First of all I'd like to point out that anyone searching for "wrangler bestop sailcloth replace-a-top review" will see this website as one of the first search results.
With that being said, the most recent reviews scared the crap out of me, and since I bought it and it appears I'm having a more positive experience, I thought I should share.
The stock top that came with my 2001 Wrangler Sport needed replacing. I bought the jeep a few months ago and the windows were in terrible shape, zippers were rough, and the top was actually showing signs of leakage/retaining water. After fighting with the back window and actually tearing (seperating) the fabric from the top, I said f*** it and just took the leap.
I ordered the 07-02 w/ half door uppers and tint sailcloth replace-a-top system from Quadratec. I know they're relatively expensive, but I figured that was a good safeguard if I had any problems.
Also, keep in mind when reading below that I am NOT mechanically inclined at all. I write software and play outdoors a lot, but by no means am I "car-saavy".
Anyway, last Saturday I asked my girlfriend to help me tackle swapping the tops. Taking the original off was easy - maybe 10 minutes. My 2001 Sport did have 14 screws across the bow header, and one in each corner.
Next, we brought the new top outside and attempted to follow the instructions. The installation was pretty easy too, maybe 20/30 minutes. I would like to point out that only 8 holes existed on the plastic header, however since all 14 were marked (just not actually made), it was super easy to take a small drillbit and drill holes into the plastic header (only) without compromising the top material or the jeep itself in any way. (this took maybe 2 minutes, total).
After finishing the installation, I noticed a TON of play in the front-middle of the top. It was super loose and I have to admit, my stomach started dropping (thinking, oh great, here we go). I wanted to give it a chance though, so I took it on the highway (without having installed any side or back windows) just to see how much flapping existed; it wasn't bad, but I knew that couldn't be right. I also noticed the seam on the front of the top was visible above the windshield and that, also, just didn't seem right.
I went back home and inspected how the plastic liner along the header connected to the original top. After walking back over to my jeep and re-reading the instructions, I realized I installed the new top wrong.
It's a little confusing to explain, but when you're actually attaching the header to the front bow, make ABSOLUTELY SURE the plastic part of the header is facing UP. In order to do this, you have to lay the top in a way intuitively seems like the top will be upside down once you're finished, but doing it this critical, because it removes that (roughly) inch of play that made the top droop.
Now people reading this might think, "Okay moron, read the instructions", but the fact is it almost seems more natural to line the plastic header of the top with the plastic portion of the bow assembly and it's very plausable because, for one, the top is actually "functional" if you do the install wrong.
I belive this is the problem that occured with Dcomf and it sounds exactly like the comment from Sunvista, because I made the same observation. If Sunvista reads this, I would reinstall it, because I believe that the extra room will result in a shorter life of the top, in addition to the poor looser fit.
Now, with all thst being said, I merely disassembled the top (again), flipped the fabric around and then installed it "correctly". The results? The extra play (looseness) in the front middle was gone. As a matter of fact, it's as tight-fitting (if not more) than the factory sailcloth I had.
I've only had it for three days so I can't vouch for the durability of the product, and it's been too warm to put all the windows on, so I can't vouch for the quietness, but if you're thinking about a quality good looking replacement top, I WOULD recommend this one.
I went home and installed the back window and the side windows and put in the upper half doors. This experience was MOSTLY positive.
The back window should go in first so you can work the zipper from both the front and back. The zipper is really smooth because it's new, but you still want to be careful with it. The back window looks great.
The side windows are MUCH easier to put in with the top retainer plastic pieces out, and since they're easier to pull on on this top, the side windows went in super easily.
My only complaint is that the rear passenger side tinted-window doesn't fit snugly inside the plastic door frame; there's about a half inch of play in the rounded top-left corner that prevents the passenger upper half door from fitting properly when the door is closed. I don't know what I can do about this because the upper half door aligns correctly, the zipper for the back window is in correctly, and the window lining starts at the correct spots and fits properly, its just the corner. I may call Bestop and ask for advice/see if the window wasn't made correctly.
With all that being said, everything fits well.
I took it on the highway and the weak point (for wind noise) is definitly both front upper-half doors, so with full steel doors I would bet the ride overall is a LOT quieter; for me, it's at least equally as quiet as the original and it all looks great!
I hope this was helpful for somebody!
Also worth noting:
- The drip retainers are MUCH easier to put in and undo. My fingers no longer get destroyed when undoing them.
- This top is much easier to put up/down. This is the first time I've been able to do it by myself and in a short amount of time.
- The upperhalf door skins are the most difficult thing to put on. More difficult than the top itself or the side windows, but they look good when you're done.
- The box everything shipped in is rather small. I believe if they shipped everything in a larger box, they wouldn't have to "fold" the side or rear windows and there wouldn't be as much of a "wrinkled" look on them. But they still look great.
- It irritates me that on one window, the zipper is ATTACHED to the window, and on the otherside the zipper is ATTACHED to the sailclothtop itself. Why can't they both be uniform? It's a minor annoyance. This is how the OEM one was too. Whats the point?
The passenger window appears to have a manufacturing "defect". I measured it so the top of the tape measure ran perfectly against the top-edge of the back window (to ensure I was measuring a straight line) from the left-most seam to the right-most seam. Although along the base the measurements match, they do not match at the point the half door overlaps the back window.
This, of course, woudl be a problem for anyone with a full door as well. I will be contacting bestop soon and asking them if they could do something for me. I will post finishing remarks soon!