Are you tired of having to deal with the elements while driving your soft top Jeep? Do you wish you could have the protection of a hard top while still enjoying the open-air freedom of a convertible? Well, the good news is that it is possible to put a hard top on a soft top Jeep! In this article, we will explore the process of installing a hard top on your Jeep, as well as the pros and cons of doing so. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your vehicle or simply want to know your options, this article has got you covered. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of hard tops for soft top Jeeps!
Yes, it is possible to put a hard top on a soft top Jeep. This is a common modification that many Jeep owners make to their vehicles, particularly those who live in areas with inclement weather or who want to improve the look of their Jeep. The process of installing a hard top typically involves removing the soft top and installing a new, hard top in its place. This can be a relatively straightforward process, but it may require some specialized tools and expertise, particularly if you are not familiar with working on cars. It is important to follow the instructions carefully and to ensure that the hard top is properly installed to avoid any potential issues or damage to the vehicle.
What is a Soft Top Jeep?
How Does a Soft Top Work?
A soft top Jeep is a type of convertible vehicle that has a flexible, fabric roof that can be lowered or raised to provide an open-air driving experience. The soft top is designed to be lightweight and easy to operate, allowing drivers to quickly and easily switch between an open and closed cabin.
The material used for a soft top Jeep’s roof is typically a durable, water-resistant fabric that is designed to withstand the elements. This fabric is usually made from a blend of polyester and cotton, which provides strength and flexibility. The material is also treated with a coating to protect it from UV rays and to make it more resistant to wear and tear.
The operation of a soft top Jeep’s roof is relatively simple. To lower the top, the driver simply needs to unlatch the clips that hold it in place and then roll it up and tuck it into a storage compartment. To raise the top, the driver needs to reverse the process, unrolling the top and securing it in place with the clips. The process can typically be completed in just a few minutes, making it easy to switch between an open and closed cabin as needed.
However, it’s important to note that while soft top Jeeps are designed to be easy to operate, they may require some maintenance over time. The fabric may need to be replaced periodically, and the clips and other hardware may need to be repaired or replaced as well. Additionally, driving with the top down can be noisy and may expose the occupants to the elements, so it’s important to take appropriate precautions when driving in inclement weather or at night.
Advantages of a Soft Top
- Weight reduction: One of the main advantages of a soft top Jeep is the weight reduction it offers. Soft tops are made of lightweight materials such as canvas or vinyl, which significantly reduce the overall weight of the vehicle. This results in better fuel efficiency, improved handling, and an overall smoother ride.
- Flexibility: Another advantage of a soft top Jeep is its flexibility. Soft tops can be easily removed or installed, which allows for greater versatility when it comes to transporting large or bulky items. Additionally, soft tops can be rolled up or down, providing a choice between an open-air or enclosed cabin experience.
- Cost-effectiveness: Soft top Jeeps are generally more cost-effective than their hard top counterparts. Soft tops are typically less expensive to produce and replace, which translates to lower purchase prices and maintenance costs. Additionally, the ease of removing and installing the soft top means that owners can save money on garage fees and other costs associated with storing their vehicles.
Disadvantages of a Soft Top
While a soft top Jeep provides an open-air experience, it also comes with several disadvantages that can impact your driving experience. Some of the main disadvantages of a soft top Jeep include:
- Weather sensitivity: Soft top Jeeps are not as weather-resistant as hard top Jeeps. They can leak when it rains, and the fabric can be easily damaged by strong winds or other extreme weather conditions. This means that you may need to be more careful when driving in adverse weather conditions, and you may need to take extra precautions to protect the soft top.
- Noise level: Soft top Jeeps tend to be noisier than hard top Jeeps, especially at high speeds. The fabric can cause wind noise, and the top can flap in the wind, creating a lot of noise. This can make driving on the highway or in areas with high winds uncomfortable, and it can also make it difficult to hear your music or have a conversation with your passengers.
- Limited insulation: Soft top Jeeps offer limited insulation compared to hard top Jeeps. This means that they can be colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. While you can add insulation to the Jeep to help mitigate this issue, it’s still something to consider if you plan to drive in extreme temperatures. Additionally, the lack of insulation can make it easier for heat or cold to escape from the Jeep, which can affect your fuel efficiency.
What is a Hard Top Jeep?
A soft top Jeep is a convertible vehicle with a flexible, fabric roof that can be lowered or raised to provide an open-air driving experience. Soft tops are made of lightweight materials, which reduces the overall weight of the vehicle, leading to better fuel efficiency, improved handling, and an overall smoother ride. However, soft top Jeeps are not as weather-resistant as hard top Jeeps, tend to be noisier, and offer limited insulation. On the other hand, a hard top Jeep provides better protection against harsh weather conditions, superior insulation capabilities, and more noise reduction. However, installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep can be a costly endeavor, requiring professional assistance, adding to the overall cost. Additionally, the installation process can be complex and time-consuming, requiring the removal of various components and potentially damaging the vehicle’s soft top.
How Does a Hard Top Work?
A hard top Jeep is a vehicle that has a rigid, detachable roof made of either aluminum or steel. This contrasts with a soft top Jeep, which has a soft, fabric top that can be easily removed or secured in place. The hard top is designed to provide additional protection from the elements and can be installed or removed as needed.
Installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep requires the removal of the soft top and the installation of the hard top in its place. This process can be completed with the help of a professional or by following detailed instructions. The hard top is secured in place using a series of clamps and bolts, and the soft top can be reinstalled when the hard top is no longer needed. It is important to ensure that the hard top is properly installed to ensure that it provides the desired level of protection and does not compromise the vehicle’s performance or safety.
Advantages of a Hard Top
- Weather resistance: One of the main advantages of a hard top Jeep is its ability to provide better protection against harsh weather conditions. Unlike a soft top Jeep, a hard top Jeep has a solid, durable roof that is less likely to leak or be damaged by strong winds or heavy rain. This means that you can confidently drive your Jeep in any weather condition without worrying about the integrity of your vehicle’s roof.
- Insulation: Another advantage of a hard top Jeep is its superior insulation capabilities. The solid roof of a hard top Jeep helps to keep the interior of the vehicle cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This is especially beneficial for people who live in areas with extreme temperatures, as they can rely on their Jeep to provide a comfortable and consistent climate inside.
- Noise reduction: Soft top Jeeps are often criticized for their poor noise isolation, as the fabric roof can allow a significant amount of noise to enter the cabin. In contrast, a hard top Jeep is much quieter, as the solid roof effectively blocks out external noise and provides a more peaceful and comfortable driving experience. This is especially noticeable when driving at high speeds or on rough roads, as the hard top Jeep is much less likely to transmit noise into the cabin.
Disadvantages of a Hard Top
One of the main disadvantages of a hard top is the weight increase it adds to the vehicle. The hard top is made of metal or other heavy materials, which can significantly increase the overall weight of the Jeep. This added weight can affect the vehicle’s performance, fuel efficiency, and handling, making it more difficult to maneuver and accelerate. As a result, drivers may notice a decrease in overall driving performance and an increase in fuel consumption.
Installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep can be a costly endeavor. The price of the hard top itself can be expensive, and the installation process may require professional assistance, adding to the overall cost. Additionally, the installation process can be complex and time-consuming, requiring the removal of various components and potentially damaging the vehicle’s soft top. This can lead to additional repair costs and may necessitate the replacement of the soft top altogether.
Difficulty in Installation
Installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep can be a challenging task, even for experienced mechanics. The process typically requires the removal of various components, such as the soft top, doors, and roll bars, which can be time-consuming and difficult. Additionally, the installation process may require specialized tools and equipment, which can be expensive to purchase or rent. As a result, many Jeep owners may opt to hire a professional to install the hard top, further increasing the overall cost.
How to Put a Hard Top on a Soft Top Jeep?
Tools and Materials Required
Before beginning the process of installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep, it is important to gather the necessary tools and materials. This will ensure that the installation process goes smoothly and that the hard top is properly secured to the vehicle.
The following tools and materials are required for the installation process:
- Hard top: The first and most essential item required is the hard top itself. This is the main component that will be installed on the Jeep. It is important to choose a high-quality hard top that is designed specifically for the make and model of the Jeep.
- Bolts and nuts: These are essential for securing the hard top to the vehicle. The bolts and nuts should be compatible with the Jeep’s body and the hard top.
- Sealant: This is used to seal any gaps between the hard top and the body of the Jeep. It is important to use a high-quality sealant that is compatible with both the hard top and the Jeep’s body.
- Ratchet and socket set: This is required to tighten the bolts and nuts during the installation process. It is important to choose a ratchet and socket set that is compatible with the bolts and nuts being used.
By having all of these tools and materials on hand, the installation process will be much smoother and the hard top will be properly secured to the Jeep.
- Remove the soft top
The first step in installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep is to remove the soft top. This involves unfastening the latches and unhooking the straps that hold the soft top in place. Depending on the model of your Jeep, the process may vary slightly, but generally, it involves unhooking the straps from the rear window, unlatching the front bow, and removing the latches that hold the soft top in place.
- Clean the roof and frame
Once the soft top is removed, it’s essential to clean the roof and frame thoroughly. Any dirt, debris, or moisture can interfere with the installation of the hard top, so it’s important to ensure that the surface is clean and dry before proceeding. Use a mild detergent and water to clean the roof and frame, and make sure to remove any loose debris or particles.
- Inspect the roof for damage
Before installing the hard top, it’s crucial to inspect the roof for any damage. Check for any cracks, rust, or other signs of wear and tear that may affect the installation. If you find any damage, it’s essential to repair it before proceeding to ensure that the hard top is securely installed.
- Install the hard top
The next step is to install the hard top. Depending on the type of hard top you have, this may involve attaching the hard top to the frame or mounting it on rails. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that the hard top is installed correctly.
- Seal the seams
After installing the hard top, it’s essential to seal the seams to prevent water from getting in. Use a silicone sealant or a similar product to seal the seams around the hard top, making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Reinstall the soft top frame
Once the hard top is installed and the seams are sealed, it’s time to reinstall the soft top frame. This involves attaching the soft top frame to the Jeep using the same latches and straps that were used before. Make sure to securely fasten the frame to ensure that the soft top stays in place.
- Inspect the installation
Finally, it’s important to inspect the installation to ensure that everything is secure and that the hard top is installed correctly. Check for any loose parts or signs of damage, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the hard top is securely installed. With a little care and attention, you can easily put a hard top on a soft top Jeep and enjoy the benefits of both worlds.
Is It Worth It to Put a Hard Top on a Soft Top Jeep?
Factors to Consider
When considering whether it is worth putting a hard top on a soft top Jeep, there are several factors to consider. These include weather conditions, personal preferences, and cost.
One of the most important factors to consider is the weather conditions in which you will be driving your Jeep. If you live in an area with heavy rain or snow, a hard top may be a better option to keep you and your passengers dry and warm. However, if you live in an area with milder weather, a soft top may be sufficient.
Another factor to consider is your personal preferences. Do you prefer the open-air feeling of a soft top or the enclosed feeling of a hard top? Do you want to be able to remove the top when the weather is nice, or do you prefer to have a fixed roof? Your personal preferences will play a significant role in determining whether a hard top is worth the investment.
Finally, cost is an important factor to consider. A hard top can be a significant investment, and it may not be worth the cost if you only plan to use your Jeep in favorable weather conditions. However, if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions or plan to use your Jeep for off-roading, a hard top may be a worthwhile investment.
Pros and Cons of Adding a Hard Top
- Increased functionality: A hard top provides additional storage space, which can be particularly useful for extended trips or when carrying heavy equipment. The hard top also provides a protective barrier against the elements, such as rain, snow, and wind, making it ideal for off-road adventures.
- Enhanced appearance: A hard top can enhance the appearance of a soft top Jeep, providing a more aggressive and rugged look. It can also add a touch of sophistication to the vehicle, making it more appealing to potential buyers.
- Improved safety: A hard top can provide improved safety by reducing the risk of ejection during rollovers or other accidents. It can also help to protect occupants from flying debris or other hazards that may be encountered off-road.
- Additional cost: Installing a hard top can be a costly endeavor, as it requires professional installation and may require modifications to the vehicle’s body or frame.
- Weight increase: A hard top can add significant weight to the vehicle, which can affect its performance and fuel efficiency. This can also impact the vehicle’s suspension and other components, which may need to be upgraded to accommodate the additional weight.
- Reduced convertibility: With a hard top installed, the vehicle may be less convertible, and it may be more difficult to put the top down or raise it. This can be a significant drawback for those who enjoy the open-air experience that a soft top Jeep provides.
Can You Remove a Hard Top from a Soft Top Jeep?
Steps to Follow
If you own a soft top Jeep and want to install a hard top, it’s important to know the steps involved in removing the hard top from the vehicle. Here are the steps to follow:
- Loosen the bolts securing the hard top:
The first step is to loosen the bolts that secure the hard top to the vehicle. You will need a socket wrench and a set of sockets to loosen these bolts. Start by removing the bolts that are easily accessible, then move on to the ones that are harder to reach. Be careful not to drop any bolts, as they can be difficult to find later.
- Slide the hard top off the vehicle:
Once you have loosened all the bolts, you can start to slide the hard top off the vehicle. It may take some effort to get it off, especially if it’s been on the vehicle for a while. You may need to help from a friend or use a pry bar to get it off.
- Reinstall the soft top:
After you have removed the hard top, you will need to reinstall the soft top. This will involve tightening the bolts that hold the soft top in place. Make sure you tighten them evenly and don’t overtighten them, as this can damage the soft top.
Overall, removing a hard top from a soft top Jeep is a relatively straightforward process that can be done with the right tools and some effort. Just be sure to follow the steps carefully and take your time to avoid damaging the vehicle or the hard top.
1. Can I put a hard top on a soft top Jeep?
Yes, it is possible to put a hard top on a soft top Jeep. A hard top can be a great addition to a Jeep with a soft top, especially during the colder months or in areas with heavy rain. However, it’s important to note that installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep requires some modifications and additional components.
2. What modifications are required to install a hard top on a soft top Jeep?
To install a hard top on a soft top Jeep, you will need to make some modifications to the vehicle. This may include cutting the soft top to accommodate the hard top, installing new hardware and brackets, and making adjustments to the roll bars. It’s important to consult with a professional or the Jeep dealership to ensure that the installation is done correctly and safely.
3. How difficult is it to install a hard top on a soft top Jeep?
Installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep can be a challenging DIY project. It requires a certain level of mechanical skill and the ability to work with metal and other materials. It’s recommended to consult with a professional or the Jeep dealership to get an estimate of the time and cost involved in the installation.
4. What are the benefits of installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep?
Installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep can provide several benefits. It can improve the overall appearance of the vehicle, enhance its durability and longevity, and provide additional protection from the elements. It can also increase the resale value of the Jeep and provide a more comfortable driving experience.
5. How much does it cost to install a hard top on a soft top Jeep?
The cost of installing a hard top on a soft top Jeep can vary depending on several factors, including the type of hard top, the condition of the soft top, and the location of the installation. It’s recommended to consult with a professional or the Jeep dealership to get an estimate of the cost involved in the installation.