Full soft top advice

Deacon61

Basic User
City
Boca Raton
State
FL
Looking to switch from half cab to a full soft top. Any advice on whether a kayline would be better than the bestop that you can buy online? Other than original vs aftermarket, are some tops better than others fit wise, etc.? looking to install a full family cage also so hoping any top will fit. Thanks!
 

OGRES

Ramblin' Wreck
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The only benefits I see with the Bestop Supertop is that it is brand new, has all of the hardware, and doesn't involve drilling holes for snaps. I have one on my jeep and it works as intended. I prefer the looks of the older tops, either the Kaylines or the Bestop Tigertops, but finding ones in good enough shape AND being willing enough to drill a bunch of holes for snaps can be difficult tasks.

The Supertops don't have as much room in the very back compared to the older styles either. You end up losing 4-6 inches of interior room at the upper portion of the tops because of the slope.

Just one man's opinion though...
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
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Richmond
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TX
The kayline without drilled snaps is still made. STC out of Denver. You can get it in many colors and the fabric is a heavier, better quality. You do pay for it, over twice the cost of the foreign made Bestop.
 

Randyzzz

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I had a Supertop and had no complaints. I really liked being able to zip out the side and back windows in the summer and have a big safari top. The only drawback is if you live in cold and snowy climates, getting in the back is a bear when the material is stiff. And you have to unzip the rear flap, reach in and unlatch the tailgate, lower the tailgate, and then you can fold up the rear flap. That was a pain- I just never used the back in the winter.
 

Jeeper_4_Life

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I have a BD top. I didn't want a black top so at the time I forked out double the cost of a besttop to get a colored top. Hardware is nice, you do have to drill into your top rail & tailgate to mount it and then the windows hook into the channel. It has the 3rd bow that besttop doesn't have, but there is a write up somewhere on here to add a 3rd bow to best top.

I had to drill another set of holes in my bows to lower them so it wasn't so tight. Unless it was 80 and in the sun getting the windows back in is almost impossible without help. Doing that helped a lot. I also have tore in in two different places from rubbing a tree and my CB antenna hitting garage door and rubbing against the top (broke antenna too). I was able to patch the holes. They sold me some glue and more material and seems to be holding.

I think the BD price is double now vs what I paid so I don't know if I would be as willing to spend that much money vs besttop. I suppose besttop prices may have gone up too.
 

bigwalton

Alaskan Postal nutjob
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Dexter
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MI
Other than original vs aftermarket, are some tops better than others fit wise, etc.? looking to install a full family cage also so hoping any top will fit. Thanks!

Just checking, but you realize there were no "original" full soft tops, right?

As to the full family cage, that entirely depends on the design of the cage. When I got mine made, I included the top when I dropped the Jeep off and made clear that it was a requirement that the bows be able to drop.

I've had a Tigertop and a Supertop. Being able to roll up the sides and rear on the Tigertop was nice, but it wears on the window plastic pretty severely if you drive like that much (which I did a lot).

Similarly, I run the Supertop with no windows or doors the vast majority of the time, basically using it like a full bikini top. I had to add one screw to the rail on the tub at the point where the front edge of the rear corners of the top hit them to eliminate some flapping that was coming from the rear corners where they were actually bending up the rail at higher speeds. I also did the third bow, which is basically essential to be able to drive at speed. WAY too much flapping in the middle of the roof panel if you don't have it. With the full cage, I did a little stubby bow that actually mounts to the top of the roll cage to serve as the third bow.
 

firefighter736

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Floyd
State
VA
Just checking, but you realize there were no "original" full soft tops, right?

As to the full family cage, that entirely depends on the design of the cage. When I got mine made, I included the top when I dropped the Jeep off and made clear that it was a requirement that the bows be able to drop.

I've had a Tigertop and a Supertop. Being able to roll up the sides and rear on the Tigertop was nice, but it wears on the window plastic pretty severely if you drive like that much (which I did a lot).

Similarly, I run the Supertop with no windows or doors the vast majority of the time, basically using it like a full bikini top. I had to add one screw to the rail on the tub at the point where the front edge of the rear corners of the top hit them to eliminate some flapping that was coming from the rear corners where they were actually bending up the rail at higher speeds. I also did the third bow, which is basically essential to be able to drive at speed. WAY too much flapping in the middle of the roof panel if you don't have it. With the full cage, I did a little stubby bow that actually mounts to the top of the roll cage to serve as the third bow.
I just picked up a Supertop but haven't installed it yet. How easy is it to take off and put back on? I have a JKU and can just roll that top back and forward no problem, but I have a hard time imagining this will be that easy and convenient. Maybe I'm wrong.

My guess is that I end up doing like what you do (taking doors and windows out and driving it like a full bikini top
 

bigwalton

Alaskan Postal nutjob
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I just picked up a Supertop but haven't installed it yet. How easy is it to take off and put back on? I have a JKU and can just roll that top back and forward no problem, but I have a hard time imagining this will be that easy and convenient. Maybe I'm wrong.

My guess is that I end up doing like what you do (taking doors and windows out and driving it like a full bikini top
It's not exactly hard to remove completely, just awkward. You can pull the pins on the bows and heave everything off, just leave the rails and bow bracket. The big thing will be how you do the extra middle bow you WILL want to add. Getting that off would obviously be part of the removal.

I highly recommend drilling an extra hole in the top's rails and adding a screw or bolt/nut right at the spot where the front edge of the rear corner of the top is secured. I saw that spot physically lifting/bending the rail up as I drove at speed and that allowed the corner to flap excessively. After I added those screws and the third bow, the top did really well up to highway speed with no doors/windows.
 

AdamH

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I normally just run mine like a safari top mainly to keep the sun off me and the family. However once you take the entire top down and then back up a handful of times you get the hang of it
 

Deacon61

Basic User
City
Boca Raton
State
FL
Anyone have a super top they want to get rid of? Saw that there are some rebates but $1000 is pretty steep. Only real option unless you go retro like Some of you have said on here. Thanks for all the advice.
 

firefighter736

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Floyd
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VA
It's not exactly hard to remove completely, just awkward. You can pull the pins on the bows and heave everything off, just leave the rails and bow bracket. The big thing will be how you do the extra middle bow you WILL want to add. Getting that off would obviously be part of the removal.

I highly recommend drilling an extra hole in the top's rails and adding a screw or bolt/nut right at the spot where the front edge of the rear corner of the top is secured. I saw that spot physically lifting/bending the rail up as I drove at speed and that allowed the corner to flap excessively. After I added those screws and the third bow, the top did really well up to highway speed with no doors/windows.

I see a thread about adding a third bow by sourcing the bow from an old kayline. Is that what you did? Or did you fab something?
 

bigwalton

Alaskan Postal nutjob
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I see a thread about adding a third bow by sourcing the bow from an old kayline. Is that what you did? Or did you fab something?
IIRC I fabbed something using an old CJ-5 bow I had lying around for a middle bow before I got my full cage.

Now I just have a stubby little ~5" bow that bolts to the top of my full cage. I made it by modifying a short bow setup that came with a now-discontinued full bikini top for an LJ. It was made to bolt to to the rear diagonals of the stock LJ cage to hold up the back end of the top. (Actually, that's the full bikini top that I now run, it sits on top of my full cage, but I got it years ago right before they discontinued that model :shrug: )

There's really not much to figuring out a third bow, pretty much any CJ soft top bow you find will be too long, so you'll be able to cut it down to what you need. The issues are:

1) figuring out a strap or rod setup to hold it in place so it doesn't fold forward or back. I think I used two simple black nylon webbing straps, one going to the bow in front and one going to the bow in the rear. I don't recall exactly how Jake did his in the thread I think you're referring to. I remember thinking a couple pieces of all-thread and holes in the bows could be used as well and would lend some adjustment.

2) mounting the bow at the bottom. I can't really recall what I did, I think it may have actually fit between the ends of other two bows in the Tigertop bracket on the tub. I seem to remember just having to pinch the bottom of the tube a bit to get it to slide in and drilling a hole to use with another one of the pins. I'm pretty certain I didn't end up having to use an extra bracket or anything on the tub rail because I know there's just the one set of holes for my soft top bracket.

You can get it where the extra bow isn't super hard/tight to get up and then add a piece of pipe insulation on top of it to tighten it up and have some cushion for the top fabric.
 
Last edited:

Ron84cj

Scrambler Junkie
Lifetime Member
City
West Bend
State
WI
Just checking, but you realize there were no "original" full soft tops, right?

As to the full family cage, that entirely depends on the design of the cage. When I got mine made, I included the top when I dropped the Jeep off and made clear that it was a requirement that the bows be able to drop.

I've had a Tigertop and a Supertop. Being able to roll up the sides and rear on the Tigertop was nice, but it wears on the window plastic pretty severely if you drive like that much (which I did a lot).

Similarly, I run the Supertop with no windows or doors the vast majority of the time, basically using it like a full bikini top. I had to add one screw to the rail on the tub at the point where the front edge of the rear corners of the top hit them to eliminate some flapping that was coming from the rear corners where they were actually bending up the rail at higher speeds. I also did the third bow, which is basically essential to be able to drive at speed. WAY too much flapping in the middle of the roof panel if you don't have it. With the full cage, I did a little stubby bow that actually mounts to the top of the roll cage to serve as the third bow.
I was under the impression my full length blue Whitco soft top was original, just stupid rare? Now I'm confused, I thought Whitcos were the originals and Bestop, Kayline, etc. were all the aftermarkets? Not being a smart a$$, I'm seriously asking.
 

bigwalton

Alaskan Postal nutjob
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MI
Original as their aftermarket line. Jeep didn’t come with it factory.
 
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