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Old 04-23-2011, 05:01 PM   #1
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Trick to Soft Top Removal?

I did a search on the forum, but I'm stuck on one step (step number 1) of putting my soft top down.

The owner's manual states "Grasp the drip rail retainers and untuck both of them from the door frame slot. Repeat this on the other side."

When I go to do this, it really looks like you would have to horse down on that j-channel to get it over and around the door frame slot, and I don't want to risk wrecking my top. Is there a trick that anyone's found to doing this?

I'm in Wisconsin, and it's in the 60's here - could that be part of the equation? I've had it sitting outside, and it's been intermittently sunny/overcast all day long.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Old 04-23-2011, 05:05 PM   #2
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Yep cold weather can make that particular job really tough. I've torn up my fingers a few times getting that part of the soft top undone on cool days, I've learned to let it warm up which makes it a lot easier... though it's still not easy even when warm. That particular area has to be tight to prevent the top from popping. The best advice I can offer is to start pulling at the rear-most edge and go from there.

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Old 04-23-2011, 05:08 PM   #3
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On the right side of the drip rail there should be a small opening. I stick my finger in there and pull it out gently but firmly until it pops then I can easily untuck the rest. I am not sure if your top is a little different from mine or not since I have an 08 JK.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:10 PM   #4
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I also unlatch my top first. (NOT COMPLETELY) I flip the latch to give it a little slack but I leave it connected to he hooks inside until I have everything else done.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:20 PM   #5
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Thanks! I've got an '03 with a stock soft top.

You've both affirmed my suspicions - cooler weather and all. Am I assuming correctly that you should be able to remove it (difficult as it may be) just by using your hands? I was going to try prying with something, but the sensible voice in my head smacked the redneck voice in my head.

Thanks to both of you for the extra tips - I'll give it a whirl.

By the way, I've seen a couple of Jeeps around town here with only the front portion of the soft top flipped back (is this what I hear referred to as a "Sundowner"?). If mine is the stock soft top for '03, does it function the same way, or is that strictly an after market top?

Thanks again!
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:39 PM   #6
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Yes you should be able to remove it with just your hands and yes cooler weather makes a huge difference.

Also Mine is stock with the sundowner/sunroof whatever..lol I never use it though I just take the whole top off if I am going that route. Today I just took the windows out since it was supposed to rain. Good luck to you and DON"T stick anything in your soft top. ha ha That is definitely a redneck move.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:46 PM   #7
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Thanks, RaneJ. Yeah, I'm glad common sense prevailed with the "use a bigger hammer" method.

And I think I'll do the same as you. There's something about just the front portion of the top flipped back that looks awkward. Kind of like a bad toupee'.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 79Scout View Post
And I think I'll do the same as you. There's something about just the front portion of the top flipped back that looks awkward. Kind of like a bad toupee'.
LOL!

here is a vid that maybe will help.

YouTube - How To Remove A Jeep Wrangler Soft Top - Instructional Video
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:51 PM   #9
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I always keep a flat head in my jeep so that if it wont unlatch from the door shroud then I can still get my top down.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:10 PM   #10
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It's a "Sunrider" and was an option and is also available after market.

You'll be able to tell if yours is a Sunrider or not by looking at the frame. In the front above the top of the doors there would be a handle of sorts and a joint/hinge. If there isn't then you probably don't. When you get ready to replace your top, I HIGHLY recommend them, they are the berries!

I'm kind of vertically challenged, so when it's time for me to open mine I usually undo the latches and then grab the top itself with both hands just behind the piece that's tucked in. Then I pull like heck, being careful not to put any more strain on the stitching than i have to. Once that plastic lip comes out a bit I slip my finger into it and give it a good tug.

It takes a little practice and even a few swear words now and then but eventually you'll get the hang of it.
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Old 04-24-2011, 12:57 AM   #11
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I'm going to put mine down for the first time tomorrow.
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:47 AM   #12
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I have an 06 with a sunrider. I don't even put the drip edge. Flaps in anymore. There to hard to put in and out I'd you want to use the sunrider in a hurry. And like someone else said. I've busted my knuckles one to many times. Takeong them out of the channel !!! The top flops. A bit more on the breeze. But nothing turning the radio up doesn't fix!!!!!
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:10 AM   #13
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Kate nailed it here. pull down on the fabric edge over the channel. Start with the back one first when taking the top down and reverse for replacing them. It will be easier for you once the weather gets a little warmer.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:10 AM   #14
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Factory sunrider was offered on 05-06.

As indicated above starting in the rear most drip rail retainer curl a finger in the side opening and pull down and out and it will pop out then go to the front one.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:18 AM   #15
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The sunrider option is perfect here in Ohio for me. I've been able to use it twice so far because it has been raining and raining and cold. I thought I would break mine the first time I went to pull them out of the drip rail and I agree, what a pain, but well worth it. I flopped the rear window down, rolled down the door windows and used the sunrider yesterday and it was great! Easy to close back up when the weather changed again when I got home!
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:51 AM   #16
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I just can't stop. Every time I flip the sunrider open, I think WTH I am already halfway there and flip the rest down. Probably because if it is nice enough to open that I already have the windows out. If that's what you prefer go for it. I live near pittsburgh and the weather is always changing at a moments notice but I personally think the extra effort is worth it. I just got a window storage bag from my Hubby for christmas so now if it rains I can put it back together in 10 minutes no matter where I am. Happy Easter!
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:04 AM   #17
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My new Bestop Supertop NX has the Sunrider option and while it's cool, I don't use it. If I want to see the sky, I take the top completely off.
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Old 04-24-2011, 12:38 PM   #18
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Epilogue: SUCCESS!!! Thanks for the help, everybody. I can't wait to show the kids - I just got the TJ last December and they're pumped about finally being able to take the top town.

Happy Easter, everyone!
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:07 PM   #19
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I am definitely anxious to take the top completely down. This is my first jeep and I just got it in March. Please let this weather clear up so I can use more than the sunrider and get the full effect. This is the vehicle of my dreams and I never thought I'd actually own one!
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooodyb2000 View Post
I am definitely anxious to take the top completely down. This is my first jeep and I just got it in March. Please let this weather clear up so I can use more than the sunrider and get the full effect. This is the vehicle of my dreams and I never thought I'd actually own one!
^X2^

TADA!!! First time I've ever had it down. I guess I just officially slapped Winter in the face. For anyone living in Wisconsin, if we get two feet of snow in the next couple of days, you'll know who to blame.
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