Soft Top or Not?


Packerjohn

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Apr 29, 2020
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Central IL
Bought or first Jeep, 2017 Willys JKU with the factory hardtop/freedom panels. When we were looking I was thinking, well have to get a soft top too. As I think about how we will use it, I'm wondering if we need it. Of course can do with out for a while and get one later, just curious what other people do. By the way we are in the Midwest.

Here's a bit of background. The Jeep is our 3dr vehicle (2 drivers), bought as a weekend/fun top off vehicle as opposed to a daily driver. May do some mild off-roading but nothing very extreme. We have garage space where we can put the Jeep and hardtop when removed at our house. Understand taking the top off/back on is like a 15-20 minute thing.

I'm thinking in decent weather can just take the top off and leave it in the garage and don't take it out on days when might get rain dumped on. If we decide to go on a longer overnight trip with hotels involved put the roof back on and take the panels off. If staying with friends and want to take the top off leave it in their garage. And of course when the weather gets colder just leave the top on and pop the panels for an occasional nice day.

Thinking about this, I'm talking myself out of the soft top. Appreciate any thoughts.
 

tsetsefly1

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Jul 29, 2020
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Minnesota
Bought or first Jeep, 2017 Willys JKU with the factory hardtop/freedom panels. When we were looking I was thinking, well have to get a soft top too. As I think about how we will use it, I'm wondering if we need it. Of course can do with out for a while and get one later, just curious what other people do. By the way we are in the Midwest.

Here's a bit of background. The Jeep is our 3dr vehicle (2 drivers), bought as a weekend/fun top off vehicle as opposed to a daily driver. May do some mild off-roading but nothing very extreme. We have garage space where we can put the Jeep and hardtop when removed at our house. Understand taking the top off/back on is like a 15-20 minute thing.

I'm thinking in decent weather can just take the top off and leave it in the garage and don't take it out on days when might get rain dumped on. If we decide to go on a longer overnight trip with hotels involved put the roof back on and take the panels off. If staying with friends and want to take the top off leave it in their garage. And of course when the weather gets colder just leave the top on and pop the panels for an occasional nice day.

Thinking about this, I'm talking myself out of the soft top. Appreciate any thoughts.
I'm pretty much in your boat.... have you driven it with the top off / freedom panels off yet? I'm not sure what your weather is like over there...

I'll likely purchase a soft top for the summer because -
1) Our JK usage is about the same as yours. 3rd vehicle for fun, not a daily driver. This is my first JK (up from a TJ) and in order of how loud the drive is as follows. Loudest with freedom panels off. second loudest with entire hard top on. quietest with the top completely off.
2) I'm not sure what your weather is like, but if it's nice you're going to want the entire top off. And if it's nice and you're doing a decent day trip / over night trip, my guess is you won't trust the weather man. So you'll end up with just the freedom tops off which, is nice, but nothing like the entire top off. So when they say 20% chance of rain and your hours from home and you get screwed that one time ...... it sucks.
3) When summer comes, take that hard top off, slap on the soft top and then even if you run into a rouge shower or you do an over night you can just pop up the soft top. The hard top is easy enough to take off but you'll get sick doing it over and over again. I did that this summer.

Few tangents in there, but, I was absolutely in your boat where I didn't think I'd want both.. Now I absolutely will be getting one. Being able to flip that soft top down or up and be protected and still go topless is... tits. Worst case you do a summer with a hard top and feel it out. My guess is you'll get a softy though

Skol.
 
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kk2010jk

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Dec 2, 2020
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Milford NJ
I am also in the same boat. Only have Hard top and I started looking for a soft top. Then I started thinking is it worth the $$ for a soft top. I did get to remove the freedom panels a couple times.
 
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FLCoastJK

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Dec 28, 2020
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Destin, FL
I have a 4 door and love the soft top. It doesnt get super cold here, so the hard top wasnt really a required option. The soft top can be halfway opened in about 2 minutes, but then you can also lay it all the way back if you wish. It gives you a few options and protects against pop up showers.
 
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Threepointsix

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Dec 11, 2020
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New Jersey
For me, soft top, 24/7 - but ONLY IF:
1- you have a garage to store the Jeep nightly
-or-
2- live in a NO snow state.

My JKU does not have a soft top. At the current cost of one, I may forgo it this year. And my TJ is soft topped since factory built. But that stays in a garage year round.
 
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Packerjohn

Packerjohn

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Central IL
I'm pretty much in your boat.... have you driven it with the top off / freedom panels off yet? I'm not sure what your weather is like over there...

I'll likely purchase a soft top for the summer because -
1) Our JK usage is about the same as yours. 3rd vehicle for fun, not a daily driver. This is my first JK (up from a TJ) and in order of how loud the drive is as follows. Loudest with freedom panels off. second loudest with entire hard top on. quietest with the top completely off.
2) I'm not sure what your weather is like, but if it's nice you're going to want the entire top off. And if it's nice and you're doing a decent day trip / over night trip, my guess is you won't trust the weather man. So you'll end up with just the freedom tops off which, is nice, but nothing like the entire top off. So when they say 20% chance of rain and your hours from home and you get screwed that one time ...... it sucks.
3) When summer comes, take that hard top off, slap on the soft top and then even if you run into a rouge shower or you do an over night you can just pop up the soft top. The hard top is easy enough to take off but you'll get sick doing it over and over again. I did that this summer.

Few tangents in there, but, I was absolutely in your boat where I didn't think I'd want both.. Now I absolutely will be getting one. Being able to flip that soft top down or up and be protected and still go topless is... tits. Worst case you do a summer with a hard top and feel it out. My guess is you'll get a softy though

Skol.
Thanks for the reply. Ours is actually supposed to be delivered tomorrow. We're in IL and right now snowing and 40 MPH winds an d6-8 inches of snow Saturday night so no open air stuff for a while. Not supposed to snow very much and it's all Interstate between the dealer and our house so hopefully they get it down here before the heavier snow.

We did have a JKU as a rental for a week in Hawaii a couple summers ago. That was what convinced us to get one as opposed to a convertible (like the Camaro we had for the other week) for a "fun" vehicle. We did take the Freedom top off that whenever we could.

I've seen a couple ads in my area for OEM soft tops either brand new or just just a couple times, asking price 50% of new price so I was wondering it it was just a personal choice that they wanted to get rid of it or if most people didn't like them.

Agree on the idea of doing a summer without, but if an almost new one comes along for $900 or so, I'd be tempted to just pull the trigger without testing it.
 
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Packerjohn

Packerjohn

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For me, soft top, 24/7 - but ONLY IF:
1- you have a garage to store the Jeep nightly
-or-
2- live in a NO snow state.

My JKU does not have a soft top. At the current cost of one, I may forgo it this year. And my TJ is soft topped since factory built. But that stays in a garage year round.
We do have a garage and unless we're travelling our vehicles are in it at night. We do live in a snow state . I'm one of those people that will be damned if I let a vehicle sit out, especially in the winter while part of the garage is filled with old newspapers or some other crap.

Guess need to to look for slightly used.
 
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Packerjohn

Packerjohn

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I have a 4 door and love the soft top. It doesnt get super cold here, so the hard top wasnt really a required option. The soft top can be halfway opened in about 2 minutes, but then you can also lay it all the way back if you wish. It gives you a few options and protects against pop up showers.
We do an extended family vacation in Ft Walton/Destin every couple of years, great area with nice people. Yeah I was there year round I'd just do the soft top.
 

JerryD

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I have soft/hard/bimini. A soft top is certainly more fun in the summer. There are a LOT of 4dr owners that wouldn't dream of taking the top off and many of them got the dual top option. They are getting harder to come by, but you might find an unused one on marketplace or craigslist.

If you have a garage, and it's a 3rd vehicle, I would hold off. Pick up a spidershade or a bikini and a trail cover for those unexpected downpours and see what you think for a while. I take the hard top off in the spring and put the soft on, so I don't use the bikini as much, but sometimes I'll remove the soft top and use the bimini/windjammer tonneau cover (2dr), just to change it up.

Don't pass up a good deal if you find a soft top, but don't stress over getting one. ;)

(I use bikini and bimini interchangeably here, but one has long straps (old school CJ style) and the other has wrap around straps)
 
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MacGuyver

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I'm in western Wisconsin and I put my soft top on as soon as I'm able come spring and wait as long as I can in the fall.

That being said, the convertible nature of the Wrangler is one of the big draws for me and I would take my hard top off all the time which is a huge pain in the ass.

Just keep an eye on craigslist. I picked up a brand new premium top for $400 from a guy that just wanted it out of his garage.

Or If you or anybody else wants to travel here (I'm an hour east of Minneapolis off I-94), my old soft top is free for the taking.
It's an older type off a 2009. It's complete with door surround and everything and in decent shape. I'm just sick of storing it. The only problem is that is seems to have the wrong rear window. Zips up, but the window is too big, previous owner didn't know anything about the jeep and didn't own it long.

It's a four door top btw.
 
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Threepointsix

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We do have a garage and unless we're travelling our vehicles are in it at night. We do live in a snow state . I'm one of those people that will be damned if I let a vehicle sit out, especially in the winter while part of the garage is filled with old newspapers or some other crap.

Guess need to to look for slightly used.
Im with you 100% on the garage. Shocks me to see how many people fill theirs up with ‘junk’ and never bourse their vehicle(s).

Go for it! You’ll be fine w a soft top. They go many years when garaged.
 

FLCoastJK

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Destin, FL
We do an extended family vacation in Ft Walton/Destin every couple of years, great area with nice people. Yeah I was there year round I'd just do the soft top.
I am pretty sure everyone comes here, we have quite the following it seems. Last year was especially busy as we are drivable from a lot of places and Florida stayed pretty much open last year. Let me know next time down, we can grab a beer and talk about Jeeps.
 
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Largehit71

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Jun 17, 2020
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Jackson MO
Im with you 100% on the garage. Shocks me to see how many people fill theirs up with ‘junk’ and never bourse their vehicle(s).

Go for it! You’ll be fine w a soft top. They go many years when garaged.
Would love to use my garage. Older home with low clearance in there. So..... Jeep won’t fit.
 

Lee Wrangler

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Newtown Square, PA
I’m a new member, and bought my ‘12 JK 2.5 years ago as a winter and summer fun vehicle. Not a daily driver either, 2 door with hardtop. I love the convertible feature in warm months, live in Philly suburb. That said, I’ve avoided soft top because it looks like a time intensive, knuckle busting pain to install. Plus louder highway driving. So I Got garage ceiling winch, and it takes about 25 minutes to take hardtop off plus eliminates storage issue. I can commute to work, leave topless parked in home or work garage (or outside with no rain) for weeks on end. At beach with heavy evening dew, I leave topless at night with cab cover. this year I also bought bestop sun rider for hardtop so I can quickly get the sunroof effect without freedom top removal, and flip it closed quickly and not be paranoid about rain. took an hour to install, I’ll see how it works in spring. So these are my strategies for avoiding soft top.
 
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Packerjohn

Packerjohn

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I’m a new member, and bought my ‘12 JK 2.5 years ago as a winter and summer fun vehicle. Not a daily driver either, 2 door with hardtop. I love the convertible feature in warm months, live in Philly suburb. That said, I’ve avoided soft top because it looks like a time intensive, knuckle busting pain to install. Plus louder highway driving. So I Got garage ceiling winch, and it takes about 25 minutes to take hardtop off plus eliminates storage issue. I can commute to work, leave topless parked in home or work garage (or outside with no rain) for weeks on end. At beach with heavy evening dew, I leave topless at night with cab cover. this year I also bought bestop sun rider for hardtop so I can quickly get the sunroof effect without freedom top removal, and flip it closed quickly and not be paranoid about rain. took an hour to install, I’ll see how it works in spring. So these are my strategies for avoiding soft top.
Interested for report on the Sunrider. When we rented in Hawaii removing and reattaching the Freedom panels didn't seem like a big deal. Did have one of these WAY back in the day with the T-tops so my have just been muscle memory.
1612839913178.png
 

Lee Wrangler

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Nice, my favorite car as a kid in the 70s. Can’t tell - turbo or 6.6 liter? Freedom top removal not bad on weekends (10 minutes) but I can’t spare 10 minutes or effort/hassle before work on weekdays. Just not in the mood.
 
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Tinnitus
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no corresponding external sound is present. Nearly everyone will experience a faint "normal tinnitus" in a completely quiet room but it is only of concern if it is bothersome or interferes with normal hearing or correlated with other problems. Wikipedia

My Tinnitus is loud and constant and permanent. I figure ten years of wind blowing in my ears while driving an open side Jeep has something to do with that. It's a good theory anyhow.

If you choose to open your Jeep, keep the back closed so dust isn't sucked toward the windshield and make you dirty and screw up your eyes. And lungs.

Nothing is as much fun and freeing as driving stripped down.
44332967_10217901443274001_5885429235153108992_n.jpg
 
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Packerjohn

Packerjohn

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Nice, my favorite car as a kid in the 70s. Can’t tell - turbo or 6.6 liter? Freedom top removal not bad on weekends (10 minutes) but I can’t spare 10 minutes or effort/hassle before work on weekdays. Just not in the mood.
The car in the picture isn't mine, don't have a good picture of mine uploaded, but it was a 1979 and looked like that. Had the pathetic 301 4.9L engine, non=turbo (turbo didn't come out until 1980).