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How bad / good are the new soft tops on the 13+ jeeps? Here's my dilemma:

I plan to buy a 2013 in the spring. Was originally planning on dual tops for soft in the summer and hard in the winter. Problem is where to store the hard top in the summer when I'm not using it. I don't have a place where it won't be constantly in the way.

So then I get to thinking about soft top only, but think winter will really suck.

I could do hard top only and just take it on and off in the summer as needed.

1) how hard is it to take off hard top ? How long does it take?

2) Anyone with soft top only care to comment on noise and winter comfort?

I have a company car for M-Fri. BUt the jeep will be used to tow the camper on family camping trips and as a daily driver on weekends etc when I can't take the free ride.
 

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I have both and I really like having both for the reasons that you mention. The thing that is good about the soft top is that if you are way out somewhere- you can put it back on if you just pack up the windows with you. I saw in the quadratec magazine a neat storage cart that stores the hardtop upright. I've also seen lots of awesome hoists that keep it up and out of that way. If that isn't even an option for you- I would just get the soft top. I love the soft top for its versatility.
 

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In addition-I've heard people say that the soft top in the winter isn't as horrible as one would think. The heater really really is quite toasty.
 

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There is no "dilemma." A soft top is standard equipment on a Wrangler--hard tops are extra. The soft top is perfectly capable to handle the typical weather year round throughout the entire country.

And indeed, many, many jeepers use only soft tops all year round. Including many who live in New England and other intensely cold areas of the country. If you want a hard top, then fine, but there is no reason to buy a hard top simply because you'll experience winter.

I've been through many a frosty morning with snow and freezing rain and the like with my soft top. In terms of heat retention, there's no discernable difference between that and the hard top my dad's jeep used to have. There's some more road noise on the highway, but otherwise, it's a non-issue.
 

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1) you can have it off in about 20 minutes taking it very easily, but you need 2-3 people.
- if you have a hoist in your garage it's super easy for 1 person.

2) Around town, no difference in road noise. on the highway, there's not that much difference in road noise between you and the road. the main difference is you hear all the cars and trucks around you a lot more. the premium top that comes on the '13 must be even more like the hard top.

If you're looking at snow/ice, remember you can't scrape the soft top windows. Also you can't undo the rear window to load cargo like the hard top. It gets annoying, especially on road trips with a lot of gear.
 

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I would probably run a soft top year round other than the rear window, my 2012 is a SOB to unzip, and it's real nice to just be able to flip the rear window up without zippers.

just my opinion
 

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Could you buy a small plastic type of shed ( out of sight for thieves ) and keep it in your yard. If not, do you have a friend or close relative that will let you store it there ? If you even have a small garage you could take it off and store it high up with the rear window facing back of garage. This way you could pull in garage with the Jeep or small car still and park under it.
Rob ....
 

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The soft top is all i have and i have no problems at all. This is my first winter but the heater is absolutely amazing and heats up the jeep incredibly fast. I would save the money. Unless you like the look of the hard tops which i do...so i may end up buying one anyways but not now.
 

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Here's my $.02 from a first time Jeeper with less than 300 miles on the odometer. I just went with the premium soft top. I figure that when it's cold, it's cold. That will be true with a hard top or soft top, and I doubt there is any appreciable difference in cabin temp when I get into the Jeep in the AM (it stays outside). As to noise, I was surprised how quiet it is. As others have said, outside road noise is a little louder, but it is nothing big. I also didn't want to deal with swapping tops 2x per year. Plus, I don't have any good place to store a hard top (hoist not really an option in my garage). I am very happy so far and don't regret just doing soft top. I don't think that opinion will change as we move through winter.
 

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Here's my $.02 from a first time Jeeper with less than 300 miles on the odometer. I just went with the premium soft top. I figure that when it's cold, it's cold. That will be true with a hard top or soft top, and I doubt there is any appreciable difference in cabin temp when I get into the Jeep in the AM (it stays outside). As to noise, I was surprised how quiet it is. As others have said, outside road noise is a little louder, but it is nothing big. I also didn't want to deal with swapping tops 2x per year. Plus, I don't have any good place to store a hard top (hoist not really an option in my garage). I am very happy so far and don't regret just doing soft top. I don't think that opinion will change as we move through winter.
Great post Kleff and very interesting. I'm in the same boat at the moment. I'm thinking only getting the premium as I have the same constraints: storing and swapping.

The decision is killing me.

Keep us posted.
 

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I went soft-top only, in New Jersey, and I don't regret it so far as it's getting cold out. Like someone above said, no matter what, it's gonna be cold when you get in your jeep regardless of top and mine heats right up to the point I actually turn it off. I didn't want, nor did I have the room, to store a hardtop. Garage space is too valuable to me. The only down side I have found is you don't want to be messing with your soft-top windows when it's really cold because you can crack them, so getting large items in the back on really cold days can be problematic. I just plan accordingly (wife has a patriot I can use).
 

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I also have just the premium soft top on my new 13 JUKR. As far as noise, there is no 'flapping' or other wind noise. You can hear a big truck beside you more clearly, but no big deal. It's been as cold as 25 here so far, and I have had no problems being cold (and I get cold easily). I have a garage, but didn't want to be bothered with being careful taking off and storing a hard top.
 

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I had a soft top on my 2000; bought my 2013 with a hard top. First, we call all agree that a Wrangler has a GREAT heater. Brand new soft tops are quiet, and nearly as warm as a hard top; the problem is that as they age the soft tops will loose some elasticity and won't be as tight fitting as they where when new. THATs when they get noisy. two or three years down the road they wil start to flap, snap, and billow around at highway speeds....and it only get worse with time. An OEM/Bestop rag top should last 6-7 years before the threads start letting go, zippers no longer work, and you have difficulty seeing through the windows. The last half of it's functional life will be NOISY. In fact, when I would travel long distances (hundreds of miles) I would actually wear foam ear plugs. You can still hear the radio, but it blocks out a majority of the wind/road noise. I ordered my new Wrangler with a hard top b/c from the factory it's a $1000 option; aftermarket (even Mopar) it's 2.5X as much...and that's in today's dollars. Who knows what one will cost in a few years?
 

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Plasticpirogue said:
I had a soft top on my 2000; bought my 2013 with a hard top. First, we call all agree that a Wrangler has a GREAT heater. Brand new soft tops are quiet, and nearly as warm as a hard top; the problem is that as they age the soft tops will loose some elasticity and won't be as tight fitting as they where when new. THATs when they get noisy. two or three years down the road they wil start to flap, snap, and billow around at highway speeds....and it only get worse with time. An OEM/Bestop rag top should last 6-7 years before the threads start letting go, zippers no longer work, and you have difficulty seeing through the windows. The last half of it's functional life will be NOISY. In fact, when I would travel long distances (hundreds of miles) I would actually wear foam ear plugs. You can still hear the radio, but it blocks out a majority of the wind/road noise. I ordered my new Wrangler with a hard top b/c from the factory it's a $1000 option; aftermarket (even Mopar) it's 2.5X as much...and that's in today's dollars. Who knows what one will cost in a few years?
Absolutely agree! I'm an upstate NY'er and I switch with the seasons. I was actually going to try and keep the soft top on this winter and finally gave up and put my hard top on yesterday. It's noisy and windy and the side windows come un done and the back window doesn't fit even with that stupid bar and clips. I was picturing a foot of snow in my Jeep. Plus I want to hit defrost and scrape the windows and go.

I don't have a garage so it's a bit of a pain. Takes 3 people ( I have an 11 JKU) and we put in my tiny shed. I'm definitely going to get the storage cart and cover by Spring.
 

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The soft top is louder than a hard top would be. But the soft top is fine in the winter. The heaters in the jeeps are excellent.
 

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Awesome thread! Are there any concerns with storing the soft top over the winter? I just bought a gently used one yesterday and have it folded (like when you open it on the Jeep) in the basement. Should I open it occasionally over the winter?
 

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Just ordered my 4th Jeep, and this will be my first hard top. The $895 option for a hard top only was worth it to me considering how much they are aftermarket, I know you have to add the cost of the standard soft top onto that, but still not bad. Like others have said at first, when the top is tight, it is a non-issue. After a while the floppiness wore me out, and replacing the top can get pricey every 3-4 years when you scratch windows, break zippers, get leaks, ect. I plan on buying a frameless top come springtime, and store the hard top. I have a big garage so space isn't an issue, where as in the past I had nowhere to put a hard top and not worry about it getting damaged.

So while there is really no problem with running just a soft top, I choose not to do it anymore because I can.
 
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