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Old 08-08-2012, 02:56 PM   #1
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Bestop soft top, why is it so hard to put back on..?

Hey guys,

Recently purchased a '99 Wrangler which I am loving with the top down. However putting it back up is another story.. I can't seem to get it up. It's really tight and I'm killing my hands trying to do it. I got the back window in, next should be getting the clamps right? However they don't reach no matter how hard I try. Any tips or videos that are really helpful? Thanks!

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Old 08-08-2012, 03:16 PM   #2
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It seems like everyone has a different method. Mine is super tight too. Only way mine goes on without breaking anything:

1) Clamp front windshield header down to windshield.
2) Slide in those plastic pieces above the front windows into place on the door surrounds.
3) Install back corners into slots on tub. For the drivers rear corner, looking at it from the rear, I pull down on the top with my right hand (hanging motion, hand on top of top over rear frame rail) while sliding the plastic piece in with my left. Switch hands to do the other side.
4) Install side windows - Start zipper, slide plastic piece into door surround, finish zipper, snap bottom plastic into tub rail. Run hand over Velcro.
5) Install rear window - Roll down window, attach main rail to tub, then the little flaps to the side, then zip sides down. Close tailgate.
6) Install doors.
7) Wipe dirt off hands and sweat off head while cussing Mother Nature.
8 ) Pray it rains hard enough to justify not just going in "Safari" mode.

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Old 08-08-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryJeepGuy View Post
It seems like everyone has a different method. Mine is super tight too. Only way mine goes on without breaking anything:

1) Clamp front windshield header down to windshield.
2) Slide in those plastic pieces above the front windows into place on the door surrounds.
3) Install back corners into slots on tub. For the drivers rear corner, looking at it from the rear, I pull down on the top with my right hand (hanging motion, hand on top of top over rear frame rail) while sliding the plastic piece in with my left. Switch hands to do the other side.
4) Install side windows - Start zipper, slide plastic piece into door surround, finish zipper, snap bottom plastic into tub rail. Run hand over Velcro.
5) Install rear window - Roll down window, attach main rail to tub, then the little flaps to the side, then zip sides down. Close tailgate.
6) Install doors.
7) Wipe dirt off hands and sweat off head while cussing Mother Nature.
8 ) Pray it rains hard enough to justify not just going in "Safari" mode.
That really helped, I was doing it wrong by having the back already in the trying to clamp it which was making it tough. Thanks a lot, I'll definitely keep a sheet in there for a little bit haha.

Unfortunately it's going to rain for the rest of today and tomorrow. It better be a nasty thunderstorm to justify for having to put it on!

Thanks again!
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:22 PM   #4
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1) Rear Corners
2) Front Clamps hooked but not clamped
3) J channels above the front doors
4) Fronts Clamped
5) Side and rear windows

I find that sometimes you have to reach up to the bow above the role bar and push it forward while hooking in the front clamps.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:26 PM   #5
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No problem. My header has to go in first or the clamps bend the metal up where they connect on the windshield. It's the tightest top I or anyone that has tried to help me has ever seen, always been that way. It has it's ups and downs.... (see what I did there?)
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HarryJeepGuy View Post
No problem. My header has to go in first or the clamps bend the metal up where they connect on the windshield. It's the tightest top I or anyone that has tried to help me has ever seen, always been that way. It has it's ups and downs.... (see what I did there?)
Thanks homebrwd for the help too, I'll definitely just experiment to find the best way for me.

Yeah mine is extremely tight too, but guess that'll be good for leaks! Haha I'm starting to like this community already..
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:22 PM   #7
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My preference is:
Front latches hooked but not latched
Front window channels
Rear corners
Rear windows
Back window
Inside latches last

I usually also have to pull down on the bows slightly to get the rear corners in, but the rest is pretty easy, saves me a lot of cursing & potential for ripped seams.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryJeepGuy
It seems like everyone has a different method. Mine is super tight too. Only way mine goes on without breaking anything:

1) Clamp front windshield header down to windshield.
2) Slide in those plastic pieces above the front windows into place on the door surrounds.
3) Install back corners into slots on tub. For the drivers rear corner, looking at it from the rear, I pull down on the top with my right hand (hanging motion, hand on top of top over rear frame rail) while sliding the plastic piece in with my left. Switch hands to do the other side.
4) Install side windows - Start zipper, slide plastic piece into door surround, finish zipper, snap bottom plastic into tub rail. Run hand over Velcro.
5) Install rear window - Roll down window, attach main rail to tub, then the little flaps to the side, then zip sides down. Close tailgate.
6) Install doors.
7) Wipe dirt off hands and sweat off head while cussing Mother Nature.
8 ) Pray it rains hard enough to justify not just going in "Safari" mode.
I can't believe it..... I've had my 05 since... Well... 05. (prior to that, a brief Mustang period... But we won't talk about that) and a '97 before that. Stock soft top. I have ALWAYS left the back corners in and stretched and grunted and cursed while pulling the front into place.... Just tried it the your way, went up easily! Doing it the hard way for so many years, I feel ridiculous!
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrwd View Post
1) Front Clamps hooked but not clamped
2) Rear Corners
3) J channels above the front doors
4) Fronts Clamped
5) Side and rear windows
Corrected. Installing the rear corners first just makes the job far more difficult, if not impossible.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:21 AM   #10
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if you think its hard now... you just wait untill the winter time... try to have it in the sun while taking off and on . that helps also
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:30 AM   #11
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Are you having trouble because your top is not the type that folds down? My top just unhooks and folds down. Just bought the jeep about 3 weeks ago and its my first jeep so not aware of all the different tops, but my couldn't be easier to get on and off can do it by myself in about 5 minutes.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Corrected. Installing the rear corners first just makes the job far more difficult, if not impossible.
Yeah, def not impossible, its how I do it every time, maybe mine isn't as tight but I have no issues and have the top on in no time.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLRTech

I can't believe it..... I've had my 05 since... Well... 05. (prior to that, a brief Mustang period... But we won't talk about that) and a '97 before that. Stock soft top. I have ALWAYS left the back corners in and stretched and grunted and cursed while pulling the front into place.... Just tried it the your way, went up easily! Doing it the hard way for so many years, I feel ridiculous!
Happy to help. I had to develop this routine out of necessity. It is absolutely the only way my ridiculously tight top will go on, even when it's 90 degrees out. I wonder if there is a tightest top contest, lol. I honestly can't believe I haven't broke or tore anything on it or me yet when it's colder out, it's a testimony to the durability of these tops in my opinion. When it does finally go, I like the looks of the Rampage, but people complain about the rear straps tearing on them... I'd have to guess they aren't made as durable, but I sure as hell wouldn't make it this tight. On the plus side, since it's tight enough to sound like a bass drum when I flick it, it makes no flapping or rattling sounds at any speed in "Safari Mode". A couple guys at work ask me how I can put up with the noise running like that, and one had to pull over following me home when he tried it. He said the rear flaps were slapping so bad he thought they came out. That was at 55, and 75 for hours in mine has never been a problem. On the negative, if it's 65 or lower, I have my entire body weight hanging on the back to get the corners in. Don't like that, and try to avoid it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford
Corrected. Installing the rear corners first just makes the job far more difficult, if not impossible.
I've tried mine every which way. I'm sure that is the normal way to do it, that's how I've done it on my other convertible. It just won't happen on this one though. I've almost put my hand through the windshield trying to get the clamp to go closed, and that's after still having to hang on the back to get the rear corners in with the clamp hooked and open. After having to beat the metal part above the windshield flush again with a hammer after trying it that way, I developed this method. I wonder if people with tight tops that complain of header channel leaks would benefit from locking the header in first?
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrwd View Post
1) Rear Corners
2) Front Clamps hooked but not clamped
3) J channels above the front doors
4) Fronts Clamped
5) Side and rear windows

I find that sometimes you have to reach up to the bow above the role bar and push it forward while hooking in the front clamps.
This is almost what I was going to type except reverse 1 & 2. On my top you MUST hook the front clamps but DO NOT clamp down. If you try to clamp them down it is extremely difficult to get the rear corners in. If you put the rear corners in first you will never get the clamps hooked on mine.

1) Front Clamps hooked, not clamped
2) Rear corners
3) Channels above doors
4) Fronts Clamped
5) Windows.

Makes ALL the difference in the world on mine.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:33 AM   #15
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It helps also if your top is warmed by the sun. If it's sunny out i will put the top up and leave it loose while in the sun for awhile. It will get it nice and soft and stretch better. But needless to say most of the time we're all putting our tops back up because the sun isn't out anymore anyways, good luck!
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:25 AM   #16
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I have an '02 Wrangler S with the original soft top. I'm glad to read this thread, because I thought I was doing something quite wrong. My biggest dilemma is getting the front clamps to reach to the windshield. I have to ask my girlfriend to push from the back in order to get the clamps to engage. I manage to get all of the other pieces to attach, but it is usually with quite a bit of sweat and swearing.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:31 AM   #17
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Save the back corners for last. With a little down pressure on the rear bow they hook in pretty easy.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:41 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryJeepGuy

Happy to help. I had to develop this routine out of necessity. It is absolutely the only way my ridiculously tight top will go on, even when it's 90 degrees out. I wonder if there is a tightest top contest, lol.
I'm sure there's a tightest top contest - but it likely has nothing to do with Jeeps!
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffmarton

I'm sure there's a tightest top contest - but it likely has nothing to do with Jeeps!
I miss spring breaks...

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