A couple months ago, I sold off my OEM soft top setup and ordered a Bestop Trektop NX. In short, I am nothing but thrilled with the top. I love the design, the shape, the quality, and the function of the top.
The initial installation can be daunting and the basic "geometry" of the top has some people confused. After running this top for a short time, I can tell you that like anything, it gets easier each time you work with it. In just a short while of use, this top installs with little effort and time.
I have installed three of these tops to date, including two different ones on my TJ (originally sent the wrong color). I installed the third top on my buddy's TJ. He liked mine so much, he ordered one promptly after seeing it.
With my daily use of this top and my experience installing it from 'brand new' more than once, I figured I would be able to lend some install tips along with a picture write-up of the general installation. My instructions may not match Bestop's to the "T", but they work for me each time I reinstall the top.
****If I can add one piece of advise when installing this top it would be to save it when you have a warm day to let the material relax and loosen up. The biggest issue people have with this top is how tight it is the first time you install it. The material is very rigid right out of the box and requires some time in the sun/heat to stretch enough for the install. I guarantee that you will not get the entire top installed on a cool day right out of the box. You WILL break seams on this top if you force it. When the material is relaxed, there is no threat of breaking seams.****(I feel this is BOLD worthy).
The top and hardware is shipped in one large box.
As with anything, open the box and inspect all parts. Refer to the manual to verify that all parts are present.
Parts you should have:
-door surround knobs
-arched prop bar (adds tension to front top section)
-tailgate bar brackets
-straps with clips
-rear rollbar support bar
Attach the two side rods to the header bar (four stainless screws). This is effectively the "frame" of this top. Along with the unique door surrounds, this is what allows the "Sunrider" feature.
Attach main top to header bar, securing with included screws.
*Note - they include enough screws to attach the top to the header, but not enough to keep the material flat while off the Jeep. Add some more screws here if you choose.
Install door surrounds on driver and passenger sides with included knobs.
Notice the quick release pins on each door surround.
Install arched prop bar. There are specific cutouts on the door surrounds where each end slips in place. (remove the white protective tape over the foam)
Rest header bar on the windshield. Drape top across the rollbars. Do not latch header at this time. This will actually be the very last step of the process.
Locate each rod from the header into its respective door surround quick release.
Locate the strap on each side behind the front seats. Route this strap around the roll bar and secure with the buckle. These straps hold the top tight to the rollbar when it is being used in "safari" mode.
Install the rear rollbar support bar. There is a 'sleeve' sewn into the rear of the top that this slides in.
Locate the straps from the shrinking stack of parts and loop them through the partial straps from the top. Secure them to the underside of the rear tub rail. Pull down on the straps to tighten. Do not pull too hard.
*Something to note is that when the side and rear windows are in place, they keep the tension on the top. These straps become fairly loose and useless compared to the tension the windows provide.
At this point, you officially have the top set up in the "Safari" mode (and secured in this mode when you latch the header bar).
Moving to the rear, install the tailgate bar brackets. These are side specific and unique to the Trektop NX. Your OEM brackets are not going to work with this.
The rear window must be installed before the side windows.
Locate the rear window and slide it on the rear of the top at the "Z" channel. This channel locks the rear window in place at the top.
The 'prop bar' really only aids in keeping water from pooling. It does not keep tension on the top while driving at higher speeds. At lower speeds, the top does rest on it though.
The "Sunrider" feature is awesome (I will get some pics). It is very simple and quick to do....you can do it at a red light! Unlatch the header and unclip the top from the door surrounds and flip it back. It is great for fresh air after the weather clears up, or it warms up later in the day.
Another point I have seen being asked about is entrance to the back area with the top on; i.e., can you unzip and flip the rear window up for access.
The answer is yes, but you can only unzip part of the way (enough for access) as you don't want the sides to come disconnected.
I would not suggest trying to roll this up like you can do with the OEM rear window.
My unofficial experience is that the "Black Diamond" material is thicker then the "Black Denim." The top is very quiet as it is "sailcloth" material, but the Diamond is thicker and I feel slightly quieter....the color is also nicer.
I originally ordered "Black Diamond", but was shipped "Black Denim". When I received the Denim, I did not realize it wasn't Diamond (idiot). It wasn't until my buddy received his actual Black Diamond that I noticed mine was wrong. The vendor shipped me the correct one within 3 days of calling them, and sent me prepaid UPS back to them.
Here is a side by side comparison of the two colors (Diamond on the left)
Excellent write up and good pics. One question; along the bottom edge where the side windows connect to the tub rail, do the side windows curve around the back corners of the tub and OVERLAP the rear window where each connect to the tailgate bar bracket?
It looks like the only place to slip the side window tab under the tailgate bracket is by going over the tab on the rear window, but couldn't tell for sure.
I really like these tops and wish I had gotten one instead of the Supertop. Maybe I can convince the wife I need a Trektop and sell the supertop on CL
Most people will probably laugh about what I did to get to ordering the Trektop.
I had a one year old Pavement Ends replay top on OEM hardware. The top was thin and flapped like a migrating bird, but in perfect shape. I wanted to sell the whole setup to buy the Trektop, but I knew my wife was not going to support having to spend the difference to buy the top...at that time.
I found an OEM top from an 05, with frame and all hardware, for $75 on CL. It was grey, but in good shape. I bought it for the sole purpose of selling it. I kept it long enough to install it, clean it, and take pictures.
I borrowed my buddy's unused OEM top for a couple weeks and I started selling.
I sold my PE top with frame and all hardware for $420. Then I sold the 05 top that I bought for $75....for $430.
So, $850 minus my $75 investment left me with $775 to buy the Trektop.
The Trektop was $530 shipped from Quadratec.
So not only did I get a brand new Trektop...the top I really wanted...but I walked with an additional $245. Need less to say, my wife was completely satisfied with the way it worked out, but the term "softtop" was a bad word in my house for a couple weeks before I put all the pieces of my puzzle together.
Originally Posted by s14sh3r
I have a question, though. I have half doors. Do you have to use the door surrounds when in safari top mode? Great top regardless.
Because of the two side rods that attach to the header and clip in to the door surrounds, you realy do need to keep them on. Without the surrounds, those bars would just flop down.
The side of the top 'clip' in to the door surrounds just like the OEM top, so it really keeps everything tight and kept together.
Additionally, the surrounds are needed if you use the 'prop bar'. It helps to keep water from pooling up. (I have run with out it and have not had any issue)
Thanks for the write-up! My NX top is still in the box. I'm going to wait until spring when it is warmer to put it on. I figure I'll get one more winter out of the old top. However I will use this write-up when the time comes.
2004 "X" Wrangler, Shale Green, 5sp, 6cyl, 33" Duratrac tires, Pro Comp rims JKS 1.25'' body lift, JKS 1" MML.
I started last night in the garage. knew i would only get so far. and no surprises there. About 8am i pulled the Jeep out into the sun. About 11 or so I found I was able to get most the zippers done and it was looking good. On or about Noon we had clouds and a cold front come through. basically rendered the finish of the install on hold. Side bar funny--the bar over the window (not sure what you call it)--was a bear. I could not figure out how the fabric would stretch enough to get the latch into the oval hole above the windshield. I called my very mechanically inclined neighbor over and together we could not figure it out--even had him 'sit' on the top of the windshield to try to force the latch down enought to latch it. Then, a miracle (tis the season afterall)--i was dinking around and by mistake noticed that the latch is actually basically a 'suitcase' type latch--moved the main latch piece upward and within about 5 seconds figured it out. We both felt like idiots but lauded the engineering that went into this top.
My wife just said it is supposed to be 70 and sunny the rest of the week. I will pull the Jeep out and let it soak up the sun--should be able to finish up the one zipper and latch I cannot get done then!
Again thanks for a very informative post! I will post pictures when done.
All the best for the Holidays.
More things almost happen than really do.
Even though not 70 or sunny all week today looked good. I had a couple of zippers and some of the clips left that I could not do without heat--as well advised. So I pulled "Pearl" (our Jeep name--combination of my wife's name and mine--Patty and Earl) out of the garage about 9am hoping we had enough sun to finish the task. Then it hit me--a light bulb went off in my head--TURN THE HEAT UP FULL BLAST AND LET IT SIT. Which I did. About a half hour later I went out to check on Pearl and found the top pliable enough to finish the job which I did. It looks GREAT! and I am one happy camper.
Two guys to thank--first Patrick--without your guidance it would have been months before I figured out. Second Geoff--You guys have a gret product!!!!
I will post pictures as soon as I figure out how!
All the best to everyone for a great holiday!!!!
More things almost happen than really do.
Super write-up! (bookmarked!)
My Jeep came with a Rampage something-or-another soft top when I bought it. It leaked snow & rain at each top corner of the tailgate the first winter, and now the door uppers are leaking at some stitching. Time for a new setup!
I'll be ordering the Trektop w/ new uppers soon. Then I'll just have to pray for a warm day!
I do have one question:
Do any of you run with the sunrider open at highway speeds? Is it safe, or does it flop around like a trout on the beach?
" ... Nobody said it was a good plan. It's like somebody went through an actual strategy and replaced every instance of the word 'tactical' with 'balls out.' ... "
I have on the fence for the last 3 months about ordering a sailcloth replacement top for my factory hardware vs. the Trektop, the info about the black diamond material being thicker is very helpful, thanks