How to Install a Jeep Soft Top – Featuring Bestop


Few things are more exciting than feeling the open air surround you as you hit the trails. Yet like all Jeep components, the soft top won’t last forever. We stock a large inventory of high quality Jeep soft tops at affordable prices. If it’s time to replace or upgrade the top on your YJ, CJ, JK, or TJ, the Supertop is versatile and affordable. To make the most out of these instructions, we’ll install a Supertop onto a 1987 YJ. The decades-old Jeep will need all of the hardware replaced to install the top. Newer Jeeps will only require a replacement top. It takes between two and four hours to install one of our soft tops.

Of course, just like any Jeep part, Jeep soft tops aren’t going to last forever. The natural elements the soft top protects you from are slowly but surely aging and deteriorating its canvas and vinyl until ultimately you need a new one. Thankfully, finding quality Jeep soft tops at affordable prices is easier than ever and the installation is fairly basic.

If it’s time to replace or upgrade the Jeep soft top on your CJ, YJ, TJ, or JK, the Bestop Supertop is a versatile and affordable choice, with a vast selection of materials and configurations.

So people can get the most out of these instructions, we’ll be installing a Bestop Supertop onto a 1987 YJ Jeep. This thing is so ancient that only duct tape is keeping it together at this point. Because it’s 22 years old, it’s going to need all of the hardware replaced in addition to the Jeep soft top. Many newer models will just need replacement Jeep soft tops that will attach to the old hardware, but we want to show the whole process in case the hardware needs to be replaced as well. Luckily, a complete Supertop kit is just a few extra dollars and comes with the new Jeep soft top, upper door halves, and a complete set of new hardware.

A standard Jeep soft top installation runs anywhere from 2-4 hours. Ideally, the installation will occur in an environment that is warmer than 70 degrees.

Disclaimer: Make sure to read all of the instructions supplied by the manufacturer before installing this Jeep soft top.

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Step 1
If you are installing new hardware (as we are), you must first uninstall all of the old Jeep soft top hardware. Remove the windshield retainers, tailgate bar, and the old bow assembly. If you are working with a YJ, you will also have to remove all the belt rails. On both sides of the Jeep, measure from the outer edge of the body to the top lip of the windshield. It should be 75 1/8 inches on both sides of the Jeep.

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Step 2
There are 2 Torx bolts (#40) that attach the sport bar to the windshield frame. Remove these bolts, slide the new windshield bracket (provided in the kit) into place, and then re-attach the Torx bolts and torque to 17 ft. lbs. Repeat this on the other side of the Jeep.

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Step 3
On top of the windshield frame, place the two windshield retainer halves in their correct positions. In some cases, the retainer holes may match up perfectly with the OE holes and you won’t have to do any drilling. If this isn’t the case, mark where the holes should be using the retainer as a template. Then use a 1/8-inch bit to punch and drill the new holes. There should be a total of 11 holes when you’re finished – don’t forget the hole between the two retainer halves. Once all 11 holes are drilled, install the retaining screws.

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Step 4
Repeat Step 3 with the side belt rail using a 3/8-inch bit. Once you have drilled any new holes, place 5/16-inch Phillips head bolts in only the two rearward holes, securing them loosely with washers and tapping plates. Repeat everything with the other side belt rail.

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Step 5
Position the corner rail on the body and attach with the provided 5/16-inch Phillips head bolts, washers, and tapping plate. If there are no pre-drilled holes or if the current holes don’t match up with the corner rail, then you must mark, center, and drill two new holes with a 1/8-inch bit. Repeat with the other corner rail.

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Step 6
Loosely attach the vertical retainer mount with two sets of bolts, washers, and tapping plates. Repeat with the other vertical retainer mount.

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Step 7
With the white packaging tape still in place, position the bow assembly halves on the body with the bow mounts over the 3rd and 4th holes in the side belt rails. Loosely secure the bolt, washer, and nut assembly on the front only. If you find it easier, you can prop the bow halves upright and then secure them. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 8
Lift and bring together the top bow halves, inserting the male end into the female end and making sure that the two halves are fully seated together. (It can take a good amount of effort to get them completely connected). You may find it easier to do this with the bow halves laid down instead of lifted up. Once the two are completely mated, slide together the foam pieces. Tighten and secure all bolts in the belt rails.

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Step 9
Repeat Step 8 with the two bottom bow halves.

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Step 10
Lift the bottom bow and fasten the bolt, washer, and tapping plate onto the rear bow mount bolt hole. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 11
Place the bows in their upright positions and insert the vertical rod into the vertical rod retainer. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 12
To attach the horizontal rod and the windshield bracket, insert the bailhead stud into the bracket hole. Turn the pin clockwise and double check that the two pieces are now securely fastened together. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 13
Place the Jeep soft top fabric on the vehicle in its correct position. On the leading edge of the top underneath the windshield retainer, insert the plastic strip. For everything to fit properly, the Jeep soft top must be placed exactly in the center of the retainer. Make sure that the space between the windshield flange and the top is equal on both sides.

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Step 14
Inside the vehicle fasten three snaps on each of the two rear flaps to the corresponding snap studs on the rear bow. If you need more slack in the fabric of the Jeep soft top, you can move the bow forward a bit.

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Step 15
Take the rear corners of the Jeep soft top and place them under the corner belt rails. Lift the rear bow up on the front bow and place the bent tab located on the rear bow in one of the 4 holes in the front bow.

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Step 16
Mount the side curtain. Beginning at the top rear zippers, insert the lower plastic strip underneath the side retainer. Shut the top and side zippers. Take the forward vertical flap and wrap it around the vertical rod. (Make sure you’re wrapping it around the vertical rod and not the front bow). Secure this with a hook and loop fastener. Then take the top flap and wrap it over the door opening around the horizontal rod. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 17
Using the instructions that came with your Jeep soft top, mount the rear curtain retainer onto the tube on the bottom of the rear curtain.

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Step 18
For our 1987 model Jeep Wrangler, we had button snaps on the upper door half. If you have a model that predates ours, it probably uses belt rails. We removed the button snaps and replaced them with 1988-95 rails.

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Step 19
To attach the upper door halves, simply insert the three pins into their corresponding door sockets. If you need to make minor adjustments, raise or lower the provided adjustment collars. Then slip the plastic strip underneath the door retainer.

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Step 20
Shut the door and test that it is properly fitted with a good seal all around. If there are any gaps that need to be eliminated, the doorframe can be bent inward or outward.

How to Install a Jeep Soft Top - Featuring Bestop by