By Jon Maib
If you have checked out Project Vulture over on our projects page, you may have read that this project gives us a chance to show you things you can do for cheap and where to spend the money. We needed a new top for Vulture as the factory one was beginning to tear and was starting to leak when it rained. Not wanting to spend a ton of money, we started checking out our favorite online catalogs for a good top at a good price. We liked the fastback styling and began to focus on the Pavement Ends Sprint Top.

Pavement Ends is owned by Bestop and we have a Bestop sailcloth top on our Jeep TJ and it has been awesome for more than 15 years (it's showing its age now, but has held up quite well and have had no problems with it when it was younger). The Sprint Top is made from sailcloth as well and has the small price tag of $480 (Compared to the Bestop Trek Top at $551 or the NX model at $729). Seemed like a no brainer to us.

The Sprint top uses your factory soft top header and tail gate bar (if you don't have a soft top, you will need to order those seperately). The top came in and only took about 2 hours to install. Instructions were well written and the top went together smoothly, and most of all, sure looked nice. The Sprint Top doesn't use any of the factory soft top frame and sits flush against the roll bars giving it a clean, smooth look.

We like the look of the top and love the ability to flip the top back or configure the top as a bikini top by removing doors and rear windows. Top does seem to be decent quality and well made, but lets talk about design. There was some poor planning when it comes to how flat this top sits and when it rains. The Sprint Top becomes a kiddie pool and the water puts so much weight into the middle of the top, it cause the top to pull away and allows water to get inside your cab. It's never good when you take a corner and a bunch of water comes pouring over onto the wife.

We called Bestop support to discuss this with them. They walked through the instructions with us to ensure the top was put together correctly and that no steps were missed. After talking with them for 30 min or so, we were left with, "well, that's just how the top was designed, but, you can buy the additional supports we provide with the Bestop Trek Top that will fix that issue" (an additional $100). While at SEMA this year, We stopped in the Bestop booth to discuss this with them a bit more. They told us that the Pavement Ends line was developed to compete with the cheaper aftermarket products from Japan. They even recommended purchasing a 'Top Prop' from Skid Row Offroad (which again, would be an additional $95).

After several large storms here in Texas, we grew tired of the pools on our top and the inside getting wet. After pondering a solution, we came up with a $10 fix. It is such a simple solution, why it's not included in the original design is beyond us, but here is all you will need to do to fix it:

Run to Home Depot and buy a flat 6' - 1" X 1/8" steel bar. Then measure where you want the top prop to go (We put ours 1' from header bar). After marking your spot on both sides, grab a Dremel with a cutoff wheel and cut a rectangle notch to fit the flat bar.

Next, cut the 6' flat stock to about 58" and do a test fit. Here is ours, it sat in there perfect and had a nice little bow to it.

Then, clean up the soft top bars with a little black paint and paint the flat stock so it doesn't rust (We used whatever paint we had laying around).

Once ours was dry, we put it back together, locked the top down, grabbed our garden hose and gave it a test.

Our $10 fix worked perfectly with no issues and still allows us to put the top back without having the bar going across our heads. We also drove it around at higher speeds to see if we would get any flapping noises or vibrations. We couldn't even tell it was there. Fix took us about 30 min to do and now we sit here scratching our head wondering why this cheap fix isn't part of the original top. We will probably do the back as well, but this was simply a proof of concept.

So, if you want to save some cash and get a top that comes complete with a kiddie splash pool, the Sprint Top isn't horrible but, you will probably want to follow our lead and make a top prop to keep your top from pooling and stretching allowing water to get in your cab. Our recommendation though, is to spend a bit more money on a better top. If we have to purchase a top for this Jeep again, or any of our other Jeeps, I can assure you, we will not be buying a Pavement Ends top and will spend the extra money on a higher quality top.

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