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Old 02-04-2016, 09:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default RAMPAGE 98535 SOFT TOP vs BESTOP REPLACE A TOP

My 1990 Samurai JL had a Bestop Sunport (2 piece top) when I purchased it. The rear deck area section is missing on mine. This excellent top is no longer manufactured by Bestop (sigh!) and as a result I need a replacement top.

Having read all the reviews I can find online, I have narrowed my choices down to the Bestop Replace A Top and the Rampage 98535 black diamond with zip out windows. I prefer a white top (much cooler in the summer), but the zip out window feature with conversion to a "Safari" top of the Rampage is a plus!

The Bestop comes in black or white and per the reviews has NO distortion clear windows, but cons are 1) a little noisier than the Rampage, side windows do not zip out, support bar does not line up with the solid side window strip and the rear window rolls up only vs zip out.

The Rampage comes in black ONLY and per the reviews, has all 3 zip out window feature, conversion to safari top, but tinted windows with distorted clarity and the most surprising to me…loose fit overall and particularly at the vertical side tracks just aft of the doors with some reporting gaps and water leak issues at same location? I see the Rampage top slides into the vertical track grooves on the targa which leaves me confused as how it could possibly be loose at that location? Maybe that report is the result of some having installed the Rampage top on Samurai's that DO NOT have the required vertical slot track on the targa???

All the above said, does anyone have any comments or experience with either of these tops!

I love the features of the discontinued Bestop Sunport and I may entertain having my local trim shop cut and convert either of these 2 tops to fit like the old Sunports did! The old Sunport bikini top section slides into a slotted track on the forward and rear edges with no straps and fits nice and tight with NO leaks! There was a Sport Bar retainer with TWO grooves that mounted on top of the Targa where the rear edge of the Bikini slide in AND the forward edge of the Deck section slid in! You could run with Bikini only, rear Deck only, or BOTH! Three configurations! This was the most versatile top ever made for the Samurai!

I do wish the Rampage 98535 came in white! If it did, I would have it cut and converted to fit like the old SunPort and have 4 configurations... 1) Full top, 2)Bikini only, 3) Rear Deck Top only and 4) Bikini and Rear Deck top (or safari)!

Thanks and I look forward to any comments!
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a one piece Bestop, When its even remotely warm I just pull the top off, fold it up and lay it in the back in case I hit some weather it's with me. I got it for around $200 on Ebay new and it has been holding up well for 3 years now. No zippers but I heard folks like the zip out windows. I was more concerned with keeping it easy to fold flat and lay in the back. Also I drive sometimes in weather as cold as -25deg and didn't want any extra places for the wet or freeze to come on. I figured I would just buy a bikini top but never really had the need since it only takes a few minutes to pull the whole top.

Maybe someone with zip out windows can add to this.
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Old 05-28-2016, 03:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I bit the bullet and made a purchase. I really wanted a white top with removable side and rear windows, like the RAMPAGE BLACK DIAMOND, but it only comes in black! (Black is so much hotter than white!). Then I stumbled on a Smittybilt 98552, white 3 piece, with zip out side and rear DARK TINTED windows….AND the rear window can be rolled up! The fit is tight (as it should be) and it looks great! The diagonal side bars in the side windows line up perfectly with the Samurai rar section OEM support bars! I can zip out the sides and rear and ride the beach in SAFARI mode with full cover from front to rear….all for only $151.99 off Ebay via Rockriders Jeep store! It was the LAST one they had. I am happy and need to see how it hold ups in service, but it has great fit and great quality, including heavy duty zippers and nice dark tinted windows. I hope Smittybilt does not discontinue this model.

I would post a picture, but I cannto figure out how to do it???
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