I had my heart set on either a Thaler Design ActionTruck conversion or a JK8 conversion until someone pointed out that I will lose some of the awesome Alpine sound system that I love so much. And they are expensive. And non-reversible.
So instead, I put together my own summer action truck ute kit with:
- Rugged Ridge C3 cargo bed cover
- Bestop rear half doors in black diamond canvas
- Bestop Duster deck cover
- Bestop Duster extension
- Bestop JKU Windjammer
- Rampage Combo Brief Top in black diamond canvas
- Pavement Ends JKU Emergency Top
This setup cost me about $1500 delivered from the US from holiday specials. It's as quiet as the OEM soft top on the highway at 110, leaves the interior cooler on hot days and the open(er)-air driving is a mostly fun experience although there's no hiding from bad smells. Best of all: It's unique, which I value (I almost didn't post this so I could selfishly stay unique).
All of the products have been great so far, especially the cargo bed cover that has frequently come in handy and now stays on permanently. The only negative is that I can never get the emergency top fitting properly in a way that doesn't leave a small gap somewhere for rain to get in. I suppose that's why Pavement Ends includes two rain ponchos with the emergency top.
After swapping to and from the OEM soft top frequently because of this year's heavy rains, I can do the complete swop either way in 20 minutes including the doors. This wasn't the case the first few times because Bestop and Rampage's instructions are crap. Granted, this isn't rocket science but there were way too many times when I shouted, swore and planned to burn down their company HQ. They can learn from the instructions that Rugged Ridge provide - clearly worded, smartly laid out, filled with illustrations and every single step is explained.
- I added a ute tonneau cover spreader bar to keep tension where the duster cover and extension join.
- Retrofitted a Bestop 2-door Windjammer that covers more of the area behind the front seats.
- Removed the roll cage padding and covers that had started to fade from the sun.
- Added home weather seal tape around the door sills to keep the worst water out around the half doors.
Next up will be finding a top that will give me the right look and keep most of the water out. The Rampage combo top is great because it can seperate in two, covering only the front seats for a more ute-like look, but it doesn't cover up to or over the door surrounds, which act like little buckets in the rain that spill over you when you brake or take a turn. I am also looking for a way to modify the duster extension to cover all the way up to the half doors, mainly to keep leaves and the worst dust out.
If anyone has any ideas on tops that might work, how to DIY duster extension extensions (possibly for the windjammer too) or any other thoughts or suggestions, let me know!