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Jeep Wrangler Bestop Trektop NX softtop installation

Kamil Kaluski July 13, 2015 All Things Hoon 3 Comments

Over a year ago my mother bought a new Jeep Wrangler to replace her Acura TL. While she found a Wrangler that was in the exact specification she wanted, there was one thing that was missing from it – the soft top. It wasn’t really a big deal as the factory soft top is a bit pricey and kind of a pain to install. Months came and went and it wasn’t until this spring that I ordered an aftermarket soft top for her Jeep. After much research I decided to buy the from Bestop. I’ve used Bestop soft tops for years on many of my Jeeps and I knew that these were quality products.

I also didn’t want a typical soft top for my mom. I knew that this will be used only in the summer and I did not want to spend a lot of money. The Trektop is different in that it relies of the Jeep’s roll bar for support as opposed to complicated frames that support factory soft tops. There are some interior space sacrifices, but that did not matter to my mother.

Below is my adventure with the installation of this top and a quick review. 

Step one is to obtain a Jeep. This is my mom’s Jeep with the factory hard top on.

These are the factory Freedom Top panels removed from the front and in their storage bag. That top system is very clever in that it gives the feel of the open top over the driver and front passenger, can be easily removed and reinstalled, and once in the bag, it fits neatly into the back of the Jeep.

This is the rear portion of the hard top, removed off the Jeep. It’s held by six hex bolts, for which there is a specific place for in the back storage bin of the Jeep, which I forgot to take a picture of. There is also a power connection for the wiper and a hose for the sprayer.

This is a Jeep Wrangler without a roof. These are seen so rarely seen that I just had to take a picture.

At this point I’d like to say that both of the JK Wrangler tops are overall much better than anything that came on the CJs and TJs. That said, there are still some shortcomings, such as access to the rear cargo area with the plastic window in place.

This is the box in which the soft top came in. I was going to make a dramatic un-boxing video, but then I realized that no one would care about that.

Here is the box open. Now shown, windows, which I removed to prevent any damage occurring to them during the installation process, which I predicted would include me cursing and throwing stuff. And I was right.

Said windows.

DSC_0593 (Custom)

Step one was to remove the factory roll bar cover, remove a bolt, put a small cut into the rollbar cover, insert thing bracket, and replace the bolt. The first cut went great, the second, on the other side… I made it a little too big. Oops.

Interesting thing – the online instructions for this top were different than the set of instructions that came with it. They all said the same thing, but the pictures were different and it looked like they were written by two different people.

I used an old step latter to for the bracket installation. Here we see part of the top in place.

Another picture of the top in place. In front it hooks to the existing brackets and there is no need for a windshield channel like on the old Jeeps. To open the “sun roof”, one needs to undo two latches and swing it back. There is a torsion beam in the middle which held in place the two brackets I first installed. The beam is visible in the below picture.

Visible here are two hooks. These hooks are the key to the top staying on and having proper tension on it. They are suppose to hook into the holes in the roll bar, into which the hard top panels bolt go into. Unfortunately no matter what I did, I could not get the clips to stay in place. Instructions were unclear. Besttop and the retailer where I bought the top from were both closed on Sunday, when I was doing this. I googled for an installation video and I found several videos, but in those videos everyone just said “clip the clips in there, it’s easy” and didn’t go into the details. Ugh.

Those fucking clips just wouldn’t stay in those holes. There was no way these clips were going to work, there simply wasn’t a place for them to properly clip into.

I googled and googled. I finally found this forum post, where the guy seemed to have the exact same problem. This guy used some weird 12-inch “paracord” to make a loop. But what the fuck is a 12″ paracord and where do I buy one in Bergen County, New Jersey, where EVERYTHING is closed on Sundays?

And then it hit me. No, not the 12″ paracord but a vision! I have seen one of those paracord fuckers in my mom’s garage! You see, my mom’s husband (I don’t call him my stepfather, I’m too old for that shit) is a retired Marine. That guy has EVERYTHING and he is always ready for anything! Earlier I was cleaning their garage to make room for my Integra (they don’t know that yet), I put together a container for all bungee-cord-like things and I tossed these weird 12-inch paracord things in there. It’s something that I have never seen or heard of before, and it was what I needed, and it was what Joe (mom’s husband) amazingly had!

I followed the forum instructions, and viola!!

Dear Bestop: your clips suck, this works. Change you design.

Some time later, ta-da, top on, windows in. But there are problems…

I visited my mom a week later (note my new 4Runner). It rained that day and I noticed that water is puddling in the rear section of the top. It’s not leaking and it splashes down the moment you start driving, but it isn’t right. Furthermore, there is about a half an inch gap between the top of the tailgate and the bottom of the rear window. Water does not get in that way, but it shouldn’t be like that.

I will call both the top manufacturer and the retailer to see if there is a solution to this.

But there is another issue that is a bit annoying. No one told me this when I acquired about the top, but this top isn’t exactly removable. You remove the rear and side windows, you flip the front portion back, but that’s it. There is no easy removing for a complete top down experience. I personally do not have a problem with that, as I like my Jeeps with all windows up and the top on, but my mother was kind of disappointed. Her husband was not too happy either, as he had  a hard time with the window zippers.

 

  • CruisinTime

    It will tighten with sun exposure and time .

  • Rover 1

    “I was going to make a dramatic un-boxing video, but then I realized that no one would care about that.”

    Now now. Where would The Tube of You be if everyone took that atittude?

    And on another note, someone near me has a Jeep with a sort of one piece tinted transpararent acrylic top covering the entire rear and top. Where does that come from?

  • CraigSu

    Remember, if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. Time to get your money back and find another solution.