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Old 05-11-2014, 05:02 PM   #1
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Just got a JKU...need advice!

Hello everyone!

I just got my first ever Jeep (a 2014 JKU Sahara)!

I'm gonna be honest, I'm not huge into mods or anything like that, so mine will always be mostly stock, save for some small aesthetic adjustments.

Anyways, with my stock JKU, I will be taking a long Summer road trip. My question to the wise Jeep veterans is: do I go with the Sunrider Soft Top or the Hard Top and just take off the freedom panels whenever is good?

I kind of worry about the complicated nature of the soft top...or is it easy for a beginner?

Any other tips for taking the JKU on the road for the long haul?

Thanks for any and all input!

Boulders

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Old 05-11-2014, 05:15 PM   #2
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Hello everyone!

I just got my first ever Jeep (a 2014 JKU Sahara)!

I'm gonna be honest, I'm not huge into mods or anything like that, so mine will always be mostly stock, save for some small aesthetic adjustments.

Anyways, with my stock JKU, I will be taking a long Summer road trip. My question to the wise Jeep veterans is: do I go with the Sunrider Soft Top or the Hard Top and just take off the freedom panels whenever is good?

I kind of worry about the complicated nature of the soft top...or is it easy for a beginner?

Any other tips for taking the JKU on the road for the long haul?

Thanks for any and all input!

Boulders
I think by asking the question about the soft top you may already know the answer. IMHO unless you're a top down all the time kinda guy the hard top offers better security and is more practical. Plus if you don't have a garage the top and plastic windows will get attacked by the sun over time. If you're the type that has to roll with no top then it's a small price to pay.

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Old 05-11-2014, 05:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Boulders11 View Post
Hello everyone!

I just got my first ever Jeep (a 2014 JKU Sahara)!

I'm gonna be honest, I'm not huge into mods or anything like that, so mine will always be mostly stock, save for some small aesthetic adjustments.

Anyways, with my stock JKU, I will be taking a long Summer road trip. My question to the wise Jeep veterans is: do I go with the Sunrider Soft Top or the Hard Top and just take off the freedom panels whenever is good?

I kind of worry about the complicated nature of the soft top...or is it easy for a beginner?

Any other tips for taking the JKU on the road for the long haul?

Thanks for any and all input!

Boulders
Awesome choice! The Sahara is very nice. There's nothing like riding topless when the weather permits. So for me, the hardtop basically comes down to a security issue. But I live in Florida, so I'm not concerned with winters so much. If you are worried about someone breaking into your jk, then a hardtop adds extra security. But if you're not, then a soft top is the way to go.

The soft top on a 14 is quite easy to handle. You have a Sunrider, which means you can flip the top over the drivers row pretty easily, like less than a minute. And to fold the whole top down, takes less than 10 minutes. If you like open air then I do recommend the soft top. If you're more a fan of A/C, then the hard top may be better. I'm sure members will jump in with their opinions, but that's mine.

Welcome to the JK family!
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:33 PM   #4
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Hey, thanks for the quick replies!

And I already feel very welcome (cool part about owning a jeep).

I think I should clarify some things:

I own both tops, just wondering which to have on for the road trip.

As for where I live, I'm in the wintery, oh so wintery, northeast.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:41 PM   #5
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Then you have the best of both worlds. Hard top winter...soft top summer.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:02 PM   #6
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I have only tried the hardtop and the hardtop with the freedom panels off...never the Sunrider.

Despite all the harsh critiques (mostly harsh, anyways), I didn't find highway driving noisy at all...obviously with the top on.

There will be long driving days on this trip and I just wonder if the soft top would be too noisy to have for a few weeks. Then again, I hear nothing but good things about the Sunrider.

I'll have to learn how to work it when I get the Jeep delivered.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:07 PM   #7
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I have only tried the hardtop and the hardtop with the freedom panels off...never the Sunrider.

Despite all the harsh critiques (mostly harsh, anyways), I didn't find highway driving noisy at all...obviously with the top on.

There will be long driving days on this trip and I just wonder if the soft top would be too noisy to have for a few weeks. Then again, I hear nothing but good things about the Sunrider.

I'll have to learn how to work it when I get the Jeep delivered.
I own a yj but I have a hard top and bikini for mine on a long trip up in ur area mostly would depend on weather to my plus sounds like the hard top for you comes with removable panels sounds to me as if I would go with the hard top panels off when ya want on when ya dont
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:10 PM   #8
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I've taken my soft top on the highway, and while not as quiet as a hard top, it is not loud at all. I'm heading on a 6 state drive, each way, this summer and planning on running the soft top. I'll have a better idea about hammering the highway after that. But I feel confident it will be fine.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:17 PM   #9
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Thanks 14Sport.

I wonder why so many reviews knocked the JKU for being loud...I didn't find it that loud at all on my test drives.

It may not be as soundproof as some other cars, but they talk about it like it's so awful.

Do you find the soft top hard to setup/use, 14Sport?
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:29 PM   #10
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Thanks 14Sport.

I wonder why so many reviews knocked the JKU for being loud...I didn't find it that loud at all on my test drives.

It may not be as soundproof as some other cars, but they talk about it like it's so awful.

Do you find the soft top hard to setup/use, 14Sport?
Not at all. The Sunrider is a breeze...it really is. As for putting the whole top down, also very easy. But putting it up, at first it was a little difficult but by the 3rd time, I could do it in my sleep. The factory tops (mine is aftermarket Bestop), have spring assist to make it easier. Without the spring assist it can take 20 or 25 minutes, including the windows and all. Not sure what the spring assist will save you in time since I don't have it.

I love my Jeep. I love my soft top. Haters will be haters.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:39 PM   #11
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Not at all. The Sunrider is a breeze...it really is. As for putting the whole top down, also very easy. But putting it up, at first it was a little difficult but by the 3rd time, I could do it in my sleep. The factory tops (mine is aftermarket Bestop), have spring assist to make it easier. Without the spring assist it can take 20 or 25 minutes, including the windows and all. Not sure what the spring assist will save you in time since I don't have it. I love my Jeep. I love my soft top. Haters will be haters.
Ya, I don't wanna sound like a whiner..."ohhh it's too haaarrrd", haha. I just don't wanna think about it too much on a long trip. By the sounds of it though, the factory spring will make it super easy.

It's just two of us, so I probably only will want to take the front top off...which is why the hardtop would be an option. BUT, I think just moving the Sunrider back a little past the front and back again would be the easiest bet.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:45 PM   #12
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Ya, I don't wanna sound like a whiner..."ohhh it's too haaarrrd", haha. I just don't wanna think about it too much on a long trip. By the sounds of it though, the factory spring will make it super easy.

It's just two of us, so I probably only will want to take the front top off...which is why the hardtop would be an option. BUT, I think just moving the Sunrider back a little past the front and back again would be the easiest bet.
It's harder to take the Freedom panels out than flip the sunrider, by a LOOOONG shot. The sunrider is easier. With the soft top on, I use the sunrider on trips less than an hour. But if your wife is willing to help put the soft top back up, then it is even easier. I do it by myself, although my wife has offered to help, because I want TO BE ABLE TO DO IT BY MYSELF! lol.

Good weather. Safe area to park or nothing left in the JK. You could leave the top down for days or even weeks. Some guys leave it down all summer.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:48 PM   #13
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If you don't mind if I butt in here...

To set the stage... We have two jeeps. Mike has a 2013 with just a hard top. I have a 2014 with just the premium soft top.

When we were ordering Mike's jeep we had never seen the premium soft top, since it was brand new. None of our local dealers had any on the lots. So, we chickened out and just got the hard top.

When it was time to order my jeep, I decided to get just the soft top. We enjoyed riding around in Mike's jeep with the top off, but it's just so inconvenient to take it off and out it back on. I figured if I hated the soft top, I could take the hard top and Mike could out the soft top on his jeep...

Once my jeep arrived and we saw the premium soft top for ourselves we loved the look. Once we rode it in for the ride home, we wished we had skipped Mike's hard top altogether and just gotten the premium soft top for his jeep, too.

Noise is not noticeably higher with the soft top. Temperature is not noticeably different. Being able to take out the windows and run open air takes less than five minutes, without popping the soft top at all. Opening the top completely just adds a couple of minutes, until you get used to it.

If we ordered a new jeep tomorrow, it would be premium soft top only.

With a dual top, I would definitely recommend you look into a hoist for your hard top, too.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:52 PM   #14
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Hello everyone! I just got my first ever Jeep (a 2014 JKU Sahara)! I'm gonna be honest, I'm not huge into mods or anything like that, so mine will always be mostly stock, save for some small aesthetic adjustments. Anyways, with my stock JKU, I will be taking a long Summer road trip. My question to the wise Jeep veterans is: do I go with the Sunrider Soft Top or the Hard Top and just take off the freedom panels whenever is good? I kind of worry about the complicated nature of the soft top...or is it easy for a beginner? Any other tips for taking the JKU on the road for the long haul? Thanks for any and all input! Boulders
I have a 2013 JKU Sahara dual top package and live in Syracuse. I've had my jeep for a year and have the hard top on in the winter but switch to the soft top in the summer. The hard top will be a bit quieter on the highways but the soft top is really quiet too. I would leave the soft top on and have fun with the top off even on the highway. If you hit rain or the sun gets to you just pull over and put it up. It's not difficult and you could do it in a few minutes. Before you leave for your trip practice and get comfortable with the soft top. It needs a good stretching at first and leaving it the sun to warm it up before you put it up helps. The most time consuming part are the side windows but it's not too bad. Congrats on your awesome vehicle! Enjoy the road trip and remember getting there is most of the fun. Enjoy the top down and enjoy your journey!
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:49 PM   #15
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If you live in northern climates a hard top is a must in my opinion...I throw on the sun rider top in spring and keep it on until November or so...sun rider is very simple and easy to use I love it
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:58 PM   #16
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Not sure if this was covered or not, but your original question was regarding long road trips? If you're packed with gear or suitcases, etc. then you'll want to remember the freedom panels take up some space too and may not be as convenient as you think. Just a thought.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:06 PM   #17
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Not sure if this was covered or not, but your original question was regarding long road trips? If you're packed with gear or suitcases, etc. then you'll want to remember the freedom panels take up some space too and may not be as convenient as you think. Just a thought.
Excellent point.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:31 PM   #18
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If it were me and I'm going on a summer road trip I'd be riding with the top down the whole way--- so soft top would be the way I'd go.
As like the others have said already if you're worried about security then the hard top is the smart choice.
It really will just boil down to what you'd prefer along the way.
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:20 PM   #19
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I am buying a hard top next week..I doubt I will ever have it off as I dont like the full doors on a soft top with it down and the security of the hard top...it is not much but it is better then nothing. If I want to run with the wind running thru my 3 hairs I will take the front panels out.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:10 AM   #20
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If it were me and I'm going on a summer road trip I'd be riding with the top down the whole way--- so soft top would be the way I'd go. As like the others have said already if you're worried about security then the hard top is the smart choice. It really will just boil down to what you'd prefer along the way.
Yeah, it seems the soft top would make the most sense for a summer trip.

Not sure about all the way back as we will have all of our stuff back there and rain could happen anytime pretty quickly (Nova Scotia and Newfoundland)...so I think having the soft top down just on the first part is the best way.

Anyone have any issues with water leaks after a rainfall?
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:43 AM   #21
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I bought dual tops and summer trips will definitely be done with premium soft top!

I'm thinking I'll run the soft top mid may through October and the hard top November through mid-may... Yeah, it's Michigan
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:14 AM   #22
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My 2013 came with the Premium Soft Top. No leaks so far. Recently took it on a 7 hour trip to Orlando. It was pretty quiet even with my 35's humming along the road. Nothing better than being able to drop the whole top down when we went to the beach for a day. Was awesome. My preference is for the soft top personally. It's a Jeep tho, so you can't go wrong with whatever top you decide with. You'll have a blast.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:47 AM   #23
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I'm a soft top supporter so you know what I would choose.... BUT if you are planning on a long trip and hauling stuff I would choose a hard top. If you stop overnight at a hotel or something and need to lock the jeep up I would say the hard top is a lot safer.
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:46 PM   #24
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I'm a soft top supporter so you know what I would choose.... BUT if you are planning on a long trip and hauling stuff I would choose a hard top. If you stop overnight at a hotel or something and need to lock the jeep up I would say the hard top is a lot safer.
Ya. I guess this is the real debate: safety vs. fun

I definitely wanna have the top off at points and I'd have to a) store the panels in the back, b) take them on and off everyday, and c) have to move real quick to put them back on should the rain start coming down.

Is it easy to get into the Jeep with the soft top? Can scissors just puncture the thing?
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:42 PM   #25
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Is it easy to get into the Jeep with the soft top? Can scissors just puncture the thing?
Yes
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:56 PM   #26
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Ya. I guess this is the real debate: safety vs. fun

I definitely wanna have the top off at points and I'd have to a) store the panels in the back, b) take them on and off everyday, and c) have to move real quick to put them back on should the rain start coming down.

Is it easy to get into the Jeep with the soft top? Can scissors just puncture the thing?
heck scissors arent even needed...one can just unzip and slide a hand in...
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Old 05-12-2014, 04:22 PM   #27
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Which top would I take on a road trip? Whichever one was on my Jeep at the time.
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Old 05-12-2014, 04:40 PM   #28
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Which top would I take on a road trip? Whichever one was on my Jeep at the time.
I didn't mean for my reply to come across as Smug. What I mean I that I wouldn't go through the trouble to change tops for a road trip. Both tops are good and you can get some sun with either one.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:38 AM   #29
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I didn't mean for my reply to come across as Smug. What I mean I that I wouldn't go through the trouble to change tops for a road trip. Both tops are good and you can get some sun with either one.
No worries, I know what you were trying to say.

I can put the soft top on for the Summer/early Fall...it's just the security I worry about...but then again, why have a soft top anyways if you're not gonna use it?

Hmm...
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:57 AM   #30
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i'm a hard top owner, if you want to feel the wind in your hair so to speak then just take the 2 freedom panels off and thats it.... considering you said your in the northeast not sure where and how the weather is now, maybe keeping the hard top is a better solution for you.

I'm in florida and from november to til the begining of May the following year is top off weather. When may starts up then its time for the top to go back on. extreme heat,heavy rains, and freak storms are what we have to go through the other 6 months of the year here living in Fl.

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