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Old 07-03-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
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Bestop Trektop NX review: **** stars out of *****

Well I finally got it, and installed it today on my 2000 TJ. It looks amazing!

Not the most difficult install in the world, but a couple of times... Not fun.

Installing the new hardware was fairly easy. I had a factory soft top, so I just swapped everything with new parts and everything lined up just fine. I had emailed Bestop with some questions this past week and got prompt answers.

The bow that goes across the top has foam on top of it, and a paper strip over the foam. I realized after I was totally finished that I didn't remove the paper strip. I don't remember reading in the directions to remove it - I'll have to look again. Won't be a problem to do if I have to.

After the hardware, you then attach two bars to the header - simple. They look exactly alike - except the screw holes on the left one are about a half inch closer to the end than the right, which I would have known if I had looked just a bit closer at the picture in the directions.

Then you lay the soft top upside-down on the ground (on a blanket!!), lay the header on it, and screw it to the header piece. Nice and easy and everything lined up well. The two end screws are different screws so don't get mixed up, and the fabric gets a bit off when you put them in but not bad.

Then, with a second person, you put it on the Jeep and attach the right and left bars. Lined up ok.

Then the straps next to the sound bar, and then the straps in back. ULTRA important to get everything centered and tight. This part was kind of tough, but expected.

Ah, then the back window. Sigh. There's a plastic or rubber piece at the top of the rear window that slides into a plastic or rubber channel at the top/back of the roof. WORST. TIME. EVER! Two of us, yanking this poor thing. I can't imagine doing this every time I want to take the back window off. I swear, it was terrible It slid a few inches sort of easily, and then just froze up. Then some hard pulling, and it would suddenly GIVE for a few inches and stop. Then of course you're yanking so hard that you go TOO far and have to yank it back the OTHER way... Sheesh, I hesitate to say poor design because Bestop knows what they are doing, but... It was not fun. I was actually standing with one foot on the bumper and the other on the rear tire leaning backwards while my partner held the other side of the top for dear life. UGH! Afterwards I thought - maybe soap or grease or silicone or something? But if something like that were necessary, the directions really should have mentioned it.

Then you zip the side windows in, a couple of inches. Then the back of the side windows, a couple inches. I'll spare you my nightmare of getting the zippers to go all the way. Leave it all in the sun for a couple hours, and then do your installation in the sun, is what I did. The side windows zip to the soft top, and the rear of the side windows zip to the rear window.

The zippers from the side window to the back window, for the last few inches, were so hard to zip that I broke the pull tab off of the driver's side zipper about an inch away from goal. Sigh. I suppose now I'll have to contact Bestop and replace the tab? The zipper? The window? Not sure what I'll have to do - I'll keep you all posted.

The rest, after the zippers, is tucking the plastic parts under the metal parts. It all fit VERY TIGHT but well - a nice fit. And then the velcro, which they call "hook fabric" or something because of brand name, but I actually spent a minute looking for a fabric hook! My fault!

Final impression - it looks fantastic. Seriously. It's tight, fits well, I love the bowless look and the fabric is thick and tough and looks nice. I drove a little up to 45mph and nothing flapped or rattled. Seems quieter than the factory soft top that was on it. I was very impressed with the stitching to the plastic strips. Very tight, no loose threads. And bonus - my 2000 TJ once again has new car smell!

So four out of five stars. I took a star because of the terrible time with the rear window, and the broken zipper tab.

Also, I didn't love the directions. They come as four pages stapled together and two or three steps on each page kind of oddly positioned - Better than IKEA but... I don't know, it's a very expensive top, I kind of expected a nice instruction book with color pictures, etc. But it did the job, so I didn't take that into my "star" consideration.

Rereading this, it kind of seems negative. I don't mean to be. It's an expensive top that looks excellent on my Jeep and I'm very happy with the way it looks. I had some problems with the install that I'm sure (hoping) that I can sort out with Bestop. I would definitely recommend this top. This is after a day - I'll repost after I've had it on a while.

I WOULD have taken pictures and posted them... But about 10 minutes after I got home from the drive the skies opened up and it hasn't brightened up. I'll take some tomorrow as it's supposed to be sunny. Happy 4th!

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Old 07-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #2
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thanks!

i just got a trektop and am literally about to start installing it. thanks for posting about your experience installing it. i'm really glad to hear that you got a great end result, because i considered going for a less-expensive top, but this bestop just seems perfect.

i've never fully removed the soft top before ('02 sport), so until i get to the zippers, i think that's going to be my biggest stumbling block. i mean, i HOPE it is!

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Old 07-04-2011, 10:27 AM   #3
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Great review of the install! Does Bestop have a video of the install?
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the review.

Not sure why you're having trouble sliding the rear window on. That should be easy. I'm thinking you need to sort of "snap" it down a bit more when you get started.

Arch: we haven't done an install video yet. Soon.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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update: my installation experience

finished installing the top a little while ago. i'm kind of surprised at how easy it was! i agree that the instructions could use a little fine-tuning, but i didn't have any major moments of confusion. (although, even though i'd read withay's review, i STILL kind of scratched my head when i came to the "loop fabric" steps. haha.)

overall, i'm really pleased with how the top installed and with how it looks. i have one significant concern and one minor concern, but i think the latter will work itself out.

first, the half-door windows don't really line up very well with the soft top side windows. that's kind of a bummer and given the price of the trektop, i would have expected it to look a little smoother.


second, (this might just be me adjusting to a frameless top) it sags a bit where the top meets the upper part of the rear window.

as i said, i expect things will change a little over the next few days, as the top and windows stretch and settle in, but it just looks a little droopy for my taste right around there.

but those are my only two gripes! i had no serious issues with zippering and actually love the way the top is constructed in that regard. installation of the side windows is SO much easier than it was with my factory top. it does carry a new-car smell with it; though that's the only new-car-ish thing about my TJ, after taking it for a short drive, it almost felt like it was new. so nice to be able to SEE out of my windows. my old ones were murky and cracked and taped and HAD TO GO after ten years of use in hot, hot summers and cold, cold winters.

here are a few more pics i snapped. this old boy has been ridden hard and put away wet too many days recently. he needed some TLC!


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Old 07-04-2011, 02:15 PM   #6
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oh, i wanted to add...

Quote:
Originally Posted by withay View Post
There's a plastic or rubber piece at the top of the rear window that slides into a plastic or rubber channel at the top/back of the roof. WORST. TIME. EVER! Two of us, yanking this poor thing. I can't imagine doing this every time I want to take the back window off. I swear, it was terrible It slid a few inches sort of easily, and then just froze up.
Quote:
The zippers from the side window to the back window, for the last few inches, were so hard to zip that I broke the pull tab off of the driver's side zipper about an inch away from goal.
i didn't encounter major problems with either of these areas. the zippers did get a little tough at the bottom of the rear/side window connection, but i managed to get them fully zipped without an intense amount of effort. the J-channel have no resistance whatsoever. maybe there are some slight differences in the 2000 & 2002 builds that account for that?

i also installed during the full heat of the day (temp is 87/feels like 95) with everything lying out in the sun, which was a big help.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:37 PM   #7
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Great review!! I have been looking at getting one of these tops ever since I bought my jeep. This review has just made up my mind on getting one. Thanks.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:49 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting the pics, Calc - I don't feel as guilty for not taking any today! I have full steel doors, and they line up ok.

That sag in back... Hmm. Mine doesn't at all. Tight rear straps? Metal piece? Not sure why it would do that.

@Geoff - I'll have to try the J channel slide (hey, new dance!) once again when I work up nerve. If nobody else had the problem, it has to be something I didn't to correctly. How about the broken zipper tab? Who would I contact about that?

I really do like how it looks, a day later. I'll find out what the noise it like tomorrow on the way to work.
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:07 PM   #9
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I don't get it... This isn't the first review that I have read about how hard the windows are to get done up, and a bunch of issues to do with the bestop stuff. Yet everyone swears by them.. Why? Do the windows have to come off when you let the top down? If so, why would someone want to struggle that much every single time that they want to cruise with no top? I'm not knocking the product as I haven't dealt with any soft tops yet (mine didn't come with one), I'm just curious about it. Is everything else just that bad that these are the best?
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by withay View Post
That sag in back... Hmm. Mine doesn't at all. Tight rear straps? Metal piece?
now that i think about it, i did loosen the rear straps when i was putting the windows in because things seemed really tight. i'll check tomorrow to see whether i retightened them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClPeller View Post
I don't get it... This isn't the first review that I have read about how hard the windows are to get done up, and a bunch of issues to do with the bestop stuff. Yet everyone swears by them.. Why? Do the windows have to come off when you let the top down? If so, why would someone want to struggle that much every single time that they want to cruise with no top? I'm not knocking the product as I haven't dealt with any soft tops yet (mine didn't come with one), I'm just curious about it. Is everything else just that bad that these are the best?
if you haven't dealt with a soft top in the past, then i can understand why it's difficult to gauge the severity of peoples' complaints about either OEM or aftermarket products. however, i can tell you this: having only installed the top today and put the windows in once, i already found it FAR easier to deal with than the original jeep soft top my TJ came with.

yes, the windows have to come out when you want to take the top down. they'd have to stretch in order for that not to be the case. it's just the way it goes with soft tops. but to a lot of people, myself included, the soft/partial/no top experience is a big part of what makes jeeps so enticing. i didn't consider a hard top for a millisecond. the relative ease of lowering the soft top to go topless was paramount in my decision to get a wrangler.

i don't have experience with other aftermarket tops to compare this bestop to, but based on reviews and other firsthand accounts i've read, they seem to be about as well-respected as their closest competitors. from my perspective, when your original equipment isn't perfect, any improvement is welcome. deterioration due to age and exposure to the elements propelled me to get a new top; dissatisfaction with the jeep hardware led me to find a better option, which i believe i have.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:04 PM   #11
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IMO the Super top NX is the way to go. The hardware allows for easily dropping the top back. I love the look of the trek but looks like a huge pain in the a** to convert to topless and back. where are you supposed to put it ?
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClPeller View Post
I don't get it... This isn't the first review that I have read about how hard the windows are to get done up, and a bunch of issues to do with the bestop stuff. Yet everyone swears by them.. Why? Do the windows have to come off when you let the top down? If so, why would someone want to struggle that much every single time that they want to cruise with no top? I'm not knocking the product as I haven't dealt with any soft tops yet (mine didn't come with one), I'm just curious about it. Is everything else just that bad that these are the best?
Some of the "harshness" is a result of passionate Jeep owners giving passionate reviews. I think you'll see that in any close-knit group of aficionados. Think of dog breeders, for example, complaining about a new breed standard. It doesn't mean they no longer like their dog breed.

But some of it is realistic and tough feedback on a big new product for us. Which I pass along by the way.

And, in general, Jeep tops -are- hard. Compared to other convertibles, they're really tough. That's a result of design. In order to keep the Jeep lines, there's no C or D pillar (the bit that sticks up from body to roof in most cars). So a convertible top has no where to hide its mechanisms. Plus, it's very, very square, so the top has to go up a ways, then forwards a long ways. Then you need large side windows, and there's no way you can make them solid or roll-ups. It's a HORRIBLE design for a simple to use soft top.

And that's before we even get started on the four door models.

So yes, it can be a pain. No doubt.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:37 PM   #13
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Okies, here are my pics! I took them after work today. The windows have some reflections of trees, but it was hot today so those windows are nice, flat, and tight.



















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Old 07-05-2011, 09:20 PM   #14
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looks great!

i have been meaning to come back and amend my original post about the top.

regarding the droop and slackness on my rear window...yeah, it helps if you put the bow in correctly! i realized this morning when i was taking the windows out that it was in upside-down. now that it's in correctly, the sag is gone. ha.

it seems like the ride is quieter, but it's kind of hard to gauge since my old windows were thrashed.

also, geoff, maybe you can answer this: was there any redesign on the driver/passenger windows for the new top? i ordered a full replacement from quadratec but, as my pictures show, there's not a clean line where they meet. if there wasn't a redesign, do you know if the way my windows meet looks typical? it's not a dealbreaker or anything, but i do wish it looked a little cleaner. thanks in advance!
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:32 PM   #15
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No, the side windows were not redesigned.

Not sure about this "clean line" - where are you talking about?

Your top looks really good, by the way. Thanks for your support.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:41 PM   #16
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you can see in the first photo i posted here that the edges of the rear and front windows don't line up very nicely. a "clean line," to me, would be created if they did.

thanks!
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:44 AM   #17
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The ride is definitely quieter with the NX that with the factory when the windows are up. With windows down I'm getting some flapping, but it was a hot day so I might just need to tighten straps down.

What are the steps I need to take regarding the broken zipper tab, Geoff? I hope to avoid going through my vendor - I wasn't excited by their (lack of) customer service.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:21 AM   #18
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you can see in the first photo i posted here that the edges of the rear and front windows don't line up very nicely. a "clean line," to me, would be created if they did.

thanks!
Ah. Got you. Just for sake of clarity: we'd call those the "upper half doors," not windows.

I've got several suggestions:

-- first, make sure your new door surrounds are correctly placed. There's a little pin that centers them on the tub. You may want to loosen your top, and try to move the door surrounds forward a bit.

-- next, adjust the upper half doors. Most of these have little collars on two of the three connecting pins. You can use these to fine tune how far down the pins go. You can have the back up a tiny bit, and the front down a tiny bit, for example.

-- Adjust the upper doors in and out. This is a very careful thing, involving a lot of specialized equipment. No, just kidding. Just grab the top of that door, and BEND IT in a little. You'll get a much better fit. You'll need to do this every once in a while. The door should be just short of being hard to close.

-- If necessary, you can adjust the lower half door as well. Over time, Jeeps get a bit out of square. Trails, bounces, etc., all make them less than perfect. And a tiny 1/16 inch off at the bottom of a door can lead to a 1/2' gap at the top. Avoid this one if you can, but if you need to adjust lowers, ask for the steps!
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #19
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Not cool.

So I received my Trektop NX yesterday. Today, I started to put it on about an hour and ago and when I went to tighten the J-hook strap on the driver's side...RRRRIIIIPPPPP....the plastic tab that holds the strap and window channel pulled away from the top...I went ahead and attached the window but now I have a two inch gap between the window and top. I'm getting ready to call Bestops. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do if it rains. That's the same reason I got this new top, since my factory one finally wore out.

Update: I tried to call Bestops and I've been cut off twice.



-Mike
1998 TJ Sport 4.0L (Stock) SOLD
2003 TJ Rubicon (Stock)
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:32 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff@Bestop View Post
Ah. Got you. Just for sake of clarity: we'd call those the "upper half doors," not windows.
oh, riiiiiiight...
i just automatically call them windows. sorry for the confusion!

what do you mean by being "centered on the tub?" i assume you mean the pin that connects the surround to the body, not the windshield?

also, these new upper half doors came with about six inches of extra gasket length on front and back. why is that? and what should i do with it?

i'll give your suggestions a go and hope they help. thanks!
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:50 PM   #21
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Update and Install

Update concerning my ripped trektop. The place I ordered from contacted Bestops and it will be 4-5 weeks before I get a replacement.

Here's what it looks like completely installed.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjmacdou
Update concerning my ripped trektop. The place I ordered from contacted Bestops and it will be 4-5 weeks before I get a replacement.

Here's what it looks like completely installed.
Looks tighter than Michael Dugles's face
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:05 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calcuhater View Post
finished installing the top a little while ago. i'm kind of surprised at how easy it was! i agree that the instructions could use a little fine-tuning, but i didn't have any major moments of confusion. (although, even though i'd read withay's review, i STILL kind of scratched my head when i came to the "loop fabric" steps. haha.)

overall, i'm really pleased with how the top installed and with how it looks. i have one significant concern and one minor concern, but i think the latter will work itself out.

first, the half-door windows don't really line up very well with the soft top side windows. that's kind of a bummer and given the price of the trektop, i would have expected it to look a little smoother.


second, (this might just be me adjusting to a frameless top) it sags a bit where the top meets the upper part of the rear window.

as i said, i expect things will change a little over the next few days, as the top and windows stretch and settle in, but it just looks a little droopy for my taste right around there.

but those are my only two gripes! i had no serious issues with zippering and actually love the way the top is constructed in that regard. installation of the side windows is SO much easier than it was with my factory top. it does carry a new-car smell with it; though that's the only new-car-ish thing about my TJ, after taking it for a short drive, it almost felt like it was new. so nice to be able to SEE out of my windows. my old ones were murky and cracked and taped and HAD TO GO after ten years of use in hot, hot summers and cold, cold winters.

here are a few more pics i snapped. this old boy has been ridden hard and put away wet too many days recently. he needed some TLC!


How well does it work with the half doors? Does it seal up good and do you have any leaks when it rains? Thanks
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:13 PM   #24
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?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
Looks tighter than Michael Dugles's face
I'm not sure what does that mean?
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:04 PM   #25
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Referring to actor Michael Douglas (correct spelling) and that he's had a facelift.
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:09 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by withay
Referring to actor Michael Douglas (correct spelling) and that he's had a facelift.
Thanks, didn't feel like goggling his name.
Figured y'all would get the point
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:47 PM   #27
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By the way. The top is awesome! I drove around and it's extremely quiet! I thought I had my old hardtop on! I'm hoping the replacement is just as good. Even with the gap at the rear window (see the above post) the rain storm we just had didn't make it's way inside.

-Mike
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:49 PM   #28
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Just installed mine today as well, by god that was PITA. The instructions were fine, everything went together today. It was just not hot enough, the top was stretching to save my life. On the other hand it is nice and quiet because of that. Got everything done and it did not want latch back down to the windshield. After messing with it for about ten minutes I finally got it to latch. I also was not able to get the tail gate bar in all the way, the window was just too tight. Gonna work on that tomorrow when it is warm again. The weather in WI loves to go from 90* one day to 60's the next.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:31 AM   #29
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How well does it work with the half doors? Does it seal up good and do you have any leaks when it rains? Thanks
i'm definitely having some seal issues right where the upper and lower half doors meet, but i'm chalking it up to the upper halves not seating right in the doorframes. and possibly this extra gasket business, which i haven't yet resolved. it rained a bunch yesterday and there was definitely a leak, at least on the driver's side. (i didn't check the passenger's side.)
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:44 PM   #30
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Angry Update: Replacement is Here!!!

Back story: When installing my Trektop NX, one of the rear straps pulled away from the top taking with it the rear window channel it slides into.


The Good: I received my top today, a week early than they told me (they estimated 4-5 weeks). They sent the entire top section! It was a breeze to put back on the frame since this new top had small slivers to line the holes up with the windshield attachment. It took no time to install back on the Jeep.

The Bad: When I opened the top up to see how it looked prior to installing, I noticed that the texture was different and the overall material seemed lighter than I remembered. When I brought the other,older top in I really noticed! The warranty replacement canvas is 3/4 as thick and a different texture. Not good.

The Ugly: I decided to put the top on anyways since my Jeep was naked to the elements and the sun was going down (more concerned with my neighbors messing around in my ride than the weather). Now I have a new top with old quarter and rear windows. I'd be extremely pleased but now it looks like I pieced together a frame-less top from two different brands. Plus the light reflects different off the new stuff since it has a smoother feel to it.

Check out the pics:

-Mike
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