Is there any good reason to spend the extra money on a sailcloth top? - JeepForum.com
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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:19 PM   #1
AntiPrius
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Is there any good reason to spend the extra money on a sailcloth top?

I know they are recommended as better tops and I can believe it, that they are a little more quiet and thicker, but let me explain first before you answer.

I live in Phoenix, AZ, and you wouldn't think a place that gets this hot in the summer can also get as chilly in the morning as it does in the winter, so it's not year around top down driving in comfort. It's often too hot or too cold. Anyway, my Jeep is not my daily driver so I don't have to drive it unless I want to. I also don't drive it that often with the top up (less than 10% of the total time), I just don't like the top up, and prefer it down. I do if I want to take it out in the winter, but I don't put the top up in the summer when I take it out.

Basically, I rarely drive it with the top up, so some extra noise isn't a big deal really. I also have and frequently use a cab cover so that I don't have to put the top and down that much, but can keep cats and other crap out of the Jeep. I want a top for driving in the rain if I choose to, or if I go to northern AZ, and play around in the snow a few times a year.

With that said, it almost seems a waste to get a really good top, when there are cheap choices like the Sierra Offroad for $199, or even the Quadratop for $309. I have found a Bestop Sailcloth top for under $500, but I'm not sure for me it's worth it. I also bought a standard Bestop replace a top after I first got my Jeep 5.5 years ago, and I didn't think it was all that great. The rear window zipper and window got all jammed up about 1.5 years ago, and I had to destroy the zipper section on the top to get the window out, hence the reason I'm looking for a new top.

If you were me, what would you do?

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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:27 PM   #2
rda616
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This is the route I would go. http://www.softopper.com/jeep-wrange...p-details.aspx
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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:28 PM   #3
wwch99tj
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I bought a cheap pavement ends top and it lasted 5 years, I only run it from late April to early October... I had to restitch a lot of it and what I didn't was dry rotted.
So in reality I only got 2.5 years use out of it.
I just replaced it with the Bestop sailcloth and couldn't be happier

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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:42 PM   #4
AntiPrius
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I have the factory frame, I have a soft top (Bestop RAT) on it now (minus the rear window) so I don't need a frameless setup which is actually more expensive than the sailcloth top I can get, I'm just wondering if a sailcloth top, sold at a premium, when I hardly ever use the top, is worth the cost...for me.
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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #5
wwch99tj
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My cheap top flapped like crazy at highway speed, the sailcloth doesn't... I think its worth the extra

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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:52 PM   #6
rda616
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The benefit of the bowless is you can leave the safari top on all of the time for an open air feel without the sun beating down on you. The sides and back install in a couple minutes to protect you from bad weather and keep unwanted critters out of your rig.

Having had both the thinner vinyl replacement tops and sail cloth I will say there was quite a bit of difference.
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Unread 12-13-2013, 07:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwch99tj View Post
My cheap top flapped like crazy at highway speed, the sailcloth doesn't... I think its worth the extra

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I appreciate the dialogue, and respect your opinion, but do you think it's worth the much higher extra cost for someone like me (your own situation is most likely different), that drives their Jeep with the top up, maybe a few times a year?
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Unread 12-13-2013, 08:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntiPrius

I appreciate the dialogue, and respect your opinion, but do you think it's worth the much higher extra cost for someone like me (your own situation is most likely different), that drives their Jeep with the top up, maybe a few times a year?
I had the Pavement Ends top. It lasted about 2 years and the thread started rotting around all the seams. It was off most of the summers, so it didn't last very long. It was very easy to put up and down though. I replaced it with Bestop sailcloth about 4 years ago. The sailcloth is much quieter, but is tight as a drum and hard to put up if its cold at all. It doesn't fold down very well either because it's so thick. This past Spring, the main seam on the passenger side ripped out while I was putting the side window in. A local upholstery shop resewed all the seams for $35. Once again, the top is off about 4 months of the year and stored in my garage. The thread just doesn't hold up well. The sailcloth still looks like new!
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Unread 12-14-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rda616
The benefit of the bowless is you can leave the safari top on all of the time for an open air feel without the sun beating down on you. The sides and back install in a couple minutes to protect you from bad weather and keep unwanted critters out of your rig.
How's that any different than a regular soft top? All summer I leave the top itself up and that's it. No windows in it



To the Op. if I were you, I'd just get a cheap top. It sounds like it'll get more wear and tear from storage than being used

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Unread 12-14-2013, 01:04 PM   #10
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I'm like you, top is hardly ever on. But I made a headliner out of foam sheathing and it installs in seconds. Though I have since covered it with material to look more realistic. It really blocks the radiant heat from coming in the cab and keeps the cold air in during the summer and the heat in the winter.



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Unread 12-14-2013, 01:08 PM   #11
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Having had two non-Sailcloth tops and three Sailcloth tops over the past 17 years, I wouldn't even consider anything but Sailcloth.
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Unread 12-14-2013, 01:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Having had two non-Sailcloth tops and three Sailcloth tops over the past 17 years, I wouldn't even consider anything but Sailcloth.
I know you're a big fan of the sailcloth tops, and I'm sure it's for good reason. You may drive with it up a lot more often than I do. Since mine isn't my DD, if it's too hot or too cold to drive it with the top down, I generally don't drive it. I use my cab cover when it sits for some time in the car port, or each night when I have been driving it so that I don't have to put the top up and down constantly.

The main reasons I want a top, is for those times when I take it up north and don't want to freeze my azz off, or if I wanted to drive it when its raining, but I don't drive it to work and stuff unless the weather is nice enough to have the top down. I also want a fully functional top (I have a top now, minus the rear window because the zipper failed) for any unplanned time I might have to drive if if something happened to my DD.

I installed a Quadra top on my sisters Jeep back around May and it seemed like a pretty decent top, and she has the top up a lot more than I ever do, but it is her DD.

I need to think about this for a bit because I use the top so infrequently I'm not sure a premium top makes sense when it'll be down 90% of the time it's ever driven.
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Unread 12-14-2013, 01:45 PM   #13
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When I bought my Bestop Sunrider about 5-6 years ago (it was before they moved to Mexico) I wanted the Sailtop but I wanted the Sunrider functionality more. Personally I have lived without it this long. The top is on pretty much from easter to end of October.
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Unread 12-14-2013, 02:46 PM   #14
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I bought a smittybilt replacement top about 2 years ago that went over the stock soft top frame. I have no issues with it, leaking or making excessive noise. Its rubbed against trees etc while wheeling and held together fine down here in Florida (where it rains almost every day) and in Tennessee (where you never know what its going to do).
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Unread 12-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #15
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The sailcloth is worth the money if you are going to use the Jeep a lot with the top up. I had one on my '92 when I drove it as a DD. Quieter and better insulation. Now that it's become a nice weather, top down Jeep in the summer, and a hunting Jeep in the winter, I just put a regular BesTop RAT on it a few yrs back. No issues with it so far and it gets a fair amount of tree limbs against it in the woods.


So, no, I would not spend the extra bucks in your case.


I've only run BesTops, so I can't comment on the quality of the other brands.


I've never had a zipper problem with them, but if you do, an upholstery shop can fix them for you.
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