(approx) 4 Hours
Simple installation for anyone.
- How to Install Rugged Ridge Exo Top on your Wrangler
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I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and this is my review and installation of the Rugged Ridge Exo Top, fitting all 2007 and up JKs. There is of course a version of this top available for those of you with the two-door and the four-door JK, so make sure you get the right one for your Jeep. Today we're gonna talk through the installation of this top which is a two out of three wrench installation. There is no major modification or drilling necessary to get this installed on your Jeep. But because this is a roof rack and a soft-top in one, there are a lot of pieces and the installation is a little bit more involved than some of the other tops that are available. We're also gonna talk through the construction and a few of the features of the top.This top is for those of you who are looking for a very unique soft-top that has a lot of unique features but also has a built-in roof rack that is also very functional. This top is very different because it actually is a soft-top suspended from a roof rack, as opposed to a standard frame top that is a top stretched over the frame. That allows you to utilize the roof rack without having to change anything with your top, you can throw items right up onto the roof rack at any time without needing to make any modifications to the top. However, if you have the roof rack already loaded, you can still put the top back. Again, very unique, a lot of different configurations.Now, because you are getting a soft-top and a roof rack in one and you do have so much functionality here, this is going to be a little bit more expensive than some of the other soft tops on the market. However, I don't think you're going to find a high quality roof rack and a quality soft-top with all of these features that you can buy for the cost of this top. As far as construction goes, as I mentioned this is a roof rack and a soft-top. The roof rack itself is made of steel, covered in a textured black powder coat finish. And like I said before, you don't have to do any major modifications or drilling to the Jeep to get it installed, although it does attach to the sport cage in a couple of different locations. And you will have to do a little bit of cutting on your sport cage covers. It's not really a big deal, you're just making a couple of slits so that you can get all of your brackets installed. And if you were ever to remove this top and go back to either a standard hardtop or soft-top, chances are you're not going to notice those small slits anyway. Once you have the roof rack installed, of course the second portion of this is the soft-top. This does come with tinted windows and it's a standard OEM soft-top material. So it's gonna hold up really well, it's going to hold the weather out, keep the warmth in and of course, be good and watertight as long as you install it properly. Like I said before, what makes this top unique is that it's just soft-top suspended from a roof rack. So as you can see behind me, you have your soft-top hanging on the inside of the roof rack with buckles and velcro, giving you a very safari like look. There are also a ton of different configurations with this top. Like your standard top that has a sun rider feature, you can just flip the front of the top back. But instead of it holding back, it actually slides back. You can also slide it back further to give an open air driving experience for both the front and the rear seat passengers. There are also configurations where you can remove the rear three windows, giving you a very safari look and feel where you can still have a cover over the passengers keeping the sun off of your head, but not have the windows then giving you again that open air driving experience. Finally, you can fold the top so that it lives completely over the sound bar which gives you that completely top down feel. Of course you still have the roof rack in place or you can fold your top into the trunk area like a standard soft-top, giving you a ton of different configurations. This is a very versatile top. And no matter which configuration you are in, you still have that roof rack that's able to hold 300 pounds. So whether you're just rolling around on the street and need some additional cargo space or if you're carrying all your gear to the campsite for the weekend, you're gonna have more than enough room.As far as the installation goes, I am gonna give this a two out of three wrenches. It's not that this is a particularly difficult installation but there are a lot of steps because you're installing both the roof rack and the soft-top at the same time. The first step in the installation is to remove whatever top you currently have on your Jeep completely. After that, you can assemble the roof rack portion of your Exo Top and install that on your Jeep. The next step is to install the slider and bow assemblies and this is where you have to make a couple of small slits in your sport cage covers. Don't worry, when you remove this top and go back to any other top, it's not something you're really gonna notice. Most of you shouldn't be bothered by making these small cuts. After that bow and slider assembly is in place, the next step is actually putting the soft-top in place but because this is a soft-top that suspends from the roof rack instead of being stretched over a frame like a factory top, you install it a little bit differently. You're going to start from the back putting the soft-top underneath the roof rack but over top of the seats. Slide it forward toward the windshield frame and use the velcro and the straps to attach it to the roof rack. Finally, once that is completely installed, you can then install your three windows and you're finished. The whole installation process is probably going to take you right around three hours. And while you don't need any specialty tools, you are working on a Jeep so you are going to need some torque space to get this done. When you consider the value that you get with this top for the purchase price, it is a little bit difficult because there's not a lot to compare it to. This is a very unique item. However, if you look at the cost of a quality soft-top and a quality roof rack and add it together, it's certainly going to be more than the cost of the Exo top. So if you're going to use the functionality of the roof rack and all of the different configurations available of the soft-top, I think that this is a really good buy. Still, whether you have a hardtop on your Jeep and you're looking for a soft-top and a roof rack or you currently have a soft-top but you like the look and the functionality of this configuration, I think this is a very fairly priced roof rack and soft-top that is unique and unlike anything else you can find. So that's my review of the Rugged Ridge Exo Top, fitting all 2007 and up JKs that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.
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June 28, 2019
Versatile and bad @$$ looking!
This is a great top for those who are looking for a versatile alternative to the standard soft tops. 5 different options for an amazing open air experience and a solid, usable rack to really complete the experience - and much cheaper than buying a soft top and separate rack! I highly recommend!Helpful (1)
April 30, 2019
Great quality, solid rack.
Just put the exo-top on my JK and it looks great. Watched one of the online video's, would not have been able to do it with out that and there were still a few things that were a little confusing but overall it wasn't too hard (7hrs). Much easier with someone else to help.Helpful (1)
September 29, 2018
Exo Top Review
Great concept! Needs a few updates: track does not slide smoothly and I had to add locktight to stop the slide pieces from falling out due to vibration. Also, if it rains hard with wind, you will flood your floors so plan to take your plugs out. I love it but, see areas of opportunity.Helpful (6)
May 31, 2017
good top but frustrating
top went together rather easily until I came to the door surrounds. As I was installing both rear surrounds the brass threaded inserts pulled right out of the plastic as soon as any tension was applied to the bolt. I had to cut both bolts off to remove the door surrounds. at this point I was too far into the install to stop so I ran to get longer bolts and nuts. Rugged Ridge was very responsive and sent me new parts within the week. I have not had time to re install but I fear they will do the same thing. Over all I really like the top it is very versatile and looks good. all other aspects of the top seem to be well made.Helpful (8)
July 28, 2016
Great Top so far!!
Put this on myself a month ago or so. (A 2nd person would have been very handy, however.) There are several reviews (and a nice install video) online, so I'll just try to add some basics and a few other things of note. This is a unique solution as a rack for soft-top, in that you can put the top down with removing cross-bars or what have you. No drilling too, if that's important to you. However, the "sun rider" style top in front has had an issues. The plastic sliders that keep the top in its track have popped out for me, which has happened to others. This is something that Rugged Ridge will replace from what I've read. (These plastic pieces adjust fit in the track with screws and apparently mine were a bit loose.) Without these pieces, it leaves the frame riding metal on metal, loosely (I couldn't tell at all), but it wasn't an issue until I had to come to an abrupt stop and it slid forward a bit. Without these pieces, there is some possibility of the front of the top catching a gust of wind and being blown up and off the top of the jeep, I would guess. LOTS of velcro holding things in place. (I nicknamed it the Exo-Velcro-Top. :) ) There can tend to be some wind noise of course, but I've also got a light mounted above my windshield AND a Thule on the top. There is a product (not sure if I can mention here) that can be installed on that cross-bars that adds extra slats to press the top upward. RR has addressed this with two cross-bars that fit under the top already, but they don't eliminate wind noise entirely of course. (Just the nature of a soft top and no worse than my OEM top that I can tell.) The install I did was minorly different than what I've seen (and what was in the install instructions), so be ready for that. (It seems RR is evolving this product to some degree. I see the price has come down on it since it was unveiled, so this might be the reason.) Overall, I'm very happy - a new top and a rack all in one at a decent price. Cheaper than getting a hard top and adding a rack to that. (I don't have a garage, so this is a good option for me.) My review is lacking a 5th star b/c of the slider piece issue and wind noise. I'm about to take my virgin highway road trip, so I'll edit this if possible to reflect any new findings.Helpful (17)
How much higher than a hard tip do the rails stand? I am concerned about clearance for my garage.
Hello, the rack measures 29-5/8" from the top of the tailgate to the top of the rear bar.
Can this roof be used as a year round roof in an area where there is snow New York)? Does this roof work with your soft top surrounds that come with jeep soft top or do we need to buy the whole header kit?
The Rugged Ridge Exo Top can be used year round.
If the load rating on this rack is 300 lbs static load (not moving), how much weight can it safely transport dynamic (in motion)? Due to the forces transferred on and by the load in accelerating and stopping, physics would suggest that this load rating is not the same. As would other roof rack manufacturers. I am curious because Rugged Ridge does not assume liability of damage done to my vehicle by the rack and I want to be safe in its application.
This top has a 300lb dynamic load rating. The static rating would be higher, however Rugged Ridge does not list the Static rating.
If 300 lbs. is the dynamic load rating, what is the static load rating of this rack?
The load rating on this rack is a static load rating of 300 lbs not a dynamic load rating
Currently have a hard top and looking into soft tops. Will any header kit and tailgate bar kit work or does it have to be the Rugged Ridge kit for the exo top?
We recommend matching components from the same manufacturer for the best fit.
Yes, Rugged Ridge has their Spartacus Roof Rack Basket designed specifically for use with theExo Top and Sherpa Rack. It is linked below. https://www.extremeterrain.com/rr-spartacus-basket-1170303.html
You will need the factory soft top in order to install the Rugged Ridge Exo Top.
This top will be water tight and able to be used year round.
Yes, the Rugged Ridge Exo Top can be used with a roof top tent. It would be best to keep in mind the weight limitations of the rack, 300lbs.
No, the Rugged Ridge Exo Top will not install on top of the hard top, it is a soft top and roof rack combination that can be used in place of your hard top.
The Rugged Ridge Exo Top will reuse your factory soft top hardware, aside from the header kit, which you will need to purchase. The header kit can be found here: https://www.extremeterrain.com/rr-header-kit-exo-1351610.html. The Mopar hardware is for those that do not have a soft top.
The dimensions of the Rugged Ridge Exo top are ,for the 4 Door JK's, at the cross bars 48 inches wide by 59 inches long.
The Rugged Ridge Exo Top will require the header kit to install the soft top.
The Exo Top may be a little louder than a soft top but it is designed with tension bars that once the top is in place the tension bars get pushed up and snap into place. You can then add more tension by adjusting the Velcro side flaps to help reduce any extra noise that may be caused by the lack of tension in the top compared to factory soft tops.
There are 2 screws with the sliders that need to be tightened and it seems that occasionally that install step is overlooked. Also, since you have a hard top you will need will need a header, tailgate bar, tailgate bar retainers and all of the door surrounds.
(approx) 4 Hours
Simple installation for anyone.
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