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Old 05-22-2013, 01:40 AM   #1
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Newbie JK Soft Top questions...

I've had her for about 2 months now. I have some basic questions because I know barely anyone with a Jeep.

1. Soft Top vs Highway : I've noticed, depending on the pressure in the jeep, driving at speeds sometimes the windows are sucked it/pulled out based on if the glass windows are up or down. Sometimes they get sucked in pretty hard at higher speeds. Is this bad? Can it damage the windows? Highway with the top off? Best practices for storing windows? Keep em in garage? Store between back seat and back door? Rolling up the back window? yes or no?

2. General wear and tear : I've taken the top down maybe once a week since I've had it. Doors off once. I've noticed already some major wear on the back window. I ALWAYS take it off (except once because my dealer told me it was ok to roll it up, this left 2 gigantic marks across the window). Also some wear on certain parts of the soft top. Is this normal? How long do these usually last? best practices to keep them in good condition? should I just refrain from pulling it down so often?

3. Washing it : Is it bad to leave mud on it for long periods of time? Will it effect the paint and the black of the fenders? I usually wash it right away but I was just wondering whats the longest you guys would go without a wash if mud is caked on there. The fenders kind of stain but I have used armor all on it once, and the stains did come off. I just hope they will ALWAYS come off.

4. I want black rims. Pretty badly. I'm not a major off-roader, I do some trails here and there and want to do it more often, but my jeep is my main vehicle. Most of the mods I will do to it will be for aesthetic purposes. What is the best way/place to get black rims? Can I get them powder-coated? If I'm gonna do that should I just buy new ones?

5. Car wash : yes or no?

Basically any tips to help me keep it in good condition and do's and don'ts.

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Old 05-22-2013, 05:43 AM   #2
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I usually clean he windows before I take them off the Jeep. I take a VERY wet sponge and wipe it down and then take a terry cloth towel to dry it off.

I take the side windows off and leave it on the bench in the garage after laying out a large bath towel. I stack all three windows that way. I'm trying to keep them in the best shape that I can.

The pressure and billowing is normal, you just have to make sure things are in the proper channels and zipped up so nothing is loose. Been in some pretty bad side winds going highway speed and never had an issue, but I still wonder and hold onto the wheel a little tighter....LOL!

On cleaning.....I try and keep mine pretty clean. Sometimes I take a scrub brush to the flares and bumpers to get the deep set grime off the black. I've found nothing that lifts the fine dirt out of than a good cleaning. Using something to cover up the dirt just leaves a build up of dirt and what you are using. I scrub to get it clean, let it dry to see what I may have missed, and then scrub again until it's clean. I then use some of the current Back to Black type products. I put that on a little heavy and let it dry, and then buff it off to get any excess off. Make it look better than new.

Rims, you are on your own. Get what YOU like. Take a look at the Teflon coated ones for ease of cleaning.

Car Washes......Not tried one yet. Kind of afraid of the potential leaks with my soft top.

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Old 05-22-2013, 12:10 PM   #3
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What he said.
There are a bunch of products out there for your soft top window storage. Just go to Quadratch. I have the Cloverpatch. Though a tent bag and towels would probably do the trick too. But the reality is they'll get scratched eventually.
Try 303 Protectant to keep the top looking good- has UV protection or B2B as mentioned. Bottom line-take that puppy down as often as you like. As with all things Jeep- someone, somewhere will have one for sale if you ever want a new one. Once you get over the first few scratches you'll be fine.
I have taken mine through car washes- but you have to be picky. NO drive through ones/gas stations where the washing is done by those spinny things. Doesn't matter if its my Jeep or my car. They get clogged with dirt- and will scratch it to heck- especially the top windows. My place hand washes with sponges- but still gets a high power rinse- no issues. A little water certainly won't hurt it anyway.
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:25 PM   #4
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Like what is said above, but I'm the opposite. I have never taken my rear window out, I only roll it up and use the elastic straps with the snaps to hold it up. I'm carful with my side windows but I'm sure not as careful as some or most would be. There are some scratches but well worth it for the ease of not having the worry or the hassle. I'm always using the sunrider, on, flip back, on, flip back, so easy. I cant tell you how many times I have had my top completely down and back up with no issues other than a couple of scratches on the rear window from rolling it up as opposed to taking it out, not a big deal for me. I expect way more damage to my Jeep for as long as I'm going to own it than just a couple of scratches here and there. Just enjoy the heck out of it. I didn't buy my Jeep as an investment, I bought for personal enjoyment for myself and family.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:09 PM   #5
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Hello and welcome to the Jeep Community!

First of all, like most things "Jeep," you'll probably get a lot of different opinions. I've had every model since the CJ-7 and have always preferred soft tops...so, here's "Bob's View:"

1. On the highway, the top will definitely collapse or bulge, depending upon the internal pressures. With the windows closed, it is generally recommended that you keep the inside air vent set to one less than the maximum flow setting. This helps to pressurize the cabin, which will bulge the windows, but will also reduce top noise (a little). At speed, with the front windows open, the top will likely collapse in against the frame. I have never experienced any damage to the top at speed, unless something wasn't installed correctly.

2. Wear and tear is inevitable. On my last Jeep (a TJ), the top lasted 10 years, and that was with taking it on and off all the time. That being said, it was just barely serviceable after all that time. The windows were scratched, which is inevitable in my opinion. The only thing I can suggest is that you keep the top clean. Any dirt or dust will greatly increase the scratch and wear potential (especially if the plastic is rolled). I roll up my rear window and stow all the windows behind the rear seat with no additional protection. Thus, my windows (especially the rear one) do have a lot of scratches. But I have a soft top with the intent to take it off, so I just live with that limitation. The bottom line is that if top is going up and down a lot - which is one of my favorite parts of owning a Jeep - then it's going to get scratched and worn. When the top becomes worn, or if the windows become too scratched, they can be replaced. Both window replacement kits and replacement soft tops are readily available. My general rule is that a well-used top will need to be replaced after about five (5) years or so, especially if you live somewhere with a real winter season (salt, grim, ice, etc).

One other thing as an aside...I find the new JK tops to be almost impossible to put up and down by myself. On my old Jeep, I could put up the entire top solo in about five (5) minutes or less. The new Jeep's top (with a sunrider option) it just too flimsy and heavy to lift up to the windshield. Fighting with it yourself will likely shorten the life expectency. LOL.

3. Washing - I don't do anything special when washing my Jeep and top, except that I don't scrub on the windows.

4. As was mentioned, rims are a personal choice...all I can say is that you get what you pay for... those of better quality and finish will last longer.

5. Car wash. I take my soft-topped (and half-doors) Jeep through the local carwash all the time. It's not the best clean, given the many odd-shaped surfaces, but it's a good starting point. I'm sure it's rough on the top and windows, but after three years on my '10 JK, everything still looks great!

I hope this information is helpful. As I mentioned, you will likely get some other opinions, hopefully they are similar to mine!

Again welcome to forum and great Jeep community, and let us know if you have any other questions!

Regards,

Bob~
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthAnonymous View Post
I've had her for about 2 months now. I have some basic questions because I know barely anyone with a Jeep.

1. Soft Top vs Highway : I've noticed, depending on the pressure in the jeep, driving at speeds sometimes the windows are sucked it/pulled out based on if the glass windows are up or down. Sometimes they get sucked in pretty hard at higher speeds. Is this bad? Can it damage the windows? Highway with the top off? Best practices for storing windows? Keep em in garage? Store between back seat and back door? Rolling up the back window? yes or no?

2. General wear and tear : I've taken the top down maybe once a week since I've had it. Doors off once. I've noticed already some major wear on the back window. I ALWAYS take it off (except once because my dealer told me it was ok to roll it up, this left 2 gigantic marks across the window). Also some wear on certain parts of the soft top. Is this normal? How long do these usually last? best practices to keep them in good condition? should I just refrain from pulling it down so often?

3. Washing it : Is it bad to leave mud on it for long periods of time? Will it effect the paint and the black of the fenders? I usually wash it right away but I was just wondering whats the longest you guys would go without a wash if mud is caked on there. The fenders kind of stain but I have used armor all on it once, and the stains did come off. I just hope they will ALWAYS come off.

4. I want black rims. Pretty badly. I'm not a major off-roader, I do some trails here and there and want to do it more often, but my jeep is my main vehicle. Most of the mods I will do to it will be for aesthetic purposes. What is the best way/place to get black rims? Can I get them powder-coated? If I'm gonna do that should I just buy new ones?

5. Car wash : yes or no?

Basically any tips to help me keep it in good condition and do's and don'ts.
1-WINDOWS
Here is a write up how I store my windows. I think it's better than a sowed together option personally. . http://www.jk-forum.com/jk-show-tell...f-sack-239689/

I've never rolled the rear because I don't want scratches.

It's best to keep your windows as clean as you feel is reasonable. Dust will create scratches if you don't use towels when rolling. There a scratch remover cream. I think it is called Plastix.

2- Don't roll the rear window.

REMOVING DOORS - YOU'VE BEEN WARNED
Never take your hand off the door for one second after you remove the retaining strap. If the door swings open with almost no force you will still get a dent on the cowl. Don't know what a cowl is. You will after you ding it and realize your basically screwed with no cheap fix....It's where the mirror hits.

3-MUD. Don't leave mud on you undercarriage. Get a sprinkler to help wash off right after getting muddy. Get some paint over rust spray and touch up any spots that need it after your done.

DON'T USE ARMOR ALL
Never use armor all. It even warns against it in the manual. It rots the plastic and eventually makes cracks. The best method is to wash, magic eraser, Mothers Back to Black put on with a 4" round microfiber sponge.

4- RIMS. If your getting new tires most likely your going to need to get new wheels too for the right back spacing. I would stay away from plasti-dip. I spent 5 hours at least getting it all off mine. Duplicolor wheel paint is supposed to be good if you prep it right.

5-CAR WASH - I would only do a car wash with the top on. I have heard that "brushless car wash" places are cool with a soft top. I would remove the carpets. I bed lined my tub. It makes doing a quick hand wash no problem even with the windows out.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:21 PM   #7
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Some other thoughts...

1. Carwashes....be prepared for some water to find its way inside. Whenever I take my Wrangler through the pressure wash, water runs in where the half-door zippers meet (they're not really protected with a "flap" like the other zippers). I sometimes get a little water at the rear zippers, too. Since the wash by me does an "inside-out" cleaning, they always dry up the little bit of water that gets in. I've never has any other problems, though as has been mentioned, brush washes will likely add some scratches to the windows.

2. I couldn't agree more with Rooster: Armor All is bad for plastic. I had used Armor All back when I first got my '00 TJ, and by the end, the fender flares and other plastic trim look pretty bad...very faded and sort of embrittled looking. My Brother gave me something called Formula 113, which did a nice job of restoring the plastic parts before I sold it when my new Jeep came in.

3. Door removal: Again, heed Rooster's words carefully...a free-swinging door will do some damage! Plus, in some States, it may be 'illegal' to remove the doors for on-the-highway use. I drive around town with my doors off all the time, but technically that's illegal in PA. I consulted the local Police Chief after receiving a "warning" from one of his Officers, and they quoted me the PA Inspection Codes. Fortunately, I don't think most Police Officers have time or expertise to bother with it....I've driven past many a Patrol Car with no issue. Heck, it's part of the fun of owning a Jeep! Humorously, I've already told my Wife that I'm going to keep on doing it until I get a ticket. LOL. 30 years, and so far, so good.

4. Soft top care: To prolong the life of the top, keep the top and all seam threads clean and free from grim and salt. After every winter, I remove my top completed and clean all the seams really well. Also, be sure to keep the zippers lubricated for ease of operation. Small window scratches can be polished out, but from my experience, don't expect miracles with that effort.

I hope that helps!

Regards,

Bob~
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:00 AM   #8
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WOW. Some great feedback here. Thank you guys so much!
I understand it's gonna get wear and tear and frankly, I have the same attitude as Jeeping Chester; the best part of the Jeep is taking the top down, and I bought it knowing I would take it down a lot. I just wanted to know/make sure everyone has the same issues and how they handle them. Still undecided on the back window, I'll probably continue to take it out most of the time to avoid scratches but I know eventually it will naturally just wear out.

I REALLY wish I knew not to use Armor All! But OK, Formula 113 for the fenders? Mother back to black with a 4" round microfiber sponge? Got it.
Plastix scratch remover cream for the scratches. Got it.
303 protectant for the top. Got it.
I'm gonna look out for this stuff.
The doors! Thankfully I was warned before I them off about the dangers of a free swinging door. Got through my first time without any rookie mistakes.
Thank you guys so much, there is so much good information here!
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:20 AM   #9
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Vinylex is another excellent product for the soft top and flares! It comes in a light blue spray bottle and it is a cleaner/conditioner in one...and it's for vinyl, rubber and plastic. Works great!
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:14 PM   #10
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And be VERY careful with door removal. The first time try putting painters tape in the areas around your hinges. You're likely to bash either the door or the area around the hinges the first time you put your doors back on. They're just unwieldy. And trust me- touching up paint on the edge of the door is difficult.
I don't mind Jeep damage when its fun- ie. pinstripping from a trail or rashing my fenders on a rock. I DO mind random damage from things I can prevent.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:12 AM   #11
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Question Soft Top & Window Care

Hi All,
A new Wrangler owner here and would like to know what are the best products for maintaining the Soft Top as well as the side & back windows. Have only had my soft top on for a week now and have already noticed some streaks on my plastic windows after a hard rain. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Lin
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lin Holetich View Post
Hi All,
A new Wrangler owner here and would like to know what are the best products for maintaining the Soft Top as well as the side & back windows. Have only had my soft top on for a week now and have already noticed some streaks on my plastic windows after a hard rain. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Lin
I use mothers spray way for the plastic windows. Works like a charm!
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:32 PM   #13
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THANKS for the info! What is the best product to PREVENT the black trim from fading?
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #14
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THANKS for the info! What is the best product to PREVENT the black trim from fading?
Mothers back to black. See my profile pic? Those flares dont look faded do they hahaha

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