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2003 Soft Top

HOW TO INSTALL THE SOFT TOP ON YOUR TJ

Okay a few of us have had problems with putting a soft top up and getting it to go on easily.  We of course have read Jeeps instructions and it is really a pain doing it there way.  I figured out an easier way so I figured I would share it here with you and give you a couple pointers of things to look out for if your top doesn't seem to be sitting correctly.  I'm going to only concern myself with getting the soft top back up, but if someone wants me to show about putting it down, email me and I'll put it in here.

1. First we need to put the top up.  Making certain that the front clips don't get folded between the top and the windshield frame.
front header clip shown sandwitched between header and windshield
2. Now we open the front latches all the way and clip them into the holes in the windshield channel.  We will not latch these down yet. Soft top Latch open
soft top latch hooked
3. Now insert the plastic edges into the door surrounds.  If you didn't put the door surrounds on now would not be the time to do it, take the top back down and put them on. 
plastic edge on door surrond
4.  Be careful you don't get the rear straps looped around the bar, they should go straight back.

rear straps

rear strap hooked around bar
5. Also check to make certain that your plastic guides are sitting on the rails, if one of them is off, you will get a lopsided soft top. rear plastic guide centered on lower bar
rear plastic guide off to side in wrong position

6. Now the 2003's came with this stupid strap that they use to roll up the back window.  Well if you've done that already, you know it now hangs right in the middle of your rear view mirror.  To fix this, just simply loop the strap up and over the bar.

rear window strap hanging down
rear window strap wrapped around bar
7. Now, pull down on the back corners and insert them into the body edge.  These of course can be hard to do, one trick is to reach up grab the back bow and pull down with one hand and insert with the other. installing rear soft top edges
pulling down on top bar to install corner
8. Now that you have your rear corners in, go back and latch down your front latches.  This makes it much simpler.
latching front header latches
9. Now install your side or rear window, doesn't matter which one you do first, I tend to do the side windows first.
10. Side windows are fairly easy.  Just hook the back section onto the velcro and then insert the tip into the zipper and pull it closed. Installing rear window
zippering in rear window
11. Now clip the front plastic edge into the door surround.

inserting plastic front edge of rear windows

12. Now insert the bottom plastic edge into the body edge.  You may need to adjust the position of the rear corner. installing bottom plastic edge of rear window
readjusting position of rear corner
13. With both sides in you only have the back window to put in.  This I found fairly easy to do if you put the track in the holder first.

installing rear window bottom rail

rear window bottom rail installed
14.  Then insert the zipper tip into both zippers.  Now pull the top zipper all the way around and you are done.  You may need to undo the one plastic piece from the edge of the back for easier access.
connecting dual zippers to soft top
15. Don't forget to clip the plastic pieces into the holder in the back.  You may also need to do a little readjusting of the back pieces again. inserting rear plastic strip on rear window
repositioning corner again
16.  Oh if you have half doors, you can install the uppers now, just stick them in the holes on the door. top of half doors showing profile
Inserting upper half door into lower
17. Now here is a quick idea about how do deal with your soft top windows.  I just used a pair of pants hangers to clip on to the edge of the side window and hang it from a convenient hook in the garage.  You can do the same with the rear window if you take out the bar from it or if you have to hooks fairly far apart, you can leave the bar in. Soft top window hanger
soft top windows hanging in garage

This page last updated: 16-Apr-2008

Content and Design © 2002-present WanderingTrail,  Ron Seegert
Common Sense and Safety should always be observed when working on your vehicle or doing modifications. Jackstands, wheel blocks, disconnecting the battery are a few of the basic safety precautions that should be used and may not be mentioned in the write ups on this site. You are responsible for your own installation, these write ups are a helpful guideline and should not be taken as an official installation instruction. My write up may be different from the kits currently out there, so alwasy double check the manufacturers installation instructions when installing anything. I try to keep the site up to date with changes that have occured as I discover them, but may not have the latest unless someone lets me know. If you feel that an install is above your capabilities after reading my write ups, I recommend getting together with a club and getting some help. Only a few times have I needed to employe some actual help from a shop to get something done. Usually welding or A/C work.
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