost a fraction of what something if this quality would cost new.
View attachment 533195

Nice write up and cool design. I am working on something similar that has larger diameter wheels to roll outside.
Mrs. Purple loves the Jeep and we have had many adventures in it, but if I tried to store top top in the house…. I would be forced to sleep elsewhere.