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Old 04-09-2013, 03:57 PM   #1
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Cannot get Soft Top to windshield latches

Hi all,

Newb here. Just got my first Jeep, 2013 JKU sport. I ordered it with the dual top group and this weekend my husband and I tried to do as we were told and remove one of the tops. Since we are in CA and it's practically summer, we decided to go with the soft top. After a long, irritating time of figuring out how to install the door pieces (since there is no mention of it in the manual that we could find, and NO instructions in the box), we ran into another issue.

We can't get the front of the top close enough to latch the windshield latches. It's about a quarter inch away from the little hooks latching the bar. Don't have the rear corners set up yet, tried leaving the Jeep in the sun to warm up the canvas... Nothing. Seriously, this is becoming so infuriating.

Anyone have any advice? I would be so so appreciative.

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:00 PM   #2
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If you have the latches all the way loose but clipped on the header latches(hooked but open latches) even before you put in the retainer clips in the rear of the jeep that will help

So hook the header in but don't clamp it
Hook the rear retainers In
Zip in windows
Latch the header latches

That will make it much easier for you

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:05 PM   #3
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since you haven't snapped in the rear sail panels, the front hooks should reach. Are you sure the latches are fully extended? the latch opens 180 degrees. If you're still struggling push up and forward on the windshield header (where it has the warning sticker) while latching.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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We can't get the header latches to hook onto the bar, even with the latch itself open wide. We've tried pushing, shoving, pulling, and putting some push from above.. Nothing works.

Could we have gotten the plastic around-the-door pieces wrong? Everything seals up seamlessly and the bolts all fit in. The hinge on the soft top that sits between the doors is hooked onto the metal peg.. Are we doing it wrong somehow?
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #5
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MY thought was that perhaps you installed the door surrounds wrong (but its hard to install them wrong and still have the holes line up). Try removing the surrounds and see if the top reaches.

Silly question but I hope you are doing this with the windows removed?
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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Had the same issue with my 2012 JKU last year. Took to dealer bc I didn't know about these forums. He showed me a trick with the front latches when the top is new.

Move front seats all the way forward. Use seat to push against your back while u push the latch and surrounding area forward enough to catch.

Had to do this two or three times before it loosened up for good.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastek View Post
Blastek, your PDF is actually what we used to get our door surrounds on in the first place since we couldn't find any other instructions. So thanks!! Still, the front top doesn't reach.

Someone mentioned the windows. They are not on when we are trying to do this. I've put the side windows on to ride 'Sunrider' style to get to work, but have taken them off when we have tried again.

Someone mentioned trying it without the door surrounds to see if it reached, and it doesn't. We found out about the door surrounds that way because the top wouldn't reach and the hinge along the doors seemed iffy (without the surrounds). Our dealer said one box was the side windows and the other was the rear window, so we didn't even look and realize there were more pieces in them until later... Total face palm moment. Stupid dealer.

The only thing I can think of is if the hinge isn't supposed to hook onto this peg.. I'm attaching pictures. Does this look right to you all?
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michwags19 View Post
Had the same issue with my 2012 JKU last year. Took to dealer bc I didn't know about these forums. He showed me a trick with the front latches when the top is new.

Move front seats all the way forward. Use seat to push against your back while u push the latch and surrounding area forward enough to catch.

Had to do this two or three times before it loosened up for good.
Thanks! I'll try that. Didn't think to move the seats.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyn View Post
Blastek, your PDF is actually what we used to get our door surrounds on in the first place since we couldn't find any other instructions. So thanks!! Still, the front top doesn't reach.

Someone mentioned the windows. They are not on when we are trying to do this. I've put the side windows on to ride 'Sunrider' style to get to work, but have taken them off when we have tried again.

Someone mentioned trying it without the door surrounds to see if it reached, and it doesn't. We found out about the door surrounds that way because the top wouldn't reach and the hinge along the doors seemed iffy (without the surrounds). Our dealer said one box was the side windows and the other was the rear window, so we didn't even look and realize there were more pieces in them until later... Total face palm moment. Stupid dealer.

The only thing I can think of is if the hinge isn't supposed to hook onto this peg.. I'm attaching pictures. Does this look right to you all?


This looks perfect. If this part lines up then you should be good to go with the latches at the front. Put some muscle into it!
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:52 PM   #11
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Quick setup
1. First lay the top out in the sun to soften it up
2. Next install the door surrounds the L shape goes over the rear door and the straight bar goes over the front doors
3. Tighten down the screw knobs "long screws on the front and back then short screw in the middle".
4. Lay the soft top over the roll cage, attach the arms to the roll cage.
5. Pull the header latches all the way out and hook to the footman loops "note that the latch hooks can be extended by pulling the hook forward and flipping that latch locker in the opposite direction". Note do not lock the latches just hook them in place.
6. Then install the rear tailgate retainer brackets then attach the rear sail panels
7. Now with the rear panels installed lock the windshield latches "slowly lock them"
8. Let the top sit for a bit in the sun about 15min
9. Install the side windows, zipper the top of the window but not the sides, yet. Attach the plastic clip on the bottom of the window to the body of the jeep. Tuck the door side of the window by tucking the plastic strip into the groove" the plastic rail fold over and then push the edge into the grove. Once the top and bottom are positioned zip the side of the window and press the side to attach the Velcro.
10. Now install the rear window, attach the rear window to the tail gate bar. Slide the plastic cord on the rear window onto the round groove on the tailgate bar.
11. Now pull the inner rear sail panel exposing the tailgate retainer clip.
12. Now install the tailgate bar by pushing it into the retainer clips. "should slide in easily"
13. Now zip the window in starting left to right.

That's it In a nut shell.
Good luck.
Oh it sounds like a lot of instructions but in time these steps only take 10min

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:55 PM   #12
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It shouldn't be that hard to latch them. Make sure the rear corners are undone, an also is the sides by the doors are popped into place pop them back out, then pushes the middle of the top forward till its where it needs to be. Make sure the latch is all the way extended as far as it will go, pull the small clip towards the hooking area then push the latch closed an you should be able to put the rest on after that

And x2 on the above post should help a lot as well
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:59 PM   #13
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I had hard time getting latches to catch too. I had friend sit in front seat pushing while I hopped in back seat and pushed at same time. Once we got the driver's side latched the other one went in easily!
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyn View Post
Hi all,

Newb here. Just got my first Jeep, 2013 JKU sport. I ordered it with the dual top group and this weekend my husband and I tried to do as we were told and remove one of the tops. Since we are in CA and it's practically summer, we decided to go with the soft top. After a long, irritating time of figuring out how to install the door pieces (since there is no mention of it in the manual that we could find, and NO instructions in the box), we ran into another issue.

We can't get the front of the top close enough to latch the windshield latches. It's about a quarter inch away from the little hooks latching the bar. Don't have the rear corners set up yet, tried leaving the Jeep in the sun to warm up the canvas... Nothing. Seriously, this is becoming so infuriating.

Anyone have any advice? I would be so so appreciative.
Hqd the same problem today lol. There are two latches on the side just above the doors pinch it then pull the roof forwar eyeball it and un pinch it when it lines up witj the hole in the top. Hope this helps sorry I dinldnt know the tech names for the parts also youtube how to on the tops they will walk you through good luck
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michwags19 View Post
Had the same issue with my 2012 JKU last year. Took to dealer bc I didn't know about these forums. He showed me a trick with the front latches when the top is new.

Move front seats all the way forward. Use seat to push against your back while u push the latch and surrounding area forward enough to catch.

Had to do this two or three times before it loosened up for good.
This worked so easily. Man, after all that pushing and shoving that two grown men did and still didn't get it, this worked SO easily for little average-woman-sized me and I fiiiiinally got it latched. Thank you so much for the tip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augichef View Post
10. Now install the rear window, attach the rear window to the tail gate bar. Slide the plastic cord on the rear window onto the round groove on the tailgate bar.
11. Now pull the inner rear sail panel exposing the tailgate retainer clip.
12. Now install the tailgate bar by pushing it into the retainer clips. "should slide in easily"
13. Now zip the window in starting left to right.
Thanks Augi - this really helped with the rear window.

Thanks everyone for the help in general!! I knew I would find my answer here. I'm so excited to be part of the Jeeper family.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:05 PM   #16
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We dealt with the same issue a few days ago when we took off the hard top for the summer and put on the soft top for the first time.

We opened the top going to lunch today and almost never got it latched back down again. The clamps kept coming up about 1/4" short with both of us pushing on it. I hope it gets a bit easier after it stretches for a few days. I don't think my wife and daughter could latch it themselves if they got caught out in the rain.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:11 PM   #17
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The front clamps open.... Like a lever idea ... Take a closer look at the front clamps. They are two pieces.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by RedSectorA View Post
We dealt with the same issue a few days ago when we took off the hard top for the summer and put on the soft top for the first time.

We opened the top going to lunch today and almost never got it latched back down again. The clamps kept coming up about 1/4" short with both of us pushing on it. I hope it gets a bit easier after it stretches for a few days. I don't think my wife and daughter could latch it themselves if they got caught out in the rain.
RedSector - try having your wife and daughter move the front seats all the way forward. Then use the seat back for leverage. The angle must be just right because I was able to do both latches by myself just now.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:41 PM   #19
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First everything is backwards in CA.

Second, do a search on youtube for st install. A video does wonders and you will spot the step you missed before we do with pictures.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyn View Post
RedSector - try having your wife and daughter move the front seats all the way forward. Then use the seat back for leverage. The angle must be just right because I was able to do both latches by myself just now.


Here is a video you may find helpful for a refresher
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:06 PM   #21
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Only have one thing to "add"...Have had Jeeps since '94, and ST's only since '04.....

But when we got my wife's '12 JK and used the "sun-rider" it was a major PIA to pull back shut....until I figured out the pins weren't "set" in the top bow on the door surrounds.....check your manuals and shoot some pics...compare Pics to what it SHOULD look like....the new tops work nice when you know how they are s'posed to work!!
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:12 PM   #22
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The video helps, but what about when you only open the sunrider? Is there any easier way to get the front latches to engage? We will try moving the front seats forward to get a bit more leverage.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:15 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSectorA View Post
The video helps, but what about when you only open the sunrider? Is there any easier way to get the front latches to engage? We will try moving the front seats forward to get a bit more leverage.
Sounds like you are fighting the same issue we did first time....make sure pins are "locked in place" above door surrounds on top bow.......it is ALMOST impossible to get it to latch without those pins in place......
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:32 PM   #24
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Thanks for that. We will check out the pins the next time we open the top up.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:35 PM   #25
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I'm a first time jeep owner

When I first installed the soft top and used it, it was a VERY tight fit

I ended up latching the front first, THEN pulling the rear corners (with my wife helping pull down the bows). I left it on for 1 week before unlatching, and it was STILL a tight fit when I tried to latch

It eases up after a good summer of use, it's good now
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:13 AM   #26
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We just fought the tightness of a new one all weekend too and finally got it installed minus the windows, but it's been warm enough in PA to go w/o the last few. Installed windows Tuesday and the zippers fought too but are on now except for about the last 4-5 inches on the back window. At this point we'll just leave evrything installed for a while so it can hopefully loosen up.

I will say too I like the soft top a lot better than the hard.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:25 AM   #27
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Ours came with a dvd about the features of the jeep, here is a basic video.

My Jeep: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Soft Top Guide

Select your model to the left, then reveiw the tasks that are located on the lefthand side.

Site has some useful information for new Jeep owners.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:01 AM   #28
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The first time is a struggle, I actually used a pair of channel locks (wrapped in electrical tape) to close the gap the first time, but once it stretches, it will be much easier.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:35 AM   #29
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I know the new premium top gave me a lot more trouble then older style top when we first put it on. I couldn't get clamped and had to take it to dealer. He said cold weather makes it shrink up and makes it difficult first couple of times. Had no problem once it was on for a couple of days. Warm weather should help out.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:35 AM   #30
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RedSector - try having your wife and daughter move the front seats all the way forward. Then use the seat back for leverage. The angle must be just right because I was able to do both latches by myself just now.
Jyn,

Thanks so much for sharing this. We tried this a few minutes ago and it made closing the latches easy! What a difference.

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