I'm looking at several different manufacturers of Soft Tops for my '90 YJ. Bestop seems to be the most popular, but what about Rampage, Smittybuilt, or Quadratop? Are there any to avoid? Which are US made and which are chinese crap? I'm looking to just replace just the top as my frame is mostly OK. I need to replace the spreader bars, the rest is fine. I don't want to end up with a flappy, rips in a year, can't make out a damn thing through the wavy windows, P.O.S. that is a waste of money, but I'm not looking to spend a fortune either. What i want to know is:
1: If you purchased a new top, which one and why?
2: Would you buy the same top again? Why?
3: If your new top failed, what failed on it? Tears? Leaks? Too damn noisy?
I don't think any of the soft tops available in the aftermarket world are made in the USA.
Bestop is one of the best out there and they have even resorted to using Chinese junk as well.
Smittybuilt is cheaper, but doesn't hold up as well. Thinner plastic on the windows and prone to rips and tears. Doesn't handle the heat well either, stretches easy when hot and way too much shrinkage when cold.
My personal preference is a hard top for the fall/winter, and a bikini top for the spring/summer.
'87 YJ, 4.2L built and bored, 8.5" of lift, 8.8 rear, AX15/NP 231, Tom Woods drive shafts, Flat fenders, 12,000LB winch, Custom bumpers, Rattle can paint job. Never completed...
My '90 came with the original 21 year old OEM soft top, three years ago.
It didn't leak but was noisy, flapped like crazy at speed. Could not hear the radio.
My situation may be a little different, this isn't a daily driver and it is garaged.
The top is off six months of the year. My main concern was eliminating noise when the top was on so, I went with a half top to reduce the surface area and it worked well. Much quieter than before.
My Rampage half top was $190 new and used my existing OEM soft top hardware. I have the sport bar.
My 90 had a Pavement Ends top on it when I bought it and I replaced it with a Bestop sailcloth last year. The thickness in the fabric and windows is quite noticeable and makes it quieter. I also replaced the spreader bars at the same time. Got everything at Quadratec when they had a sale on tops and free shipping. I've since read good reviews on this site about the QuadraTop (Quadratec's brand), they offer a good warranty, so you should check them out. I've also heard that all the tops are made by one or two manufacturers and the different companies just stamp their name on them. Pavement Ends is supposed to be Bestop's "value" brand. I think they're all made in China or "East Asia" now. If I had it to do all over again, I'd probably go with the QuadraTop, they compare to Bestop, are half the price, and have a better warranty. Also free shipping.
Just a sidenote: I notice that Quadratec now offers a premium top that compares to the Bestop sailcloth but they don't have it for the YJ years. I think I'd call them and ask if they're going to have it available soon and if it's coming, I'd wait for it. The specs are impressive.
all tops are 23oz except sailcloth my concern would be warranty, I have OE top and ALWAYS leave spreader bars down when Im not driving it. a friend of mine just got the Bestop Super Top, he needed rail system. this top seems fine quality I have Bestop seats and luv em I would replace my top if need be with a Super Top.I would like to hear from any jeepers who have installed the Quadratop its inexpensive but how is the quality?
I have OE top and ALWAYS leave spreader bars down when Im not driving it..........I would like to hear from any jeepers who have installed the Quadratop its inexpensive but how is the quality?
What is the purpose of leaving the spreader bars down when not being driven? I'm guessing it's so it's not always stretched out. But how long does it sit between uses that you feel the need to do this? Does it sit for weeks at a time? Or do you do this every time you park it even if for only a day? I too am interested in the quality of the Quadratop. According to the catalog, they were designed with cooperation from Bestop. Possibly made by Bestop?
I got that half top too for my 94. Seals pretty well in the winter. I actually like it better cuz it heats up a lot faster. Had no major problems with rain either although some will get in the tonneau around the roll bar but get a thick piece of rubber or something and stick it in so it seals tight and your good...although I don't use it anymore cuz I made a hard deck cover instead..
Here's a thought. Do you have a soft top already that is in good shape? I have one that looks almost new, but a lot of the stitching is coming undone. I was looking to replace it and just for kicks, I looked up how much it would cost to repair it. A guy was telling me that tops aren't made with the best kind of thread because they want you to replace every 3-4 years so if you can find a place that works on Bimini tops like a boating place, that is the route to go. They use a better thread.
I know that too is expensive, so what if you found an industrial sewing machine on Craigslist for around $200 (I am using that number because I found a couple of them on Craigslist for that much). Then you could fix it yourself with a high grade of thread and enjoy your top for many more years to come.
I'll throw in my 2 cents. Last fall I bought a Quadratec top with tinted windows for my '95 YJ. So far this top has been very good. Even with the harsh winter we just had, it performed very well. At around $300 it's a good deal.
good thread. I currently have a Bestop that the PO had on it. I have the glass slider doors that needed restitching and a new window zipper sewn in. The top was/is obviously pretty old and the corners are ripping out, part of a window zipper busted at the back and most can't fully zip from shrinkage. The spreader bar had already worn a hole where the top's wear pad was sewn in wrong. I cheated around that by duct taping another piece of plastic where the OE bar wore on it. (think I used an old piece of cheap spatula the wife burned on the stove and threw away) I wish I knew how long the PO had used it as it came with a bimini top. I've got 3 good winters out of this top, but I don't think I'll get another winter out of it.
Comparing prices, I'll probably go with the Qtec top next time
The QuadraTops just came out last year about the time I was shopping for a new top so I was leery of trying one. They seemed too good to be true because they were so cheap compared to Bestop. Plus I wanted the heavier sailcloth and QuadraTop didn't have one. But now they've come out with a premium sailcloth, but it's only available for 97 and newer, so I wonder if they'll be coming out with a YJ model soon. I saw a comparison chart on their website (which I cannot for the life of me find now) that showed that the fabric and plastic used was actually heavier than Bestop's. So I think the QuadraTops are a good deal.