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Old 07-18-2019, 04:34 PM
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HELP! Hard top year round??

As you can probably tell, I’m a brand new Jeep owner. I didn’t realize I would be faced with so many decisions about my wrangler! I’m going back and forth on if I should buy a soft top for the spring/summer here in Illinois. I LOVE the look of my hard top but at the same time a soft top is very convenient especially since the weather here seems to change every twenty minutes. I was thinking about getting a hoist for my garage and taking the hard top off whenever the weather shows a few consistent days of sun, and carry a cover in the car for emergency downpours. Does anyone else do this? Or should I just take the plunge and get a soft top? I just don’t want to put the soft top on and then decide I want the look of hard top back a week later. Help a girl out please!!!

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Old 07-18-2019, 05:03 PM   #2
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I'm in Texas, so we have "soft top weather" from late Feb-early Nov. I pull the hard top off and store it while I run a soft top during those months. I'm sure Illinois has fewer months I would want to use a soft top, but I can't imagine only having a hardtop.
Are there any clubs around you? Maybe you could find someone that would let you try one out for a week or two?

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Old 07-18-2019, 05:58 PM   #3
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I was in the same exact boat as you when I first got my Jeep. Same thoughts and everything. I started off by getting a hoist for my hard top. If you or someone you know is handy they can make a DIY hoist using hooks and ratchet straps for like $20 (look on YouTube how to make a diy hoist).

So, like I said, I started off with a hoist (my diy one). It was nice at first but started getting to be too annoying having to put the top back on whenever there was a slight chance of rain. I also had to park in the garage every night cuz of the morning dew sometimes.

I then found a nice sale on a soft top and decided to try it out. Immediately realized it was the right idea. It’s super easy to install and comes on and off within minutes. I run mine only in the summer, then hard top in the winter.

I’d recommend the soft top
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:00 PM   #4
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I have a bikini top and half doors (came with my used JKUR). I haven't used them since I haven't built a rack to take the hard top off yet. I need to get creative because my Jeep won't fit in the garage. There's likely enough room to store the hard top over the top of one of the cars in the garage if I can build a rack to take it off, lower and move into the garage.

The bikini top itself is still on the jeep under the hard top with the front section rolled up. This should make the switch pretty easy. Just another option to consider.

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Old 07-18-2019, 06:02 PM   #5
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If you like the look of the hardtop, you may want to consider one of the throwbacks that replace the freedom panels.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:04 PM   #6
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In NY I just take the hard top off and leave it off whether it for the day or several days without rain. Have a hoist with a winch (that I use for deer come hunting season). Takes 10 min to make her naked and I find it easy enough. I don’t like the look of soft tops. Matter of fact, I sold one since I never installed it. Too easy to just lift the hardtop. Try the hardtop only first. You can always buy a soft top later.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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Find a used craigslist soft top for under $400 and swap tops in the Fall and Spring.

https://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/b...l#post34319623
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:55 PM   #8
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hard top has many options
can remove roof panels and open rear glass
can remove top
can remove back and leave freedom panels on or put on when needed

soft top can do the same pretty much plus side windows

i love both very much
i hate having both lol.

i want to sell one or the other... i just can't decide... and i probably never will be able to decide.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:20 AM
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It looks like I have a lot to consider. I found a used Bestop Trektop today for $400 that I’m on the fence about buying. The only thing that’s keeping me from it is the fact that the rear windows doesn’t come off. Otherwise I might just try the HT this year and see if I get annoyed enough to buy a ST next year.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:21 AM   #10
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It looks like I have a lot to consider. I found a used Bestop Trektop today for $400 that I’m on the fence about buying. The only thing that’s keeping me from it is the fact that the rear windows doesn’t come off. Otherwise I might just try the HT this year and see if I get annoyed enough to buy a ST next year.
Does it specifically say that the rear windows don’t come off? I’ve never seen a soft top with non removable windows (could still be true tho).

If that’s the case then for your purpose I wouldn’t recommend getting it. Sometimes it’s nice to leave the top up but remove just the windows. It’s a great feature to have
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:36 AM   #11
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I was thinking about getting a hoist for my garage and taking the hard top off whenever the weather shows a few consistent days of sun, and carry a cover in the car for emergency downpours. Does anyone else do this?
Exactly this. It'll rain for weeks in FL, then we'll get a short three or four day period without rain. The hardtop goes on the hoist and a RainGear cover goes in the back -- around here it may be raining in one area of town but not in another, on any given day. I think the 2-door cover with extra material to cover the hardtop without the front panels was about $150.

https://www.raingearcovers.com/

I bought a soft top several months ago but I haven't gotten around to installing it.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:09 AM
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It looks like I have a lot to consider. I found a used Bestop Trektop today for $400 that I’m on the fence about buying. The only thing that’s keeping me from it is the fact that the rear windows doesn’t come off. Otherwise I might just try the HT this year and see if I get annoyed enough to buy a ST next year.
Does it specifically say that the rear windows don’t come off? I’ve never seen a soft top with non removable windows (could still be true tho).

If that’s the case then for your purpose I wouldn’t recommend getting it. Sometimes it’s nice to leave the top up but remove just the windows. It’s a great feature to have
Sorry I worded that wrong, the rear window is removable but the side windows are fixed. Taking out the rear window would be a plus but I feel like taking off the side windows creates the perfect open air look and feel. I don’t know if I should sacrifice that for a good deal.
Here’s the link https://www.bestop.com/jeep/2018/wra...cement/door/4/
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:42 AM   #13
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It looks like I have a lot to consider. I found a used Bestop Trektop today for $400 that I’m on the fence about buying. The only thing that’s keeping me from it is the fact that the rear windows doesn’t come off. Otherwise I might just try the HT this year and see if I get annoyed enough to buy a ST next year.
Does it specifically say that the rear windows don’t come off? I’ve never seen a soft top with non removable windows (could still be true tho).

If that’s the case then for your purpose I wouldn’t recommend getting it. Sometimes it’s nice to leave the top up but remove just the windows. It’s a great feature to have
Sorry I worded that wrong, the rear window is removable but the side windows are fixed. Taking out the rear window would be a plus but I feel like taking off the side windows creates the perfect open air look and feel. I don’t know if I should sacrifice that for a good deal.
Here’s the link https://www.bestop.com/jeep/2018/wra...cement/door/4/
Yea I wouldn’t recommend it personally. I think it’s a lot nicer being able to remove all the windows
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:53 AM   #14
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I live in Kansas with the same type of weather as OP. I love the hard top. I have the hoist system in the garage and can remove the top in 7 minutes. I don’t feel like I need the soft top because I can get the hardtop off and on so quickly.
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:00 AM   #15
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Yea I wouldn’t recommend it personally. I think it’s a lot nicer being able to remove all the windows
I agree.. I have a Trektop NX, but I have a 2DR which has removable rear windows.

FWIW, Trektop makes a Glide top. It has zipperless removable windows and is easy to fold back so you can be completely topless.

https://www.bestop.com/products/trek...-soft-top-4dr/

But.. Unless you can find a used one, it would probably be cheaper to pick up a used factory hard top.
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:03 AM   #16
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I'm with Jeff above^^^^^^

I do a HT or no top....I do carry a rain gear cover when the top is off for the just in case.....with the right setup you can take top off very quickly....get some of those t handle bolts for the HT so you won't even need a tool to take it off.....
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:15 AM   #17
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Sold my hard top 5 years ago a week after I purchased my JKUR and never looked back. I live in a much different climate than you though.
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:48 AM   #18
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With all the electronics in a modern Wrangler, I would not go anywhere without a top unless you live in climate that it doesn't rain for months on end. I have a hard top and picked up a used soft top for "just in case." If you look around, you can get tops stupid cheap. I bought a complete top with no damage but cloudy windows for $150. I spend an hour with Novus polish and now I can see again.

I just got caught in a storm last week that was not expected. I still got a little wet since the doors are off.

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Old 07-19-2019, 08:49 AM   #19
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I have both and like running the soft top in summer. Only complaint I have is 90% of my driving is highway, and the soft top is much louder to the point where people have to raise their voices a fair bit to talk. Then that of course leads to the POS factory stereo, which I have not addressed yet.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:14 AM   #20
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hard top has many options
can remove roof panels and open rear glass
can remove top
can remove back and leave freedom panels on or put on when needed

soft top can do the same pretty much plus side windows

i love both very much
i hate having both lol.

i want to sell one or the other... i just can't decide... and i probably never will be able to decide.

Same 1000%
I love my hard top when its snowing icing and I can clean it and the windows very easily, and get in the back with the hard glass in near to sub zero temps
But right now, I've been top and doorless going on 3 weeks in Maine
I keep the soft top rolled up in a cover on the back if I need it

Been a great summer so far, I'd hate to be stuck in a hardtop
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:23 PM   #21
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Sorry I worded that wrong, the rear window is removable but the side windows are fixed. Taking out the rear window would be a plus but I feel like taking off the side windows creates the perfect open air look and feel. I donít know if I should sacrifice that for a good deal.
Hereís the link https://www.bestop.com/jeep/2018/wra...cement/door/4/
Those side windows come off also. Check out some YouTube videos and you can see how it works.
I too live in Illinois. I usually put my soft top on March 1st-ish and leave it on until Halloween-ish. This year it went on later due to the extended winter. Hardtop hangs on garage.
Wifeís Jeep has the Sunrider for hardtop as she did not want a full soft top.
Both work great in our area.
Good luck on deciding.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:16 PM   #22
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Those side windows come off also. Check out some YouTube videos and you can see how it works.
If you read the description on bestops website it says they don’t. It states, “Side windows are permanently fixed to deck fabric and have 18% tint.”

Even in the product picture the rear window is removed but not the side ones.

I don’t think they come off. Unless you’re saying to modify it
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:00 PM   #23
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I live in Ohio and I have a ton of stuff currently stored in my garage so there is no room for the Jeep. I run a hard top all year. When I bought my Jeep used the original owner had sold the hard top and replaced it with a soft top. The first thing I did was replace it with a hard top. Personally I like heat when it is cold and air conditioning when it is hot. I like to be able to hear my radio and I need to be able to keep the Jeep locked so people don't take my stuff. In the summer on a nice day that is not to hot I do enjoy driving with the freedom panels removed.

I will hopefully be moving in a year or two. If the new house has a two car garage I will make a hoist for the hard top and I may eventually get a soft top to. My main reason for getting a soft top of some kind would be to avoid trail damage to the hard top and to allow better visibility off road.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:06 PM   #24
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I was originally in the "I want a hard top for my jeep" crowd, however I been using the soft top and I am in Connecticut so we more or less get the same weather patterns as Illinois does, and I have been falling in love with the soft top, I know its not for every one, but I am running mine year round, and so far so good, heat stays in the jeep, and being able to on a hot day quickly take the sides off and toss open the sun rider when I feel it is needed (pretty much every day in summer) I do, and well lets not start about how much my Golden Retriever loves it.....
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:39 PM   #25
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If you read the description on bestops website it says they donít. It states, ďSide windows are permanently fixed to deck fabric and have 18% tint.Ē

Even in the product picture the rear window is removed but not the side ones.

I donít think they come off. Unless youíre saying to modify it
I stand corrected. I never saw the original Trektop I guess, only the NX versions. The side windows do come off on the NX versions.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:14 PM   #26
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Sold my hard top 5 years ago a week after I purchased my JKUR and never looked back. I live in a much different climate than you though.


Iím from Illinois and in 2016 I ordered my 2017 JKU without a hardtop, just the soft top. The salesman looked at me like I was crazy. My last two jeeps, I removed the hard tops the first week of ownership and never put them back on, until it was time to trade them in. I donít drive it much in the winter, but when I do, never had a issue with the cold.


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Old 07-22-2019, 09:16 PM   #27
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How much do you open the back glass accessing the cargo area. The soft top takes a little longer.

I had a 2 door JK with a hard top and an NX Glide. The NX Glide is hands down the best safari top I ever had, but I liked the hard top better I think.

Now I have a 4 door JK and have the hard top and a alien sunshade. Like the setup. I also built a lift in the roof/attic of my garage. It has a winch, so itís super easy to use.

I have someone wanting to sell me a barely used MX Glide for $600. I am leaning towards it just because itís a great deal, but I am still on the fence.


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Old 07-22-2019, 10:30 PM   #28
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On our third Jeep and second JKU. The hard top is a must for Michigan winters, but this is the first time we've had a hard top in the summer and although the freedom panels are nice nothing beats taking the soft top down and opening the Jeep up to the sky. I would highly recommend both. Go for the black twill when looking at soft tops, it's much higher quality and will hold up better over the changing seasons.
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Old 07-23-2019, 10:26 PM   #29
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I only have a hard top and I live in Texas. I typically remove the hard top and go no top for 3-4 months. I have a Bestop rain cover that I carry in the Jeep in case it looks like it might rain then I'll throw it on. I have been caught in thunderstorms without a top but I carry a towel to soak up the rain until I get to shelter.
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Old 07-23-2019, 11:49 PM   #30
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Was driving my pickup truck a few weeks ago on the highway, it was a beautiful day, then a popup storm hit. I passed a couple of topless Jeeps stuck under overpasses, and I passed another topless one he was pressing on. Soaked, but pressing on.

I think $400 is a good deal for a softop if it's in good condition. Go for it.

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