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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

I bought this truck as it sits, mainly to use in good weather for just playing around. But looks like I'm going to attempt a ski trip this winter and obviously this open air thing isn't gonna cut it.. I'm wanting to see what my options may be to keep the elements out and our butts warm throughout the length of the 11 hour drive each way over to New Mexico..

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/117217005967312286580/albums/5644839974406009905

Problem is this roll cage is installed in the bed where a hard top would go. That, and the part holding the spare is angled in right behind the seats. I'm looking for options to turn this thing in to a slightly more practical toy that I can drive 12 months out of the year.. You can see from the pics what I'm talking about.

How I see it I've got a few options..

Find an upholstery shop that does convertible tops locally, and see what it would cost to built a custom soft top, using the roll cage as the frame. Move the spare tire back to the liftgate. Cons - Probably big cost, minimal weather protection.

Ditch the cage completely and purchase a ready made soft top. More cost, better protection.

Ditch the cage and pick up a hard top from a junkyard. Probably the cheapest and best bet. But with all 3 options I'm going to need to put glass back in the lift gate, and looks like put a window motor in there. Not sure what other pieces I'd need, as I haven't torn apart the lift gate yet.

What do you guys think would be the best way to make this thing a winter driver?

Thanks!
 

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ditch the cage and go with a hard top for now cheapest option and as you go on you could put in a different roll cage and/or get a soft top, i think your current cage is just ugly in my oppinion
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Looks like it's gonna need to be cut out though, so hopefully it won't be too difficult.. Next I guess is to find a diagram of the liftgate and compare to mine to see what all other internal pieces aside from the motor and glass I'll need to replace. The truck was pretty much gutted and I'll have to put quite a bit back in to get it ready.
 

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I actually think that is a pretty slick lookin cage! Very original!

If i were you, I would first see how much an upholstery shop wanted to charge to make a soft top for that... You should at least see what the cost would be for that before making your decision.
 

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After looking at the cage it really isn't built correctly for a true flop/roll over, I see no cross bars , support bars , gusseting ect ect. Basically you have a tube frame that more than likely would colapse in a real roll over. I say ditch the cage , find a used factory roll bar and top and put it in there. As for you spare.... JY a tire carrier while your at it. You'll be much happier in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think for right now I'm not really too concerned about the capabilities of the cage. Currently top priority is just making sure it's weather-proof for a drive on the trip down to single digit temps and snow resistance.. Going for cheapest and easiest solution to that, cause I've got quite a few other things to fix on the truck in order to make sure we make it there and back in one piece. Namely fixing all kinds of fluid leaks, getting the passenger window to roll up, etc, etc... And gotta get all of this done by mid December..
 

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I agree, That cage design isnt very good. Cheapest way to get a top on it, would be to cut the cage of with a saw zaw and find a used top on craigs list or a junkyard. An issue with this thought might be the rear window may not work anymore.

Other option woud be like mentioned before isto find a local upholstery shop and have them make a softtop and use hte cage as a frame for the top.

I would definetly loose the current cage or find a local welding shop and have them redesign the existing cage to be more protective and to beable to use a hard top or a soft top on it.

One issue I think you may have with the hard top is the bolt holes that are used to hold it down may have been filled towards the back of the tailgate area, not positive on that with out more pics of it.
 

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Go to a local Pick and Pull - tops are about $50 and a tailgate with glass and motor is about $40. If your tailgate shell is better (less rust) then swap insides, if not just swap tailgates. That will get you covered for less than$100!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Been searching salvage yards at least on car-part.com and they're selling complete tailgates for ~$300, or all the internals (glass, motor, regulator, etc) for about ~$200. Found a hard top locally for $60 if I can get in touch with the guy again.. I agree that putting in all the internals to the gate will suck, but I think I'm gonna need a hard top instead of soft. If only for this one trip up to the mountains for skiing. Any other time a soft should do. I just don't trust my abilities to make my own soft top that'll stand up to winds and snow and all that good stuff without us or our luggage getting soaked or stuck with stupid loud wind noise and leaks.. Although having that cage definitely would make a good frame for one!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I do have all of the weatherstripping that goes between the hard top and the truck, wonder if following the write-up that alaskan155 pasted from mashori would work.. Place the weatherstripping all around, and put the snaps through that in to the truck. May help a bit to keep the leaks out. Wouldn't look pretty, but then again have you seen the rest of the truck? Then the only thing I'd need to do with the current cage is cut the part that the spare tire mounts to, so I'd actually have access to the rear of the truck. Put the spare back to the factory tailgate location.
 

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Ditch the so called cage get a hard top from junkyard. You could do a temp window out of lexan or plexie glass to get you thru til you can get all the needed stuff to put rear window in.
 

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Ewww, that is a hideous cage!:barf

Get rid of that thing and get a top!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Man I actually thought it looked kinda cool when I bought the truck! Esp putting the spare back there with the lights attached. Not nuts about the Wal-mart winch, but still...
 
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