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Installing a Low-Cost Frameless Jeep Soft-Top

Posted in How To on May 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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It is no secret that we like soft-top Jeeps, but ever since the dawn of Jeepdom, putting the top up and down is more of a juggling act than a pleasure. It often gets to be so much of a chore that we just leave the top up all the time except for those really nice weeks. The easy way to get rid of a lot of the complexity is to ditch the bows and metal frame. Sure, there have been frameless tops out there before, but there was always a huge "but" to them. They pooled with water, they leaked at all the places the windows attached, you couldn't actually order them even though they were on the company's website-the list goes on and on. There are finally a couple of viable options on the market, and after weighing our choices, we went with a black Rampage frameless top.

The Rampage top offers a lot of features for the price. There are overhead storage pockets for both the driver and front seat passenger, larger-than-stock windows are tinted by default, there is an on-board window storage bag, and the top easily converts to a safari-style bikini top for that open air experience. The fabric actually feels thicker than the factory soft top did and we lost a lot of the unneeded complexity of bow-riddled top systems.

As of this writing, the top is only available for the TJ, with LJ versions coming soon. By the time you read this, the company hopes to have the LJ version available. It is available in your choice of spice or black fabric.

Can a frameless soft top really replace the tried-and-true framed tops? Is the install really a one-hour affair as the instructions claim? Most importantly, can a top that costs hundreds of dollars less than its competition still compete? Follow along as we subject our long-suffering '01 TJ to a real-life, hand-as-only-tool install, and in true Jp magazine fashion, bring you our honest opinion of how it went.

How's It Work
While it would be possible to stow the windows in the storage bag and then remove and roll up the entire top to stow behind the rear set, we don't see ourselves doing that. With the hot SoCal sun, we will just leave the safari portion of the top up. Having the on-board storage bag is awesome because it will help protect the windows from scratching and the overhead storage is perfect for cell phones or a wallet. The fiberglass rods over the front seat passengers should help with snow, but between the rear window and the lack of bows we'd be hesitant to run this as a year-round top where it snows a lot and the Jeep sits outside. There is a bit less headroom for the back seat passengers, so if you have tall rear passengers, they might be inconvenienced. Whenever we have a tall passenger back there it is typically only one passenger, and if they sit sort of sideways, it alleviates the headroom issue anyway. Overall we are happy with the fit, the features, the look, the ease of install, and the price of this top.

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Sources

Rampage Products
Corona, CA 92883
951-277-4949
www.rampageproducts.com

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