Way back when, when I got my TJ, it came with a hard top and full doors. I ran that setup for a number of years and enjoyed the trails. The doors obtained a nice Arizona pinstripe finish and I managed to keep the hardtop glass intact. As the trails became more challenging, the hardtop was retired (with the glass still intact) and a used factory soft top was installed. The full doors were replaced with a used set of metal half doors. Although the soft top windows continued to accumulate pinstriping, the used top did well up until last spring when I managed to rip it going through a tight squeeze on Copperhead Trail.
I had read some good threads on the Jeep forums about the Viking Offroad TJ Fast Back soft top. An updated version was in the works and so I waited until it became available. Several delays later, I get a notice that my top is shipping. By now, the used factory top was looking even worse and the new Viking top was looking even better. I was ready to see if the wait was worth it or not.
Saturday morning arrived and it was time to take off the old and
put on the new.
You gotta start with a "before" photo so you can compare it to
the "after" shot when you are all done, right? At this point in
time, Viking isn't offering a spice colored top so black it was. Yeah, the
soft upper doors will be color mismatched but then again, they aren't on very
much of the time here in central Arizona.
The Viking Offroad Fast Back soft top uses the Bestop TJ Header Windshield Channel, or as many call it, the No-Drill Header. I had a no-drill header left over from a bikini top that I used a few times. A friend of mine had sold his TJ and had the bikini and header laying around the garage. His wife told him to get rid of the stuff....so I got it.
The Fast Back top is pretty handy....you can remove the windows and stash them in the storage bag before you hit a brush trail. Doing so will save your windows from being pinstriped as they so easily do out here in Arizona. The brush is brutal on soft top windows. Placing them safely in the storage bag and storing the bag in the top itself....well, how much easier can it get. You/ll always have the windows with you if the weather turns bad on the trail or for that cold (or hot) ride home after the trail is finished.
The install starts with getting your existing top removed.
If you have a hard top, you've probably had it on and off a few times. A
half dozen bolts and an electrical connector gets it ready to be lifted off.
Don't strain your back....get a friend to help you lift it off of the tub,
especially if you have a lift and big tires.
If you have a factory soft top, be sure to keep the rear
window/tail gate bar as that will be recycled and installed with the Fast Back
top. If you have door surrounds, leave them in place as they will be used
You can remove the header bar along with the tube frame hardware
(from the roll bar). That won't be needed for the new top. I was in
a hurry and left the mounting brackets on the roll bar (for now). I'll get
them off the next time I am routing some wiring under the roll bar covers.
With my soft top in a pile behind the TJ, I was ready to mount
the Bestop no-drill header in place. I took the opportunity to clean up a
couple of spots that normally are not accessible (yeah, I know you can't see
them but there was enough dirt to choke a dust bunny).
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