PDA

View Full Version : Test fit, what do you guys think?


gr8fulabe
12-01-2012, 03:49 PM
Hey Guys,

I know there isn't much to go on with just a few general pics, but anyone have any insights or thouhts? Working with a partner in Pakistan (not Eshan) to build/import OEM replica tops, along with OEM bows & replica bows eventually. These are my first two test fit samples.

Thoughts?
Thanks,
Abe
31353

31354

31355

31356

31353

[ATTACH]31354[/ATTACH

bigcity25
12-01-2012, 04:44 PM
Haven't seen many tops like that in person but it looks nice. I would like to own one someday.

gr8fulabe
12-01-2012, 04:44 PM
More pics, Tops as arrived in box, in storage/transit bag, banded, inside pics etc...

31357

31358

31359

31360

31361

31362

gr8fulabe
12-01-2012, 04:53 PM
More pics...

31363

31364

31365

31366

31367

60wag
12-01-2012, 04:58 PM
Looks great. I wish I had a 40. Does the canvas tighten or loosen with age?

gr8fulabe
12-01-2012, 05:03 PM
The Canvas actually shrinks in the first few weeks of being on the truck. You can sort of say that it shrinks to fit, for lack of a better term. The tops in these pics are actually not turn-buckled in or anything, so they fit a bit looser than one would after final assembly on someone's own truck. LIkewise, the green one doesn't even have staps on the back yet...

MDH33
12-01-2012, 06:11 PM
Looks really good! Are you only doing canvas? And why Pakistan? That was a nightmare getting stuff shipped from Ehsan. Other than the potential shipping grief, I sure am glad to see another source for OEM style tops.

Are you selling any yet? Need another rig for test fitting? Let me know, my rig is in my garage with OEM bows and no top on it.

:thumb:

gr8fulabe
12-01-2012, 07:15 PM
Hey Martin,

Thanks! At this moment, only canvas, but if I can get some of my money back out, then possibly vinyl & maybe even a much higher end top in ltd. numbers (like Haartz or some other high end fabric). But that is predicated on being able to sell the canvas ones & get my investment back to begin with & all that good stuff...

My initial goal was to do this & make Colorado produced tops, which I thought would be reall cool. But I've wasted a year trying to find a vendor to do it. I had one lined up that was going to be awesome, but once they finally wrapped up their BesTop biz, they decided to retire instead. Everyone else isn't interested in new biz, "but knows a guy that would be perfect..." and they always fall through as well. One well known, local company wanted me to cut a check for 10k, just to consider the project & was not even willing to use the patterns/tech packs I've already produced. They would only start over & make their own, etc...

I work in Intl. Sourcing & Logistcs, and Erica is a Licensed Customs Broker, & has some great agents in Pakistan, so we feel at least pretty comfortable in this arena. So we figured if anyone could make Pakistan sourcing work, we ahve a good shot at it.

Not selling any yet, but I do have 12 sets of OEM bows, 3 sets of OEM soft doors & some other odds & ends coming in soon. These two tops will be for sale at some sort of discounted price once I think I've got everything done with them. They are considered finished goods in Pakistan, but I wanted to get a couple to check out, before I commited to 15 or 20 of them, just to be safe. I would definitely like to have another rig to test fit on, as mine is just a single vehicle (74 if it matters), and the more checks, the better I figure. When the time comes, I was actually thinking about hitting you up to see if you would let me use your truck for some nicer photos. As you can see, my 40 is kind of rough, and doesn't run. So that makes it tough for any good pics... :)

If you are interested, maybe we could work out a bargain rate for a top for the test fitting/photo op...
Best,
Abe

Looks really good! Are you only doing canvas? And why Pakistan? That was a nightmare getting stuff shipped from Ehsan. Other than the potential shipping grief, I sure am glad to see another source for OEM style tops.




:thumb:

MDH33
12-01-2012, 08:03 PM
Sounds good. Glad to hear you have some of the logistics with shipping figured out ahead of the game.

Will you be able to get any extra canvas material to match soft doors to tops? I have vinyl on mine now and they need to be repaired/replaced some point too. If I was able to get a top, it would be great to match the doors.

Let me know when you would like to test fit, I would be happy to drive over sometime.

gr8fulabe
12-01-2012, 09:16 PM
Extra fabric should be easy enough. I'm planning on only, "stocking" black, white, ODish green, so I would just need to remember to order an extra 10 yards of each or so, & cut it off, sending it with the top when/if people want it. That shouldn't be hard at all. Do you happen to know if people generally put a varnish, or some sort of hardner on stock doors, or is it also just soft canvas? Mine are old & either just hard from age, or had somethign applied at one point. Not sure which...

Do you have plans tomorrow? I could throw the tops into the truck & either meet you in Golden if you are willing, or even come up to Evergreen if need be. Or, if you are just dying for a topless road trip before it gets too cold, you could definitely come to Boulder. If not tomorrow, anytime would really work for me. I just figure the sooner the better, since we won't have a ton of great days left this year. If not tomorrow, just let me know what might work for you & I'll figure out how to arrange it on my end.

Best,
Abe

Sounds good. Glad to hear you have some of the logistics with shipping figured out ahead of the game.

Will you be able to get any extra canvas material to match soft doors to tops? I have vinyl on mine now and they need to be repaired/replaced some point too. If I was able to get a top, it would be great to match the doors.

Let me know when you would like to test fit, I would be happy to drive over sometime.

Crash
12-01-2012, 09:21 PM
PM sent.

gr8fulabe
12-01-2012, 10:38 PM
some detail pics of the straps/buckles, zippers, inside stitching of a side window.

31368

31369

31370

31371

31372

31373

MDH33
12-01-2012, 11:09 PM
Extra fabric should be easy enough. I'm planning on only, "stocking" black, white, ODish green, so I would just need to remember to order an extra 10 yards of each or so, & cut it off, sending it with the top when/if people want it. That shouldn't be hard at all. Do you happen to know if people generally put a varnish, or some sort of hardner on stock doors, or is it also just soft canvas? Mine are old & either just hard from age, or had somethign applied at one point. Not sure which...


Not sure, but I had a set of doors with a original fabric on them and you're right, it seemed like they had been "varnished". Really thick canvas too. My current doors are OEM, but I think the vinyl on them is replacement. It matched my Pakistan vinyl top pretty well though.


Do you have plans tomorrow? I could throw the tops into the truck & either meet you in Golden if you are willing, or even come up to Evergreen if need be. Or, if you are just dying for a topless road trip before it gets too cold, you could definitely come to Boulder. If not tomorrow, anytime would really work for me. I just figure the sooner the better, since we won't have a ton of great days left this year. If not tomorrow, just let me know what might work for you & I'll figure out how to arrange it on my end.

Best,
Abe

PM'd you about tommorow. :thumb:

bigcity25
12-02-2012, 12:22 PM
I am gonna follow this one, very interested for my 70. But I would need everything.

wesintl
12-02-2012, 12:25 PM
quality on that last window looks to be lacking.

Otherwise not bad. Leave it on for a few months this winter in the sun will give you a lot of info on the quality and materials

is it green or blackish?

DanS
12-02-2012, 01:44 PM
Those looks pretty good from here--as Wes noted the window looks a bit shoddy from those pics.

What kind of zippers are those? All of our pakistani (USA Brand) zippers failed very quickly. We had them replaced with YKK heavy duty zippers.

Dan

nuclearlemon
12-02-2012, 04:03 PM
price will be a huge factor.

that said, after xmas, should i pull off what i want to, what's the chance of a soft top for an fj25

MDH33
12-02-2012, 05:47 PM
It was good to meet you today, Abe. Thanks for bringing the tops up. :thumb:

gr8fulabe
12-02-2012, 11:34 PM
@ BigCity25 - no worries, I plan to import tops & bows to begin with, and hopefully eventually be a sourch for tailgates, soft amby doors, everythign soft top related. So if all goes well, it will be easy to supply all you need when the time comes.

@Wes - Actually pics of two tops, one blackish grey & one green. The window pic is the inside of the top, with no binding. They pretty much all look like that on the inside, as does my OCD top. I'm not sure of any way to combat the actual realities of cutting/sewing woven cloth, other than to add binding to the inside as well, just to make it look better. I'm game for that, but people would have to agree that the improvement in looks was worth the cost. I'll discuss with in my next e-mail.

@Dan - The Zippers are locally sourced in Pakistan, but seem solid so far. I"m considering just pushing through with supply YKK"s from here, jsut because it is a big concern across the board with people that have bought past Paki tops. I don't actually see anythign wrong with these & they seem good, but it would take a year of testing to really know. Again, depends a lot on costs, etc...

@Ige - I trying to build as good a top as I can, while still targeting around a $600 top, since that seems to be a price point that people are, "married" to for Pakistani tops. But a lot will depend on exactly how much goes into them. I don't want to overbuild where I don't have to, but I certainly want to make a top that people willl be proud to run on their trucks. If that ultimately adds to cost, hopefully it will be in the right areas. In all honesty, no chance on a 25 series top by/for Xmas. I won't even have 40 tops by then I don't think. But I do want to try and develop a 25/early 40 top if possible. As you know, there is no other way to get them now. So even if demand will always be small, if I could sell enough to cover development costs, it would be a cool way to help out the cruiser community.

@MDH - back at you. Great to meet you & thanks so much for spending a chunk of you Sunday letting me borrow your truck for test fits! Attached is a pic of your truck with the blackish grey top!
Best,
Abe

31385

MDH33
12-03-2012, 11:03 AM
After checking the tops out in person, here's my impression. I'm pretty familiar with both the vinyl and canvas tops that Ehsan used to sell, and this top is pretty similar to the canvas one.

1. It was a little short on my bows and wouldn't have been easy to turnbuckle in place if the grommets were there, but I think my bows are a little tall for some reason.

2. I think that the material along the bottom where the turn buckle grommets go would need to be doubled up or reinforced in order to keep the canvas from ripping. Same with the bottom along the back where the straps would be sewn in.

3. The straps for the footman loops would work better with a pair of D-rings rather than the buckles. Or maybe some sort of buckle with more "tooth"?

4. With the side and back rolled up, the footman loop straps are the only thing that hold the top in place and they would come loose easily if not made more secure.

5. The side window panel that rolls up needed to be shifted back about and inch or two in order to better align with the location of the stock turnbuckle holes.

6. The pieces that slide into the tracks on the windshield and around the doors would be improved if made from something durable like hypalon. The canvas can be easily ripped by the tracks and all of them on my old vinyl top have splits and are a pain.

7. The inside cut edges of the windows are a little rough looking. Only cosmetic, but it would be nicer if they were folded over and more edging used.

8. The zippers didn't have any covers to keep them from hanging down and flapping in the wind and contacting paint. Ykk zippers with real terminal ends would be an improvement as Abe mentioned.

That's all I can think of. Hope you can get the kinks worked out for tHe next batch. Keep me posted and I hope to order one. I liked the gray/black a lot. :thumb:

gr8fulabe
01-22-2013, 11:47 PM
quick sneak peak. More to come later, when I have pics re-sized & all that.

The first shipment should hit my door in about 8-10 days if all goes well (no tops yet, just hardware items).
Best,
Abe

31768

MDH33
01-23-2013, 10:23 PM
I've been meaning to check in and see how the project is progressing. Those look pretty good. Are there slots to hold the factory weather strip around the perimeter?

loudbay
01-23-2013, 10:25 PM
Great job on this gr8fulabe!!!

gr8fulabe
01-23-2013, 11:30 PM
I've been meaning to check in and see how the project is progressing. Those look pretty good. Are there slots to hold the factory weather strip around the perimeter?

To be honest I'm not quite sure how it all goes together, even though I have a set on my 74. I've got three sets of doors that hit port, but that is the only one that is mostly assembled. Since they will ultimately need to be painted or powder coated, they will get unassembled again before final assembly. So I had that one mocked up to give me a frame of reference. I'm not sure how they all go together as a final assembly.

I guess we'll know more soon enough.

gr8fulabe
02-11-2013, 10:44 PM
I've got a big 'ol crate down in Denver that just arrived. Its full of all sorts of soft top goodness...

31978

31979

31980

31981

31982

31983

gr8fulabe
02-11-2013, 10:46 PM
more pics

31984

31985

31986

31987

31988

Exciting step forward at any rate.

Hulk
02-11-2013, 11:08 PM
Wow, that's really neat. It's amazing that it's easier to get retro parts now than it was when I bought my first FJ40 in 1996.

cruiseroutfit
02-12-2013, 12:22 AM
What will the front doors be retailing for? Any idea if the factory W/S will fit?

MDH33
02-12-2013, 08:35 AM
Excellent. :thumb:

Need a volunteer for another test fitting session? I'm curious if the bows will remedy the figment problem on my 40.

Crash
02-12-2013, 08:50 AM
Excellent. :thumb:

Need a volunteer for another test fitting session? I'm curious if the bows will remedy the figment problem on my 40.

Martin, I think it's just a fitment of your imagination that you have a problem.
:hill:

gr8fulabe
02-14-2013, 11:46 PM
What will the front doors be retailing for? Any idea if the factory W/S will fit?

Hey Kurt,
I am hoping to be able to go down & inspect them further tomorrow to figure out the quality, etc... Depending on actual condition, I'm leaning to a regular pricing around $500-700 a set. I will actually be able to offer a bit better pricing to the local guys because I won't have to crate things up & we can just meet up locally to make a deal happen.

When you say, "W/S" are you asking about the windshield, or weatherstripping? I'm assuming weatherstripping, since I don't know what the windshield would have to do with it, and I don't know why it wouldn't, as these are factory soft doors. If I can definitely get down tomorrow I'll take better pics, plus pics of all the assorted items with them.

If I'm misunderstanding anything, let me know & I'll do my best to answer.
Best,
Abe

gr8fulabe
02-14-2013, 11:48 PM
Excellent. :thumb:

Need a volunteer for another test fitting session? I'm curious if the bows will remedy the figment problem on my 40.

Hey Martin,

Yeah actually that would be great! I assume these will fit any 40, but you never know until you throw a few on to find out.

Thanks,
Abe

OilHammer
02-15-2013, 10:46 AM
Just stumbled on this thread.....glad to see someone figured it out. I'm impressed by the shipping containers and packaging, as most of the stuff that I saw on previous efforts was lame. The soft top saga goes way back, with a pretty sour history of people taking money and disappearing.... I had a really nice set of factory bows that I loaned to a guy in NC to build tops and bows. He took a bunch of money, then got "sick" and stopped responding to any calls or emails. After 4 months of no response, we went down and took my crap back. I wound up selling those bows to Marshal in SC, as I think he was going to give production a run as well, and I was just fed up with the whole thing.

Long history that's not important to you, other than I applaud your efforts at actually getting something done! I'm not sure if I'm in the market for a "factory" soft top anymore, but I would be interested in fitting one to see how it looks and operates.

On a side note, you mentioned you are in logistics and int'l production/customs. I have a client that could use some help there. We should chat off line....PM me your number.

Thanks!
Barry

MDH33
02-15-2013, 02:41 PM
Excellent. :thumb:

Need a volunteer for another test fitting session? I'm curious if the bows will remedy the figment problem on my 40.

Martin, I think it's just a fitment of your imagination that you have a problem.
:hill:

Something is definitely weird with my bows (and maybe my mind :hill:). The frame portion around my doors comes to a serious acute angle and the doors are riding really low and contact the windshield and the rockers. They also do not stay closed. These are factory bows and doors too, so not sure what's happening. I'm wondering if the Pakistan bows would be better (my old set fit great without these issues).

Hey Martin,

Yeah actually that would be great! I assume these will fit any 40, but you never know until you throw a few on to find out.

Thanks,
Abe

Great Abe, lets set up a time. If we could get someone else with a 40 to come up, all the better. (I could also use some help re-installing my hard top, so anyone who volunteers can earn :beer::beer: ) :thumb:

RicardoJM
02-15-2013, 02:59 PM
...Great Abe, lets set up a time. If we could get someone else with a 40 to come up, all the better. (I could also use some help re-installing my hard top, so anyone who volunteers can earn :beer::beer: ) :thumb:

I got a 40 to volunteer for test fitting. Keep me in mind as you set something up. :D

Crash
02-15-2013, 03:24 PM
I got a 40 to volunteer for test fitting. Keep me in mind as you set something up. :D

Same here.

MDH33
02-15-2013, 04:01 PM
I got a 40 to volunteer for test fitting. Keep me in mind as you set something up. :D

Same here.

Excellent.

..and I just caught the figment/fitment typo in my original post. :p: Stoopid IPad auto-correct... Impossible to type on that thing...

gr8fulabe
02-17-2013, 12:30 AM
I've got several sets of bows here at the house right now (mostly OEM, but also two aftermarket, OEM Replica sets). The big problem for me at the moment, is the Troopy brakes are leaking for some reason & super soft, and mt 62 has front axle/death wobble issues. So it is going to be a little while before I can drive anything up to Evergreen at this point for test fitting. But, I'd love to bring a bunch of stuff up as soon as I get things running for highway speed again. OR, anyone that wants to is welcome to come here to do some testing. @ Martin - Aren't your bows Paki bows already? I thought they had a rear soft amby door bow set up on them???
As soon as possible though, I'd love to do a 40 soft top day type of thing, with anyone that is interested. Maybe in conjunction with the delayed 40's only run???
Best,
Abe

gr8fulabe
02-17-2013, 12:34 AM
Quick crate pic. trying to figure out the best way to pack these out for shipments to, "far away" customers.

32081

gr8fulabe
02-17-2013, 12:42 AM
Just stumbled on this thread.....glad to see someone figured it out. I'm impressed by the shipping containers and packaging, as most of the stuff that I saw on previous efforts was lame. The soft top saga goes way back, with a pretty sour history of people taking money and disappearing.... I had a really nice set of factory bows that I loaned to a guy in NC to build tops and bows. He took a bunch of money, then got "sick" and stopped responding to any calls or emails. After 4 months of no response, we went down and took my crap back. I wound up selling those bows to Marshal in SC, as I think he was going to give production a run as well, and I was just fed up with the whole thing.

Long history that's not important to you, other than I applaud your efforts at actually getting something done! I'm not sure if I'm in the market for a "factory" soft top anymore, but I would be interested in fitting one to see how it looks and operates.

Thanks!
Barry



Hey Barry,
Funny you mention the above stores. One of the things Erica & I decided when we figured we'd give it a shot, was that we would have to put money down up front & not charge anyone if we don't have a product in hand to ship out. Precisely because a lot of people have been screwed over the years on a, "deposit" basis. But I can say that I can see why people want money up front. It has been hard to come up with the needed money up front, & keep putting cash away f or this project, instead of getting cars fixed, and splurging on fun & such. But hopefully it will soon be able to sustain itself & that won't be a problem in the future. As with the others, I'd love to hookup & do some test fitting on your truck. I've always wanted to get a chance to check it out anyway, what with the 13bt & cable lockers & all that. Pretty badass I'm assuming....

I' send you a pm with my number & e-mail, and we'll see if we can help your client.
Best,
Abe

MDH33
02-17-2013, 03:04 PM
I've got several sets of bows here at the house right now (mostly OEM, but also two aftermarket, OEM Replica sets). The big problem for me at the moment, is the Troopy brakes are leaking for some reason & super soft, and mt 62 has front axle/death wobble issues. So it is going to be a little while before I can drive anything up to Evergreen at this point for test fitting. But, I'd love to bring a bunch of stuff up as soon as I get things running for highway speed again. OR, anyone that wants to is welcome to come here to do some testing. @ Martin - Aren't your bows Paki bows already? I thought they had a rear soft amby door bow set up on them???
As soon as possible though, I'd love to do a 40 soft top day type of thing, with anyone that is interested. Maybe in conjunction with the delayed 40's only run???
Best,
Abe



I can drive up to your place sometime, but since my rig would be topless, it will need to be a somewhat nice day. I like the idea of a late 40's run too. Topless snow run!

Regarding my bows, they are OEM, but I added that cross piece in the back to hold my Bimini top on.

Before I pull my bows, I'm going to fiddle with them and see if I can figure out what's causing the weird fit. I recall that the door hinges are adjustable, so between that and the adjustments on the bows, I'm hoping to figure it out. It almost looks like my windshield tilts back about 2 inches too far, if that's possible.

gr8fulabe
10-29-2013, 11:29 PM
Just a few updated pics! What do you guys think? Still not completely finished, but getting close. Straps in the pics are all just pinned into place for, "reference' in the pics.

35165

35166

35167

35168

35169

35170

baja1d
10-30-2013, 06:59 AM
Looks awesome, I'll be starting mine soon if one doesn't fall in my lap for a descent price

gr8fulabe
10-30-2013, 10:44 PM
Looks awesome, I'll be starting mine soon if one doesn't fall in my lap for a descent price

Just in case there is any confusion, the red 40 isn't mine. It is just the model for the top pics/test fits. My pics were to show off the tops. :)

Best,
Abe

baja1d
10-30-2013, 11:11 PM
That's what I figured but that is a really nice 40. Did you keep notes on the construct on the top? I came across a very good thread on Mud recently where measurements were listed. Just curious as to how they compare

MDH33
11-02-2013, 10:16 PM
Looking good Abe. :thumb: can't wait until you ave some of these in hand.

gr8fulabe
11-07-2013, 11:36 PM
Thanks Martin! I can't wait either. The last production saw some delays, but they should all be shipping next week now finally (with a bit more luck). A few more pics too!

35372

35373

35374

MDH33
11-08-2013, 09:41 AM
That last pic looks like they were able to get the canvas more black than grey. I like it!

gr8fulabe
11-08-2013, 09:54 AM
The black & tan tops are actually U.S. sourced fabrics that I shipped over for production. They just don't get those colors over there for some reason. Although I am building some of the grey/black tops as well (like we fit on your truck) since I thought they had a cool look to them. Hopefully at least a few others agree with that opinion when they get here...

baja1d
11-08-2013, 12:35 PM
Guess I was out of the loop a bit. So on that note, what's the cost?

Rezarf
11-09-2013, 07:49 AM
I'm interested in a top if the $$$ is right. You're welcome to come and try another vehicle as well if you need one. Mine is a 76 and I'm out in Broomfield.

gr8fulabe
11-09-2013, 02:17 PM
For someone buying both a top & bows I’m offering a bundle package (basically the OEM bows are $1,000, but only 800 if you buy a top from me as well). The Black, and Khaki tan tops are more expensive than the others, as they are U.S. made fabric, instead of local market (they don’t get goods blacks or tans locally). So if you were to ultimately choose a set of bows & a Black or Khaki Tan top, the total price would be $1,640.00usd, plus shipping ($800 for the bows, plus $840 for the top). In the case of black & tan tops, they are basically all US sourced products. The only local market items are the windows, thread & some binding tapes.

In the case of the other colors, I have a couple of greens. One, I’m calling, “Korean Drab” because it is very close to the OD color of the US uniforms in the Korean war. The other I’m calling Military Green, as it is a darker Olive, and basically the color that the Pakistani Military uses. If you were to choose one of these tops (also a grey-black, white (off white really, as it isn’t ultra white), the total price for top & bows would be $1,525.00 plus shipping (Top $725, plus $800 for the bows). In the case of these tops, the fabric is locally sourced in Karachi. It is still a pretty good quality canvas, just not quite as high of quality as the USA fabric, and I didn’t have to export it from the USA & ship 10,000 miles & then import into Pakistan, so the costs are all lower. The canvas, thread & windows/binding are local source, the zippers, zipper pulls, webbing, straps & D-rings are all U.S. Sourced.

Zippers are YKK Marine Mate Delrin Zippers (# 8 or *10, I don’t recall off hand, but I can look it up again), the D-rings are 1” welded D-Rings, powder coated black. The webbing/straps are all 1” Nylon “Lite” webbing (basically a thinner, tighter weave to give it a better finished look than regular webbing, but that is just my opinion on the look). They are all 10 strap tops, three on each corner & 4 across the back. My experience is that OEM is all either 4 or 6 straps on the rear, and 4 is the least common denominator, since I’m not building these to order. Plus I have always thought that the 6 strap rear is too, “busy” looking & a bit overkill.

The pricing above includes PayPal fees & crating, but not shipping costs. For everyone local, that can meet up & pay by cash or check; I can save you a bit more cash on the price by passing along the paypal & no crating fees to you. I also occasionally get some bows that end up not being, “first quality” & needing a bit of work to be perfect. When I get those, they will be sold at a lower price, depending on quality, so you could save some additional cash if you have the skills & patience to wait for them.

With luck I’ll have about 10 tops in hand in roughly 2 weeks, and the remainder of the tops & bows & other hard gear parts in about 7-8 weeks. If anyone has any questions I’ll be more than happy to answer them.
Best,
Abe

Rezarf
11-09-2013, 06:26 PM
Very cool Abe, I'd like to check them out in person when you get to that point. Thanks in advance.