An "X" is just a trim level of TJ. Hard tops for a TJ should fit. There were vent changes from the top corners to the tail gate in 2003. The tops for the LJ would be too long for a TJ. Get the book "Jeep Wrangler TJ Builders Guide" by Christian Lee. It will answer lots of questions.
Like many others on here, I have both tops. The hard top is a little more quiet, and you can lock the Jeep better for security. Moving things in and out of the back is also easier than with a soft top, and you can scrape the windows in winter if necessary. They are held on by six bolts in the back and two windshield header latches in the front. Putting on or taking off a hard top is not a one-person job unless you have a garage with a hoist. You will also need a place to store the hard top if you plan to run a soft top during the warmer months. The tops for 03-06 models would be right for yours. The factory hard tops on many models came with a rear window wiper/washer and an electric defroster. Your Jeep may or may not be pre-wired for them. Someone else on here could better address that question. You already know the pros and cons of a soft top, so it just comes down to a matter of personal preference and what you want to do with your Jeep. Welcome to the family!
My kids prefer the hardtop on because it gives you a bit more room to store backpacks and stuff in the back than my Trektop so they don't have to hold their stuff in their laps. I prefer the soft top, even in icy cold weather cause when it changes to a bit warmer on some days I can start taking parts off and go as open as I want. However, when it starts to get cold, I give in and run the hard top, partially so I can knock the frost/ice off the windows and take off quickly instead of taking time to let it warm up and melt it off the soft top windows. But as soon as we start hitting mostly frost free weather again in the late winter/early spring, the trektop is back on as fast as I can get it on.
And yes, the hard top is a tiny bit quieter than the Trektop, but not a lot as that Trektop is amazing compared to most other softtops regarding noise.
__________________ "I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the heck they please".-John Wayne
I am on Jeep number 3, but I kept number 2 as well. Number 3 is a '12 JK with soft top. Looked at '12s with a hardtop and when it came right down to it....It would spend more time hanging in the garage than it would get used. It is one of those truly personal preference things IMO.
If you have room to store a hardtop, like in a garage, than you probably have room to put your Jeep in the garage, in which case you don't need a hard top. If you have to leave your Jeep outside all the time than yes it MIGHT be worth having a hard top so you could scrap the windows, and it would be a little more quiet. (Notice no one has said it would be warmer!)
My '94 had a hard top and I had a garage, and IMO it was a PIA to take the top off and on...and yes it was a little different, but the attaching was not the issue...it was the weight and the space it took when 9 months out of the year I ran soft top or top less.
My '04 TJ, my second Jeep which I still have, Had a factory soft top...I switched to a halftop and it gets down right HOT in there in the winter since I am heating such a small place. I do have heated seats to get past the initial butt freezing when it is -0°. In the summer time it gets the 3 piece combo, duster, wraparound windjammer, and bikini top. It does sleep in the garage every night and has almost since new in '04.
The '12 with the soft top is fine for our "Good Jeep", it is the one we got to Church, weddings etc. and if the weather allows the top is flipped back or down. Again it sleeps in the garage, and doesn't have the snow scraping issue. It also doesn't leak, as so many have had problems with.
Bottom line, it is personal preference. While a hardtop may make you FEEL more secure, and vehicle can be broken into...if the person wants in bad enough.
All tops from the TJ era will fit any TJ...may have to adjust some of the hardware, or roll bar padding depending on the year. (my '04 has the half top but it doesn't fit after '02) It will fit but may have to buy some extra parts.
So if you WANT a hardtop go ahead and get it....I can understand that thought process...but I chose to put my money into other Mods for the Jeep.
One thing about a Jeep is, IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO MAKE IT WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE!!! but if like most of us will be limited by the thickness of the wallet
Welcome to a Great site and wonderful people here!
I purchased a hardtop from a friend this past year and my TJ never came with a HDTP. And so, mine did not have the wire harness to operate the wipers, the washer fluid, and the window heating element. I bought a kit that is pretty complete and very detailed instructions. I think I got it from Quadratech. I doing little work here and there to get it done slowly.
I bought my hardtop off Craigslist and got it for $875. Top was nice but had some fade so I took it to linex and had bedliner sprayed and now the top looks great and weights 20 pounds more. I ran a soft top for a year before buying the hard top. I enjoy having both. With two people the hard top can be removed a quickly as putting the soft top down.
A lot has already been covered, so I won't reiterate. I will add that, if you decide to get a hardtop, buy a used one off of craigslist. Try it out for a while. If you find it to be inconvenient, it's easy enough to re-sell it. And if you managed to find a good deal in the first place, you may even profit off of it.
Breakdown of tags for Wranglers:
CJ = 1986 and earlier (the "Classic Jeep")
YJ = 1987 - 1995
TJ = 1997-2006
LJ = 2004-2006 (called an Unlimited; same as TJ, only has a longer wheelbase)
JK = 2007-present
Any tags such as WJ or XJ are referring to other Jeep models, such as the Cherokee.
We have a hardtop on our LJ and definitely like having it. But we'll also be getting a Rampage frameless soft top in the future to use during the best weather. Having both is the best of both worlds. All comes down to personal preference, though. The only way you can be positive that you prefer one top over the other is to get both and compare. Then sell whichever one you don't want.