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Old 05-02-2014, 11:49 AM   #1
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Change top color to mitigate interior heat?

Hello all!

Anybody tried painting the tops of the freedom panels / rear top a lighter color in order to somewhat diminish interior heat??....Summer is on its way (southwest Texas!), and full top removal is not an option on my daily driver, which sits unattended in the sun for long hours everyday.

I'm thinking maybe painting just the top/center parts of the panels and rear section to increase reflectiveness a bit.

Any input???

I already have a pair of krylon for plastic white paint cans, masking tape and not afraid to use them….might just get to it this afternoon.

Comments or ‘donts’ before I dive in???

Thanks!

SP

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Old 05-02-2014, 12:19 PM   #2
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I thought about it. A friend of mine said he made some headliner type insulation out of the foam with reflective material used in home construction and wrapped it in nice fabric. Then used velcro to attach it to the inside of the hardtop. I just bought a bikini top and hang it in the garage during the summer. I works good here in Southern CA because it is a desert and hardly rains in the summer.

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Old 05-02-2014, 01:31 PM   #3
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There is a really old thread somewhere around here where I think UpHillBill measured the temps of the tops. Or maybe that was for his Hotheads.

Someone else in Arizona had either a Dozer or Crush JKU and painted their hard top white to help reduce heat.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:35 PM   #4
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They sell white plastidip. If you paint or dip everything up to about 2" from the edge you won't even know the roof is white unless you're above it. It not loo bad. Minis and FJ's have it and those cars sell so they can't be that bad
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:44 PM   #5
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There are photos on the web of owners using this exact technique on JKs.

Make sure you prep the current paint surface. The stock black pain is flat but it does have some type of sealer. If you are just experimenting this might be the perfect case for plasti dip.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:49 PM   #6
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I was much into this idea, but quickly realized that it's much better to buy a used top off a wrecked Sahara. That, obviously, is not an easy proposition, as I have a 2-door and body-colored 2-door tops are exceedingly rare. Well, jeep parts are rare in general.

That was 4 years ago. Meanwhile, I had to deal with it somehow, so I bought Hothead headliners, and they helped a lot.

Also, I installed a hoist in my garage, that allows me to pop the top off at any opportunity. Only takes 7 minutes.
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:00 PM   #7
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Hey!

Thanks for the kind replies....

What the heck...Im going for it.....already removed the drivers freedom panel and masked it.....Im leaving about 3-6" of black perimeter. The idea is to minimize the white area from being visible from eye level.

Should start painting in the next hour. Got IR thermometer ready, hope I can get the paint dry enough to re-install the panel and still some sun to get some preliminary numbers.

Will keep you all posted....

SP
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:04 PM   #8
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Anyone tried those "radiant barrier" for home? It's grey in color so might not look too bad.
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:03 PM   #9
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I did an owner install of some closed cell camping sleep pads, and glued them to the inside front panels. Works great. Have to respray the glue a few times a year. Now in my 4th year, still using original spray can of 3M 90 adhesive spray. I've since learned of an even better adhesive.

Total cost has been under $30 including the dead-end of heavy-duty velcro tabs glued on roof.

Sure it still gets hot inside in the sun but head=heat is no longer an issue as it was before. My 08 has thinner panels than more recent design.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:22 PM   #10
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Hey!

Driver side panel done. Applied like 4 heavy-ish coats....looks nice!
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:26 PM   #11
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Hey!

Panel is installed.....looks kind of unattractive from this angle, but I did verify the white area is NOT visible from "street" level. Gotta say Im not too tall (5'8"), maybe someone over 6 ft could see it, but at my height (Stock suspension) it is invisible.....
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #12
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Let is know how it works.

Maybe take the temps between a painted side and non-painted side?
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:32 PM   #13
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Hey!

I did look into the available inner insulation kits, but before heading in that direction I wanted to take a more proactive approach in regards to trying to reflect off some heat before it becomes soaked into the top material and radiating to the inside. (Somehow keep heat from coming in in the first place)

I am letting it get some more sun, then will be taking some temp measurements ...will post pics.
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:51 PM   #14
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great---nice project comparison
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:56 PM   #15
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just put some solar panels on-top and call it a day , kill 2 birds with 1 stone
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:44 PM   #16
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Chrome!!!!
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:32 PM   #17
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Hey!

Solar panels!!...jajaja...now that would be awesome!

Ok, so even though testing day was not the best for this purpose (unseasonably cool for this time of year, should be low to mid 90s by now), with an outside temp of low 80s and gusts to 15 mph, the results are pretty awesome!!

First: Palm of hand test (calibrated, of course..jaja)....after a couple of hours sitting in the sun...doors and windows closed, hopped in, touched passenger panel...removed hand at 3 seconds because of high heat, tried again, lasted 5 seconds before removing hand in pain.

Touched driver panel, felt warm....was able to hold hand against inner panel indifinetly. Looked very promising at this point.

However, letting the infrared thermometer do the talking...heres what I got....
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:57 PM   #18
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Passenger side panel....
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:59 PM   #19
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Driver (Painted) side panel.....
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:09 PM   #20
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Hey!

So the outside painting does seem to make a significant difference in heat inside the panels!

I will still do some more testing when it could really make a difference in this area (Still got to test it at 95-105 or so....after all day in the sun), I'd really like to se the impact there.

So I'm sold on it.....however, there's two things now making me think.....

The first is I do not know at this point how durable this paint will be (flaking????..turning yellow), and though its on one side only at this point, and therefore looking very unsymmetrical, I'm not too sure about the white color for those few instances when it is visible (Like standing on the sidewalk net to parked Jeep), not that I terribly care, but cosmetics are a slight factor nonetheless).....

So the two outstanding questions now for me are:

1) Should I stop with the rattle cans and do it in a more pro way using real automotive paint by a shop? (More permanent, paint that will take the heat - literally)

2) Should I try a more fitting color (Like metallic gray) to better match the wheels, wrangler decals and future bumper appliques??? (Yes, most likely will do the gray color thing).

Will post more results as I do more testing!

Later!
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:40 AM   #21
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This is a cool experiment....pun intended!

Anyway, I like where you're going with this, but I think it'd be worth testing the inside liner insulation as well, like from Hothead. It would be interesting to see a comparison of the two and then how much cooler it is with both.

You've got one panel done, so you might as well keep going with it. I'd keep with the white, as there's no better color to do this experiment with.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:56 PM   #22
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Hey!

Well the white on black top contrast just wasn't doing it for me....even on the 10% of the times it would be visible, so I now have painted both front panels GRAY METALLIC.

I like the way they look much more than white, and at least somehow relate to the wheels and bumper appliques....
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:02 PM   #23
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Also had much more time to test and measure.....
Outside temp was around 90 f, and the Jeep sat about 6 hours in full sun (from about 9AM to 3 PM), so this time it got almost 3 times as much sun exposure!

Since both front panels are now painted, now the comparison is front driver, front passenger, and rear (non painted) section of top....

The gap seems to have increased slightly to about 30-something degrees difference.....
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:52 PM   #24
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I have thought about this. Keep the test coming once you paint the back.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:39 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkjeeper06 View Post
Minis and FJ's have it
I've owned a Mini with a white top and have had two Minis with black tops. I can confirm that the white top makes a huge difference in the summer.

I also used to have an FJ (and actually really miss the white top).

If you don't mind the look, painting part of the top seems like a really good solution.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:13 AM   #26
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Personally, I would extend the paint all the way to the center and rear seals on the freedom panels and up to the front seal on the main roof panel. That way the roof would just have one large grey rectangle painted in the middle of it.
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:03 AM   #27
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I'm thinking the best paint would be the type that's used on roofs for commercial buildings, busses, trailers, mobile homes, ect. That said it's probably only sold in 5 gallon buckets, heck a sample would be enough for a jeep top.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:46 PM   #28
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Well the white on black top contrast just wasn't doing it for me....even on the 10% of the times it would be visible, so I now have painted both front panels GRAY METALLIC.
Is it the same "krylon for plastic" that you mentioned before?

It would be awesome if you updated this thread in a year or so with the results. If you don't mind, I can poke you with a PM.

-- Pete
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:51 PM   #29
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Hey!

Brandy...thats a good idea...it would give more of a one piece look, though I like the multiple part thing...

Zaitceb......no, I did not use the krylon for plastic on the grey color......I actually painted both panels white with the for plastic paint, then taped the same and used regular indoor / outdoor metallic gray spray paint for the top coat.....holding up great so far.....

sure!!!!...ask anytime.......I will be following up some more when I do the rear, but I will wait for a month or two before diving into that part....

I will also do some more temp measuring as I found something interesting in regards to the heat and how quickly these tops cool down after starting movement....

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