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Old 02-28-2014, 02:41 PM   #1
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Soft Top HELP!!!

With spring right around the corner, people will be pulling their soft tops out of winter storage or pulling out their wallets to buy a new soft top. There are always a bunch of threads asking which top is best or how to install them, but it never seems like you can find all the information in one thread. Hopefully this thread will change that.

I’ve collected some information about the different top manufacturers and found posts throughout the forum to try and answer different questions and give you tips on installing your tops all in one place. If you have a question, comment or tip about soft tops, please feel free to add it here. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But I’m hoping it can grow to be THE place where everyone can go to find answers to all their soft top questions. Similar to the MEGA Front Bumper sticky we have.

Here we go!

Some important quick facts:

Maintenance of your soft top (my personal recommendations, you decide):

Plastic windows should be handled carefully. Do not use paper towels or squeegees on them, because they may trap dirt particles and cause scratches. Also, using the snap straps that come with your jeep can cause scratches when you roll them. If you decide that you want to roll them, consider placing a fleece blanket around the window before rolling.

One recommended window cleaner is Plexus, which you can buy on amazon.com.

There are many brands of soft top cleaners: Bestop, Meguiars, Raggtopp, and Aerospace 303 are just a few of the brands available. Make sure you are looking specifically for soft top products, since these manufacturers make many products for different uses. For those with the twill soft tops, I personally use the Aerospace 303 soft top cleaner and fabric guard. The top is made out of fabric, so why would you use a soap made for paint? You wouldn't wash a $1500 twill jacket in car wash soap, right?

For scratches in your windows check out Novus plastic polish. I've not tried it yet, but several members here recommend it for light scratches. You can find it on amazon.com, too.

This is by no means a complete list, just my own personal observations from hours of reading here and the products I've chosen to use. If you have recommendations, please add them to the thread!

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Old 02-28-2014, 02:42 PM   #2
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OEM Standard, Premium and Trektop NX Review

Since not all soft tops are created equal, here is a comparison between the OEM standard, OEM Premium and Trektop NX soft tops. Forum member Nuke83, who owns all three tops, and gives a real life comparison between the three, wrote this review.

Between the three tops, my OEM Premium Soft Top is my favorite. I am able to easily raise and lower it myself, so that's not an issue. Personally, I prefer the top completely down and doors off, so that gives you some insight on how I like my Jeep. I'd run it that way year round if Mother Nature would allow.

Since mine came with the color matched hard top, I plan on swapping between hard and soft tops based on season. It's a nice change and should help extend the life of the soft top. I currently have the hard top on.

Here's some comparisons I'm copying from a previous post I made comparing the Trektop NX and the Premium soft top:

1. Opening the top. The sunrider feature of the Trektop basically allows it to fold back over the rear seats. So when open, the front seats are completely open but the rear seats remain covered. This really has never been a concern or issue for me.

2. Front and rear arch supports. The Trektop has arch bars over the driver seats, so when you open the top, unless you also remove the arch bar, you have a bar still over your head. This really has never been a concern or issue for me. This also prevents you from putting a Spiderweb Shade on and leaving it with the Trektop NX. Since getting the Premium soft top, I have also gotten a SpiderWebShade and love it. This has given the Premium soft top an advantage.

3. Thump and bump. When running the Trektop with the rear/side windows out and the doors off, I had a MAJOR clunking sound that really concerned me. It sounded and felt like it was coming from the underside of the chassis. I spent a good bit of time yanking on parts underneath to find what was loose. I was about to take it to the dealer when the lightbulb went off and I realized that it was only when I had the top open and doors off. I determined it was the sunrider frame banging. I bought some velcro straps and solved the problem. Just a heads up if you experience this.

4. Fully opening the Jeep. Like the OEM soft top, the Trektop requires you to remove the rear and side windows if you want to fully open up the rear cargo area. Because of the design, there are hard plastic supports built into the side windows (this is how this top works without a frame. Basically, the frame is integrated into the windows by way of this rigid plastic). This makes it almost impossible to roll the windows up in any way to store in the Jeep while you're out and about. Also, noting point 2, unless you physically remove the entire top, the rear seats are still covered bikini style. So what I've done is removed the rear and side windows and left them at the house when I go out. This makes weather watching VERY important. It also robs you of a lot of the flexibility inherent in a convertible. With the OEM style, you can roll up and protect the windows. Carry them with you, and fold the top entirely open. If a storm pops up, you have everything you need to put your top back up. This was THE reason that I purchased an OEM top after having used the trektop all summer. It becomes a big deal for out of town or long trips if you want the flexibility of having the top open.

Overall, both tops are great and I really love the fastback look but there is a trade-off.

I haven't had any leaks with either soft top or my hard top.

I may sell my Trektop next spring and wean myself down to two tops. I prefer the premium soft top to the point that I doubt I'll ever use the NX again.

Hope all this helps you understand the pros and cons. If you have any other questions, please ask.

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Old 02-28-2014, 02:45 PM   #3
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Softtops from 2007-2014 will fit JKU/JKs from 2007-2014. The hardware: door surrounds, tailgate bar, top windows, and other hardware must be from the same year as the top.
And if buying second hand(Craigslist, ebay, etc.) especially is it was a dual top option; make sure you get the rollbar brackets(photo).
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:46 PM   #4
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Standard vs. Premium: How can I tell? By Nuke83

How to tell if what you’re looking at is Premium or Standard OEM soft top:

The easiest way to tell is by looking at the inside of the tops.

The inside of the premium top is jet black and has a diamond pattern (similar to diamond plated flooring). The inside of the standard soft top is a grayish/white with a regular fabric looking pattern.

In the picture below, the standard soft top interior is on the top left and the premium soft top interior is bottom right. I have one of each and took the photos, so it is an accurate and real photo of each.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:47 PM   #5
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Installation Tips

Tips for installing OEM soft tops:
Written by Nuke83
Best way to do it is to clip the front (do not close the latches, just get the hooks engaged). Then have a person pull down on the rear corner while you "clip" the back corner. Do one corner at a time. Do all this without the windows installed. I had my 15 year old son hanging off the rear corner to get this done. Don't worry, it won't damage anything. After doing this, close the front latches.

Let it sit in the sun for a while.

Then open the front latches (don't disengage them, just open the latches) and begin installing the windows. Slowly work the zippers until you have all three installed, then close the front latches again.

Best video I've found on how to do this. Jump to the 11 minute mark to see how to clip the rear corners in. In the video, it's their second season with this top, so your new one will be MUCH tighter, but have someone assist as they showed in the video and don't be shy about pulling down on the top.



Written by Peepers:
ALWAYS Hook the front latches first. Not tighten them down, just get them hooked.

THEN attach the rear sails down.

Finally tighten the front latches...

Goes much smoother this way.

One more JKU soft top video:

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Old 02-28-2014, 02:48 PM   #6
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JKU Dual/Soft Top Installation Information

JKU Dual Top and Soft Top Initial Install written by Blastek:
http://www.wranglerforum.com/attachm...7&d=1341207905


Dual Top owners: Make sure you remove the soft top from the back of your jeep ASAP. Leaving the soft top installed under the hard top will void your soft top warranty, NOT the warranty on your jeep.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:49 PM   #7
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Bestop Tops

Bestop Tops:

http://www.bestop.com/component/prod...=category&id=2

Bestop makes many different soft tops for the Jeep, from bikini to full coverage. They also offer different grades of material.

Posted by XTRyan:
Bestop Trektop NX twill is a heavier duty material that has a limited lifetime warranty. It should hold up better than the other materials and is also more finished than the other options you have. The twill material is similar to what is used on tops of high-end convertibles.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:50 PM   #8
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QuadraTop Information

QuadraTop information:
QuadraTop® Bimini Top Plus, Clearview Windstopper & Tonno Cover Combo in Black Diamond for 07-14 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited JK 4 Door - Quadratec

The QuadraTop recommends cutting slits in the padding on the roll bar to get access to bolts to attach the top to. Reportedly, this is not necessary, but there will be a lot more noise if you don't. Also requires purchase of Bestop Tailgate bar (~$46.99).

This top does not completely cover the jeep. Open to weather.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:51 PM   #9
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Offroad Heros Tops

Offroad Heros Tops

OFFROAD HEROS - Soft tops - Liner - Hard top lift

Makes a fastback, multi top and cargo top for the JKU. JK tops coming soon, according to their website.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:52 PM   #10
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SpiderWebShade Information

SpiderWebShade:

Wrangler Accessories, Jeep Top, Wranger Top | SPIDERWEBSHADE

SpiderWebShades are not a TRUE soft top. This is a shade top product for both the JK and JKU that comes in 1-4 pieces, styles ranging from a bikini shade to a rear cargo shade, available in ten colors. They also offer matching door skins for Rancho tube doors.

According to their website, the TrailMesh fabric they use blocks up to 90% of UV rays, strong enough to resist rips and tears or flying road debris and comes with a 5 year limited warranty. The shade can remain installed on your jeep along with the hard top or OEM soft top.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:53 PM   #11
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Trek Armor Jeep Shade Tops

Trek Armor Jeep Shade Tops

Trek Armor Jeep Shade Tops are not a TRUE soft top. They offer full or half coverage for JK, full coverage for the JKU in black only. Their website says that these products are in pre-order stage; however there have been members of WranglerForum who have received their shades. Contact Trek Armor directly for availability.

According to their website the fabric they use blocks 92.5% of UV rays. The shade can remain installed on your jeep along with the hard top or OEM soft top and comes with a large, padded pocket for gear storage.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:54 PM   #12
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well done Star!
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:02 PM   #13
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Nice Job Star!
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:16 PM   #14
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Great idea, Star! This is exactly what I need to know soon as I haven't installed my soft top before since I've only had my Jeep a few months. Thanks!
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:20 PM   #15
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Thanks, everyone! I hope lots of us find it useful. I know I need all the tips I can get so I can finally learn how to open my OWN soft top!

Working on getting the broken link in post five fixed. It should be done soon!
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:20 PM   #16
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Bestop Trektop NX unlimited install video:

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Old 02-28-2014, 08:25 PM   #17
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A good thread with tips and reviews of OEM soft tops.

'13/'14 Premium Soft Top Owners.....
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:01 AM   #18
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Excellent write-up!

Quick question: Is there such thing as a Premium Black Sail Soft Top that's even better than the Premium Soft Top that comes with the Dual Top Group? Reason I ask is b/c I found a guy selling a used Premium Soft Top on Craigslist, and he's claiming it's even better than the factory Premium Soft Top b/c it is "Black Sail."

He's asking $1400, which seems awfully high to me (plus, it's used). He claims b/c it's "Black Sail" it's worth more.

Here's the link:

Wrangler Unlimited (Premium Soft Top)

Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:22 AM   #19
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I couldn't find anything about it. The only references I could find were after market tops.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypobid View Post
Excellent write-up!

Quick question: Is there such thing as a Premium Black Sail Soft Top that's even better than the Premium Soft Top that comes with the Dual Top Group? Reason I ask is b/c I found a guy selling a used Premium Soft Top on Craigslist, and he's claiming it's even better than the factory Premium Soft Top b/c it is "Black Sail."

He's asking $1400, which seems awfully high to me (plus, it's used). He claims b/c it's "Black Sail" it's worth more.

Here's the link:

Wrangler Unlimited (Premium Soft Top)

Thanks!
First off, great write up Star!!!

As for your question hypobid, there are 2 OEM soft tops, regular and premium. You can see the differences in the fabrics in Star's pics a few posts up. There is no 'premium premium'. It's either the vinyl-ish one that's white-ish inside or it's the fabric one that's black inside. And having had both the premium is by and far a much nicer top to have.

As for the pricing in the ad, $1400 seems a bit high. Most soft top ads list at $1000 or less.
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:49 PM   #21
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Nice work Star....

I'll add this cryptic answer to a question that WILL get asked.

You need another 90 degree turn so the edges tuck into the channel. It fits in like a squared "U", not a squared "L".

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Old 03-01-2014, 01:00 PM   #22
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Great write-up Star! This will probably help lots of people!
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:46 PM   #23
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Thanks, everyone! I hope lots of people find it useful.

Hypobid, I do remember seeing something about sailcloth, but I think it is a Bestop top, not an OEM top. I'll see if I can find anything...
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:50 PM   #24
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Here's a link to the page on sailcloth tops and a brief description. It's only available as a replace-a-top. I can't find it offered on the JK/JKU tops like the Trektop NX.

Sailcloth Replace-a-top


Sailcloth Replace-a-top™

Replace-a-top™ takes advantage of your still good factory hardware, and gets you all new fabric and windows.
The Sailcloth Replace-a-tops™ takes the award-winning formula of Replace-a-top, and adds in heavier sailcloth fabric. Sailcloth tops are the quietest soft tops on the market. The secret to this Jeep soft top lies in the unique multi-ply Sailcloth fabric. Each ply plays a different role, but together they reflect road sounds, absorb wind noise, and prevent buffeting to create a silencing effect that absolutely must be heard to be believed.
The tough, premium fabric dramatically reduces outside noise and enhances insulation.

Kits include soft top, windows and optional door skins.

Seems like if he has a sailcloth top, he must have replaced the OEM fabric. If it's advertised as a 13 or 14, I'd be a little leery, and try and make sure it REALLY has the spring lift assist.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:03 PM   #25
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Thanks for this Star - it is so helpful to have all of this in one place. Coming to this new, it is a bit confusing.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:06 PM   #26
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Thanks everyone for this thread. My JK didn't come with a soft top, and I've been looking to buy one. After reading all the opinions here I decided to spend a bit more and go with the OEM top, just to be sure I was getting what I wanted. It's more expensive, but over the life of the Jeep it's not much more expensive. Thanks for all the tips.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:40 PM   #27
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Thanks, guys! Glad you liked it! Once you get your tops, make sure you post again and let us know how you like them and any tips you learn.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:43 AM   #28
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if I may Star, you might also want to include some information on spiderweb shades. how they're installed, compatibility with other soft tops, pros and cons versus bikini tops.

great thread, you've done a fantastic job.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:58 AM   #29
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Posts: 7,242
I did include a short blurb on them in the opening posts. I'll go find a video on install and see what else I can find...

Thanks, Tabber!
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2014 JKU FE - 'Celticon' - Hydro Blue Pearl - Auto - 3.73 - Premium Soft Top - TeraFlex 2.5" Lift w/Rancho 9000xl Shocks - 15" MBTKO/33" DuraTracs - ACE Rock Sliders/Cargo Basket - Rampage Recovery Bumper
My build thread: StarBrite's Celticon

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Old 03-02-2014, 09:09 AM   #30
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Austin, Texas
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About SpiderWebShade and installation videos

/// SPIDERWEBSHADE /// ABOUT US
We started making tops in the summer of 2005, my wife and I on the floor in the garage hand pounding grommets into our jeep “mesh top concept.”

By the summer of 2006, we realized “our concept” was something Jeep People wanted to buy, so we made them and sold them. By the spring of 2007, thanks to an epic thread on JeepForum, over a million views on YouTube, and first-class customer service we began producing and selling over 1,000 tops a month.

We are now based out of 24,000 sq ft. testing/manufacturing facility in the heart of Downtown Orlando, FL.

SPIDERWEBSHADE has grown rapidly over the years and it remains most important for us to have personal relationships with our dealers and clients. We have countless testimonials and correspondence from our happy customers. Many of them have become our good friends that we consider part of our extended family. Nothing brings a smile to our face like waking up to photos Jeepers have sent us from around the world. We are thrilled that you found us.

It is our mission: To give every Jeep owner the ultimate experience when Jeep driving.

/// SPIDERWEBSHADE /// THE PRODUCT

The SPIDERWEBSHADE is exactly what Jeep owners have been looking for. Our one to four-piece Jeep Wrangler and Jeep JK mesh tops beautifully fit all Jeep Wrangler YJ 1987-1995, Jeep Wrangler TJ 1997-2006, Jeep JK 2D and 4D Unlimited models 2007- current.

SPIDERWEBSHADEs fit right under Jeep Wrangler Hard Tops, Soft Tops, and Bikini Tops. It does not get in the way, it NEVER has to be removed and you will love the way it looks! SPIDERWEBSHADEs are proudly produced in the United States of America at our Orlando, FL manufacturing facility.

The SPIDERWEBSHADE for Jeeps is the world’s most effective solution for blocking the sun’s scorching rays from your head, face and neck while drastically reducing the wind noise at highway speeds.

The SPIDERWEBSHADE for Jeeps uses only the highest quality mesh materials on earth. We are now offering 10 color options to suit the needs of any Jeeper.

/// SPIDERWEBSHADE /// TrailMesh

SPIDERWEBSHADE TrailMesh is our most durable material yet, designed to meet the needs of the most aggressive offroad enthusiast. This material is a unique woven mesh that blocks up to 90% of the sun’s dangerous UV rays, keeping your passengers, pets, and cargo up to 27% cooler.

TrailMesh is a pet, mildew, and fade resistant heavy-duty shading fabric made of vinyl-coated polyester originally developed for high-end outdoor furniture. TrailMesh is strong enough to resist rips and tears from branches on the trail and flying debris on the road. Regardless of what’s thrown at it, TrailMesh helps keep your passengers and cargo safe.

We are so confident in the new material that we are offering a

5 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY on any product in the TrailMesh line.

All SPIDERWEBSHADEs block 90% of the sun‘s harmful UV rays and reduce the temperature inside your Jeep by an AMAZING 27% while still allowing just enough sunlight and moonlight through to create a cool, calming effect. Finally, you can talk on the phone at 70mph with the top down.

- See more at: /// SPIDERWEBSHADE /// ABOUT US | SPIDERWEBSHADE

SpiderWebShade install videos on Vimeo:
SPIDERWEBSHADE on Vimeo

SpiderWebShade install videos on YouTube:

__________________
2014 JKU FE - 'Celticon' - Hydro Blue Pearl - Auto - 3.73 - Premium Soft Top - TeraFlex 2.5" Lift w/Rancho 9000xl Shocks - 15" MBTKO/33" DuraTracs - ACE Rock Sliders/Cargo Basket - Rampage Recovery Bumper
My build thread: StarBrite's Celticon

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