Jump to content

Any tips on fitting a hard top to a soft top?

Recommended Posts

I have a 1987 ex-army 110 soft top 2 front doors, and have acquired (what I believe to be!) contemporary side panels, back door and roof.

Having offered up side panels and roof I can see the windscreen is not square with the body for a start. Lord knows what's happening with the glass.

Parts book shows me what I need by way of seals and fixings - I have a box of fixings from the previous owner that look pretty complete to my eye.

Seems like I will need to replace the rear corner brackets where the pins for the old tailboard passed through which looks straightforward enough.

So - I won't be the first person in the world to do this, and just before I get to it any advice in sequence of operations would be very welcome. Looks like there's plenty to get wrong to me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's much easier going from soft top to hard top than the other way round - you don't need to change anything, just remove the windscreen top rail and add a foam seal, then add seatbelt upper brackets and a tailgate plus hinges and latch striker.  You dont need to replace the old tailgate antiluce latch panels, just unscrew the latches.

To be honest though, putting a hardtop on is a bit of a downgrade in my opinion, there's nothing much to be gained by going hardtop but lots of flexibility and fun to be lost ditching the canvas...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I switched to hardtop it was because I couldn't afford a new canvas at the time and I had a hardtop sitting about unused.

However, after making the switch the first things I noticed were the noise levels seemed much higher inside, and secondly the condensation dripping on me!

The canvas was as warm and more flexible, but does without a doubt feel less secure, although being a Defender that's purely wishful thinking as the hardtop is about as secure as a paper bag.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi guys - many thanks for the thoughts and insights. I'm going hardtop because (Covid, war, famine, flood permitting) I'm planning a trip to the far east of Turkey late summer next year, so am equipping as an expedition vehicle.

So my first thought is that the bulkhead and rear body tub are most likely to be in the same place as they were when the vehicle left the factory - the front doors look as if they are sitting correctly so not expecting to need to do anything down below.

Step 1 then would be to fit the side panels aligning the lip that the door seals sit on both front and rear. There seems to be a little wriggle room there.

Step 2 would then be to adjust the screen to be square with the roof front edge, which it's not on a first offering up, but not sure how I know when I've got it in the right place in the fore and aft sense. Maybe it's obvious from the gaps around the doors.

Will get the...

19 hours ago, Eightpot said:

 ...add a foam seal...

...ordered up.

Planning to start tackling this in the coming week, although I'm working outside and we have rain coming in, Inside as well as out by the sound of it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just loosen the hinge brackets on the screen a little and coax everything into place.  There are specific bolts for mounting the hard sides onto the tub which run through the short vertical tubes in the capping that the soft top sticks sit in - useful to get some of these if your sides didn't come with them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Eightpot said:

There are specific bolts for mounting the hard sides onto the tub which run through the short vertical tubes in the capping

Hi there,

IFAIK there are also special washers for these that have offset slots (or something like that) in them for fine-tuning yer panels....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website you agree to our Cookie Policy