Going Frameless - Jeep Wrangler Top ReplacementPosted in How To: Body Chassis on May 1, 2013
The factory soft top on any given Jeep Wrangler has a shelf life. From sun damage and mud stains to window scratches and broken zippers- if you use your Wrangler for more than a garage ornament, a replacement top will be in your future. Admittedly, we can be a bit hard on our Jeep's soft top. Too often it makes contact with trail obstacles (which bends the frames) or it becomes heavily stained from spending too much time in the dirt and not enough time at the pressure washer.
When it comes to picking a new top, we look for something durable, practical, and decently stylish. Since we've had great luck with Bestop tops in the past, we opted to give the company's new Trek Top NX a go on our '97 Jeep Wrangler. Bestop has crafted a wide variety of tops for decades and continues to increase its product line for fullsize truck and Jeep models. As is the case with much of its new product line, the Trek Top NX is an evolution of what the company is most well-known for, soft tops.
Part of the draw of the Trek Top NX is that it doesn't use a conventional soft top frame structure or bows. Providing the majority of the support for the top is the Wrangler's factory cage (or as most companies call it for insurance reasons, sportsbar). By reducing the amount of soft top framework, the Trek Top NX is able to provide a unique profile and multiuse features. Since the top relies on the cage for its overall shape, a curvier and low-profile fastback-look is achieved. The Trek Top NX can be ordered in a spice, black denim, or black diamond finish and is offered for '97-'13 Jeep Wrangler TJs and two- and four-door model JKs.
We opted for the black diamond finish as we like the look and texture of it the best. To install the top, we rolled our Jeep into a sunny spot in the driveway and went to work. Using nothing more than a couple hand tools, we spent around two hours discarding our old top and securing the new one in place. A helping hand will make the install go faster, but we found it to be an easy one-man install.
Generally, we do our best to put a fair amount of miles on items before giving you an in-depth review. As of writing this, we've only had our top for a short-while, but we've gained some decent insight into the pros and cons. One item that we are happy to report is that the top doesn't leak. That's not to say it will never, but it hasn't yet. Color us skeptics when it comes to anything with a removable top being completely leak-free.
The low profile of the top not only looks better than our previous top, but it actually shaved a few inches off of the overall height of the Jeep. That means our Jeep is now able to fit into a standard garage without having to lower the air pressure in the tires. Wind noise is comparable to the factory top, which isn't much at all. Admittedly though, the reverb from our V-8 usually overwhelms any wind noise. Ultimately, we are very pleased with the fit and quality of the top. For future updates on how the Trek Top NX is surviving be sure to go to our blogs at www.fourwheeler.com.