2002-05 Garage Hardtop Hoists

Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2004
I got a manual hoist/rope winch. It came with a cradle and straps to hold the top. Got a small electric winch and a snatch-block pulley to lower the top at one-half speed.
Big deal was I mounted the winch with heavy sliding door rollers with a 6’ aluminum “I-beam (all one set, 400pds operating strength).
I keep the top in the stand when not in use. I lift the top with the cradle and winch off the stand and raise up.
I back the Tbird into the garage. ROLLING the top over the car and lowering slowly. Set the rear pins in place and lower the front. Remove the cradle and secure the top as directed.CE423EE1-0499-4B08-93BA-69C9421D28D5.jpeg
 
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rjdimonda

Active Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2003
I use a hoist to get the top up, but I also built a platform, out of 2x4s that swings under the top. I raise the top, then I swing the 2x4s under it, then lower it till it sits on the 2X4's. I dont remove the hoist. That should be the same pressure as the top on a rack or on the ground. SO I have 2 systems holding the top up at the same time, for safety.
This is brilliant. Do you have any pictures
 

rjdimonda

Active Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2003
I got a manual hoist/rope winch. It came with a cradle and straps to hold the top. Got a small electric winch and a snatch-block pulley to lower the top at one-half speed.
Big deal was I mounted the winch with heavy sliding door rollers with a 6’ aluminum “I-beam (all one set, 400pds operating strength).
I keep the top in the stand when not in use. I lift the top with the cradle and winch off the stand and raise up.
I back the Tbird into the garage. ROLLING the top over the car and lowering slowly. Set the rear pins in place and lower the front. Remove the cradle and secure the top as directed.View attachment 9674
This is extremely clever as I can't raise the top due to its width would interfere with my garage door opener. But by putting the winch arrangement on a sliding door roller assembly you can push the roof, after lifted to a location in the garage where the ceiling is clear. Trouble for me is there is a darned beam running across the garage so I don't have the straight shot clearance you do. But this is best design I have seen. Give most ease also in reinstallation of the roof.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2022
Thunderbird Year
2004
Sounds groovy with proper support. One poster mentioned warping. I didn't know fiberglass could form stored off square? Me, I have to detail the inside glass and likely will store in the rack. Never had the top off as just got the bird. Can two people handle the thing? I spotted a YouTube Ford ad where a guy and his girl lifted it off thinking maybe my Wife could assist?

Anyone find a decent storage bag/blanket to wrap the top in? Unheated garage where cotton may hold moisture. Found covers that are that plastic-fabric stuff like car dust covers but are stupid spendy like $150. Really, for a cheesy bag?
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2004
I would’ve recommend any hoists. I used one and it warped the top. I had to get another top.
This is an interesting issue. What blorenz is suggesting is, if fiberglass hard tops are not properly supported, they can and will change shape over time. Add hot weather and extended periods to this equation and it seems very possible. I believe it. They seem sturdy enough but even if you were to set it down on a horizontal surface in a hot garage/shop for 8 mos. or forever, it just might change shape from it's own weight of 85 lbs. What to do? If you watch the car resto programs on tv and they want the body to stay put while they rebuild the frame, what do they do? They weld temporary, steel battens or brackets where needed to keep the structure in place. Viola, we have an answer.

Fashion a piece of stout (2"x 2"x 5/16") angle iron to bolt into the two front HT holes carefully using nylon and steel washers to eliminate damage. Now do the same across the pins towards the back. You may have to invent a clamp to hold it on or drill a small hole for a clevis pin. Once in place, run 1 1/4" flat bar from corner to corner to form an X and bolt it to the steel angle iron and at the x point. If you can, have it welded.

You now have a rigid steel bracket to hold the HT. Hook your lift straps to these and you will not exert pressure on the HT.

I have not done this but sounds good. Comments?
 
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