Should I get a new soft top?


TJ Enthusiast
Sep 21, 2019
Kansas City
Hey guys, I've got a soft top TJ and I'm not sure if I need a new top or if what I'm experiencing is normal. I've only had the jeep for about a year and the top looks like it's in great shape. It doesn't have any rips or holes, the stitching is a little frayed and the windows are about clear as mud but it doesn't look bad. Problem is, the top seems ridiculously loose, especially the back windows when I'm on the highway. I can see them flapping all over the place and hitting that curved bar on the soft top frame. That and the velcro above the front seats seems to be giving up. Between the two, it makes for a pretty noisy ride. I've heard some say all convertibles are noisy, especially jeeps, but I've heard some say their soft tops aren't much louder than the hard top. Will a new soft top be tighter and quieter on the highway or will it be about the same way and I've now spent at least $250 for no reason. My current top is a smittybuilt by the way. That's the only tag I can see on it so I'm not sure of the exact model. I've got my eye on the rough country soft top if I do decide to get a new one. Any insight on the state of the current top or opinions on the rough country soft top would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!
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When I purchased the '01 Sport the Jeep came with a Smittybilt soft top and it was brown. The top was in poor condition and leaked at the seams. I spent the extra money and purchased a Bestop sail cloth top with tinted windows. So much quieter on the highway and is water tight.
So your problem is the Shittybuilt top in the first place, they don't really fit the best. The one you want would be a Bestop but you won't touch one for $250, more like $1000. And there's a thread currently running here that some peoples Bestop's aren't fitting very good either. Do your research, but you can't get a good top for under $500 unless I'm missing something.
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My smittybilt was very tight fitting, but it was incredibly thin. The zippers failed pretty early, I had a ton of gaps near the windshield with its soft uppers, in the rear where it met the tailgate bar, the zippers also let in a ton of water and were drafty. I trashed it, and picked up a used bestop which I could tell immediately it was a better material.
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I love the frameless NX fastback look but I read you can't take it all the way down like a regular top. Is that true?
I had one on my TJ. You cant take it down like you would a factory soft top but I usually just remove the rear and side windows. Problem with that is if you run into rain you cant just put it back up, if the windows are at home.
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Yeah I'd probably be better off getting a regular top on it for now. You guys do think it's time for a new one if the old one is flapping all over the place though? I drove it today with the top up and it seemed like anything over 40mph had those windows going like crazy.
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Agree with the Bestop recommendations, with Sailcloth fabric which is what new TJs came with.

Just one thing to be aware of is the TJ came with a particularly easy to use soft top support system, but some aftermarket soft tops use a difficult Rube Goldberg support system that can be frustrating.

Before ordering a replacement top you need to determine if your TJ has the original OEM support frame or it's an incompatible support system.

IIf you can post a few photos of the rear part of the top support system we can tell you what you have. Especially from where it attaches to the rear of the center rollbar.
Some aftermarket soft tops are made to fit the OEM top support system.
I believe Bestop sells a replace a top that fits that description , and I've seen some ok mid line tops, but have yet to see a better combination of fit , water and wind resistance than a Bestop , overall.
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What's you guy's take on the pavement ends tops? It looks like the company is owned by bestop and they're like a third of the price. They seem to have good reviews on Amazon just at a first glance.
Definitely not trying to discredit anything y'all are saying, I'm sure bestop is the best brand but dang, they're expensive as heck.
I replaced my factory top with a OEM replacement Bestop sailcloth w/tinted windows. Much quieter than the OEM top. That was well over 10 years ago, and it still looks new, with maybe a few scratches in the windows.
Got those pics you guys were requesting. Sorry this is the best I could do for now but let me know if y'all need anything else.



Good news, that's the factory OE support frame.

Pavement Ends is the low cost top brand owned by Bestop. It's a much thinner lower quality top. You'll never regret the extra cost of the Bestop replacement. Not to mention your interior will be a LOT quieter with the Bestop Sailcloth top.
I just bought a Bestop sailcloth replace-a-top and brand new it's looser than the (twill?) top that it came with. It's also much thinner than the old top. It was way easy to install, again much easier than the old top. I'm wondering if I even got sailcloth as it says on the box. I have not been able to get a response from customer service after over a month.
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I have the Bestop Trektop NX, I do not particularly like it. Taking the windows out is a PITA, I still can not get the back window to zip closed, the problem is the wwindows arewhat stretches the top tight ie. no hardware, although this sounds goodin theory, in reality it puts all that stress on the zippers and the stitching holding the zippers to the windows. Even though it is fairly quiet, I would not buy another
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