RAM­PAGE TRAILVIEW SOFT TOP

4WDrive - - Contents - Words and pho­tos by Perry Mack and Mitchell Cam­pag­nolo

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?

In­stal­la­tion

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.

2

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.

3

Rear to cen­tre sec­tion com­plete,

4

Front pas­sen­ger side com­plete – you are now fin­ished your 12 Steps – in the assem­bly in­struc­tions, not the kind in­volv­ing ther­apy.

5

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.

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