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Old 01-14-2012, 05:30 PM   #1
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Freedom Top help?

I took my hard top off today to get the soft top out. After putting everything back, I was having a hard time lining up the freedom panels. Especially the left (passenger side) and this rear rubber lip that is showing.



I followed the directions exactly according to the manual and the slip on the visor of the Jeep from delivery.

1. place left side in place
2. secure front latch
3. secure rear corner latch
4. place right side
5. secure front latch
6. secure rear corner latch
7. secure front middle latch
8. secure rear middle latch
9. screw in rear anchor screw, hand tighten.

I must have gone through those steps 5 times on/off and each time I'm left with that little rubber lip and from the windshield the right panel is very slightly back (1/8"). I know if I can shift the panel forward slightly it would get rid of the rubber lip but once its in the guide pin, and even with no latches secured, the panel doesn't move at all. Am I missing something?

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Old 01-14-2012, 05:39 PM   #2
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I could be wrong but the left side is the driver's side. The driver's panel comes off first and goes back on last.

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Old 01-14-2012, 06:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celtic View Post
I could be wrong but the left side is the driver's side. The driver's panel comes off first and goes back on last.
Your right.. Flip everything around. I meant to say right when I said left. the new Jeep smell has me all mixed up.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matador View Post
Your right.. Flip everything around. I meant to say right when I said left. the new Jeep smell has me all mixed up.
Understood! Was the seal like that before you took the Freedom Panels off?
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:06 PM   #5
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Dual top setup? I got that but I prefer the soft top more than the hard top.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:07 PM   #6
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Matodor: that is definitely a leak waiting to happen.

When you lay the passenger panel down FIRST make sure there is nothing sticking out like that. Gently wiggle the panel before setting the locking tabs.

Do it just like the OM tells you.

In reading your list, it doesn't seem to be in the same order as mine...but maybe they have changed the procedure. On mine the rear passenger latch is closed first, with the windshield latch last. Then the driver panel....back, middle front.

I've found it helpful to also run my finger the length of the seals on both panels to make sure they are clear of debris.

While my 08 was 26 months old when I got it, the hard top had never been off of it. The first few times require a little extra care & attention. After a while the process becomes very easy to do.

Getting the sides reversed as your OP here may indicate there are other small details that might benefit from you close review.

But for sure get those panels repositioned.

My panels were so tight I though I'd never get them back on.....but when you know they are in exact proper position, the job suddenly becomes a LOT easier.

A couple time I had a small wind whistle because the front latch wasn't right....because I had erroneously tied down the rear of the panel without proper close alignment.

I learned to run my finger the length of the gap, as feeling any change was easier than SEEING wider/narrower spacing.

No big deal but leave it like that long enough & the seal will deform...then you have permanent leak or buy a new seal.

Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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Good stuff Jake. I'm going to check it out again today. Unfortunately I didn't look at it before removing the tops in order to compare but I took a look at my wife's jeep and that lip is there but its properly tucked in and doesn't stick out. The problem I was having was getting the pass. side to line up. I know if is I just shift it forward a bit it would be enough, but I tried before locking it down and it just wouldn't budge.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:48 PM   #8
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Well, I was able to fix it. After several more attempts of taking the freedom tops on/off in a variety of combinations and still not getting anywhere, I came to the conclusion that maybe the back part of the hard top was position slightly forward since I was only off by such a small amount. I unbolted the hard top and started trying to shift it back a hair. Its tough because the guide pins really don't allow for much movement but after doing that the freedom tops popped back on and were both square and flush.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:10 PM   #9
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Congratulations!
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:30 PM   #10
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And thanks for sharing. A lesson learned and shared here speaks volumes of the forum community.



Bob K.
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #11
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nicely done!!! welcome to the Wonder World of Wranglers....so called because one has to find a way to deal with unpredicted HS now & then....

On my own passenger panel, a little misalignment I didn't even see, but COULD feel with my fingertip, helped me diagnose and subtly rearrange the panels without going ballistic.....

still.....so much MORE enjoyment in all terrains than any thing else one wheels........
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:41 PM   #12
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It was driving me crazy. I must have reread the manual like 5 times and taken the panels on/off twice as many. The guide pins do a good job of locking everything in place and ensuring that it all lines up but if the hard top itself is misaligned even a small amount it throws everything off I guess.

Just for reference the first time I bolted the hard top back on I tightened the bolts in a crosss pattern. Left rear, right front etc. The second time since I was off on just the right (pass. side) I made sure to shift the top back the furthest I could and tightened that side up first. In any event that did the trick for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperJake View Post
nicely done!!! welcome to the Wonder World of Wranglers....so called because one has to find a way to deal with unpredicted HS now & then....
I know what you mean. Coming from the world of VWs I'm very familiar with resourcefulness and unexpected problems. I also have a good eye for details which I obsess over when something looks off.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:01 PM   #13
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One thing I noticed after putting the tops on per instructions - sometimes I can't get the rear threaded fasteners started because one or both panels are skewed.

To avoid that, I position the panels, insert the rear threaded fasteners just a couple threads to keep them from falling out. Then, as I apply the various clamps in order, I know the panels are straight because I can see and feel that the threaded fasteners are centered and loose. Then I snug those down knowing that they're not going to be cross threaded.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:01 AM   #14
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Also, don't over tighten the rear hand bolts...it's a leak waiting to happen. Just go tight enough that it pulls the roof down a touch- see an older post of mine for the trick I found. I'd type it out but I'm on my phone.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:19 PM   #15
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Your absolutely correct Rich. I clamped everything down and then hand tightened the rear bolts in an alternating fashion. Going back and forth between each to make sure the came down level together. One it was slightly snug I left it alone. I could have tightened it more but that would have lifted the fronts and cause a leak. It still hasn't rained so I'm not sure if I'm leak proof yet.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:40 PM   #16
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good point on the threaded fasteners....

I got tired of the long/tedious screw job every time I had the panels off & on....so I tried an experiment, leaving them out DURING THE SUMMER.

Never had any wind/water leaks during rain/lots of wash jobs/etc.

Left the screws out from July - November....then put passenger side in for a few weeks...then the driver side.

No issues. And while our monsoons have not hit full force yet, there's been plenty of hard rain & wind. Had about an inch of snow this morning.

I like the way the Freedom Top lashes down with multiple types of fastener systems.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:57 AM   #17
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I'm not 100% on leaving the them out entirely. I do feel they serve a purpose. Without them the rear par of the panels wouldn't sit as flush with the gaskets. It might be the fact that my jeep is new but the gaskets are quite large and if I just rest the tops on them without any compression they do bulge up a slight bit.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:40 PM   #18
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Does anyone have a picture of the seals with the driver's top removed; where the passenger panel, driver's panel, and rear part of the freedom top meet, there is a small, square gap on mine. Not sure if it's supposed to be there.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:06 PM   #19
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Bump
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:49 AM   #20
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My driver side freedom top cracked. The Rubicon 2 door 2012 is less then 2 months old and has 2,200 miles. The dealer warranted it. They caledl Saturday and I went to have them put it on. It wasn't painted. Now they have to resubmit it and then paint it. I'm worried that the paint and the clear coat won't be as good as factory. It cracked on the outside above the screw in bolt. It kinda looks like it delaminated under the paint. It was back ordered and took almost a month to get. Maybe more have problems?

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