How Practical Are NAS Soft Tops?

chris snell

Administrator
Callsign: NW5W
Staff member
The hard top has a bigger tank?

I would definitely be getting out on the boonies. But fuel would probably be an issue for me in daily driving. There are stretches of eastern Montana where you can go 150 miles between gas stations.
The SW top lets you mount a roof rack and mount fuel cans to that. It’s not ideal but it’s better than trying to find space for a can when you have almost no room at all, or not having the can.
 

rocky

Well-known member
I hated adapting to the tiny 15 gallon tank that forced you to plan fuel stops every 120-150 miles. So I added a “hack” additional tank. Between the filler and original.
Much better.

Most miserable family in a 90 ever seen was one with all six seats filled and soft top off. Those four in the back were not enjoying it one bit on an interstate
 

WeBeCinYa

Well-known member
Soft top can’t be beat in the summer/fall. I’ve loved the look of SW’s so I bought a fiberglass hard top for winter. It’s shit and doesn’t do much for warmth. I can’t stand being too hot in a vehicle and can’t count on a SW’s AC to do it for me in the summer.
Get a ST and a good quality top. You’ll appreciate the good weather days.
 

JimC

Super Moderator
Staff member
I was always quite happy with my soft top before it just got too old and wore out. I had a bestop that had been modified and reinforced by Chris at Badger so it used a gutter kit. Really great. I finally gave it up when I moved to a station wagon configuration since that was better for hard core winter use. I also was happy with my sliding window door tops. You should start out by taking them apart and using stainless studs and hardware and them shimming the seals to ensure the door tops seal against the gutter kit or at least interface with fabric door seals if that’s what you’re running.

The other big thing with NAS V8s is heat. You might want the knee-cooler AC system to keep your lower extremities cooler from all the heat coming through the floorboards. Many cat heat shields have rusted off and the new part is all metal and better than the wafer originals. Ensuring your shields are intact will help with cabin temps. You might still find yourself adding some heat shielding under the floor mats.
 

Grover

Well-known member
You may consider a beater soft top (old Best Top) for the hard winter and a nice soft top (Badger) for the non-freezing months.
Bitter cold and salt are terrible on the soft top fabric and plastic windows.

Good luck!
 

JimC

Super Moderator
Staff member
Are there any beater bestops around any more? They haven’t made them for years and they‘ve definitely got an expiration date. Maybe a NOS one might be supple and useable, but that defeats the purpose of a beater. I cant even remember the last Bestop I saw for sale…
 

Thedudeabides

New member
Well, this is a loaded question... I would say the wind noise is really not much worse than a hard top unless you are on a highway for extended periods.

You will get wetter in a soft top if it is raining/sleeting than a hard top.

-20F in a land rover is going to be cold, regardless of top. A soft top with a fume curtain is going to be warmer than a hard top.

I am not the first person who has said this: You have to be committed to driving a Land Rover Series / 90 / 110. As Unfrozen suggests, dressing accordingly is key!

“wetter in a soft top” — i love the implicit concession that you are getting some level of wet in a hard top anyway
 

Grover

Well-known member
Opinions are like bellybuttons...everyone has one...
Just think, with a Soft Top, it’s less to wax and you don’t needs your keys get inside to get your sunglasses!

Tootles!
 

JimC

Super Moderator
Staff member
As in masochistically or on a trailer?
Under its own power! See, it’s good in all Wx and for all purposes. Note the lack of back window in the winter scene - we just stopped and bought a shower curtain for the B-hoop to keep the heat in the front. Please ignore the fact that this photo is 20 years old…

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Siia109

Member
The soft top is quieter when its off. When its on its a flapping drum. Got tired of brushing snow off my seat due to the gap in the doors. I wintered in Vermont and used it as a DD for 10 years - drove about 35 -50 miles in the mornings and even with the heat blasting I could still see my breath and some mornings with a blanket on my lap - after an hour in the cold I would get out and my legs would be stiffened into the position of sitting so I looked like a new born lamb trying to walk every time I got out the truck....good times.

Then in the summer - we have afternoon thunder showers that can pop up with the heat of the day - with little warning. Putting the top on was not just pushing a button - it was a solid 15 minutes start to finish with windows zipped in and all. The storms are over in 10 minutes and dumped 1" of rain. Yes I understand it can take rain water and I have hosed mine out multiple times - doesn't mean I always want to get into it after work and sit in a wet seat.

The real joy is the Indian summers - like October if you get a clear warm fall day - drop the top and head out into the woods - and then by 5pm the sun is gone and the temperature dropped 30+ degrees and suddenly the top has shrunk so much that it make you wonder if its the same top. So you wrestle with this thing after a fun filled day - oh good times.....

26 years and 3 tops later - I made it into a heard top pick up and I am finally warm in the dead of winter.

Which reminds me - soft top in the winter is the least of your worries - your driving a truck with no anti-lock braking or traction assist - these rigs are not the best in snow and ice. I have had mine ride up on the snow and with the wheel turned she just kinda went her own way. I have hit black ice I thought "this is how it ends - either the truck or me or both..." I am not bashing Land Rover - I bleed green for this marquee - but in snow and ice I'm stark white.

Speaking of "white" - one last great thing about winter driving and Land Rovers - they love road salt (sarcasm). "They" say salt increases the corrosion of steel by 300%.... I often wonder as I lay under my '95 looking at what is and what little is not rusted (rubber bushings) and I cant help but wonder if "they" forgot a couple of zeros on that stat.

Cheers -
 

jymmiejamz

Founding Member
Callsign: KN4JHI
An auxiliary fuel tank was the best modification I made for my D90 when I live in NYC and had to commute out to Long Island every day. I have the Safari Equip unit that mounts in the passenger rear wheel well in place of the filller neck. I like it because it doesn’t require any transfer pumps or fuel pump switches since it is just a fill through design. It holds about 7 gallons from what I remember which brings the total capacity to higher than a stock 110 or Disco fuel tank.
 

JimC

Super Moderator
Staff member
Ive also been amazed at how many soft top owners didn’t have all the parts of their tops or didn’t know how to use them. I’ve seen more than one truck where the owner didn’t know about the stiffening rods (🤨) that support the top at the door opening. So naturally they had big flappy openings (🥴) that admitted excessive rain, wind, etc. I find that if you put everything together properly, the sliding windows leak worse from the door top studs than the top itself does.
 

Siia109

Member
Ive also been amazed at how many soft top owners didn’t have all the parts of their tops or didn’t know how to use them. I’ve seen more than one truck where the owner didn’t know about the stiffening rods (🤨) that support the top at the door opening. So naturally they had big flappy openings (🥴) that admitted excessive rain, wind, etc. I find that if you put everything together properly, the sliding windows leak worse from the door top studs than the top itself does.
I had the rain gutter, as well as the stiffening rods from Badger - still had a solid 1/2" gap no matter how much I tried to reposition the top.
 
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