Jeep Wrangler Bestop Trektop NX Install

Apr. 08, 2016 By Jim Brightly, KF7SCT
With the top folded back, it’s just like being lidless. However, should the weather turn bad, it can quickly be folded back into place for warmth, comfort, and security.

Every once in a while a product comes along that’s not only good for your vehicle and is good for your comfort, but is also somewhat easy to install. It’s rare indeed that a product can look good, work well, and slide in exactly like the instruction sheet says it should. Bestop’s Trektop NX (PN 56821) is just such a product.

First step installing a Trektop—or any soft top from Bestop (even a simple replacement skin of the OEM top)—is to wait until the ambient temperature is above 72° F for the entire install. Actually, the hotter it is the better. According to Bestop, the material can shrink up to an inch in colder weather.

On each side of the Jeep, just behind the door, you’ll find this OEM rubber grommet. They must be removed so the door surrounds will fit properly.

With the grommet removed, two holes are revealed.

Over the five decades I’ve been four wheeling, I’ve installed soft tops on nearly every model of Jeep—starting with a ’46 CJ-2a, going through a few more editions of CJs, an early model Bronco or two, an IH Scout, and on to an ’07 Rubicon Unlimited. With every new design, installation became easier and quicker.

Bestop’s Supertops have become the standard against which all other soft tops are measured, offering the highest quality in function, fit, and style. Supertops are available for nearly all Jeep models that are available with removable tops. Many of the kits include hardware, soft top fabric, windows, and printed instructions. Some include two-piece soft doors as well, and use the Jeep’s hard door strikers.

For the next several installation steps you’ll need a tall stool or a ladder on each side of the Jeep.

The pin on the bottom of the curved portion of the door surround goes in the larger hole on each side.

Here this installation differs from the standard install. This Jeep is equipped with a Smittybilt front roll cage kit, which attaches to the factory sport bar near the windshield.

The Smittybilt roll bar clamp interferes with the Bestop channel that secures the door surround to the OEM sport bar.

When I decided that I wanted a new top, I initially looked for a white top, due to the Arizona weather and my preference, but I found that white is no longer a favorite choice. Color choices are almost as varied as color choices were for Ford’s Model T—“any color you want as long as it’s black”—although (depending on the model of soft top) charcoal and spice are available.

I used a hacksaw to trip the Bestop channel back on both sides.

The door surround now slips onto the factory sport bar with ease.

Find the four threaded knobs.

The knobs secure the channels to the sport bar. They also make sure the door surrounds are aligned properly for the door and the top.

Once I had the top in hand, I had to wait until daytime temperatures were consistently above 72 degrees F. I also made sure to leave the cloth portions of the top in the sun while we were installing the hardware. This allows them to be slightly larger and much more pliable, which in turn makes it easier to be certain the top is stretched tight when the installation is complete.

We’ll now move to the tailgate and install the tailgate mounts. They are marked left and right.

Follow Bestop’s instructions and drill four 1/8-inch holes where indicated. Secure the tailgate mounts with the supplied screws.

Lay the header upside down on a clean surface. The side bows slip onto the header. Verify with the Bestop instructions as to which side bow goes on which side.

Tighten the screws securing the side bows to the header.

Remove the adhesive paper from top arch. Make sure you avoid touching the adhesive while installing.

Insert one end of the top arch into the slot in the middle of the door surrounds. Push the other end inward to flex the bow and insert it into the slot on the other side of the Jeep.

Lay the top outside down and align it with the header.

Locate the round hole that marks the center of the plastic strip (all other holes are slotted). Install a supplied pan head screw in the round hole to secure the fabric to the header as well as to center the top.

Use a utility knife to slit the fabric over each screw position.

Install pan head screws in the remaining seven holes along the front of the header.

Slide the rear bow into the pocket inside the top, and secure the J-hooks to the ends of the rear bow.

Place the header on the Jeep. Pull the release knob on the side bows and insert the pins into the door surround brackets.

Loosen the speaker bar and slip the straps between it and the sport bar. Wrap the straps around the sport bar on each side of the vehicle. Thread the ends of the straps through the buckles and tighten. Tighten the speaker bar. Thread a J-hook buckle strap through the buckle on one of the rear straps. Hook the straps to the ledge inside the rear corners of the Jeep.

Install the side windows and then align the rear window with the plastic J-slide toward the top.

Slip the plastic strips along the bottom of the rear window into the channel in the tailgate mounts on each side of the tailgate. Wrap the quarter windows over the rear window and slip the plastic strips on each quarter window into the channel in the tailgate mounts on each side of the tailgate.

Hook the latches on the header into the holes in the windshield and close them. Slip the plastic strip along the bottom of the quarter windows into the channel in the belt rail on each side of the vehicle. Slip the plastic strips above the doors into the channel in the door surround on each side of the Jeep.

Align the posts in the half windows into matching holes in the half doors—in this case they are tube doors with skins painted to match the Jeep. Adjust the window frames to seal the upper opening.

When you’re using your new Bestop soft top, each of the two side windows and the rear window can be removed and stored while leaving the top in place for shade. The forward portion can also be folded back into a Targa-style open cockpit for the driver and passenger.

The soft top’s installation is so easy, I’m not going to show you step-by-step instructions—Bestop’s manual does that—but I will show some tips.

We’re now ready to go wheeling.

A two-year limited warranty comes with each Trektop. Check the websites for either Summit Racing or Bestop for up-to-the-minute information on color availability and prices.

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