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Thread: Barn Door for JK factory hardtops

  1. #1
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    Default Barn Door for JK factory hardtops

    Having the Safari Cab hardtop on my LJ for almost 4 years now, I've really gotten used to the "barn door" on the rear - access to the cargo area is so much easier with a one-operation barn door than it is with the factory two-step hatch/tailgate.



    The barn door is a fiberglass "upper" that attaches to the factory tailgate, and eliminates the swing up liftgate glass - the entire barn door opens as one piece.

    I'm in the process now of building a JK barn door, designed to work with the the factory hardtop. Here's a few concept drawings of what it would look like.





    The barn door will be made from fiberglass, and will include a provision for a wiper, just like the TJ/LJ version:



    I've begun work on the mold masters, and plan to make molds in the next two weeks and if things go well I hope to have a first prototype barn door molded by the end of the month.

    There are a few design questions I've got that I'd like your input on... for example, there are two different width hatches on the JK - the '07-'10 JKs have hatches the same width as the tailgate, while the '22-present hatches are 6" wider than the tailgate. I've got several different design approaches for dealing with this difference and I'll post some drawings of each approach soon for your comment and input.
    "Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford

  2. #2
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    Oct 2013
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    Two things that I can think of that might be nice with this- adding in a factory-looking 3rd brake light and a interior tailgate latch.

    Seeing out through the rear glass is already a pain with an oversized spare and the giant wiper motor enclosure. Moving the wiper to the bottom, like you're proposing, opens up some real estate. Adding a small LED 3rd brake light at the top of the window frame would allow many of us to remove the factory one and really open up the rear view.

    And on the subject of opening- those of us who camp in the back of our jeeps could benefit from an interior latch on the tailgate. I know that there are how-to's out there on adding a pull-cord, as well as the potential safety of such a device, but perhaps something could be incorporated into the top section where it meets the latch housing to create a more factory-looking and safer option.

    Oh- and if you really want to get dreamy- extend the mounting bracket to cover most of the interior tailgate and incorporate a fold-out table!
    2012 JKUR- Wrangler #5, first expo-style build

  3. #3
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    Neat project.

    There is a lot of little stuff going on in this bad picture that might give you some ideas....



    -The prop rod is really interesting. It looks adjustable. It keeps it open. It keeps it from closing. You could use it to dry some gear out. It is up above your head I think so it doesn't get in the way.

    -There is a fold down table I think.

    -The small secondary ledge near the window is interesting.

    I would love to see a full replacement door also. Inside/outside handle as mentioned. Maybe some storage in the door behind the table. Make the table the door for the storage. Maybe make a fold up mini-kitchen instead of a table....small sink/bowl thing, mini-stove, etc.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by daryn1979 View Post
    Two things that I can think of that might be nice with this- adding in a factory-looking 3rd brake light and a interior tailgate latch.

    Seeing out through the rear glass is already a pain with an oversized spare and the giant wiper motor enclosure. Moving the wiper to the bottom, like you're proposing, opens up some real estate. Adding a small LED 3rd brake light at the top of the window frame would allow many of us to remove the factory one and really open up the rear view.

    And on the subject of opening- those of us who camp in the back of our jeeps could benefit from an interior latch on the tailgate. I know that there are how-to's out there on adding a pull-cord, as well as the potential safety of such a device, but perhaps something could be incorporated into the top section where it meets the latch housing to create a more factory-looking and safer option.
    I'm looking at the idea of a small LED third brake light mounted either on the top of the barn door, or on the hardtop above the door. Haven't decided what might work best yet, but it's definitely a good idea to remove the factory third brake light to increase visibility. I did that with my LJ Safari Cab, see the photos in the first post.

    Interesting idea about the inside latch, I'll look into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by daryn1979 View Post
    Oh- and if you really want to get dreamy- extend the mounting bracket to cover most of the interior tailgate and incorporate a fold-out table!
    Quote Originally Posted by Metcalf View Post
    ...Maybe some storage in the door behind the table. Make the table the door for the storage. Maybe make a fold up mini-kitchen instead of a table....small sink/bowl thing, mini-stove, etc.
    About the fold-down table, and a little storage, how about this?





    It's a previous project of mine, I call it the StoreGate. In the above photo I'm test fitting it on a JK tailgate. I've got two different versions, on my Jeep-tub trailer I mounted a locking storage/fold-down table version, and on my LJ I've got one with a bungee net to hold the cargo in place:

    "Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford

  5. #5
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    Mr Scherb at it again. I dont have any input, just encouragement and i'm sure it will be awesome.
    2014 Chevrolet Silverado 4x4 Z-71


    Past: 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

  6. #6
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    The prop-rod is an interesting concept, although I believe 2012+ JKs have a door stop built in. I could definitely see it being useful for earlier models, though.

    As far as the table, I personally would not be interested in one with a cabinet behind it. I would find it more useful to have a larger table and have it flat with MOLLE slots so that I can outfit it to my needs. The way I see it, if you are adding a frame around the window that is wider at the base, that additional space could allow you to increase the size of the table. My lame paint pic shows what I mean- the grey is the original tailgate and the green is your barn door attachment...

    2012 JKUR- Wrangler #5, first expo-style build

  7. #7
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    Oh- and of course, if you need a product tester, I'd be happy to offer my assistance!
    2012 JKUR- Wrangler #5, first expo-style build

  8. #8
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    Looking at a JK during lunch I think the door is too 'thin' to benefit much from in door storage. The JK pretty much needs about every extra inch on the inside so I wouldn't make the door any thicker, or add storage to the face after looking at it again.

  9. #9
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    I am extremely interested in what you come up with, and I think this would make a very, very good addition to the Ursa Minor J30 (& Habitat).
    They both use the earlier, narrow rear glass, as their mold for the hard top was made before the wider window came out.

    -Dan
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina)
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by grecy View Post
    I am extremely interested in what you come up with, and I think this would make a very, very good addition to the Ursa Minor J30 (& Habitat).
    They both use the earlier, narrow rear glass, as their mold for the hard top was made before the wider window came out.

    -Dan
    Looks like the Ursa Minor uses the factory liftgate glass? If so, then what I'm building will work fine with it.
    "Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford

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