Hey Jeep Wrangler Owners that have had SOFT and HARD tops. Which one do you like and why???

Okay, I've got two JEEPS, actually one is a 1953 Willys Overland M38A1 - Korean War Military Jeep. The other is an '02 Wrangler. BOTH have soft tops. The older one can be taken down quickly and by one person. The newer one takes a little while longer to get it all the way down and to lower the windshield for hunting or whatever. FOR THOSE OF YOU JEEP WRANGLER OWNERS THAT HAVE OWNED BOTH THE SOFT (rag) TOPS AND HARD TOPS ONLY (please), which do you recommend and why? Also, can you remove the hard tops with only one person and without any garage pulleys? Finally, if you have a preference for a product, please provide the link in your answer. Okay JEEP owners, "SELL" me on which one you like and why.....10 points to the most compelling and thorough. Give examples, links, etc. Thanks.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Good question. I own a '90 Wrangler and recently replaced the original soft top with a two piece Pavement-Ends hardtop.

    Soft Top Pros: (1) lots of options for the use with all the zip out windows which creates a top flexible top for all seasons. (2) Gives the Wrangler a "stud" look for fun. (3) Easy for one person to remove or alter, (4) does not take up much storage room if removed completely, (5) costs less to replace than a hardtop, (6) Repairable and windows are replaceable but expensive, whole top replacement may be cheaper, (7) can leave it down and keep it on the Jeep, always with you and not really in the way.

    Soft Top Cons: (1) colder than hardtop, (2) noisy, (3) windows give distorted view, (4) windows turn dark, tear, rip. (5) a real bear to work with in cold weather when removing or putting on, (6) hotter than a hardtop, (7) security issue, (8) driver/pass. side windows are a pain when zipped open and folded down as they are in the way and can't be partially open and used effectively.

    Hardtop pros: (1) Allows more security than a soft top, (2) warmer in the Winter, cooler in Summer, (3) good visibility, (4) allows for rear wiper/washer/defroster, (5) looks good, (6) available as a two piece with a removeable panel for fresh air and sunshine, panel stores in Jeep, (7) sliding windows for air and outside access-driver/passenger, (8) less chance of weather "intrusion" over than with a soft top.

    Hardtop cons: (1)Takes up a lot of storage room, (2) tough to remove/replace, usually requires two people with no hoist, (3) takes time to fit right to eliminate air leaks/wind noise, (4)requires repainting but simple enough task, (5) can stress and crack if not fit right or stressed from rough terrain Jeep use.

    I replaced my soft top with a Pavements-Ends two piece and Pavement Ends hard doors for all the Soft Top cons and Hard Top pros as stated. In the end it really comes down to personal preference. Were I to purchase a new Wrangler it would have both tops, the best of both worlds; and definitely a hoist for removal and storage.

    Links: http://www.pavement-ends.com. and search: "Wrangler softtops", "Wrangler Hardtops".

    Best to you, Chuck Norlin-America's Car Guy

    30 years/ Thousands of car deals


  • 1 decade ago

    I purchased my '98 TJ Wrangler with a hard top, but bought a soft top for the summer. Now that winter is here, I haven't not removed the soft top. It doesn't make any sense to me; I don't think the hard top would keep the Jeep any warmer than the soft top does (or doesn't).

    The hard top is a ***** to get off. Its heavy, awkward, and expensive if you break it (new ones go for well over $1k starting). Unless your a professional body builder or a big guy with good balance, chances are your not going to be able to get it off by yourself. It definitely takes two people, possibly three to get the best balance. There are solutions you can buy in your garage (pulley systems, winches, etc) to help lift it off, but you would need a garage for that in most cases.

    Once I have the heat going in my Jeep, I'm nice and warm and the cold doesn't bother me. I don't see the need for a hard top, hence I will not likely be using mine anytime soon. Matter of fact, when the spring comes, I'm probably going to sell off my hard top for some extra cash.

    Best place for parts: www.quadratec.com

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Ordered the Dual Top option on my 08 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. I actually enjoy the freedom hardtop. Easy to take off the front 2 panels by yourself. However, the rear half you will need a pulley system with one person but it;s an easy job to remove with 2 people. You don't hear any noise (whistle or wind) like the older hard tops. More security features with a hardtop. Worst thing about the hardtop is storage and removal and adding.

    The softtop is nice to have if you like to drive around topless and need a easy top to place for rainfall or parking in a mall for a little more added security. The wind noise I find not terrible with the softop. It can be a pain with zipping up the windows on the new tops. Also, softop sucks in the winter for ice build up on the top and easy to scratch the window's if they have frost on them. Roof is easier to tear and less security than a hard top.

    I love the hardtop for winter months....but love going topless in the summer & fall with the security of having the softop on the jeep for the rain, highway travels & parking for security reasons.

    Source(s): Own 08 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  • 1 decade ago

    Congradulations, M38A1, great! Now, real jeeps do not have tops! If you must have one, go soft. I have a 88 wrangler and I usually run a soft top without windows. In the summer I like a biminey and use a dust cover when parting overnight. I love my Jeep and it loves me. Oh yea, don't forget the stereo....

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  • 1 decade ago

    06 Unlimited owner, bikini top in the summer with a homemade naugahyde bed liner, hard top in the winter. Built a 3 point rack to hold hard top in the summer, I just back under it and attach the roof clamps, unhook the window clamps and drive out. The top hung there for seven months last summer, I now have it on. The diffrence in roadnoise is amazing, along with ones sense of security and warmth. Get the hardtop model, the atermarket soft top bikini is 149-200 bucks, alot easier on the checkbook. I also kept the soft back window on because the heat stays in the cab area longer. Innovation is the name of the Jeep experiece.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have a 04 TJ , bought brand new full hard doors and hard top. I Loved the hard top but pain getting off and on ARRRR. Plus I off road her ALLOT and was very afraid was going to end up breaking it. So decided to sale it. I got $950 for it and then had not top at all. The wife went mad with no top so found a great deal guy was selling his rag top and bars for $50 brand new mopar top off his 04. snag it up.

    Love how can unzip or lay down easy. Bad parts, you here way to much wind and road noise. After all the HOT days in Houston, TX and some what cold days the top has stretch and shrunk so many times its all jacked up!! Zipper busted flaps.

    What would I say , hard top for winters! soft top for summer and when using hardtop put your soft top in the house and store it in closet!! last longer

    Looking at buying a new top now Best Top going to run me about $400-500 to keep wife happy plus think going to sale it soon??

    but in order to keep more resale have both tops!!! Hard top will make it sale faster


    Source(s): 04 TJ Lifted and Locked 93 XJ Trail Rig
  • angel
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Soft tops. i have no links or anything like that just EXPERIENCE trying to lift that damn hard top off and trying to find a place to put it so it wont be in the way. Then trying to set that thing down and NOT pinching your fingers. I think it's impossible. If you don't want to take the top off a lot then go for the hard top. But for me, if I'm going to have a jeep, i want the top off, doors off and windshield off and go and have fun. And i am SOOOOO Jealous of your Willis.. not FAIR! But good luck and have fun.

  • 1 decade ago

    Right now I have a hard top and with the colder weather here I love it. I've found a multi purpose soft top that will be going on in the spring. www.californiatops.com - multi top. Looks really cool and eliminates the need for some of the hardware required for regular soft tops.

    Source(s): www.californiatops.com
  • 1 decade ago

    On my '91 YJ I much prefered just a bikini top and reak deck top. A locker-box let me safely store stuff in the back and the bikini top kept enough of the sun off me. I hardly ever used my hard top and you're right, the regular soft top was a five-minute pain to install.

    I drove year-round with just that bikini top -- rain, shine, and snow. But I was younger and tougher than I am now...

  • 1 decade ago

    well, I tend to like soft tops but i replaced mine with a hartop because of the high maintance it required to keep the zippers working properly and "plastic" windows see through after a few months of play in mud. hardtops to me are cost efective but are a hustle to take down, need two people to do so, but in summer can it keep off. 2 years since i made change and I like it. when i wash it, it looks fairly clean for an 88.

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