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Jeep Wrangler Hard and Soft Tops



  • edf4edf4 Posts: 65
    First off, it's a JEEP, not a car. Now that we've gotten that straight, the best suggestion I have for installing the soft top the first time, (I agree, the manual is confusing), would be to ask a fellow soft top JK (model designation for your '08 Unlimited) owner in your area to assist you with the installation. Most Jeep owners would be glad to help out another, I know I would. If that's not an option, then have the dealer do it on emopre time, but stand beside them and watch/learn so next year you know how to do it yourself. Once you've done it, you'll have it mastered. Enjoy!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Sage advice, but a TJ owner could probably assist too. They really are not THAT different.

  • busman01busman01 Posts: 46
    I am considering purchasing a used jeep (2005 or newer). Can someone cover the pros and cons of a softtop vs a hardtop.

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,278
    I prefer the softtop on the 2007 and up JK Wranglers as the Freedom Tops seem to have a chronic problem with leaks. Prior to 2007 it's a matter of personal preference. Again I prefer the ragtop.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • edf4edf4 Posts: 65
    I have the 2007 JK Unlimited with both tops. The leaks on the Freedom (hard) top was a short lived problem on the very early models, but has since been eliminated. I agree with roadburner that the choice is really one of personal preference.
    Personally, I use both tops but if I could only have one, I'd take the hard top, (pre-2007 and certainly 2007+, becasue of the removable panels). My reasoning is this: with the hard top, in the summer you can remove the doors and open the back window, and get virtually all of the benefits of no top. Having a roof over your head in the summer is also good, because without it, when you are in traffic, you will BAKE. Light rain, hot sun, even some wind turbulence at highway speed will blocked by the roof. Then when it gets cold, put on the doors and you will be warmer, have better theft security, can use a (light duty) roof rack, and will better be able to enjoy conversations and the sound of your radio. Plus, over time, your hard top glass windows will not fade and crack like they will on the soft top.
    However, there is nothing quite as much fun as driving around in summer with no doors and no top! Oh, decisions, decisions . . . .
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    The leaks on the Freedom (hard) top was a short lived problem on the very early models, but has since been eliminated.

    Sadly, that's just not so. :(
  • tedjantedjan Posts: 1
    Hello Group,I hope this question was not addressed previously.(i did search).My wife just bought a 2009 Wrangler Sahara 2 door with the freedom hardtop and was wondering what was the best way to store the panels inside the car when removed.
    Our salesman said to place them between the front and rear seats but were hoping someone has a better solution than that.
    Thanks in advance for your input.
  • edf4edf4 Posts: 65
    Congratulations on your wife's fine choice - she will love her Jeep!
    If she insists on keeping the panels with her in the Jeep, as opposed to at home, I can think of two alternative options: (1) she could remove the back seat and lay them flat on the floor, but if she does this, she should place a blanket or some covering between them so they don't scratch each other; or (2) Mopar sells a panel carrier that attaches to the trailer hitch. There may be a picture of it on the Jeep or Mopar website. Or, there is at least one aftermarket manufacturer who sells a roof rack that hold the panels, but probably not for highway use. If you do an internet search, you will find A LOT of aftermarket items for the Jeep. Enjoy!!
  • fishous13fishous13 Posts: 1
    I am looking for a soft top for my 2009 4D unlimited.

    It came with the freedom top.

    Are there any recommended soft tops out there that are more reasonably priced? I see a ton in the jeep magazines...but do not know where to start. I need something reasonably easy to install that can be interchanged with the freedom top. Something that allows flexibility and easy storage as well as durability Suggestions?
  • envy1envy1 Posts: 1
    does any one know if this is a warrantee item?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Should be. 3yr/36Kmiles bumper to bumper minus consumables like clutch plates, wiper blades, and brake pads.

    Tailgate brackets shouldn't be consumable. ;)
  • rwitbeckrwitbeck Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Wrangler that studders when running at any less then 1800 rpm's. It bucks real bad unless I constantly down shift to keep rpm's high. It also smoke's pritty bad which makes me think it has alot of carbon build up. I live on a island where you can hardly get above 40 mph which is not helping the carbon problem. Any ideas on how to make it run a little smother would be great. Ry
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Additives to gas to help clean the injectors and valves.

    Check for oil leaks. Run synthetics. Check your air filter. Check for any codes for your throttle position sensor.

  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Key word is reasonable.

    I knew of one locally for 600, but is that reasonable?

    Check craigslist, ebay, and various jeep forums and you may find a deal. But you'll need the frame/hardware to mount it. Bestop is about the best/only game in town for a quality top for a Jeep.

  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Might be worth checking the ignition system too (plugs, coil pack etc.).
  • Has anyone experienced the soft top windows pulling out from the door frame at highway speeds? Any thoughts on how to resolve the problem?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Yep, all the time. Are they becoming detached?

    You'd rather them bow out than to bow in. MUCH quieter. If I'm on the highway and running windows up (like in the fall), I'll run the fan to get positive pressure inside and bow the windows out - otherwise they'll flap.

  • retired17retired17 Posts: 1
    Hi, just got my first jeep and it has a soft top, however it was never installed. Does any one know of videos on line that would help. This is a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Thanks
  • edf4edf4 Posts: 65
    It sounds like you have not properly fitted the stiff edge of the window panel into the groove in the plastic door surround frame. This is assuming you have a 2007 or newer Jeep. To better understand what I am saying, take a look at the vertical edge of the soft window frame that faces the rear door. You will see that it has a stiff "L" shaped edge, (though the size of each edge is equal). Now open the door and you will see that the plastic door surround has a vertical groove in it. You will need to stretch/pull the window toward the rear door, (it helps if it is hot outside and the velcro on the top and rear edge of the window is not attached to the top), and then fit the leading edge of the stiff "L" edge into the groove on the door surround. I usually start at the bottom and work up. Once fitted properly, the top of the "L" (the long side in this example) will be in the groove and the bottom of the "L" (the short side in this example) will be flat against the edge of the surround where the door weatherstripping hits it. It may take a minute or so to work it fully into the groove. Now press the velcro tight on the top and back and your window will not pull out from the door frame at any speed. The more you do it, the easier it gets, because the fabric will stretch over time.
  • My 98 TJ soft top has seen better days... My amazing parents have bought me a replacement top i think from best top... my question is, how do i get the old top off... and how do i get the new one on. I think there is a manual for installing the new one, but I dont know how to remove the old. Does anyone know of a good website or manual i can use for step by step instructions on removing the old one!?

    I need to get it on while the weather is hot, and dry! Help!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Soft top fabric is attached at each of the hardware 'bows'.

    Rear most two bows (that attach to the cage behind the front seats) should just velcro or snap around the bar. Easy peasy.

    The front bow is the windshield header. On my 97, that is held on via 10 or so screws. The screws go through the top where it is reinforced with plastic and screw into the header. Just note how you remove it and reverse the process as necessary. You may need to remove the top from the rear two bows and 'flip' it forward so you can see the screws. They may be hidden by fabric as I know the front attachment loops over itself.

  • I seem to have some wiring issues in my control panel. As i'm driving, occasionally all of my needles will drop... if i bang on the dash, they all pop back up. I'm not overly worried about it, although sometimes my Check engine light comes on, as well as the airbag light... and i'm afraid that its going to come on and i'm going to dismiss it and there will actually be big problems. Anyone else have this problem?

    One other thing... i have this rattling in my drivers side door... i know its coming fromt he handle because if i pull on it slightly it will stop. Is there just something i need to tighten inside the door panel that will make this annoying noise stop?!

  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    I think there is a manual for installing the new one, but I dont know how to remove the old.

    There's actually a video that came with the Jeep when it was new that shows the whole process. I'm sure it will be on a download site somewhere.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Disconnect your battery.

    For the dash, remove the vent cover over the defrost. Then remove the kick panel under the dash. Remove the metal cover under the kick panel. You can now remove the black cover around the dash. THEN you can remove the actual dash itself. Take some rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and clean the metal spades that are the connection point for the dash to the harness (mounted in the metal underneath on the firewall - impossible to miss). Do the same for the harness side. Some of the spades may be a little bent or tweaked. Straighten them as best you can. THEN, apply some dielectric grease to it to ensure a good connection.

    Once you've done that, reconnect your battery. This should have reset any codes and your dash should be good to go. If any codes show up now, take it to Autozone and they can read the codes for you for further diagnosis, repair.

    For your door, you running full or half?

    For simple stuff like that, a Haynes manual (usually at Autozone or the like) is an inexpensive guide to working on things. If you want to do more of your own stuff, get a Factory Service Manual - they are invaluable at working more complex issues.

  • I am stuck. How do you get the bolt that is near the rear doors out so I can take my hard top off? the one from underneath?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,278
    I've started using DeoxIT contact cleaners for jobs like the IP gauge fix. You can find it at Radio Shack. It isn't cheap, but it's amazing stuff.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • busman01busman01 Posts: 46
    Just an FYI...

    I was negotiating with a dealer on a 2010 Wrangler with the Freedom Top. He just called to say the supplier of the Freedom Top had gone bankrupt and they currently are not available. Jeep is looking for a supplier, and anticipates the hard tops will not be available until the 1st qtr of 2010.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Given their propensity to leak, that isn't necessarily a bad thing IMO...

  • davedenndavedenn Posts: 26
    I have an 83 CJ7 with metal doors. I would like to remove the doors during the summer and replace them in the winter when I reinstall the hard top. Is it possible to just remove the hinge pins and leave half the hinge on the vehicle as one would in a house? I have read several post involving using a grinder to remove the top of the pin after the hinge and door have been totally removed from the Jeep. Is this really necessary? My model has the mirrors mounted onto the door hinges and that makes it difficult to run without them and the doors too. I would like to install soft half-doors for the summer if that makes any difference. Any ideas?

  • edf4edf4 Posts: 65
    I don't quite understand what you want to do, but if you are concerned that removing the doors will take the mounted mirrors with them, there are several aftermarket manufacturers of mirrors that sell mirrors that mount on the base of the A pillar of the windshield. Do a search for Jeep mirrors or parts, and you will find a treasure trove of stuff. door less and topless is THE way to enjoy your Jeep in summer!!
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