Hard-Top Custom Cargo Cover

(note: not every step here needs to be done, this is just how I completed the task. I also put the pictures together and labeled them so if printed it is easier to read and refer to)

Tools Required:
-Jig Saw
-Fine Toothed Jig Blade
-Course Tooth Jig Blade
-Hacksaw w/ Metal blade (typically fine toothed blades are for metal)
-Electric/Cordless Drill w/ 3/32″ Bit
-Phillips Head bit
-Razor Knife
-Saw Horses or Workbench
-Needle Nose Pliers
-Staple Gun with ½” or 9/16” staples
-T Square
-Tape Measurer

Items Needed:

(note: the two below items can be skipped if you wish to have me send you a template)

-1 3-piece folding display board (Staples)
-1 4×8 sheet of 1/8” Pressboard

-1 4×8 sheet of ½” Plywood
-1 piece of 10’ metal Electrical Conduit ¾”
-1 package of 7/8” Rubber Chair Caps
-1 package of 8 Mini Bungee Cords (10” length)
-4 #8×5/8” Phillips Screw (come in packages of 2 at HD)
-1 package of #8 flat washers
-1 can of Flat Black Rustoleum spray paint
-1 can of 3M #80 Rubber & Vinyl Adhesive
-3 linear feet of 6’ wide Dayside/Gray Carpet (from Home Depot SKU# 423-669)

Part One: Making the Supports
1. Measure out the Conduit and using your hacksaw cut two pieces one 54“ and the other 48“.

2. Take your file and smooth out the edges. I gave longer cuts so you can see how much more you need to take off for a good fit. Since it may possibly vary from car to car, you can adjust as necessary with the cuts.

3. After resizing, you want to make sure the ends are just very shy of where they need to be. Now you can put the 7/8” rubber end caps on the ends and see how good the fit is. If it still feels to tight, then trim a tiny bit off the pipe and resize.

4. The hooks for the tie downs need to be down and acting like a shelf. You may notice the ones furthest back near the hatch are at an odd angle and the piping seems to want to roll right off. This is a simple solution.

5. Take your 1.4” drive ratchet with you mm socket and loosen the tie down hook enough to where you can pop the bottom tab out and turn it around until the hook opens downward. Once you have the hook level when it is down, you can re-tighten the bolt. Do not worry about the metal tab, only tighten until it almost stops, no more.

6. Now try to refit the rear pipe and see if it sits better. Remember, you still have not done the bungee’s yet.

7. Taking your bungee, hold one end at the edge of the pipe (with the rubber cap on) and pull until it feels tight and tensioned. Being a 10” bungee this may be between 12-15”. Mark that spot on the pipe and do the same for the other side.

8. Grab your drill and 3/32“ bit. Standing over the pipe, using your feet to hold it in place, drill small pilot holes into the pipe (one side only). And repeat on the other end, making sure you keep the holes fairly straight with one another.

9. Now switch over to the Phillips head and grab your #8×5/8” screws and #8 washers. Begin to screw the #8 screw with washer into the pilot hole drilled. ONLY START the screw, DO NOT tighten all the way.

10. Take your bungee hook and place it around the screw, under the washer of course. Using your needle nose pliers, squeeze the hook around the screw to ensure a good secure fit.

11. Now tighten the screw down just enough so that the bungee hook is not loose.

12. Repeat Steps 7-11 for the other pipe and holes.

13. Now place your piping in the proper areas in the cargo hold, attach the bungees you screwed into place to the tie down hooks.

14. Take the other 4 bungees and connect as follows. From one tie down hook to the other. From the hook screwed to the forward bar to the rear tie down hook closest to the hatch.

15. Test the strength by pushing and putting some of your weight on the bars. You should be able to put a good 40lbs. with no trouble.

Part 2: Cutting the Template
NOTE: If you wish to have a template pre-made sent to you, simply send me the money for the posterboard to trace it on, and for shipping. I will take no money in my pocket and offer this simply as an easier way for you to most likely save money by having to pay only for paper and shipping rather than the cardboard and pressboard.

1. This may be more difficult to explain, but taking your 3 piece cardboard, fitting it into the area, you can make a rough diagram of the area.

2. Make sure the hatch is closed, seats are up, and the rear glass is open.

3. Using your razor knife and scissors, trace and cut a pattern based on rough measuring and your own eyes to get a pattern. Laying the cardboard on the bars made for support will allow better measuring.

4. I cut the extra cardboard hanging over the hatch and used that to shape out the side and rear edges as they are not straight.

TIP: Only do half of the hatch, once complete you can flip it over and see how it fits on the other side. This will save time.

5. Now using your 4×8 1/8” pressboard, trace your cardboard cutout on the board. Again only cut out half based on your template using your fine tooth jigsaw blade. It will make the adjustments easier to make.

6. Now fit the pressboard cutout into the area. Check measurements to see where you can add a ½” or take away. Note the adjustments and take the extra cardboard, cut small pieces to make the fit. Trace the overhang to the pressboard and go retrace onto new pressboard with cardboard adjustments on as well.

7. Re-fit and if it’s close enough (1/4”), then you are in good shape, you now have a template.

Part 3: Cutting the Final Piece
1. Take your 4×8 ½” Plywood and your pressboard template. Trace half onto the plywood, making note of where the halfway point is.

2. Using your courser blade and the jigsaw cut out your half shape and set it aside.

3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for the second half.

4. Place both halves into the cargo area onto the support bars and look to see the fit. It should be fairly close.

5. Now you need to adjust for the space the carpeting will take up. The straight edges of the board, i.e. the back against the rear bench and the middle where the two pieces meet. Measure ¼ ” in from the edge on each of those sides. Use your T-Square to make the line.

6. Cut the ¼” from the sides and place them back into the cargo area. You should have enough space around all edges now to fit carpeting. Take your carpet onto one piece and see to make sure it will be a snug fit, DO NOT cut the carpeting yet.

7. Once this is done you are read for the final steps.

Part 4: Carpeting and Painting
1. Laying the carpet so the rubber backing is facing up towards your, lay the boar down the same way. This is crucial as you do not want to carpet the wrong side, so please double check. (easiest way to make sure, lay board in cargo area, lay carpet over it, take it out and flip over)

2. Cut with your razor knife a rough outline of the board following the curves and give yourself a about 6” of space from the board to your cut on the carpet. This will ensure you are able to overlap the edge and staple.

3. Now that you are traced, take the board to the street, grass, or other ventilated out of the way place and cover with the 3M #80 Vinyl & Rubber spray adhesive. Cover the board well, not to dripping wet, but a good coat. Again, make sure the side of the board you are spraying is the side that will be carpeted.

4. Flip the boar back onto the carpet you cut out for it. And begin to fold over and staple the edges.

5. Working with the round and straight corners you will have bunched up carpet. If you cut the overlapping carpet right to the edge but not over it, you can get a good fit and not have to worry about bunched up areas.

6. Repeat this for the second piece and see how they fit. Good!

7. Now you may not need to do this step, but if you choose to for appearance purposes. Take the Rustoleum flat black spray and cover the bare wood with 2 coats, 3 if you want to blend it in. Be sure to tape and paper the carpeted edges as well.

Differences to the Ebay Cover:
-I used a thicker pipe.

-My pipe does not go into the hook opening, it rests on top of them tightly fitted with rubber end caps.

-I did not use U-supports on all the wood to hold it in place, between the rubber connectors and carpeted edges, the setup is soundproof. Instead I only put them on the back pole to allow for the boards to be lifted and not slide back when putting things in the lower cargo area from the glass.

-I used gray instead of black carpeting to match the interior closer.

-My setup is cut into two sections, to allow access to the lower cargo area without opening the hatch completely, and also gives easier stowing when not in use. I am not sure how he was able to fit a full piece back there with a tight fit as it was not possible for me.

-Total cost of products is around $60 (estimated with CT State Tax of 6%). Saved $40, If you want to have me send you the template, you may be able to save more money as making the template costs around $18. So I am sure sending a piece of posterboard in a small tube is cheaper.

-Satisfaction of building it yourself and being able to take the compliments for the job!!! Priceless!!!

Here you can see the screw put into the metal with the bungee end tightened around with the washer

You can see the rear (closest to the hatch) hook has been loosened and turned around and re-tightened to hold the bar in place

Here is an underside shot of that same hook

This is where you want your bungees to be on each side, (two on the bars, one diaganol, one right to each hook) for additional support

The 3-sided cardboard display board used to make the first rough template

My final template, sitting in my basement ready to be traced for you =)
The carpet laid over the edges, glued on top, and stapled underneath

A closeup of the corners where I cut the bunched up carpet

The #80 3M Vinyl & Rubber Adhesive

Once again the Finished Product


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