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Old 03-26-2014, 11:07 AM   #1
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Softopper questions

As mentioned in some other posts, I need to get a new top this year (been waiting for the weather to get warmer to make installation easier). I was originally intrigued by the frameless options but it appeared that they were either on and covering the Jeep (minimum safari style) or completely off the Jeep and not able to be pulled up when every from home and getting caught in a storm.

But a comment from someone (forget who) in a thread (forget which) seemed to indicate that you can actually store the Softopper - at least the top part of it (a la safari) back behind the seat similar to the normal framed top. So I'm back to considering that with the following questions ...

Can you roll and store the top behind the seat similar to the framed top, able to put up in the event of a rain shower? Not overly concerned about the side windows - usually leave them at home anyway.

How well does it drive safari style? Is there much zipper/belt rattling?

Can you keep a spiderweb shade on underneath?

Do you need to drill for the header?

Basically looking for reviews from those who already have it. I got my Jeep last June and ran most of the summer and fall with the top down only putting it up for showers. So, obviously, I love the no top (or doors) feel but still want to ability to protect in the event of a rain shower or some shade when my wife wants to ride with me.

Thanks.

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Old 03-26-2014, 11:57 AM   #2
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Can you roll and store the top behind the seat similar to the framed top, able to put up in the event of a rain shower? Not overly concerned about the side windows - usually leave them at home anyway. You can take it all the way off and stow it behind the seat. It is not as easy to get back on (up) as the original soft top. But with some practice it would probably get easier.

How well does it drive safari style? Is there much zipper/belt rattling? Not bad. That's how I run. Either all the way on or safari style. I don't like to take it all the way off.

Can you keep a spiderweb shade on underneath? I don't have direct experience with this but I don't see why not. There might be an issue with the header but I don't know how the spiderweb shade attaches.

Do you need to drill for the header? No, it clamps to the original holes.

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Old 03-26-2014, 02:45 PM   #3
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Awesome - thanks for the answers.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:53 PM   #4
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Two follow up questions ...

Door surrounds (think I know the answer) ... are they included/sold by Softopper as well?

Window storage ... can you still roll the top up with the windows in the overhead storage?
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:54 PM   #5
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I just purchased a softopper for my 05 LJ and so far I am very happy with it. I went with grey/tinted windows for use with factory door surrounds. The grey actually matched my factory khaki half door uppers fairly close. I had a softopper on my 2000 tacoma so I had delt with them before and IMO the quality is top notch, plus it's made in America! I'll try and answer some of your questions.

They sell 2 versions, one for use with factory door surrounds and one for use with softopper door surrounds which are included if you buy that version. I did alot of searching before I pulled the trigger on mine and it seemed the version for use with the factory door surrounds was better at sealing and not leaking. I also think the softopper door surrounds don't look as nice and it looks as if install and removal would be easier/faster with factory door surrounds.

If I was you I would probably purchase a set of factory door surrounds. If you can find a used set they are usually not to expensive. Even new bestop are only $150.

Leaving the spyderweb shade on with the softopper is an issue. I didn't want to remove my spyderweb shade so... I had to cut a slit in the spyderweb shade between the speaker pods just behind the roll bar for the middle strap to pass thru. I plan on taking the spyderweb shade to an upholstry shop and having them sew in a zipper on the spyderweb shade where I put the slit so it doesn't split any further. Zip it closed when the top is off and unzip when the top goes on...

IMO it works very well as a safari top. The rear seat belts flap around but I would imagine that's how it would be with any safari top. A zip tie or piece of velcro around the seat belt to the roll bar will fix that if it really bothers you. Removing and reinstalling the safari portion not including the windows takes very little time at all. After having done it a few times I can casually have the safari portion off in less than a minute and probably 2 minutes to reinstall. So if you get caught in the rain it is not as fast as the factory top but it's still very fast.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:06 PM   #6
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Thanks, vegasrubi. I already have the factory door surrounds so that works in my favor. Are you running full or half doors? I read somewhere that half doors with the uppers are somewhat prone to leaking.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:27 PM   #7
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I have both but I only run the half doors. We don't get much rain here so I can't coment on the leaking but they seem to seal up fairly tight.
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:42 PM   #8
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Awesome - thanks. Now just time to get the cajones to pull the trigger ..
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:31 PM   #9
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Love my LJ02 Top!
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:58 PM   #10
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Yeah, I have one. I keep the top part on, but the sides and rear go on and off in minutes. I like it much better than the factory soft top. I'm in Oregon and it gets no rain inside.

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Old 03-28-2014, 08:49 PM   #11
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I currently have the Rampage frameless top and I can run it with a full spiderweb setup without having to remove it. Probably work the same for the bestop version.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:13 PM   #12
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all you guys with the LJ tops can you post some pics up? I know some of the first LJ models got mixed review for some odd cut angles... wondering how the new models are looking
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grogcummins View Post
As mentioned in some other posts, I need to get a new top this year (been waiting for the weather to get warmer to make installation easier). I was originally intrigued by the frameless options but it appeared that they were either on and covering the Jeep (minimum safari style) or completely off the Jeep and not able to be pulled up when every from home and getting caught in a storm.

But a comment from someone (forget who) in a thread (forget which) seemed to indicate that you can actually store the Softopper - at least the top part of it (a la safari) back behind the seat similar to the normal framed top. So I'm back to considering that with the following questions ...

Can you roll and store the top behind the seat similar to the framed top, able to put up in the event of a rain shower? Not overly concerned about the side windows - usually leave them at home anyway.

How well does it drive safari style? Is there much zipper/belt rattling?

Can you keep a spiderweb shade on underneath?

Do you need to drill for the header?

Basically looking for reviews from those who already have it. I got my Jeep last June and ran most of the summer and fall with the top down only putting it up for showers. So, obviously, I love the no top (or doors) feel but still want to ability to protect in the event of a rain shower or some shade when my wife wants to ride with me.

Thanks.
I've taken mine off and put it in the back (I don't have the back seat in the Jeep at the moment) several times, along with the upper doors and the door surrounds.

You could probably stow it behind the rear seat, but I'd want to tie it down in some fashion to keep it firmly attached to the vehicle. I've considered making my own window roll to keep the windows scratch free, but I've been too lazy to do it so far...maybe this spring...

As far as taking it all the way off and putting it all the way on, I can do either in less than 10 minutes, less than five if I'm in a real hurry. IMO, it comes off and goes on easier than the stock top goes up or down (at least a worn out stock top).

The Softopper has been one of the best investments I've made so far.
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:13 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BlueSheepDog View Post
all you guys with the LJ tops can you post some pics up? I know some of the first LJ models got mixed review for some odd cut angles... wondering how the new models are looking
I liked mine when I first installed it.... but now it is loose fitting and flops. The adjustment is already as tight as it can be. The top is tight, just the sides are loose. The rear also leaks where it meets the tailgate.

I dislike the LJ01 door surrounds as they look horrible and leak... the LJ02 uses factory surrounds but when I ordered mine they told me the LJ02 wouldn't be made.... now it is available, go figure....

When I get ready to buy another top I will look into the Bestop NX tops. I don't know much about them but I am not super impressed with the Softopper.

Here are pics of mine:

-

-

-
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:54 AM   #15
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If best top would incorporate a sleeve for the windows if go for it --- one if the best selling points for sod topper IMHO
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:24 PM   #16
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Thanks again for all the info. Pulled the trigger yesterday - just waiting to get it now. Also went ahead and got new Bestop uppers. My current upper skins are for crap (can't see out of them if there's even a slight bit of sun shining through) and figure that at 17 years old, the frame could probably be replaced.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:04 PM   #17
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Here are some shots of the LJ02
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:34 PM   #18
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Fireaxe, that is the one from softopper, I assume? Interested in getting one, just wanted to be sure. Came with the door surrounds? thanks
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:32 PM   #19
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I'm actually the one who spoke to ST and told them to create this version the LJ02.
The LJ02 Model is designed to use factory (or factory type) Jeep door surrounds.

The LJ01 model as shown above in post #14 does not and uses Softoppers door surrounds. the only complaint I've heard about those is how the full doors don't appear fully closed. I would recommend getting the LJ02 and getting some factory door surrounds.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:48 PM   #20
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The LJ01 model as shown above in post #14 does not and uses Softoppers door surrounds. the only complaint I've heard about those is how the full doors don't appear fully closed. I would recommend getting the LJ02 and getting some factory door surrounds.
- and they leak.
- and they look like crap.
- and the sides are loose and flap.

One of the first things I bought for my Jeep was the softopper.
Worst money I have spent to date on my Jeep.
... and yes, still not happy about it.

Softoper never did return any of my phone calls or emails on the leaks or sagging/loose fitting sides.

I have buyer's remorse and wished I had went with the Bestop NX Trektop for mine.


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Old 04-04-2014, 12:12 AM   #21
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Sorry man,
But mine doesn't leak, doesn't flap, looks good and gets complimented.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I'm no export on tops and have not had this top multiple years so....time will tell.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:33 AM   #22
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Sorry man,
But mine doesn't leak, doesn't flap, looks good and gets complimented.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I'm no export on tops and have not had this top multiple years so....time will tell.
yeah... give it time. I thought highly of the top too at first.
even some of my old posts recommend this top just as you are here.

the sides on mine are loose enough they become con-caved when going down the road with my door windows open.... then if I roll up the door windows and put on the vent fan it builds enough pressure inside to cause the sides to convex out.

I am just not impressed with this top.
I really need to try out a Bestop NX Trektop to see if I am just expecting too much out of a soft top. Also see if the Bestop is acutally better, the same, or worse.


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Old 04-04-2014, 03:43 PM   #23
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996, aside from the fit around the door, the top looks like it fit pretty well in your other pics. Am hoping that you're the anomaly and not the norm.

It's at the UPS distro center 15 minutes from the office but they won't deliver until Monday ... just have to wait I guess.
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:04 PM   #24
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Have one on my TJ. Overall I find them to be overrated.

Pros: goes on in 5 minutes, best zippers I've seen on soft tops, good material, easy installation, safari mode, fair price

Cons: window storage is above drivers heads? WTF were they thinking. Mine is so loose it flaps like a bedsheet. Windows are pulled not taut. The front tensioner was mis-stitched so they mailed me thread and needle to do it myself. The 2 rear tensioners grab every branch when wheeling.

Mine has seen 4 season and seems to get worse each one.
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Old 04-09-2014, 03:19 PM   #25
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The window storage is ... don't want to say a joke but definitely disappointing. On the flip side, after looking at it, I've been wanting to get a spiderweb shade (TJKini) anyway and am thinking about using IT for the window storage possibly.

So far I'm liking it. LOTS of compliments on it. Will probably take the windows out tonight and do the safari thing. Prefer no top but want to give it a week to stretch in the sun before I take it off again.

To address some of 996's complaints ... I've not had any issues with flapping. If anything it flaps LESS than the factory top did. The concave/convex thing also happened with the factory top as well so I can't necessarily blame the top for it. My cons so far are the window storage (which wasn't that big of a deal to me as I rarely carry them with me), not overly happy with the center strap loose end hanging down and ... that's it I think.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:45 PM   #26
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You can adjust the windows to a certain extent, since the upper zippers attach by velcro. You can pull any slack out, at least until you run out of adjustment room. That said, I do have a TJ02, not one of the LJ models.

I've had mine for about 1.5 years now, and my window don't flap nearly as much as the stock top it replaced. I haven't noticed them bowing out nearly as much as the factory top, and the getting sucked in is pretty much normal for any top.

I'm not overly excited about the window storage, I don't believe that was well thought out. I generally don't carry them with me when I've got them out, and when I do, they're in the back (no seat). The strap isn't any big deal for me, I just tie it off at the windshield and it's not in the way.
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:06 PM   #27
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Can one of you guys take a pic of the window storage situation? This is one of the major selling points for me over the beststop--- but doesnt really sound like its worth it
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:15 PM   #28
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I'm at work at the moment, but I'll try to describe it. There's a separate panel that attaches by straps to the roll bars, over the driver's and passengers heads. This is where you store the windows. I have not found a way to pull enough slack out of this panel to keep it from sagging down and touching my head, and I'm not all that tall in the saddle, so to speak.

The center strap helps support everything, but it's still too low for my taste.
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:02 PM   #29
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Can one of you guys take a pic of the window storage situation? This is one of the major selling points for me over the beststop--- but doesnt really sound like its worth it
Its a flap of material that is nearly the length and width of both front seats and hangs about 3" below the roof material. The windows are stored by sliding them in between the two pieces of material. I never installed mine...I'm pretty tall and it would have rested on my head for sure. There might be a way to hang it up over the rear seat but I usually leave my windows at home so I didn't pursue it further.

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Old 04-10-2014, 07:02 AM   #30
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Can one of you guys take a pic of the window storage situation? This is one of the major selling points for me over the beststop--- but doesnt really sound like its worth it
If the window storage is a priority I'd go with something different. I was never able to make it tight enough to stop it from sagging near my head. I took the window storage panel out and threw it away. I just clean the windows real well and roll them up and stick them behind the back seat when I want to take them out. Easier than the lame storage flap that came with the Softopper.

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