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Bestop Supertop Soft Top and Door Installation

Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8

Summer approaches in Dallas, TX.  People are spending more time outside and the days are getting longer and hotter.  Sunny and hot may sound great to sun worshippers, but not so much if you are on a first name basis with the dermatologist.  It’s time to start thinking about protection from the glaring sun.  No more peeling burned skin off of this fair skinned Texan.

While Project Over Easy already had a great Bikini top from Bestop, we plan to add rear seating in the months ahead and want to have solar protection for the backseat passengers.   This meant a full-length top rather than a traditional Scrambler half-cab.  There are several manufacturers of full length hardtops for Scramblers, but we wanted to keep the flexibility and the look of a quality soft top – not to mention the ability to go convertible on demand.  Bestop makes just such a solution with their Supertop line of high quality soft tops.

A Few Details on the Bestop Supertop for the Jeep Scrambler CJ-8:
Project Over Easy had a soft top at one time, however, that top and the supporting hardware were long gone.  The only remnants were the rear bulkhead and two original soft top snaps on either side of the tub, just behind the door openings.  Since all of the original hardware was M.I.A., we would need a complete top Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ-8with all hardware, bows and fasteners.  In other words, we needed the works.  That’s where the Supertop really shines.  With the exception of doors, the Supertop comes complete with everything necessary to install a full-length soft top on the Scrambler including:


•    Full-length top in UV-resistant, mildew-resistant fabric to hold-up in the elements
•    Sealed seams providing excellent protection from wind and water
•    Side and rear curtains with either clear and tinted windows for added sun protection
•    Heavy-duty zippers designed to withstand repeated installation or removal of side curtains
•    Powder-coated bows and mounting hardware for long-lasting corrosion resistance
•    Bestop Belt-Rail™ for Wrangler-like side curtain attachment
•    Tailgate bar for secure rear window attachment
•    Two-year limited warranty


“Any color your want as long as it is black.” Just like ol’ Henry Ford and his famous statement regarding the color options for the Ford Model T, the Bestop Supertop for the Scrambler is available in just one color, Black Denim.  For Project Over Easy, this was the perfect color option.  We simply selected the tinted window option and were all set.  Next up, installation.

 

Installation – Bestop Supertop® Soft Top; Jeep CJ8 Scrambler
Time: 4-6 hours
Tools Needed: Power drill, drill bits (1/8”, 5/32”, 7/32” and 3/8”), hammer, center punch, ratchet wrench and sockets, adjustable wrench, screwdrivers (standard and Phillips), tape measure, pencil and safety glasses
Difficulty:

Installation

Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Preparing to install:
The first thing to do with this Supertop kit from Bestop is to spend some time reading the instructions.  If you are like most of us, you typically toss the instructions aside.  Heck, you’re handy with a wrench and a drill.  This should be a piece of cake, right.  Well, yes and no.  Bestop has done such a thorough job with the instructions for the Supertop that you owe it to yourself and your Jeep to spend the time to read the material.  Granted, it is thirteen pages of pretty dry text (much like this article) but it is worth the read to make sure that your Bestop fits your Jeep as well as possible.  

Note:  Since Bestop has done such a thorough job documenting each step in the installation, this article simply covers the major steps and instead focuses on the transformation of the Scrambler from a truck to a trail-rig capable of carrying more than one passenger.

Get over it:
Important:  You will be drilling holes in your Jeep.  For some Jeepers this is a rite of passage…  Making the Jeep your own.  For others of us, particularly those that come from a car restoration background, cutting holes in your vehicle is something that is avoided at all costs.  Well, if you fall into the second category, get over it.  You are about to improve your Jeep with the installation of this Bestop Supertop.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8“Measure Twice, Cut Once”:
One of the first things that the Bestop instructions have you do is to measure the distance from the top lip of the windshield to the top outer edge of the body.  This distance must equal 97-3/4”.  This is a very exact measurement that is key to the proper fitting of the Bestop SupetTop soft top and doors.  Adjustment can be made at the windshield to dash hold-downs.  Once you have this measurement set on both sides of your Jeep, you are ready to move on to soft top hardware mounting.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Windshield Retainer installation:
The drilling begins with the installation of the Bestop Supertop windshield retainer.  This two piece retainer (right and left) serves as the front anchor for the length of the Supertop.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Belt rail installation:
This is an area where the quality of the Bestop components begins to shine.  The Bestop Supertop belt rails are a series of black crinkle-finish channels designed to be mounted on the top of the Jeep tub beginning at the back of the door and running around the rear corners of the tub.  These attractive components provide a secure and weather-sealed anchor point for the Supertop side curtains and rear Supertop soft-top corners.  They also provide the anchor points for the bow assembly.  Once installed the belt rails add a degree of fit and finish, especially due to the quality of the hardware, that can not be equaled by simpler button-snap soft-tops.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Bow assembly installation:
The Bestop Supertop bow assembly is made up of vertical and horizontal rods providing rigidity around the upper door opening of the soft-top as well as the two top bows spanning the top from driver’s side to the passenger side of the Jeep.  These components form the skeletal structure of the soft top and provide the Scrambler with a handsome profile once the full Bestop Supertop is installed.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Soft top installation:
Timing and temperature are key to the Bestop Supertop installation on a Scrambler.  As stated in the instructions we made sure that we waited to install the soft-top until we had a day with temperatures exceeding 72 degrees Fahrenheit.  Additionally, we took advantage of the warm day by laying the top out in the sun while we performed the hardware installation.  We learned how important this was to do as well as to accurately adjust the windshield angle when installing the top.  The Bestop Supertop is made to exacting tolerances (perhaps more so than this 30 year old Scrambler) as the top was a tight but secure fit.  With help from a friend, we installed the Supertop beginning first at the windshield and then working our way back to the rear bow (see snaps) and then the rear corners of the tub.  The new look of Project Over Easy was really taking shape now.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Side and rear curtain installation:
The final components to be installed for Part 1 of the Bestop Supertop installation were the rear and side curtains.  The side curtains were a snap to install through use of the high quality Bestop zippers and lower channels.  The rear curtain took a bit more time as it is necessary to align three zippers (top, left and right) along with the rear curtain retainer.  This retainer spans the tail-gate expanse and is secured by the two tub corner belt rails and then by closing the tail-gate.
Note:  If you are still using the traditional CJ-style drop-down tail-gate, the only way to open the tail-gate will be from inside the Jeep.

 

Installation – Bestop Supertop® Doors; Jeep CJ8 Scrambler
Time: 2 hours
Tools Needed: Phillips screwdriver, 7/16” wrench, 1/8 allen wrench, awl (for making holes in door fabric for Bestop latch assemblies) and safety glasses
Difficulty:

Installation

Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Preparing to install:
The Bestop Supertop Two-Piece doors use paddle handles and a latch mechanism designed to match the Jeep factory striker assembly for Jeep CJs previously equipped with full hard doors and YJ Wranglers with either full or half doors.  Since Project Over Easy was originally equipped with a soft-top, we did not have proper striker plates.  This was solved with a quick call to our favorite Jeep dismantler, Texoma Jeeps, who set us up with a clean set of striker assemblies and original fasteners.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Install Paddle Handles:
We deviated from the Bestop instructions by installing the Paddle Handles with the doors mounted on the Jeep.  This was necessary as we would need to match the strikers sourced from Texoma Jeeps to the paddle latch assemblies included in the door kit.  Once matched, we installed the strikers and then punched the holes through the door fabric to secure the paddle assemblies with the provided fasteners.  Within minutes we had working half doors.
Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8Bestop SuperTop for Jeep Scrambler CJ8 Install Upper Doors:
This step is really as simple as slipping the three upper door pins into the sockets welded to the lower door frame.  The real effort here is in fine-tuning the door assemble fit to your particular Jeep.  As noted in the “Measure Twice, Cut Once” step of the Supertop soft-top installation, the windshield angle adjustment is key to the snug fit of the soft-top as well as for proper alignment of the Supertop Two-Piece doors.  Since we dialed-in that angle for the soft-top, we simply made a few adjustments to the upper door collars (using the recommended 1/8” allen wrench) to level the doors and we were all set with the good looks and flexibility of the Supertop Two-Piece doors.  Our full top and door installation was now complete.

 

The Verdict

Bestop Supertop for Jeep Scrambler CJ-8Project Over Easy has a great new look and the additional sun protection that we wanted for rear seat passengers.  This Bestop Supertop has really transformed Project Over Easy.  It looks less like a truck and more like a full-length SUV.  Project Over Easy now sports a few new specifications with the addition of the Bestop Supertop:

  • Top length (windshield to rear bow):  85” or greater than the wheelbase of a CJ-5
  • Total Top length (front of door to rear tub corner):  104.5” or greater than the CJ-8 wheelbase
  • Added height (at center bow):  3.5” height increase adding character to the Scrambler profile

During our installation of the Bestop Supertop, we were impressed by the effort that Bestop put into documentation.  The instructions were well written and quite thorough (with one exception noted below).  All components, even the included fasteners, were of the highest quality.  We were thoroughly impressed by the fit and finish of the Bestop components and are confident that they will last for years to come. 

The only points of note for future buyers of a Bestop Supertop for the Scrambler CJ-8 are the following:

  • During our installation, we would have benefitted from Left-to-Right measurements for the mounting of the windshield brackets that receive the horizontal rods (running above the doors).  This would be a key addition as it important for proper door sealing. 
  •  After our installation we experienced a new parking challenge.  As noted above, the new top adds nearly four inches of height, which when added to our 4.5” of lift and 35” tires, makes getting into and out of a standard garage a challenge – Certainly no fault of the soft top, but something buyers might consider before charging into their garage at full speed.  We handle this by pulling down on the center bow each time we go in or out of the garage. 

Other than these two points, we are very pleased with the new form and functionality of the new Bestop Supertop soft top and doors.  The Jeep now has the full sun protection that we wanted, not to mention protection from the rain, cold and snow for all occupants.  The tinted side and rear curtains windows are a great touch and they can easily be removed and stored for open-air wheeling.  We also really like the Wrangler-style paddle actuation for the Supertop Two-Piece doors.  It is great to have a simple but effective latch mechanism and the added convenience of locking handles.

In summary, we are impressed with our new Bestop Supertop soft top and two-Piece doors for Project Over Easy.  The quality of the material, fit and finish of the components and level of detail provided in the instructions are second to none.  This is particularly impressive as Bestop is the only manufacturer of full-length soft tops for the Jeep Scrambler as of the writing of this article.  Some manufacturers may have been tempted to ease-up on quality or features when maintaining a monopoly, but this is certainly not the case with Bestop.
 

 

Bestop Inc.
P.O. Box 307
Broomfield, CO 80038
Phone:  (800) 845-3567
Web
www.bestop.com
Texoma Jeeps
81 Industrial Drive
Sherman, TX 75092
Phone: 903-813-JEEP (5337)
Toll-free: 877-815-JEEP (5337)
Web: www.texomajeeps.com
Email: parts@texomajeeps.com

About Rick Webster

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