The temps are dropping in Florida, we have dipped below the 60s and that means it’s time to put on a full top. The soft top that came with the YJ fits good but tend to make a lot of noise while driving. I can’t hear what my wife is saying right next to me. I would prefer to have the doors off and no top all year, it’s what I got a jeep for in the first place. It is a semi daily driver and my wife works with me so we ride together. I keep telling her “Jeep hair don’t care” That does little to untangle her hair after a drive to work. I had a hard top for my CJ so after spending time searching Craig’s list and fan pages I found a hard top with the doors at a great price. It was not missing glass or cracked. Best thing it was 1 hour north of where I live. It showed up on a Thursday afternoon and we would not be off till Sunday. By the favor of God the doors and top had not sold over the few days of nail biting. Early in the morning we rose to set off on and wild adventure, as is the case when you drive a lifted Jeep on the highways.
First off was a question as to what has to be removed from the soft top mounting hardware to accommodate the hard top. Remove the soft top and all framework first. Then get out your cordless screwdriver and your set. Here is a list of the things that will have to be removed when going from a soft top to a hard top.
1- The windshield top rail. Philips head screws.
2- The doors, if they are not bolted on still just lift them off.
3- The tub side rails, rails are used to clip the top on the sides.
4- The rear corner rails and tail gate seal.
5- The side windshield door frames.
Tape everything together so it’s easy to find next spring. Now the jeep was ready for a hardtop and full hard doors.
Driving up to Deland I was reminded of why people stay under 31” tire whit a stock gear setting on a 2.5 4cyl. Top speed was 59-60 mph. Unless going downhill. 5th gear is useless because when you put it in 5th you will just start slowing down. I noticed that new pavement let you dive a little faster than old pavement . Stay in the slow lane and just enjoy the view. Bridges in Florida are common and going uphill will slow you down even more. Flat bridges with make your suspension bounce like a bronco, even with new leaf springs and shocks, you will feel like you’re riding on whoopty doos. People in Florida need to learn how to make roads.
We arrived at 8am and paid for the top and put it on right there on the driveway. The top came with all the mounting hardware needed. The bolts were big plastic wing nuts that could be put on by hand. All the hole lined up with no issues. The doors slid on and lined up perfectly. The color was a perfect match to the black jeep. It looks good, like it was meant to be. New rubber seals were recently installed so it sealed right up. We exchanged jeep stories and he had 2 YJs, His YJ was resurrected from a field where it sat for 3 years, with no top on it. New springs, shocks, breaks, and lines were put on and a transmission rebuild and it runs and looks great. He had the same Leaf spring kit I had used.
The drive home had an un expected surprise… As we pulled out onto I-4 we were up to speed in no time. Going with the flow over 60… 65… 70 mph and not floored? Whoa! The hard top provides a big lift in power from aerodynamics alone. I thought it was a fluke, might just be that we had a tail wind. Nope the next day going home from work I could pull out and get up to speed like it used to before the 33” mud tires. ( I still want a 4.0 someday.) I like the top and can drive in the rain without worry, IT LOCKS TOO! Time to add hard top to the list of getting more umph out of a 2.5.
Matt N Randy
Jeep Enthusiast, Pastor, Photographer, Artist, A husband and wife team that loves going out and seeing God's Creations.