DIY Hardtop Hoist

Written by steven douglas
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Hard tops are becoming increasingly popular as more people are turning to convertible automobiles as a source of recreation. A hard top is a removable roof for a convertible automobile that, once removed, is quite cumbersome to both handle and store. One solution that solves both of these drawbacks is the DIY hardtop hoist. Situated in your garage -- directly above your car -- the hoist will raise and store your hard top in one quick motion. Building the hoist is easy, and requires no special knowledge or tools.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Electric drill
  • Wood drill bits
  • Extension cord
  • Four pulleys (size as desired)
  • Four 5/16-inch by four-inch lag hooks
  • Eight carabiner clips
  • Rope (length eight times garage ceiling height)
  • Utility knife
  • Six-foot by six-foot nylon webbing (or larger)
  • Step ladder

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Gather the required components before you begin. Doing so in advance makes the entire task much easier to complete. When purchasing rope, make sure it is compatible with the size pulleys you have selected. Remove everything from the garage near where your automobile sits so that you have easy access to the area.

  2. 2

    Pull your car into the garage, and stop where you wish the hard top hoist to be placed. Keep in mind that once located, you must use the same spot for removing or installing the hard top. The hoist will be attached to ceiling rafters (joists) located in the garage ceiling, so choose your location accordingly. Adjust your parking position so that the car is situated below at least two, but preferably four, ceiling joists.

  3. 3

    Determine the correct position for four pulleys, located on the ceiling rafters (joists). You should have one pulley situated above each corner of the hard top. Mark these locations with a pencil by placing a small "x" in the middle of the appropriate ceiling joist or rafter. Drill a 1/8-inch hole in the centre of each small "x" about one inch deep. Screw a lag hook into each hole by twisting them into the joist clockwise. Align the four hook ends up so that they all face in the same direction.

  4. 4

    Attach a pulley to a carabiner clip, then attach that carabiner clip to a lag hook. Repeat this for the remaining three lag hooks. Cut four lengths of rope with a utility knife. Each length should be twice as long as the distance from the lag hooks to the garage floor.

  5. 5

    Tie a carabiner clip to one end of each rope. The knot should be placed on the small end of the carabiner clip, not the large, retractable end. Pull the knot tight so the clip is secure. Thread each of the four ropes through a separate pulley located on the ceiling.

  6. 6

    Allow each carabiner hook to hang from the ceiling at waist level. Tie in knot in each rope on the far side of each pulley, so that each rope will now only extend to waist level from the floor, and no farther. The knot will prevent the ropes from being pulled from the ceiling pulleys. The hard top hoist is now complete and ready for use.

  7. 7

    Use the hard top hoist by pulling the car beneath the four pulleys. Unfasten the hard top. Sling the nylon webbing beneath the roof. Attach one carabiner clip (hanging from the ceiling) to each corner of the webbing. Grasp all four ropes simultaneously and pull them to raise the hardtop.

  8. 8

    Raise the hardtop to its desired storage height. Secure the four ropes together by looping them into a loose knot. Secure this knot to the nearest wall or other immovable object to maintain the hard top at its desired height.

Tips and warnings

  • For ease of use, have a wall hook or clip situated to hold the four ropes in place together at the raised and lowered position for the hard top hoist. This will allow you to operate the hoist alone, and quickly install or detach the hard top.

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