Just purchased my 1998 TJ Sport, which came with just a hardtop. Being that summer's about here, I really want to get that hardtop off, and I have a few questions.
I'm getting from what I read that it's not a quick feat to get the hardtop on or off, so it sounds like a soft top is necessary. That said, what kind of soft top would you guys recommend? new Factory replacement or aftermarket? If aftermarket, from Quadratec? I really don't need anything anything too tricked out, just something basic. Do I dare buy used? I don't want to break the bank, but I want something solid that will last me a while, whatever the best is for the price I guess. Let me know what you've had success with...
I have a YJ and not real sure of exactly what you will need for a TJ, but one consistant thing is go with the "Best top" brand. There is a rep on here, he will certainly see this and be able to point you in the right direction.
Just start looking at different vendors and see what you can get as far a prices go, also mention you are on this web sight, it may get you a small discount.
You have tons of options. Buy used if you can find one in good shape, new Supertop from Bestop since you don't have factory hardware. (Look for other vendors besides just Quadratec) prices vary for the same product. If you want less expensive but new, Pavement Ends is Bestops budget line. There are also bowless options, like Bestops Trek top, or Rampages Fastback top. You still need some hardware for those, but not as much. If you don't need windows, you can get a safari or bikini top, if you don't need your back seat you can do a half top..... the list goes on, but those are the ones that come to mind. Just make sure you get hardware that is compatible with the top you choose. If you have the luxury of not driving the Jeep when the weather is questionable, you can just take off the hard top and store it till fall and not worry with it.
The hardtop is not complex to remove, but it's heavy, awkward, and uses a lot of bolts. So yes, most people take it off at the beginning of the season, and put it back on when winter rolls around again.
You've got lots of options for replacing it.
A full top, like Bestop's Supertop. This is the one you see everywhere, and it most closely matches the factory top. There are budget versions from places like Pavement Ends.
A new style top, like the Bestop Trektop. Uses the roll bar for support, so there's no hardware. Simpler, a little cheaper. People like the look, mostly because it's different and new (I think). We have some competition in this category as well, of course. But those guys kick kittens on the weekends. (just kidding!).
A Bikini style top. On a TJ this can be solid, mesh, Safari style (covers back seat too). And a few other options. Way less money. Way less security (no windows!). But always a nice summer option.
In fact, I might suggest a Bikini top for now. and then spend some time with the catalogs from Quadratec/JCWhitney/4WD and make some decisions on your soft top direction.
In my opinion, a Bikini top for a Jeep is the classic look, and I can't imagine having a Jeep without a Bikini top.
Good hunting, and thanks in advance for considering our stuff!