Hardtop to softop to sun rider

97JadeTJ

TJ Enthusiast
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Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
786
Location
Hot Springs, AR
I think I mentioned here lately that I was able to pick me up a original soft top frame and I still had a shittybilt soft top from the wrecked TJ I had so yesterday was the day to make the switch…

Before

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After
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And today I converted the frame to a Sunrider frame…

1707335036605.jpeg


I know it ain’t for everybody but It is a cool feature! Probably here in a week or so I’m gonna order a Sierra off-road trilogy top and see for sure if it’ll fit on a 97… @TheBoogieman says it will quieten down everything except the wife!…
 
I have the Bestop Trektop that has the flip back sunrider feature and that's what we use the most. I've had no sides or back and the sunrider flipped back up to 70mph with no more flapping or concern than with the sides and back on and the sunrider flipped back at 20mph. I know you modified this one, but look at the Bestop if you like that feature. It's spendy and some people don't like the slant back.
 
I'll be curious if you still think favorably of the Sunrider feature if you remove the side & rear windows, then drive it over 20MPH.

At that point though, why not just fold the whole top back? I don’t see a reason for the top to only cover the rear seats if all windows are open and you want the sunrider open in the front.
 
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At that point though, why not just fold the whole top back? I don’t see a reason for the top to only cover the rear seats if all windows are open and you want the sunrider open in the front.

The biggest reason for us to leave the top on and remove the side/rear windows is to have shade from the summer heat AND to still have room for stuff in the back.
Folding the entire top down in order to get a bit of sun isn’t convenient, hence the reason we chose a top w/ the Sunrider feature.

I wouldn’t have such an issue w/ the Sunrider feature on the TJ IF it behaved like the Sunrider top on our JK; which replaces the Freedom panels w/ an easy, flip-it-from-the-front-seat-while-stopped-at-a-light type of convenience & function.

The Sunrider feature on the TJ top is a useless piece of under-engineered CRAP.

No place does it state that the side windows need to be installed to retain the tension across the top, but unzip them and you can literally watch the top sag like a wet blanket.
100% GARBAGE, IMO.
 
I think I mentioned here lately that I was able to pick me up a original soft top frame and I still had a shittybilt soft top from the wrecked TJ I had so yesterday was the day to make the switch…

Before

View attachment 498464

After
View attachment 498465

And today I converted the frame to a Sunrider frame…

View attachment 498466

I know it ain’t for everybody but It is a cool feature! Probably here in a week or so I’m gonna order a Sierra off-road trilogy top and see for sure if it’ll fit on a 97… @TheBoogieman says it will quieten down everything except the wife!…

I had the DIY kit on a previous top. Watch the screw ends, mine started to gouge the door surrounds and on one side started to wear a hole in the top.
 
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I have no use for the framed top. Too much bulk to mess with and with the InstaTrunk the Frame sits high on the top of the InstaTrunk instead of low behind the rear seat. But that DIY Sunrider mod is pretty cool.

I switched to the TrekTop Nx.

Sunrider flipped open with windows in is by far my favorite and easiest.
Sunrider open with the windows out is next favorite. No sagging on mine. The rear sections stays tight regardless of speed.

If I am really confident the weather will cooperate I'll pull the top off and use a tonneau cover on the tub and a trail cover overnight.

I rarely have anyone in the back, it's just easier to leave the back section in than it is to undo the straps around the roll bar.

My only complaint with the Sunrider setup on the TJ is the plastic clips that secure the sunrider to the door surrounds. On my JKs there were rain gutters on the tops of the door surrounds and the sunrider frame sat in the gutter. Easy enough to unclip from windshield header and flip the sunrider back while stopped at a light. Not so with the TJ.
 
On my JKs there were rain gutters on the tops of the door surrounds and the sunrider frame sat in the gutter. Easy enough to unclip from windshield header and flip the sunrider back while stopped at a light. Not so with the TJ.

That’s what I’m working on now, making the frame sit in the rain gutter… I have the sunrider bow secured to the roll bar, right above the seat belt bracket, with a velcro strap so it’s secure, but want the frame to lay in the rain gutter, for aesthetic reasons… I took it out for a test drive today… 55mph with the Sunrider open, the two door windows open and all the back windows closed and there was no problems at all.
 
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I like the sunrider option so when it’s 100 degrees out I have it closed. When it comes night or early morning I can flip it open. I hate the sun beating down on top me so I like the shade.

And, when you see rain coming, you can close it at the next light without leaving your seat… (I have Trektop NX too)
 
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I'm beginning to think there may be multiple versions of the TJ Trektop NX w/ Sunrider option.
My top (purchased direct from Bestop last year), has (2) long plastic "tabs" sewn along the outside edge of the top (above the doors)...
(two on each side of the vehicle).
These "tabs" "clip" into the groove along the outside edge of the door surrounds.
I suspect they are intended to help keep the tension on the top and to reduce the amount of leaking/flapping/etc. that could occur above the doors if they were not present.
In any case, the tabs cannot be extracted from the grooves with the hard doors on (UNLESS they are open), or while you are seated alone in the drivers' seat... (i.e. you cannot flip the Sunrider back at a light in the TJ because you need to open the doors in order to release the tabs from the grooves, and you cannot release the tabs from the grooves without getting out of the vechicle).
I can open and close the Sunrider on our JKU ALONE, while seated in the drivers' seat at a light or even while moving if I wanted to.
 
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I'm beginning to think there may be multiple versions of the TJ Trektop NX w/ Sunrider option.
My top (purchased direct from Bestop last year), has (2) long plastic "tabs" sewn along the outside edge of the top (above the doors)...
(two on each side of the vehicle).
These "tabs" "clip" into the groove along the outside edge of the door surrounds.
I suspect they are intended to help keep the tension on the top and to reduce the amount of leaking/flapping/etc. that could occur above the doors if they were not present.
In any case, the tabs cannot be extracted from the grooves with the hard doors on (UNLESS they are open), or while you are seated alone in the drivers' seat... (i.e. you cannot flip the Sunrider back at a light in the TJ because you need to open the doors in order to release the tabs from the grooves, and you cannot release the tabs from the grooves without getting out of the vechicle).
I can open and close the Sunrider on our JKU ALONE, while seated in the drivers' seat at a light or even while moving if I wanted to.

You gotta plan ahead. Mine has the tabs, but I also start out open, and flip it closed if needed from seat, and lock tabs later.

Most of the time anymore, I just leave top only on, and leave doors, sides, and back at home… I put the trail cover on if theres a chance of rain, and take the JT…
 
The biggest reason for us to leave the top on and remove the side/rear windows is to have shade from the summer heat AND to still have room for stuff in the back.
Folding the entire top down in order to get a bit of sun isn’t convenient, hence the reason we chose a top w/ the Sunrider feature.

I wouldn’t have such an issue w/ the Sunrider feature on the TJ IF it behaved like the Sunrider top on our JK; which replaces the Freedom panels w/ an easy, flip-it-from-the-front-seat-while-stopped-at-a-light type of convenience & function.

The Sunrider feature on the TJ top is a useless piece of under-engineered CRAP.

No place does it state that the side windows need to be installed to retain the tension across the top, but unzip them and you can literally watch the top sag like a wet blanket.
100% GARBAGE, IMO.

First off, I totally understand that about leaving the top on for shade but the windows off. To me it sounded like you originally said you wanted to take all the windows off AND put the top in the sunrider mode. That does not make sense to me.

I have the trektop NX and use the sunrider mode all the time, I have never had issues with it sagging. I love it. Last summer I drove 20+ minutes going 70 on the highway to and from work every day with the sunrider open. Was never a problem. I don’t see why windows need to be installed for it to work, and I am able to put it on and off at a light just like you said. I have done so many times.

The issues you have mentioned I guess I just haven’t experienced. Maybe I got lucky somehow, I don’t know, but I really don’t have any complaint about the top at all.

Edit - I actually did have one issue with the tension bar/bow thingy in the front rattling when it was in sunrider mode, but I fixed that with a bit of duct tape. Thats the singular complaint I have
 
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First off, I totally understand that about leaving the top on for shade but the windows off. To me it sounded like you originally said you wanted to take all the windows off AND put the top in the sunrider mode. That does not make sense to me.
It's not that odd. We'll run with no sides or back and leave the top on for shade. Then we want the sun we flip the sunrider back which is much more convenient than taking the whole top off. And it keeps shade on the kid in the back most of the time, unless the angle of sun is just wrong enough.
 
In any case, the tabs cannot be extracted from the grooves with the hard doors on (UNLESS they are open), or while you are seated alone in the drivers' seat... (i.e. you cannot flip the Sunrider back at a light in the TJ because you need to open the doors in order to release the tabs from the grooves, and you cannot release the tabs from the grooves without getting out of the vechicle).
I can open and close the Sunrider on our JKU ALONE, while seated in the drivers' seat at a light or even while moving if I wanted to.
That is exactly what I was referring to above. On the JK, I could flip it back after unclipping the deader bar latches. I recall I modified the latches on the JKs TrekTop Nx because the visors had to be flipped outward in order for the latches to clear.

Those tabs... in warm weather I leave them out most of the time just to avoid slowing things down...

First off, I totally understand that about leaving the top on for shade but the windows off. To me it sounded like you originally said you wanted to take all the windows off AND put the top in the sunrider mode. That does not make sense to me.

I have the trektop NX and use the sunrider mode all the time, I have never had issues with it sagging. I love it. Last summer I drove 20+ minutes going 70 on the highway to and from work every day with the sunrider open. Was never a problem. I don’t see why windows need to be installed for it to work, and I am able to put it on and off at a light just like you said. I have done so many times.

The issues you have mentioned I guess I just haven’t experienced. Maybe I got lucky somehow, I don’t know, but I really don’t have any complaint about the top at all.

Edit - I actually did have one issue with the tension bar/bow thingy in the front rattling when it was in sunrider mode, but I fixed that with a bit of duct tape. Thats the singular complaint I have
Seems to work form regardless of the status of the windows. That's part of what I like about it.

The front tension bar. I leave that out most of the time during warm weather. I place it on top of the roll bar just in front of the sound bar supporting the fold of fabric in the soft top. I put a rare earth magnet under the roll bar padding on each side. The tension bar snaps into place on the magnets and doesn't budge and the soft top fabric stays up high regardless of speed.