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1986 Bronco, 04 Superduty axles, 40" Milestars, 4.8LS, 4L80E, NP241
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After scouring the forum for the past couple of days, I decided I would post my custom soft top project. Similar to Wileec's top with some ideas from other tops thrown in. The general goal was to have a top that required minimal drilling in my body, allowed headroom for my passengers but still kept that fastback looks. Similar to how the Jeep LJ fastback soft tops looked. First step was to find an old hardtop to cut up and use as a frame for the top to mount velcro and snaps to. I found one for $50 locally that had a broken window. Once I got that I cut it down roughly to get an idea of the shape I was looking for, while leaving extra room to be trimmed later. I built a jig to hold the top in shape so that I could build the majority of the framework and center section of the top while it was on my trailer vs 6 feet in the air on my bronco.
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I took some measurements in the bronco and found that I wanted the "peak" of the top to be roughly at the location of the 4th rib in the top. I built some supports and used a piece of angle I had laying around to make a jig to locate my support bow.
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I ordered some boat bimini hardware and some 3/4" EMT conduit. I will have to drill out the bimini hardware from the 7/8 it comes in to the 15/16 OD that 3/4" EMT conduit is. Once I got the bow in place I noticed my original width for the top portion was going to be too wide to fit properly so I narrowed it from my initial 55" to 48". This will allow the sides to curve around the top and the bow.
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I am hoping that It should maintain the tautness as it snaps into the rear window area. I put an old tarp up to verify the angle on the back was what I was looking for before I cut it and narrowed it for the top, and flared it out towards the tailgate. This will give me a decent pattern to cut the first piece from.
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Cloud Sky Plant Tire Tree

My fiancée was a seamstress for an awning company so we will be using some sunbrella awning material that should be fairly waterproof and then I will be adding waterproof spray on top of that. I bent the conduit by hand so it isn't the prettiest but it holds the angle fairly well and it's a detail that I can always come back and remake. More work to continue over the next couple days but it's been a fun project so far, now to keep up the momentum.


And finally a picture of my Bronco for reference:
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1986 Eddie Bauer 5.0EFI AOD Full length headers Y pipe into single 3" Magnaflow 3" factory exit
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Very cool!! That fastback style top on the Jeep has always looked great in my opinion. Love the idea of this, but i just wanted to ask how certian design elements will go as you move forward with this...

On your support bar, will it flip forward, or fall back for storage? I can see you want the bar hieght level, but if you want it stored forward, it looks like it will stow too tall where the pivot point is.
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If you want it to fall back, think about where it will sit in the down position & if you want the crosssbar to sit where the tailgate is.
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With that said, think about rear seat passengers & clearance to the crossbar, and what is visible thru the side eisenglass if you were planning on using that.

I saw an image on here of a Bronco the same year blue Eddie bauer color as mine that used a spare hardtop just as trim to enhance the look when the top was off & I thought it looked great how cleanly it was executed & your idea has a similar idea. The roof header was finished off very cleanly on his & I always thought to adding material to this for a soft top would be a good way to go.

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I am in the OEM concept car arena & everything I do is about taking artists sketches and making them a reality, so there are a lot of ingredients to bake into this cake, but it looks like you're off to a fine start.
 

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1986 Bronco, 04 Superduty axles, 40" Milestars, 4.8LS, 4L80E, NP241
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very cool!! That fastback style top on the Jeep has always looked great in my opinion. Love the idea of this, but i just wanted to ask how certian design elements will go as you move forward with this...

On your support bar, will it flip forward, or fall back for storage? I can see you want the bar hieght level, but if you want it stored forward, it looks like it will stow too tall where the pivot point is. View attachment 185984

If you want it to fall back, think about where it will sit in the down position & if you want the crosssbar to sit where the tailgate is.
View attachment 185985

With that said, think about rear seat passengers & clearance to the crossbar, and what is visible thru the side eisenglass if you were planning on using that.

I saw an image on here of a Bronco the same year blue Eddie bauer color as mine that used a spare hardtop just as trim to enhance the look when the top was off & I thought it looked great how cleanly it was executed & your idea has a similar idea. The roof header was finished off very cleanly on his & I always thought to adding material to this for a soft top would be a good way to go.

View attachment 185986

I am in the OEM concept car arena & everything I do is about taking artists sketches and making them a reality, so there are a lot of ingredients to bake into this cake, but it looks like you're off to a fine start.
The support bow will fold behind the seat with plenty of room. It will end up being about 8 or 10 inches behind the seat and sit on top of the rails. The peak of the top is about 4 inches behind the seat to allow headroom. It also removes with a spring loaded pin if I need to get it out of the way. I never thought of the bow flipping the other way because I always thought of it needing to hold the tension backwards. I may play with the design some but this was the way most soft tops are designed so I figure it has to be done that way for a reason right? I haven’t decided if we will have windows on the sides yet. The truck is one giant blind spot so they won’t help much in all honesty. I may keep the sides solid to simplify the design or just put a small window right where the passengers are. But that is a design choice that can come later with use. I appreciate the questions. Anything to make me think it over and make sure it’s heading in the correct direction.
 

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1986 Eddie Bauer 5.0EFI AOD Full length headers Y pipe into single 3" Magnaflow 3" factory exit
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Oh yeah, no criticism on anything, just that there are a lot of things to consider on something like this, but however you want it to be would fine, just throwing options out there. I want to do something similar on my 86 after I get my current rust repair & paint finished, which is taking way too long, so I'll be following this.

It's always a process to do things like this, and even in the OEM world, we make 3 or 4 renditions of things in the studio, always questioning things and trying to think out everything as best as possible, then once you make one, you see all the things you'd like to do a little differently... its just how it works, but keep at it, very cool way of doing this!
 

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1986 Bronco, 04 Superduty axles, 40" Milestars, 4.8LS, 4L80E, NP241
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yo Cody,
Although there is body intrusion;
Fast Back Fabrication & Installation pics in an 85
By member Mashori
Awesome! Thank you! I don’t go on supermotors often so I hadn’t seen that one yet!

I got the bow and tensions straps mounted in today debating throwing a couple snaps in my tarp and testing the fit of it before having it cut but not sure just yet
 

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1986 Bronco, 04 Superduty axles, 40" Milestars, 4.8LS, 4L80E, NP241
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also! Not that anybody asked but the 3/4” EMT fit perfectly in the 7/8 hardware. I was expecting to drill it out but it all slid together with minimal issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A few more pictures before I head to work.
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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Looks great! Maybe consider a butyl canvas drop cloth instead of the plastic tarp. The butyl makes it waterproof and it wont be loud like the tarp.
 

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1986 Bronco, 04 Superduty axles, 40" Milestars, 4.8LS, 4L80E, NP241
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks great! Maybe consider a butyl canvas drop cloth instead of the plastic tarp. The butyl makes it waterproof and it wont be loud like the tarp.
It will be getting some sunbrella outdoor awning material and it will be getting sprayed down with some waterproofing stuff. The tarp was just to help me envision it and make a basic pattern. I’ll have to look into the butyl canvas as well. I’m thinking of buying a second set of hinges for the bow and making a full length bikini top to go with this.
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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That would work too! Admittedly I only glanced over the pics if you said that before. Was in a hurry lol.

I like the incorporation of the hardtop frame. I wanna take a couple old hardtops and graft em together to make a fastback (Humvee style) top. Like this

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1986 Bronco, 04 Superduty axles, 40" Milestars, 4.8LS, 4L80E, NP241
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That would work too! Admittedly I only glanced over the pics if you said that before. Was in a hurry lol.

I like the incorporation of the hardtop frame. I wanna take a couple old hardtops and graft em together to make a fastback (Humvee style) top. Like this

View attachment 186015
That would definitely be awesome! A lot of work I’m sure though haha. I may pick up one of these drop cloths for a full length bikini top without sides and get a second set of hinges to move the bar back for it. Keep a bag that can hold either the bikini or full top and swap out as needed. Future options for sure but once the frame is there with all the snaps swapping out the canvas and moving the support should give me plenty of other options
 

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1986 Bronco, 04 Superduty axles, 40" Milestars, 4.8LS, 4L80E, NP241
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You might look into a boat Bimini Top for both the canvas and the hardware.
That’s what my hardware is. I found an affordable set on Amazon that fits the 3/4” conduit great and I can always upgrade to a steel fitting later on. The sunbrella material is used for Bimini tops as well so it effectively is a Bimini in a different form haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Got the hard top off and slipped the new top on to test fit and measure. Still need to have the fabric cut for it but I wanted to see it on the truck to take any last minute measurements. I also replaced all the C-clips with nut-serts while I had the tops off. Looking better every day.
 

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