I got some good feedback about locations to look for Hardtop from the Forum. For those that responded, many thanks. I also found on the Android/IPhone, Craigslist Pro (Free) which is a much better version than the one I was using. The Pro version allows me to search all cities within my state at one time instead of one at a time. Great find for me and hopefully will help some of you that might not have been aware of this great app. Anyway, about the hardtop now. I have found a couple that have great promise. Being that it is so cold outside now, I will be taking a pickup truck to pick one up eventually when I hear back from seller.
Is there anything I should look out for that would be a common problem with the hardtop? Cracks/Rust/Stress. etc. If I have a 2004 and they say it fits 97-06 Jeep Wrangler, will it definitely fit? Any thoughts on a painted one? Could that be a cover up for rust issues? Finally. I didn't get a manual with my Jeep, so when installing, do you take the entire soft top and support bars off or does any of that stay on?
The hardtops are made of fiberglass, so hidden rust will not be an issue. For fitment, yes, all 97-06 tops fit the same (aside from the LJ, the long Jeep). At some point, I believe 03 or 04 the harness for the wiper/defroster changed but you can buy an adapter for that.
Generally speaking, most guys/gals only have 4-6 bolts on the sides of the Jeep holding the top in place. You can also buy quick release mechanisms.
Up front there are two clamps that hold the top to the windshield.
No other bars or parts to remove.
Two guys can remove a top in under ten minutes. If they weren't so cumbersome you could probably do it yourself (some do anyways).
They are not very heavy, just awkward.
Just finding a reasonably priced hardtop will be your biggest problem. Any paint and minor cracks can be easily fixed. Even a "wrong" colored top is no big deal. Broken glass can be fairly expensive to replace to you may not want to get one with broken glass unless it was real cheap.
Good luck and feel free to ask as many questions as needed, also, we love pics!
I took my soft top frame out when I put my hardtop on. You might be able to leave it on but I think it would be in the way when you tried to bolt the hardtop down.
Stock soft top must be completely removed in order to put on the hard top..
1998 Jeep Wrangler
4.0 : 5 Speed : Green with Black hard top : 33X12.50 Parnelli Jones Dirt Grip's on Eagle Alloy 15x7's : e-AutoGrille's Rock Crawler front bumper with an Engo E9000 with synthetic line
Very helpful info. I didn't know if the frame for the soft top got removed or not.
Sorry, I mislead you a bit there. I missed the whole "soft top" part of your question. Yes, generally speaking, you do remove the soft top first. Again, it's a simple removal.
For some reason I thought you were asking if you had to remove roll bars. My fault....
We just got a 2005 Wrangler TJ. It has a hard top which seems nice, but it's just not the same without the top off. Am I crazy to want to sell the hard top? It came with a soft top, (sort of, it's missing the zip in windows). The soft top looks to be in great condition. The hard top is two pieces. What's it worth?
I found an nice '97 factory hardtop for my '05 TJ for $500 on Craigslist. Onlly difference is the '97's thru '02's (I think) have vents on the side between side window and rear window. '02's thru '06 hardtops don't have vents...those model TJ have vents in tailgate. Needed minor cleanup but fits perfectly...didn't even have to paint it as it's tan and my TJ is dk green, so nice contrast. Only downside was I broke the back window glass trying to install it by myself, so spent another $225 replacing that.