Go with the Hard Top on a JL

If installing a J30 on a 2018 to current year Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JL Model), is it better to add the camper to a Hard Top or Soft Top Jeep?

The key thing is that installing a J30 does not require utilizing any parts or components from the OEM Hard or Soft tops, and it doesn’t matter how the Jeep came from the factory the J30 camper will bolt right on. 

There are really 2 key considerations to our recommendation

1. The wiper / defrost is included when ordering a JL J30.  The camper will come with the wiper, harness and tube to connect to the OEM connectors in the left side rear corner.   

These OEM connectors are installed at the factory if the Jeep was built with a hard top (or with the dual top package). If the Jeep was a soft top from the factory, it will not have the harness, pump, or switch on the dash to operate the wiper, defroster and wiper fluid nozzle. 

The parts are available to retrofit the wiper controls and washer system to a soft top Jeep. 

  • The price to retrofit these parts can be quite expensive.  Instructions on how to retrofit the parts are available from Jeep, most dealers will quote this retrofit at $1000 or more!
  • If the owner installs the parts, the Jeep still must go to a dealer to have the computer re-flashed to enable functionality.

2. Once the camper is installed, many owners will sell off the old top (or Ursa Minor can give you a credit for it when the camper is installed)

  • Used OEM hard tops go for $500 - $1000 on the used market assuming all the parts are there. If you have the bag for the Freedom Panels, even better.
  • Soft tops can be harder to sell, especially as they age - typical prices might be $100 for a brand new one with no missing parts.

In both cases, starting from a factory equipped Hard Top is an advantage, allowing full wiper function (if desired) and delivering a better resale value when sold.