Toyota 4Runner Soft Top Options
[Return to the main Cheap Tricks page...]
There are a few commercial soft top options for the 1st generation
Kayline Mfg. made Soft Tops up through 2001
Kayline went out of business, however all their patterns and product
line were purchased by Specialty
Top Company in 2002
It seems STC may be out of business now as well.
Can-Back is the other soft top
option for the 1st generation 4Runner.
KillerToyTops until recently was making
a selection of 1st gen 4Runner soft tops, that business is for sale if anyone wants to take it over.
SoftTopper is apparently now
offering a 4Runner soft top
Downey Offroad (RIP) used
to have a couple of soft top options for the 1st gen 4Runners
I picked up a used Kayline soft top for my '85 4Runner. One drawback to
is was that you had to drill about 100 holes to mount the frame to the
body before you could install the top. When I got my used Kayline top,
it had been set up to avoid 90% of the drilling. Here's how it mounts:
As seen above, by riveting T-brackets to the Kayline frame to line up
with the stock shell mounting bolt holes, it is possible to use most of
the stock mounting holes to attach the Kayline top. Some screws are
still required at the ends of the Kayline frame, where it is too far
from the stock holes. Note how the T-brackets are bent and formed to
sit on top of the Kayline frame to allow it to stay in contact with the
body sheet metal. The rear window channel is still screwed on, but it
stays attached year round. I find I can install or remove my Kayline
top in under 30 minutes now.
Can't locate the tee-brackets or lack the equipment to drill and bend
them? No problem, an easy-to-install
hardware kit is available below.
[return to the top of this page]
Original Kayline soft top instructions
We do have a used Kayline top if anyone is interested.
The metal parts are in great shape and have our bracket kit already installed.
The vinyl top has seen better days and can be included to use as a pattern
to have a new top built. Any good awning or boat cover place should be able to
remake that top.
|A: Basic Hardware Kit
||B: Deluxe Hardware Kit
If you would like to convert your soft top to the quick installation
version shown above, a ready-to-install kit is available from 4Crawler Offroad to do just this.
Kit consists of 12 tee brackets, drilled and pre-bent to match up to the factory hard
top mounting holes, plus misc. steel bracket pieces, ready to pop-rivet
to your soft top frame:
Cost for the basic hardware kit is $110.00:
For owner's of the STC top, a deluxe hardware kit with 2 additional
tee-brackets for the cab sides is $130.00:
Adds 2 more of the left-most (C) brackets
You'll need a pop-rivet gun (pictured in B above, gun not included with
the kit) to install these, available at anyhardware store
US shipping cost is approx. $15.00 - $24.00 depending on destination
and kit ordered, international shipping will depend on the kit ordered
and destination country:
Installation is straight forward. If the soft top frame has already
been installed, just place each tee-bracket at a factory bolt location.
If the top has never been installed, attach it with a few screws to
hold in in place. The brackets are located as follows:
The 4 - 90 degree bend brackets go along the cab roof (brkt C)
The deluxe kit includes 2 addtional 90 degree brackets for the sides of
The 6 offset bend brackets go along the bed rails (3 per side, 1 at the
rear, 2 towards the front) (brkt B)
The 2 - 90 degree bend brackets attach the side rail to the pivot
bracket (1 per side) (brkt A)
The two flat bars reinforce the hinge point and tie it into the two
center factory bolt holes
Minor adjustmets to the bent brackets may be needed to line up to the
Bolt each bracket in place then, mark the location of the rivet holes
onto the soft top frame (2 per bracket).
Center punch and drill 1/8" holes for the pop-rivets.
Then insert a pop-rivet into the pop-rivet gun, push the rivet through
the holes, install a backing washer if needed and squeeze the pop-rivet
tool to set the rivet.
Repeat for each bracket and the flat bar pieces which are riveted to
the pivot bracket base with 2-4 rivets.
The pivot bracket may either be riveted or bolted (1/4" bolt) to
the tee bracket.
With this kit, you only have to use about a dozen sheet metal screws to
fasten the ends of the soft top brackets to the bed rails. Those holes
are all covered by the hard top when it is re-installed. Note that this
is only an installtion kit, not a complete soft top, for that you'll
need to supply your own.
[return to the top of this page]
Here's one option:
Parts needed (part numbers and prices circa 1998, likely higher today):
Jeep YJ Bikini Top (Standard Model) BESTOP # BST52508, ~$40
Jeep YJ Window Mount Kit (Attachment to the window for the Bikini)
STEELHORSE # 910001, ~$15
(2) 12"in long Steel or Aluminum angles (L Brackets), approx.
1"x1", 1/16"-1/8" thick
Available at most hardware stores
|Bikini Top: Rear View
||Bikini Top: Front View
Remove the 4Runner shell.
Then take the Jeep window mount strips and tape them together, thus
forming (1) piece.
Place this piece and line it up from Right to Left on the rear Hardtop
upper mount area. (this is the rear roof Area)
Once you have lined this piece up eyeball the overhang of extra
material on each side of the truck. Leave about 1"in of this piece
hanging over each side. Cut this extra channel off with a hacksaw.
After the extra lengths are cut off both of these pieces, place them
together again using tape and hold it up to the cab. After cutting this
piece it should line up good with the 1in" overhangs on each side.
Take a self tapping screw and drill each hole in the sheet metal, once
complete attach with the supplied screws to the cab of the 4Runner.
At this point you can slide the Bikini top into the channel that you
have just attached. Center the Bikini in the mount.
Pull the straps over the rear rollbar. At this point you can see what
the install is going to look like.
Included in the Bikini kit is (2) strap tie-downs for the rear straps.
Make small bends to each piece to better conform to the flat area where
the shell mounts on the 4Runner body. At this point place each piece
about an 1 1/2 in from the taillight (toward the cab) and drill the
holes and mount with screws. Complete this on each side.
With this being completed you can now attach the straps from the Bikini
to the strap tie downs. Pull down and synch up the Bikini as needed.
Leave a little slack as the button near the cab still needs to be
Next return to the one side of the Runner at the rear of the cab. You
will notice a stainless button hanging over the side on the Bikini. Now
a bracket has to be made to attach a button base and then secure it to
the side of the cab.
Each piece of steel will need to be about 12" long. You must first
mark and drill a hole for attaching this to the runner. If looking at
the Runner from the side where the shell mounts to the cab this"
L" channel of steel will mount to the factory bolt holes (Located
in the middle) Once you drill this hole in the steel ("L"
Brackets) you can mount this to the cab using one of your factory shell
With this done you can now pull the excess portion of the Bikini down
and mark a good place to drill and mount the button base on this
"L" piece of steel. When this is completed snap down your
button and Bam! your Bikini is installed.
Also, 4Crawler Offroad does not sell this bikini top, check with one of
the vendors above or try one of the on-line auction sites for used tops.
[return to the top of this page]
[Last updated: 04.May.2023]
[Initial creation: 18.MAY.2001]
Copyright© 2001- 2018 Roger Brown - All Rights Reserved, Content
of this page may not be reproduced without the permission of the author