Are you trying to decide whether to get the Jeep dual top group for your Wrangler? Looking for details on how the soft and hard tops work together? You’ve come to the right place!
Having both a soft top and hard top to switch between gives Wrangler owners incredible flexibility. The soft top provides open-air freedom perfect for summer adventures. And the hardtop offers security, warmth, and protection from the elements in cold winter weather.
But is the dual top group worth the extra investment? And how exactly does swapping the tops work? This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about the ins and outs of Jeep’s dual top options.
Table of Contents
What is the Jeep Dual Top Group?
The Jeep dual top group is a factory-installed option available for the Wrangler JL and JK models. This option gives you both types of tops:
- Soft top – The standard black twill soft top that comes with all new Wranglers
- Hardtop – A 3-piece Freedom Top hardtop with rear wiper, washer nozzle, and defroster
It also includes the necessary mounting brackets and hardware to securely attach both tops so they can be easily swapped on and off the vehicle.
With the dual top group, Jeep owners get the flexibility of folding down the soft top or removing it completely for an open-air ride during warmer months. Then for winter weather or security, they can switch to the hardtop for its superior insulation and protection.
Key Differences Between the Soft Top and Hardtop
To decide if the dual top group is something you need for your Jeep, it helps to understand the key factors that differentiate the soft and hard tops.
The standard black twill soft top that comes on all new Wranglers from the factory is designed for lightweight convenience and quick removal:
- Uses straps and bars to easily fold down or remove
- Side plastic windows are opaque and zip in for security
- Sunrider feature allows front portion to flip back for partial open-air
- Less expensive option but provides minimal insulation or sound dampening
The Freedom Top hardtop offers premium features and security:
- Made from heavy-duty fiberglass panels
- Front two panels (freedom panels) remove separately from rear
- Rear section has available options like tinted windows, defroster, and wiper
- Provides maximum interior temperature control and audio insulation
- More security from potential break-ins but takes more time to remove
So in summary–the soft top is light, convenient, and inexpensive while the hardtop is heavy duty, secure, and provides protection from weather.
How Does the Jeep Dual Top Group Work?
One of the big benefits of the factory installed dual top group is that it’s designed to make swapping between soft and hard tops simple and secure.
Here’s an overview of how to remove and install each top:
Removing the Hardtop
Thanks to the Freedom Top design, removing the hardtop takes just a few minutes and can be done by one person.
The sequence is:
- Release the latches on the interior roll cage behind the rear seats
- Remove the two Freedom Panels above the front seats
- Unlatch the rear section and lift off in one piece
The factory equipment includes curved brackets that allow you to stand the hardtop panels upright for storage.
Putting on the Soft Top
Once the hardtop is stowed, installing the soft top is also a straightforward process:
- Lay the soft top frame on the rear roll cage and attach the straps
- Zip in the plastic windows on the sides
- Flip up the Sunrider feature and secure the straps at the windshield
With the dual top group, you’ll be swapping tops in no time!
Switching Back to the Hardtop
The dual top mounting system allows seamless transitions between soft and hardtops throughout the seasons.
To switch back to the hardtop:
- Remove the soft top by unstrapping the rear and sides
- Lift the rear hardtop into place and reattach the latches
- Set the freedom panels onto the front brackets and secure to the windshield
And just like that, you’ve got the hardtop securely in place again!
Choosing a Soft Top: Standard vs Premium
If you opt for the dual top group, you’ll get the standard black twill fabric soft top included. But Jeep also offers some upgrades if you want a nicer soft top:
Standard Soft Top
The standard soft top that comes with the dual top option is functional but basic:
- Twill fabric – Durable but with a dull, loosely woven appearance
- Opaque windows – Reduced visibility from cloudy plastic
- Manual style – Requires manually strapping rear portion
While cost effective, the standard soft top lacks some convenience and style.
Premium Sunrider Soft Top
For about $400 more, you can upgrade to the premium Sunrider soft top:
- High quality fabrics – Available in colors like spice, tan, or black
- Clear windows – Allows better visibility than standard top
- Power retraction – One touch button makes opening the sunrider flap easy
The premium fabric and power operation adds convenience and aesthetic appeal.
So weigh the extra cost against the benefits of enhanced style, visibility, and use if debating between standard and premium soft top options.
Is the Jeep Dual Top Group Worth the Cost?
One of the biggest considerations when purchasing your Wrangler will be whether to add the dual top group. What are the pros and cons?
Benefits of the Dual Top Group
Here are some of the best reasons to splurge on the dual top option:
- Weather adaptability – Hardtop added warmth in winter, soft top lets you enjoy sunshine in summer
- Security – Hardtop offers much more protection against break-ins than soft top
- Convenience – Factory install allows quick, tool-free swapping between tops
- Resale value – The dual top group holds value well if you sell the Wrangler
You’ll gain a huge amount of flexibility in how you can use your Jeep. The manufacturer-installed mounting hardware gives added peace of mind and convenience as well.
While most love the freedom of the dual top group, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
- Added cost – It’s about a $2,000 upgrade over just getting a hardtop
- Storage space – You’ll need room to store the unused top
- Time investment – While easier than aftermarket options, removing tops still takes time
So consider your budget, available storage, and how often you’ll want to swap between soft and hardtop configurations.
For most Jeep owners, the benefits outweigh the small downsides and make the dual top group well worth the extra investment.
Helpful Tips for Using Your Dual Tops
The dual top group offers tons of versatility for your Wrangler. Here are some top tips for utilizing both tops:
- Swap to the hardtop as winter weather approaches to stay warmer in the cold and keep out snow or rain
- Switch to the soft top in the spring to enjoy sunny skies and warmer temps through summer
- Be diligent about cleaning both tops, inside and out, to avoid mold or mildew
- Use protectants specifically made for soft tops to prevent UV damage and fading
- Follow manufacturer guidelines for proper hardtop care and cleaning
- Fold down the Sunrider feature any chance you get to allow quick airflow
- Ensure all hardtop latches are correctly secured before driving topless
- Invest in locking straps or aftermarket accessories to improve soft top security
- Never remove the hardtop without the special storage bag to avoid surface scratches
- Find a clean, dry spot indoors if possible to store the unused top
- Improper storage can lead to damage from dirt, moisture, or pests
Following these tips will keep your dual tops functioning and looking their best while allowing you to get the most enjoyment from your Wrangler.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about the Jeep dual top group:
Does the dual top option come on all Wrangler models?
The dual top group is an available upgrade for all Wrangler Unlimited and Wrangler 2-door models. It is not included by default with the purchase of a new Wrangler. You must actively select the dual top option when configuring your Jeep.
What if I buy a Wrangler with only a soft top?
If you bought a Wrangler that only included the factory soft top, you can still install an aftermarket hardtop later for dual top capability. But it is a more complex installation without the factory hardware.
How long does it take to swap the tops?
With the proper tools and practice, an experienced person can remove the hardtop or soft top in as little as 10-15 minutes. It will take longer your first few times. And always have a second person help for safety.
Can I install aftermarket soft tops with the dual top group?
Yes, you can install high quality aftermarket soft tops from vendors like Bestop or Mopar with the standard dual top group hardware. Just ensure it is designed specifically for your Jeep model year.
How should I clean my soft top?
Use a mild soap and water for basic cleaning. For more thorough cleaning, use a specialty vinyl or fabric top cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives.
The Jeep Wrangler dual top group offers the ultimate experience. You get the fun and freedom of open-air Jeeping with the soft top. Then quickly swap to the hardtop when you need security, warmth, and protection from the rain or cold.
While the upgrade costs over just getting one top, for most Wrangler enthusiasts, the versatility is well worth it. Consider how you plan to use your Jeep through all four seasons and adventures to decide if the dual top group is a worthy addition.
Whichever tops you go with, be diligent with proper care and maintenance. And most importantly, enjoy the thrill of customizable open-air driving that only a Jeep Wrangler can provide!