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Unread 12-29-2013, 11:07 AM   #1
chris989604
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1980 CJ7 
 
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CJ7 soft top and tailgate

Hello all,

I am soon to purchase a new soft top for my cj and i have a tailgate. Best top uses a "tailgate bar". My last jeep had no tail gate, (1980 cj5) and my older cj7 had a tiger top (snaps)

Does anyone know of a way to not have this bar? Seems like the dumbest design. I called best top and they said it was the only design. What do the guys with fiberglass tubs do?

They say it is sol the tailgate can be lowered without removing the glass but 90% of the time i only want to open the glass. It just seems odd to have to swing the tire out, unzip, reach in, unlatch the tail gate, lower the gate, just to get something from behind the seat?

Am i missing something easy???

Please advise, I would like to have the rail system continue around the rear as it did on my cj5, there is room for it on the tail gate and i could modify a rail to fit, but now the top would be too shorts and would need to be modified???

Any help is appreciated.

Chris

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Unread 12-29-2013, 12:53 PM   #2
CJ7VFR
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I know what you are talking about!


When I first bought my 1985 CJ-7 back in 1992, I also bought a new Best Top Super top
for it.


Back then, there was no "bar" but instead it came with a tailgate piece that was the same
type of aluminum piece that goes around the rest of the tub to attach the top.


All you had to do was unzip the two back window zippers, and the window could be pulled
out from the tailgate aluminum piece allowing you to just open up the window.


The downside was that in the summer, when the soft top would stretch from the heat, the
window would sometimes come loose from the tailgate piece. It was no big deal though,
and you could just push it back into the aluminum piece.


They changed this design around 2000 when I bought my second Best Top Super top, and it
now has the "bar".


I liked the older setup better myself, as I also liked to be able to just pop the rear window
open instead of having to go thru all the steps to get it open.


Jim
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Unread 12-30-2013, 10:29 AM   #3
chris989604
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Is there a custom shop or competitor to best top with the pre 2000 top design?

I just got off the phone with best top and they confirmed that it was switched by the design team and now that everything is hecho en mexico, she can not request a different build.

TO bad someone is not making a top in the USA.

Chris
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Unread 12-30-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
Colt44
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I had a SuperTop before I got my hard top. The way the bar works, it friction-fits into a short length of channel on the corner pieces where the top locks in with that flange/lip arrangement.
Normally you would have to go through the unzip and open the tailgate routine, but I found that because of the weight and rigidity of the bar, for around-town use you can just pull the zippers all the way down and leave the bar hanging inside the tailgate. (For the highway it's a lot quieter if you do it correctly.)

I have a gray Supertop with the doors and hardware that I'd let go for a reasonable price if anyone is interested.
It was used for a few years but is in good condition with no rips or tears.
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Unread 12-30-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
ScroungerLee
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The OP says he only wants to "open the glass", in other words window. I don't see why that is a problem with the Bestop? That's how it works, you slide the bar out from its friction fit and unzip the windows. No need to touch the tailgate if you don't want to.

I probably misunderstood something
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Unread 12-30-2013, 09:59 PM   #6
chris989604
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I bought a top today and it is maybe one of the bigger disappointments so far.

This thing is so tight it rips the retainers out of the corners before the rear bar can be put in the lowest hole. I have one side in now and the heat running in the garage, I will let it sit a day and see if i can gain some stretch.

Even so,,, i guess i will return it because the zipper (in the top driver side) for the side curtain is sewn in jacked and there is no way to start the zipper.

Issue two, The verticle bars at the door opening are larger than the hole they slide into. I de-burred the rod and enlarged the hole, manages to install one side. The passenger i gave up and used my old bow system, measures about .025 smaller and slides in easy.

even the bolts will not fit into the door pillar bracket, i used my old pillar supports

Also,, i bought denim and it sure feels like cheap plastic vinyl. Not like my old top and not like any convertible i have ever seen. Is the plastic stuff just the new normal.

Nothing better than mexicans assembling chinese junk and shipping it here. My old super top was great, this new one blows.
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Unread 12-30-2013, 10:54 PM   #7
GB3440
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2nd the "blows" comment. Try to buy just about any replacement aftermarket Jeep part... same, same. I feel your pain Chris. Return it and get the top from Colt? Just sayin'

G
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Unread 12-31-2013, 12:08 AM   #8
chris989604
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB3440 View Post
2nd the "blows" comment. Try to buy just about any replacement aftermarket Jeep part... same, same. I feel your pain Chris. Return it and get the top from Colt? Just sayin'

G
Colt??? is that a brand name? I have been searching for anything other than this best top. google searches keep returning the same results.

Chris
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Unread 12-31-2013, 07:44 AM   #9
ScroungerLee
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I did a lot of research before buying the Supertop I am still trying to install, so at least I found out that the "denim" is just the pattern in the vinyl.

For the hole fitment issues on the vertical rod and other places it seems they would have fit fine before they were powder coated, but not after. I had to enlarge all the holes where that was happening.

At least I can start the zippers in mine, but most of them are hard to get to, like yours but not quite as bad.

It's cold in my garage so I haven't been able to zip the rear window sides yet, but with a small electric heater inside the cabin I eventually got the top most of the way on. Aligning the soft doors is nearly impossible, the top flexes the windshield back enough that they won't close right.

Overall I am extremely disappointed, especially for the high price.

p.s. I did get the measurement from the top of the windshield to the back of the tub exactly correct as per the first step in the directions. I am hoping the summer heat will make this stretch quite a bit, I expect it will stretch a lot based on experience with other vinyl tops.
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Unread 12-31-2013, 10:05 AM   #10
chris989604
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My window measurement is exact but i feel as i try to raise the rear bow i am putting extreme pressure on the top and my windshield. It is so tight the retainers rip out on the corners.

I can't help but to laugh at the "lay it in the sun" advise from best top. I told them, I do not need the top when it is 90 and sunny, i need the top when it is cold and damp. I am most likely going to toss it and go to a hard top for the money. This top is over 850 with tax, should be more like 200 since it is disposable quality,

chris
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Unread 12-31-2013, 11:58 AM   #11
chris989604
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while i am complaining i will add this also, maybe i can help a fellow jeeper save some headaches.

Side curtain can not fit because of the retaining plastic conflict.

If you look at this picture you can see the old and new side curtains. On the old curtain the plastic retainer strip is shorter, about at the base of the zipper. On the new curtain it extends to the end.


the problem is on the new top, it also has the retaining plastic stitched to the end. The way it is stitched the two plastic strips must overlap by about 3/8 inch?? The panel can not be installed.

we're not talking about much but it is enough to make it impossible.

Chris
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Unread 12-31-2013, 12:19 PM   #12
WindKnot
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I assume you're trying to install the windows with the top already taut. You might try backing up a bit and not raising the most rearward bow all the way. That should create some slack in the top and allow some movement in the fabric to line things up. THEN you can insert the bottom of the top into the band. Then you can raise the bow.
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Unread 12-31-2013, 01:05 PM   #13
chris989604
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Windnot,

Been there, done that,.

I have had 7 jeeps over my time so i been through most of it. I think this top was made on May 6.

I made a new post with some detail and pics, hope it helps someone.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/ne.../#post18986145
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Unread 12-31-2013, 02:03 PM   #14
Colt44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris989604 View Post
Colt??? is that a brand name? I have been searching for anything other than this best top. google searches keep returning the same results.

Chris
I'm Colt, and I offered so sell him my old top.
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YJ OME Spring Conversion
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Unread 12-31-2013, 02:08 PM   #15
Colt44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris989604 View Post
My window measurement is exact but i feel as i try to raise the rear bow i am putting extreme pressure on the top and my windshield. It is so tight the retainers rip out on the corners.

I can't help but to laugh at the "lay it in the sun" advise from best top. I told them, I do not need the top when it is 90 and sunny, i need the top when it is cold and damp. I am most likely going to toss it and go to a hard top for the money. This top is over 850 with tax, should be more like 200 since it is disposable quality,

chris
When I got mine it was really tight at first, but it was in the summer and the sunshine therapy actually worked. The top was really tight for awhile but then the material sort of accommodated itself. At first it was hard to get the adjuster to the first hole, but by the time the cold weather hit it was on the last hole.

Someone else was right about zipping in the windows while the top is slack. At least start them that way, then after you lock the bow it's a lot easier to get the windows zipped in the rest of the way.

But it sounds like you have more than superficial issues, what with the posts not fitting in the holes, etc. You could probably make it work, but if you're like me you're really tired of doing that with Every Damn Thing you buy for your CJ.
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YJ OME Spring Conversion
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