RAMPAGE TRAILVIEW SOFT TOP
I’ve been in love with convertibles for years. On the sport car side, my 1994 BMW 325i provided open skies at the touch of a button. The old 1978 Suzuki Samurai top snapped on and off with relative ease and stored easily – at least that’s how I remember it. Enter the soft top from my new (then) 2015 Jeep Wrangler JKU. Painful is how I describe it. Opening the sunroof is a two-man job involving getting out of the Jeep. Removing and re-installing the windows is a chore and storing them is always a concern. Unlike most convertibles, whose tops disappear when retracted, the JKU top sits over the tailgate like a discarded accordion.
And if you are concerned about height, it adds another 3 cm over the hardtop. Look out parking garages.
No wonder Jeepers dream of a better soft top. The Rampage Frameless
TrailView caught my eye with the claim of a one-handed retractable sunroof. Other attractive features were the tinted rear and side windows (with their own storage space, and when removed create a Safari Top), UV and mildew resistant 30 oz sail cloth, and a great aerodynamic fastback styling.
The quality and design are superb. Driving down the road with the sunroof open it remains securely in place even at highway speeds. With the sunroof closed, interior noise is comparable to every soft top on every vehicle I’ve ever owned. We hadn’t had a significant downpour by deadline so we did the next best thing drove through a high-pressure touchless carwash. I’ll admit I was nervous as water blasted at the Jeep from unnatural angles. It’s not often that torrential rain comes at you horizontally. The good news is that not a drop entered the Jeep. I’m kicking myself for spending the money on the factory top – any takers?
The written instructions are clear, however the pictures lack detail. It took two of us 2.5 hours to get it installed, stopping to take video and photos. We essentially assembled the door frames twice given the number of errors we made. This was due in part to my Christmas suggestion. At Christmas I buy a half dozen small Lego sets (under 100 pieces). Everyone gathers around the table, when possible each with a different vehicle to assemble, and the timer starts. First one to finish wins, with bragging rights for an entire year. Slowest person is berated and humiliated for a similar length of time.
Although you are technically not allowed to throw the other person's instructions on the floor, steal parts, or look at a similar vehicle for clues when you are behind, the rules are enforced with the same attention as during playoff hockey. Which is to say – barely, if at all.
In theory, two guys should finish the job in half the time of one, however we were using Christmas rules. The lengthiest part of the installation is assembling the door surrounds. We each took a side and started the clock. No doubt you will be much faster not using Christmas rules and having this issue of the mag with clearer images.
Follow the written instructions reading every sentence to the end. Rampage did not make a mistake in the instructions – no, you don’t have a better way (Mitchell). Rather than rewrite clear instructions, we’re going to provide some colour, high contrast images so you can see what your assembly should look like. The instructions are for the driver’s side, our images are for the passenger side – because Mitchell finished first and was mounting his on the Jeep before I finished my assembly (despite my best efforts in stealing his parts, and cheating to see how he put his together - hoping in vain for a come-from-behindwin, just like the playoffs).
One of the best things about this top is the price. Jeep dealer charged me $1500 CAD for the stock top. MSRP on the Frameless TrailView is $799 USD for the 2-door JK and $899 for the 4-door JKU.
1 Spread the parts out in the shade keeping driver and passenger sides separate. Spread the top and windows out in the sun.
Rear passenger side complete. Note the instructions say ‘Install rear bracket to rear section’. The brackets are not labeled front and rear. Compare the sizes and the wider bracket is the rear – to fit over the wider roll cage on the rear of your Jeep.
Rear to centre section complete,
Front passenger side complete – you are now finished your 12 Steps – in the assembly instructions, not the kind involving therapy.
Slipping the door surrounds on to your Jeep is straightforward. The image shows the correct position of the surround mount plate.
6 - Then you’ll secure the entire assembly to the roll cage using supplied knobs. 7 Replace the footman loops with new latches reusing the OEM Torx screw.