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Viking Offroad TJ Fast Back Soft Top


My fingers were getting tired from tucking the plastic rail into the grooves, but with the bottom of the rear windows all pushed into place, that was the last of the plastic rail (my fingers were rejoicing in being almost done).
 

I grabbed the rear window/tail gate bar (you did save that, right?) and slipped it onto the rubber strip at the bottom of the rear window.  Center the bar side to side using the window as a reference. 

It was time for the final adjustments....
 

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As previously mentioned, there are three straps that attached the rear window to the ceiling panel.  With the window bar pushed into placed on the mounting brackets, the rear window zippers were zipped closed.  I was then above to snug down the rear window straps and also readjust the straps that were looped under the seatbelt mounting stud. 

I took a couple of minutes to loosen one strap and snug another to get a wrinkle or two out of the top.  Things were starting to look pretty good. 
 

At this point, it was time to go all the way around the TJ and check to make sure all of the plastic rail was properly tucked into the grooves.  Check the door surrounds top and back edge, to make sure everything is properly aligned.
 

The storage bag was next to be put into position.  I have the storage back upside down in this photo so you can see the mating hook and loop fastener that will match up with the pieces sewn into the ceiling panel.  After this photo was taken, I flipped the window storage bag over and matched the hook and loop patches with each other. 

At this point, the rear section of the top (roof) was pulled to the rear of the vehicle (over the top of the storage bag).  This places the storage bag between the ceiling panel (below it) and the rear roof (over it).  Tucked safely out of the way, it is available for when you decide to temporarily store your rear windows.  I forgot to mention that the storage bag has partitions partitions in it (like curtains) so that you can place a partition between each window so you don't have the window plastic touching any other window plastic.

Most of the folks that have been following this web site for the past 10 years know that I pretty much say things the way they are.  And I have to say that Viking Offroad missed a pair of straps in the soft top box.  The rear top is properly held in place by a pair of straps that attach at the rear corners of the tub.  They have a small hole sewn into the seam through which the strap with a metal hook on it attaches to the corner of the body.  These were missing from the box my top was shipped in.  I sent Thor an e-mail to let him know I was short a pair of straps.  In the mean time, I found that a pair of bungee cords work just fine to keep the top in place.  I've no doubt that Viking Offroad will have a pair of straps on the way this week. 

So....how does it look?
 

 

Not too bad as far as I am concerned!  I ran about an hours worth of errands today around town, which means I did surface streets and several miles of freeway driving. 
 

It all fits really well.  I put the soft upper doors on when I ran around town....it's the only way I can compare noise levels and fabric flapping.  I found it quieter than my old soft top, especially when I did not have the fan control cranked up to position #3 to "inflate" the top to quiet it down.  Even when the A/C was on recirc mode, I could feel less fabric movement when I put my hand up against the top (over the center console area).  I also didn't have to crank the radio up quite as far when I got on the freeway.  How much quieter was it?  I don't have a dB meter and so I can't give you a value, but it was better than the factory top it replaced. 

Another thing I noticed....looking at the inside rear view mirror, I could actually see things through the unscratched rear window.  Yes, I know that has nothing to do with the quality of the Fast Back since any unscratched window would yield that.  However, I do believe there is a smaller blind spot in the passenger rear corner.  I believe the Fast Back side and rear window combination provides more viewable area when looking over my right shoulder for a lane change. 

When I get the rear straps from Thor, I'll take one more photo from the rear of the vehicle so you can see what it looks like.  I'm not going to post one now with the bungee cords in place as someone will look at the photos without reading the write-up and go babbling that the Fast Back top is crappy because you have to use your own bungee cords to hold it in place.

In summary, I like the look (the fast back style is nice), I like the quality (the seams are stitched very well, the plastic rails are sized and positioned well), and the fit to the vehicle is very good.  My hat is off to Thor and Viking Offroad for a very nice replacement top with its own built in window storage.  Simply put, I don't think it gets much better than that.

Be safe out there and remember to TREAD Lightly!


Update 07/19/2008 -  A bit about customer service and my missing straps on the next page.
 

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