- Article/photo's courtesy of
- Neil Pickett
Kayline Manufacturing has been in the Soft-Top business for a long time. They have proved many times that they can create a Soft-Top that will last for years. The new Kayline Fast-Trac top is no exception. Kayline took the standard Snap style Soft-Top and upgraded it. This not only makes for a better-looking top, but it is functional as well. The top now has less wind noise, less drilling, and more functionality than the previous top. The previous top is still a favorite among many, but the new Fast-Trac Soft-top is on its way to being even more popular than its predecessor is.
Fasttrac Soft Top
Fasttrac Soft Top
Fast-Trac Top Information
The top comes complete, ready to install on your application with detailed installation instructions. The new top has been designed with the consumer in mind. Less drilling is required for ease of installation and for aesthetics when you remove the Soft-Top for re-installation of the hard top. Standard removable side window panels and rear window zips out or can be rolled up depending on your preference. The “controversial” 5-window design aids in visibility for backing up on the street or on trails and is standard. At no extra charge, Kayline also manufacturers a traditional 3 window design and the top folds down like a convertible without removing the bows.
Kayline Color Selection
The windows come standard with 2% tint and are available in 31% tint. The top is available in the standard 10 Kayline colors available: Black, Black Denim, Blue Denim, White, Ultra White, Charcoal, Spice, Almond, Dark Tan, and Red. Color swatches are available from the manufacturer for free so you can match your application before selecting a top.
The installation instructions are very well written and informative. They are essential to installing the Soft-top. I started by reading the instructions thoroughly and gathering all the tools needed for the installation. I removed the Soft-top material from the packaging and spread it out finished side down on the grass. This helps the installation by pre-heating the fabric making it somewhat pliable. It also helps to “iron” out the folds from the packing process. Next, I carefully removed the hard top and placed it out of the way in preparation for storing it for the summer. Save all your factory bolts in a plastic bag and tape it to the inside of your hard top for future installation. Kayline provides all the hardware needed to install the Soft-top. I installed the bedside tracks first; they fit perfect in the factory holes. I then installed the tailgate tracks complying with the instructions. This track must be installed ¼” down from the top of the tailgate. This is roughly the bottom of the track right on the top of the factory bodyline. The track must be centered, horizontally on the tailgate.
Next, I installed the cab track. This track came pre-bent to mach the shape of my cab. I drilled holes, using the track as a template, and installed all the screws. This is one feature that makes the installation a breeze. The tracks that require drilling are all pre-drilled so there is no guesswork or measuring needed for screw spacing. I was able to hold the track tightly in place and drill the holes while my father followed behind with a cordless drill with a Phillips head bit. It installed in minutes. The next part needed for installation was the bow mounting brackets. These brackets mount on the top of the bedside with two (2) ½” screws per side. These must be installed in holes drilled into your bedside. This assures that your bows are tight to the bedside at all times. The installation of these brackets required a measurement from the cab corner back to a spot on the bedside at 34 ½”. The bedside track has a rectangle slot cut into it for the installation of this bracket, making the installation almost a no-brainer. Now, a ½” hole must be drilled in the cab near the body seam. The instructions detail where to drill this hole, 1” above the body seam and centered on the cab surface.
I then installed the rear bow locking mechanism and the rear bow. The bows come in two pieces per bow. Assemble the bows according to the instructions. Mount the rear bow (straight bow, see diagrams in the instructions) to the center holes in the bow locks and let it rest on the rear of the bedside track. Next install the front bow into the front set of holes provided in the bow bracket. This bow must mount with the two prop rod holes facing forward and the bend facing rearward. This bend is factory bent to clear the bow locking mechanism when the bow is folded rearward for a convertible look. The Soft-top material is removed for this style of operation. Now place the two prop rods into the ½” holes drilled previously in the cab and the factory holes in the front bow. I found that my Soft-top frame cleared the factory roll bar on the rear of my truck and my 35” spare mounted inside on the factory carrier.
You are now ready to install the Soft-top material onto the frame. First, I flipped over the now flattened material on the grass. I used some 303 protectant on the Soft-top and windows as described in the instructions. I then positioned the Soft-top material, finished side down on the cab of the truck. You should situate the top so that the plastic strip sown into the fabric is near the cab track and the rear of the top is lying over your windshield. Install the top into the track as described in the instructions. Center the Soft-top horizontally in the track, and then fold the Soft-top material over the bows. I then climbed inside the truck and snapped the top onto the bow mounting snaps. The Soft-top material is then stretched to the corners of the bedsides near the tailgate and fastened to the tailgate track and the rear of the bedside track.
It is starting to take shape. You then install each side window by starting the zipper near the front and then snapping the top in the track on the front and bottom. Zip shut the window almost to the end of the zipper. Go to the other side and repeat these steps on the second side window. Next, reach into the top and grab the rear bow locking mechanism and pull the bow backward till it locks. Now finish zipping the window shut and fastening the Velcro flap to the side of the Soft-top. Repeat this on the first side window. You can now install the rear window by zipping the window into the Soft-top and then fastening the bottom of the window to the tailgate track. Step back and take a look. You are now the proud owner of a Kayline Fast Trac Soft-top.
Removing and re-installing the sides
All the Parts
Holes drilled in bedsides
All the Parts
Holes drilled in bedsides
After you have mastered the installation of the top, you will now need to learn how to remove the sides and rear window. It is pretty self explanatory. Detach the Velcro portion of the window from the main top. Next, unzip the side window. The zipper pull should be near the lower rear portion of the window. Pull the top from the cab track in the front. Then release the bottom portion of the top from the bedside track. Fold the window and place it in the provided protective case. Repeat for the other side. The rear window can either be zipped out or partially zipped up and rolled into the provided roll straps. The straps are attached permanently to the top, but can be either snapped together when not in use. Be careful when handling your windows, they can scratch easily.
Installation of the windows is in the reverse order. I start by releasing the rear bow from its locked position. Then I affix the Velcro loosely to the rear of the window opening. This helps you hold the top in place when seating the zipper pull. Seat the zipper pull then continue pulling rearward to the corner of the window zipper. I then install the front of the window into the cab track. Next, install the lower window into the bedside track. Be sure to pull rearward to insure a snug fit and to remove wrinkles. I then reach in through the rear of the side window in the space you provided by not completely zipping the top shut. Grab the rear bow and lock it into place by pulling backward on the bow lock. Next, zip the top completely shut and affix the Velcro snugly. Be sure to poke the upper portion of the side window into the "drip rail" to keep rain away from the zipper.
The rear window reinstalled easily. Seat the two zippers in the lower left side (driver side) of the rear window opening. Then grab the top zipper pull by the string and zip the window shut. Install the bottom of the window into the tailgate track. Be sure to re-snap your window roll straps back into the provided button to keep them out of the way. See the photos below.
Zipper pull seated
Rear Bow (unlocked)
Zipper pull seated
Rear Bow (unlocked)
After the Soft-top installation, it was time for a road test. I wanted to do a test that would be helpful to the consumer when considering the purchase of a Fast-Trac Soft-top. I used a Sound Level Meter for this test. A Sound Level Meter measures area noise and other sound levels. I wanted to compare the sound levels of the factory Hardtop to the newly installed Soft-top. I set up the test removing anything in my interior that was loose and may cause false readings such as flashlights, chains, straps and other accessories that I carry. I then drove down a two-lane highway that was not too busy. I took the readings at 60 MPH. The first reading with the Hardtop was 85dB. On my return trip, I measured the reading at the same stretch of road but in the opposite lane. The return trip was also 85dB. After installing the Soft-top, I again took readings at 60 MPH on the same stretch of road. To my amazement, the reading was less. The first reading was 83dB and the return trip confirmed it at 83dB. The meter was placed in the exact same place each time; I used the same stretch of highway, and the same speed. I am still amazed at this finding, it does have a lot to do with the quality of the top.
I drove a 4-hour trip with the top installed and never heard any flapping of the top. During this 4-hour trip, I unexpectedly drove into a downpour. It was raining hard enough; other vehicles were pulling off the highway because of visibility issues. This was an added bonus to do this type of test on the top. I noticed a small leak between the seam of the cab track and the cab when traveling in this downpour. Granted the storm that I drove into was a lot of rain and I doubt that any Soft-top would keep water out in these circumstances. I have since remedied this problem by removing the Soft-top material and sealing the underside of the track with a small amount of silicone sealer. The problem with the leaking was not with the top design, but with my installation. As long as you provide a good seal between the cab track and the cab, you will not experience any problems with water leaks. The Kayline Fast-Trac when installed correctly, creates a “rain gutter” system that will keep the water out. The side windows even have a pocket that the top of the window fits in, to create a drip edge for the top. I have piece of mind, knowing I can put things in the back of my Blazer and have them dry from the elements.
Off-road performance was improved also. Installing this top removed approximately 300 pounds from the weight of my vehicle. This is a lot of weight and the performance gain is similar to adding more horsepower to your engine. My passengers are now cooler but still covered from the sun and from dropping bugs in the woods. I have found the vehicle is less top-heavy in corners and on hill climbs. I would also assume my fuel mileage will go up because of less weight.
I am very pleased with the looks and fit of my new Kayline Fast-Trac Soft-top. The top installs easily, requiring little time when the directions are followed. I have yet to hear any flapping of the top when the windows are installed. You will get some road noise when the windows are removed, but the top holds its shape nicely. The top comes with a matching storage case for the side windows, which can be zipped out for a “Safari” look. The rear window either zips out completely or can be rolled up in the provided hangers. Vehicle performance is increased and weight is reduced. Passengers are now cooler and protected from the sun but still feel they are in full view of the surroundings. With the sides on, I have better visibility from the longer side windows and the rear quarter windows. The tint option helps keep my interior cooler when I get in the truck in the heat. The tint also hides my accessories carried in the back of the truck.
Kayline has done their homework, providing us with a good quality top. They are conscious of the consumer, by pricing and ease of installation. They offer color swatches free before you order your top, so you match your vehicle color. They also offer the many options listed in this review. Please feel free to contact Kayline directly or contact one of their distributors. You will be happy that you did.
- Kayline Manufacturing **Out of business**
200 E. 64th Ave.
Denver CO. 80221