I have not seen a write up involving the installation of the soft top that comes stowed in the Jeep when the hard top is on from the factory so a few tips are in order that may help out to shake out some newbage from a newbie himself.
First off I was a touch nervous as I have heard nothing but horror stories .. I can officially put those worries to bed as I did this on a 60* day and did not
lay the top out at all. Never a Jeep owner but have worked on a ton of them and never once dealt with a soft top so for those who may be nervous ... don't be.
First thing's first get all your stuff together. You should have your side windows, Rear window, Rear window support bar along with the TWO support bar retaining clips for the bar to "Roll" into, Two door frames, and lastly four hand knob screws to lock those in. You will need a T-40 Torx bit ratchet and 12" extension to make life easy and a screw (1/4-20) to have handy for the washer hose.
O.K first thing is first, Remove the freedom panels and stow 'em in the bag (*Note: Keep the screw knobs in a bag and zip tie them to the zipper so they don't get lost)
- Unbolt the SIX T-40 torx bolts and set them aside. I also used a 10" 3/8" extension to get to the two forward most and aft most bolts as the soft top blocks the access a little and the support bars in the forward section it is just easier to get behind the bars.
- Disconnect the rear wiper/defrost connector and washer fluid hose and screw a bolt or something into the end of the hose just for safe measure for later when you forget that the hard top is not on and you hit the washer lever. Tuck them out of the way.
Next I lifted the top (Being alone at the time) a little and slid it rearward about 2 inches: There are TWO "NUBS" that are fastened to the hard top "ceiling" that sit in the sound bar and two more close by to the forward most Torx bolts that locate the top to the jeep and prevent it from sliding back easily. You can see them in the next two pix:
After Sliding rearward:
Now I got some help and for this it is best to keep in mind the aft part of the top is alot heavier than the front so balance is easy to establish in the position above as you naturally will grab the top where you can get to it easiest which is just right. For this part I closed the gate too.
Ahhh Top off!
Now those six Torx screws. I re installed them into their nut plates as I could see those nut plates rattling and buzzing with the stereo thumping plus I can't lose them either. The Forward most two I threaded them in by hand and slid them rearward. This is important as the soft top door frames will not sit right with them sitting neutral.
keeping them aft will allow for the frames to install without interference.
Now unwrap the soft top by : cutting JUST THE TWO STRAPS and unsnapping the snaps underneath along the bottom side of the cover. I saved my cover even tho it isn't needed but I have that good ol' "You never know" syndrome LOL! Set the tailgate window support bar aside with your windows, frames and "C" clamps
Ahhh suck in that new top smell and at this point I started the jeep. You see with it's volcanic heat I figured it was best to aim the vents skyward and let me tell you this is the saving grace. The top became so relaxed that it took VERY LITTLE effort to get it to fit. So with the heat blasting I went to work:
- Un fold the sunrider part making sure the plastic locking tubes are at their locked position.
- Raise the top and unfold the latches FULLY and while having a friend help push the top forward or doing it from inside the jeep by yourself, bring the top forward enough to get those latches to catch BUT DO NOT LOCK THEM
- Make sure the latches in the middle of the door openings have clicked in and get your two black window "C" clamps ready
- Clip in the "C" clamps with the closed end of the channel facing outboard and the open ends facing each other with the channel itself facing rearward to accept the bar. These go on either side of the tailgate on the body and you can almost see where they are supposed to sit. They give some meat for the sail panels to tuck into as well.
- Tuck in your sail panels as per the video / manual
- Jeep still running? Good as by now the heat is crankin and the top is relaxing and will be soft enough by the end of the install of the windows to flip those latches by the visors with ease
- Zip in the rear window about half way (Remember to keep both zippers on the Drivers's side)
- Now grab the support bow and feed it onto the bottom of the window keeping in mind the weather seal should be in the same direction to mesh with the weather stripping on the Jeep.
- Now tuck the bar in close to the "C" clips but be sure to zipper the window the rest of the way before flipping the bar assembly into it's cozy "C" clip home.
- Side windows I caught the zipper and zipped them about a foot. Start tucking the windows into the door frame channelsworking your way from bottom up. If adjustment is needed once tucked with some force you can slide them up or down to fit best when tucked in up top ... You will see in a minute.
- Zip em in! and starting at the rear tuck in the lower lip and work your way forward every 2" or so tuck, tuck, tucking away up to the front most portion making sure you catch up under the weatherstrip. Now you can see if you needed to slide up or down at the door frame connection as you tuck in that last bit and start with the velcro tuck. There should be a smooth transition between the top and down the sides up in the rear corner of the door. if a gap is present water will leak into the corners. Keeping this tight and behind the drip rail will minimize leakage.
- Repaet on the other side and notice the warm to the touch feel on the top by now ... ooooh yeah we are getting close!
- After a Beer, Cig, or whatever the heat blasting the whole time it is now time to flip those last two latches into place. You will see the top stretch as you do so and the top will mate with the weather seal (NOT ON TOP OF IT BUT AGAINST IT) at the top of the windshield nice and easy being the top at this point is close to liquid LOL.
Hope I didn't forget anything and this may help out as the warmer weather is coming and alot of new Jeeps on the road just waiting to go topless.