Jeep YJ Soft Top verities are ABUNDANT!! There are tops that are frameless or some tops that use their own frames. There are different materials, different style windows or even some that the top flips back to give you an opening like a Targa top "Vette.
Question: Are there a good selection of Jeep YJ soft tops?
Answer: Absolutely Yes! There are so many top styles and brands on the market for the Jeep YJs. This this can be either a good thing or a bad thing. Being that I do not like to be a negative person, I'm gonna start with why its a bad thing then end on a positive note :-).
The down side is there are so many top decisions that need to be made that it makes it sooo confusing to the novice Jeeper as to what top they should get.
Question: What do I need to know before buying a Jeep YJ Soft Top?
Answer: You need to analyse the options your Jeep currently has or what you want it to be. This list is just a few examples.
So whats the good side?? Due to so many manufactures of Jeep YJ soft tops ... you have LOOOOTS of choices!!
In this article we will cover the different options, decisions and go over some Jeep YJ soft tops that can be purchased.
Question: Does the roll bar affect which Jeep YJ Soft Top I can use?
Answer: Yes it can. Whether you have a Sport bar style or Family style roll bar can determine if you can use a "framed" or "frameless" style soft top.
Look at your roll bar. Does it slope down at about a 45* angle? That is known as the Sports Bar.
OK .. does your roll bar go straight back a bit and then curve sorta straight down? That is known as a Family Style bar.
Question: Why does the roll bar style determine what Jeep Soft Top choices I have??
Answer: Frameless soft tops can only be used with the Family style roll bar because they use the rear "legs" of the roll bar as support for the rear section of the soft top.
The Sports bar has to use a "framed" style soft top due to no rear roll bar support.
Question: What year YJs come with what style roll bar?
Answer: Jeep Wrangler YJs from 1992 and newer have the Family style roll bar. The older ones from 1991 and back have the Sports bar. The roll bars are interchangeable from one YJ to another. I have a 1991 that I swapped in a Family style roll bar so I could run a Frameless soft top when I decide to get one.
Question: How do I know which Jeep YJ soft top frame I have?
Answer: By determining what materials that were used in making the frame and the shape of the frame. A Jeeper will find there are mainly the factory style frame and then the aftermarket. With after market frames they are typically specific to the brand that manufactured the top.
Meaning Bestop has their own frames for each of their model YJ soft tops. Rampage can have their own frame and so on and so on. Especially Bestop .. they are very proprietary to their tops. But, they are the best in the business for a reason!
Most factory style soft top frames will have aluminum angle used in parts of it where as aftermarket is typically all steel tubing.
Honestly, more times than not you will have the factory style soft top frame that has the aluminum angle brackets surrounding the door. The angle brackets will hinge to form a pretty much 90* angle in the upper corner of the door. The front of the top aluminum angle will join to the top of the windshield via plastic brackets that screw to the windshield frame.
As for the frames for the aftermarket tops, we will cover those later in the article as I talk about the different tops I recommend.
Question: Is framed or frameless soft top better?
Answer: To be totally honest, that is really a matter of preference. I've had 2 different styles of "framed" tops and I liked them both. The tops I've had were the Bestop Super top and I'm currently running a Rampage Cab Top.
The Bestop Super Top I had is a GREAT fitting and very tough soft top! It does have its own proprietary frame structure that works ONLY with that top. I really liked it! The only downside to that top is that it is rather on the expensive side! If your curious, click here for the current pricing. But, Bestop is the best top in the business hands down!! So you pay for what you get.
The Rampage Cab Top uses the factory Jeep YJ soft top frame. You simply buy the skin kit and install it on the factory YJ soft top frame. Its a SWEET top if you don't use you back seat at all. I VERY rarely even have my back seat in my rig. Once the Cab Top is installed the Jeep YJ kinda looks like a little pick up truck with a soft tonneau cover on back.
A buddy of mine has a Rampage frameless soft top on his LJ. I really like it!! NO frames to deal with. You can remove the side windows and store them in a pocket built into the soft top. That is called running "Safari" topped when you have just the top skin installed.
To me personally, having the frameless soft top has the benefits of not dealing with the bulky framework. Plus they just look bad ass with that sloped rear window!
But then again .. some people like the framed top better so I can't with a clear conscience tell you which style top to buy. Its really in what you prefer.
What I suggest is go to a Jeep meet and talk to different people about how they feel about their soft tops. I promise you will find a wide variety of opinions about different soft tops. You should take note on what comments you find is consistent among the group of people you talk too. Then use that to help you base your decision. Whether you choose a framed or frameless .. you really can't go wrong with either one.
Question: Should I get tinted or clear windows in my Jeep YJ Soft top?
Answer: This will largely depend on 2 things. Your preference and does the brand top you select have that option.
A buddy of mine had a Jeep Wrangler TJ. His first top was a Bestop Supertop with the tinted side and rear windows. That top lasted for MANY years of regular use of lowering and putting it up.
Eventually he decided it was time to replace the top due to it was simply worn out! This time he ordered another Bestop Supertop with the clear window option. Here is the verdict between tinted vs clear. Could he see better at night backing up .. yep he sure could. Was the Jeep interior MUCH MUCH hotter with the clear windows .... Oh My Gosh yes it was so much hotter inside that rig!! He had mentioned a time or two about buying tinted windows and swapping them out.
Now not all brands offer the tinted window option so that is another thing to consider.
My old Bestop Super top had tinted windows. My Rampage Cab Top I'm running at the moment has clear windows. But the Rampage Cab top has much less surface area to collect heat so it was a tad bit hotter but not by a huge margin.
Question: Is there a good selection of Jeep YJ Soft Top parts and complete tops?
Answer: Yes there is. With the Jeep YJ after market being as big as it is, there are lots of companies making small factory replacement parts to full replacement soft tops. The tops and parts I'm going to list will have high recommendations within the Jeeping community. Some tops I personally have experience with, some I've seen in action on friends rigs. These links and pictures will take you to Amazon where you can get more detailed information.
Question: What is the proper way to install a new Jeep Soft Top?
Answer: If it is a new out of the box install. Lay it out in the hot sun to let the fabric get warm or better yet .. HOT! If it happens to be cold outside when you are installing your new soft top. Get in a heated garage or shop to allow the soft top fabric to warm up. This allows the fabric to stretch as you install it. This goes with ANY soft top you install on ANY vehicle.
Question: Can I get parts for my factory Jeep YJ soft top frame?
Answer: Yes you can, there are parts available to get your factory frame back in shape. I'll list below the parts that you may need. You figure out what you need and get 'em on order! Just click the picture of the part .. see I made it easy for you :-).
Question: Can I buy just replacement skins for my factory YJ soft top frame?
Answer: Yep, sure can! There are several options for getting a replacement skin for your Jeep YJ! I'll list a few popular options below. I get most of my parts from Amazon for a couple of reasons. One, they typically (but not always) have the better pricing. Second, their return policy is SOOOO easy!! I haven't had to return items very often, but when I have it was really easy and very automated on their part!
I'll make the lists starting at the lesser expensive of each category and work up the price range.
Question: Can I buy a complete soft top kit for my Jeep Wrangler YJ?
Answer: Yep, you absolutely can purchase complete soft top kits! Did your Jeep come with just a hard top? Is your current soft top fabric and frame in such bad shape you need or want to replace it all? These Jeep YJ Soft Top complete kits come with everything you need to install a hard top if you have nothing to start with.
Question: The tops you listed, are these the only choices?
Answer: No, there are many others. I simply listed the most popular and highest rated of Jeep YJ Soft Tops available. If you want to see more choices ... just click this link.
I'll be adding more to this article as I get more information. Also, I'll add the soft top videos to this as well as I make them.