Sure - pick up a manual winch, like the one in this link, and mount it to
the wall. Run the cable through a pulley that you suspend from the ceiling,
and make up two lengths of additional cable, with positive-locking clips on
the ends (carabiners would work fine for this), that can clip to some
mounting points on the top of the cap (attached to a ladder rack, or
something similar). Slip these two cables through the hook of the winch,
and crank it up.
Of course, if you're into a little more high-end, an electric winch bolted
to the rafters would make things easier:
I guy I know has one of the Harbor Freight jobs to remove the hardtop from
his Prowler. He hung it from a large pipe on two Harbor Freight pneumatic
tired casters. He just removed the tires and runs the wheels on the pipe.
There is enough space where the tire was to allow the pipe to pass through.
He can lift the top and just move it to the end of his garage. Works well.
Been there, Done that... used 2 pulleys on the rafters and lifted from a 2x4"
across the bed rails under each end of the cap...
Bottom line, not worth the trouble, besides the fact that I'd rather have the
cap bolted to the truck as opposed to clamping it on so it can be easily
It also looks REALLY funny from the street, seeing a camper shell stuck to the
garage ceiling.. *g*
NOTE: if you do it... remember that it's going to catch dust, dryer lint,
etc.... and Murphy's law says that it WILL make a mess when you take it down..
It was worthwhile for me because I could remove and store or re-install my
cap without help.
I had mine setup similar to you but I didn't use any pullys. I had 4 eye
bolts screwed into the rafters over the garage stall, and two 2X4s with an
eye bolt in each end. I used 4 cargo straps to pull the cap off.
well, you were in the Navy, Ken... whole different mindset...
In the army we didn't do anything that required manual labor if it could be
BTW: I did that with my first shell, a lot of years ago... before I learned that
if it was off, I didn't have anywhere to store all my junk.. *g*
Had them on several trucks since and never taken one off..
I had one on the D-150 back when I had the truck an took it off rather
quickly after nearly backing over a little girl that I couldn't see in the
right hand mirror or thru the side windows on the topper ... but she was
tall enough I could see her over the tailgate (topper open).
The bottom of the windows were 5" higher than the tailgate.
If she had walked with her parent thru the lot instead of running ahead, it
wouldn't have happened either.
I did it that way not to avoid the labor, but to minimize it enough to do
the job alone safely. I know I can lift it myself from the inside but it's
very awkward. I didn't want to risk dropping a fiberglass cap from the
height of a 2500 4X4 bed. You still have to lift some of the weight by hand
to cinch up the straps, but it's less than 100 lbs on each end. Lifting the
cap from inside the truck bed to get the 2X4s in position is the hardest
part, but even that is relatively easy due to your body position. Once the
padded tape seal is broken the rest of the job is easy.
A crafty woodworker like you should be able to come up with a simple shelf
to put over the 2X4s supporting the suspended cap. Think of it as a lower
Also, I don't have any dust problems. My garage ceiling is textured so I
always put an old blanket over the cap (think grey wool with the letters
U.S. in the corner) before hoisting it tight against the ceiling. No
scratches in the cap that way and any dust accumulation can be cleaned off
of the blanket outside.
Actually, this garage already has a loft.... I could put the dakota cap up there
if I cleared years of family stuff out of it, I guess...
The Dakota looks and rides so much better with the cap that it hasn't been off
since we got the truck in '01..
the other problem is that the garage is also the full time wood shop and even
with a dust collector and air filter, things get pretty dusty in there...
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