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-   -   Rag Tops in Winter (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f19/rag-tops-in-winter-14054.html)

soupy1957 12-15-2007 06:38 AM

Rag Tops in Winter
 
Ok gang, I've danced around this question enough that I think I'd like to get a consensus here....

I pass a number of you Wrangler owners every day (isn't it amazing how many you see out there, once you buy one?) and note that there are far more of you that are using your Rag Top during the Winter (I'm in New England, so you know how crappy "Winter" can be), than your Hard Top.

Is it because:

A) You own a Hard Top but just didn't want to
bother switching over in the Fall

B) You don't own a Hard Top,
and didn't get one with your original
purchase.

C) You don't LIKE the Hard Top, and even if
you own one, you simply don't put it on
anymore.

D) You didn't have the cash to buy one after
you bought your vehicle initially, so you never
bothered.

E) You get tired of asking your wife or neighbor to
help you switch it over. You know it ticks
them off to have to come over and help.

F) Your Hard Top was too hard to re-install
this past Fall, and you gave up tryin.

G) You initially thought that your Rag Top would:
1. be too noisy
2. not bear up under the weight of
winter snow & ice
3. get torn up by vandals
4. have all the troubles above, but you found out
that items 1 - 3 were not worth being
concerned about.

H) Your Soft Top was too much of a pain to
re-install, so you decided to leave it on
and not make the switch this year.


Please take a moment and chime in with "why" you are using a Rag Top in Winter.
If I had to do it all over again, I think I would still buy the Hard Top as I did, and use it in Winter, only because I think it adds better insulation and is more durable in winter conditions.
I tend to believe that the Rag Top will take so much abuse in the winter that I'd end up having to buy a new one that much faster. (I'm sure they're not "cheap" to replace, yes?)
I like the "look" of the Rag Top better, (personally), than with the Hard Top on, but the advantages seem to out weigh the disadvantages.

Your thoughts, please..

-Soupy1957

Smeghead 12-15-2007 06:48 AM

I picked up my new Jeep on Wednesday in 25 degree weather in Chicago, drove it 50 miles to where I bought a hard top then drove the rest of the 650 miles with the hard top on.
I have to say there was a LITTLE less noise with the hard top on, but it was no colder with the soft top really.
My hard top is staying on till around March/April when it warms up. depending on where you live you can rely on alot of rain, maybe snow/ice during these months and thats not good for a soft top.
I would think anyone with a hard top has it on by now. But they are $800 used so its no automatic that a softop owner would have one I guess.
The hardtop was definately easy to install, took 2 minutes once the softop was off.
If money was tight and I only had the softop, it wouldnt bother me too much using it all winter, the heater keeps you warm but it is hard on the top escpecially if you dont a garage like me.

orange05tj 12-15-2007 07:32 AM

I run soft top year round and love it. I like the look if it, and the fact that if I need it up in a hurry, its done. I had a hard top, but it was more of a pain in the rear trying to find a spot to put it and getting someone to help remove and install it. It stays just as warm as the hard top in the winter. Oh yeah, Whats up with CT Jeepers, dont they know how to wave? I passed 9 Jeeps on the way home from Meridan yesterday, not 1 wave. A couple gave me funny looks as I was passing them on 691. You need to spread the word up there.

soupy1957 12-15-2007 07:52 AM

I rode motorcycles for 10 years before giving it up..Everyone "waved." (Well, MOSTLY everyone anyway).

Here in CT I wave at all 2-door Wranglers (just can't get myself to wave to the 4-door crowd...dunno why).

Some return the wave, and some don't.

Now back to the Topic.................

-Soupy1957

JCS05Rubi 12-15-2007 08:12 AM

I think most TJ came from the factory with a soft top, rather than a hard top, and thats why they are more prevelant.

My 97 had a soft top, the only single sheet kind. Had a 4 inch cut on the driver side, half doors with busted windows, and leaked in the back right corner. Once the heat came on, it was fine, and you get used to the noise.

My 05 came with the newer sail cloth soft top. Much quieter, much warmer, but again, once the heat is on you dont notice the cold.. it will burn you out regardless what top is on.

I just bought an '04 hard top for my Jeep a few weeks ago for the winter. The hard top isnt nessesarily for a quiter ride or warmer interior. Its more for the rear wiper/defroster in winter, and also the fact that you can scrape the snow and ice off the windows, where with a soft top you cant. In MD, they passed a law that your vehicle must be clear of snow before you hit the road or its points and a fine, so this was important to me.

I will say this. Going from a sailcloth soft top to a hard top was noticeable. My Jeep is the vehicle we always pile into, and many people have commented how much warmer/quiter and just plain nicer it is with the hard top. I wouldn't say its a major improvement, but with the loud MT/Rs, you can notice a difference. Its also very convieniet having that wiper/defroster and being able to keep an ice scrapper in the Jeep. Plus I can hit the automatic to keep the salt from under the Jeep now.

As I said before, the soft top isnt bad by any means. You will get used to the noise difference and not notice it, and the heater in Jeeps is insane. The only down side to the soft top is that you cant clear the windows in the winter. Touch them in the sub 40 weather, and theres a good chance your hand is going through the window.

EDIT: I can also lock my doors in baltimore now :D Woot! :D

soupy1957 12-15-2007 08:20 AM

What's this?
 
you said: "Plus I can hit the automatic to keep the salt from under the Jeep now."

You mean the "automatic" car wash, yes? Hard Top allows you to do this.....you wouldn't take your Rag Top through the automatic? (regardless of the season?)

What about the "you spray it" bays? Would you clean your Rag Top in there?



-Soupy1957

orange05tj 12-15-2007 09:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by soupy1957 (Post 172085)
you said: "Plus I can hit the automatic to keep the salt from under the Jeep now."

You mean the "automatic" car wash, yes? Hard Top allows you to do this.....you wouldn't take your Rag Top through the automatic? (regardless of the season?)

What about the "you spray it" bays? Would you clean your Rag Top in there?



-Soupy1957


I run through car washes every now and then with the soft top, no problems. When I'm driving somewhere with the top off and it starts to rain, I'll be zipped up in 3 minutes ready to go, can you do that with the hard top? I don't think so.

skeeter 12-15-2007 11:27 AM

I run a soft top because my hard top was stolen and I got tired of developing ice on my bald spot.

debruins 12-15-2007 11:28 AM

D

im in debt 3 grand and i dont need to pay $800 for a hard top which is what htey're going for here in Mass, plus its not that loud or that cold and it looks more jeep like

Scotty355 12-15-2007 02:53 PM

I bought my Jeep new and didn't want the hardtop, had snow piled on it last year over 6" deep and no problems. I have the sunrider top and it is the best thing ever made, I can flip the front half back in less than 2 min.

debruins 12-15-2007 03:01 PM

sheesh thats a pian then, i can flip the whoole thing back in less than two minutes!

Scotty355 12-15-2007 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by debruins (Post 172198)
sheesh thats a pian then, i can flip the whoole thing back in less than two minutes!

Ok Flash, you can remove all the windows, unhook the front, sides, and flip it back in less than 2 min.

soupy1957 12-15-2007 03:28 PM

What are the recommendations ya'll would make for cleaning and preserving your Soft Top then, since you leave it on in the winter? What chemicals and/or additives do YOU use for cleaning the top and maintaining its rain repellent integrity?

-Soupy1957

JCS05Rubi 12-15-2007 03:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orange05tj (Post 172090)
I run through car washes every now and then with the soft top, no problems. When I'm driving somewhere with the top off and it starts to rain, I'll be zipped up in 3 minutes ready to go, can you do that with the hard top? I don't think so.

The soft cloth are HORRIBLE for the plastic windows. The high pressure ones are not good for them either, they can cause leaks in the seams where they are sewed together (had 2 sets of windows do this), and the abbrasive chemicals and waxes they use will haze up the windows. It can also (albeit I doubt it will happen) stretch the top fabric or even tear it if its too cold outside with the high pressure.

Yes I can do that with the hard top #1, #2 I have a soft top for summer. But either way, rolling up the windows in my hard doors, and shutting the rear window takes much less than 3 minutes, and having the 3 windows open is almost as good as running windowless in a soft top.

I dont think the OP was trying to convert from soft top to hard, I believe he was wondering if buying a hard was worth it just for winter, which is what I did, and I am extremely happy with my choice. The Jeep is a different vehicle. Can you scrape the ice off of your windows in winter? Can you clean your rear window from inside the Jeep? Can you safely lock your winter emergancy gear in the Jeep?

There are advantages and disavantages to both. To be completely honest, I dont think it takes any more time to remove the hard top than a soft top, its just that you need 2 people.. which I always have anyway. The only negative to the hard top is carrying a bikini or rain cover for random showers, and finding somewhere to store it when its off. Again, that problem is fixed if you just use the hard top through winter, and switch in the summer :) You can always recoup the cost of the hard top if you don't like it, or atleast get close to what you paid for it, if you wait until close to winter next year

soupy1957 12-16-2007 06:15 AM

Ya'll might be interested to know that I called my dealership yesterday, in the hopes that perhaps I could swap (my Wrangler is only 3 weeks old), the "Freedom Top" with the potential for leaks at the "T" joint, over the rear-view mirror, for a Hard Top that didn't have the removable sections. The belief was that in doing so, I at least remove the "leak" issue.

The dealership told me that there are no older model Hard Tops that will FIT on a 2008, because the 2008 is 5 inches longer, and Chrysler is only coming out with the "Freedom Top" exclusively. (at least for now).

So I gave up on the idea of not using a Freedom Top, and I like the advantages in the winter months (especially in today's ice storm here in CT).

In the interrum, I still prefer the look of the Rag Top, and am looking forward to Spring!!

-Soupy1957

BILLG 12-16-2007 09:52 AM

I run the soft top year round.I have had Jeeps with a hardtop and have no use for them.I run my soft top through the Touchless automatic car wash with absolutly no problems at all.

sgnellett 12-16-2007 09:55 AM

Lucy is my fourth Jeep, but the first one w/ both tops, I was determined to get at least a hard top this time around, and go figure, the biggest winter storm in years hit last night, which top do you suppose is on my Jeep out in the driveway? :doh: :eek:

Scotty355 12-16-2007 10:02 AM

There is no absolute answer to this question, everyone has a different opinion and needs. If everyone had the likes and dislikes we all would have the same jeep, same color, no mods because that is the way the factory would make them......all the same......:)

Fondo23 12-16-2007 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orange05tj (Post 172072)
I run soft top year round and love it. I like the look if it, and the fact that if I need it up in a hurry, its done. I had a hard top, but it was more of a pain in the rear trying to find a spot to put it and getting someone to help remove and install it. It stays just as warm as the hard top in the winter. Oh yeah, Whats up with CT Jeepers, dont they know how to wave? I passed 9 Jeeps on the way home from Meridan yesterday, not 1 wave. A couple gave me funny looks as I was passing them on 691. You need to spread the word up there.

Orange I hear ya.. I just moved to CT like 6 months ago from upstate NY.. in NY I got an average of like 12 waves a day.. here in CT my numbers are down severely.. almost had to get therapy.. however, I do see some of the same guys as I drive around and always get waves from them.. keeps me going lol :wavey:

Oh and in terms of tops.. I run my Rag Top year round.. don't have a hard top but I don't mind.. I drive home to upstate NY every once in a while and it's not too bad.. noise is something you get used to and once she warms up, there is no problems at all..

soupy1957 12-16-2007 10:41 AM

Scotty355: I totally agree that Jeep Wrangler ownership and style are completely subjective, and it's that "subjectiveness" that makes it interesting.

My concern is the commonly shared knowledge about what drives certain trends. The trend I see of Rag Tops in Winter is about 70 - 30 (percent) for Rag Tops year round.

My purpose is to find out the "why" of it...and you and I will never know the "why" of it, (subjective perspectives wanted) unless we ask. Therefore I did.

-Soupy1957

woody_k 12-16-2007 11:52 AM

I have a soft top.

1. always wanted a soft top Jeep.

2. I couldn't afford 2 tops.

3. I was woried about vandals but I haven't heard anybody's soft top being vandaled.

4. Live in So Cal s I don't worry about ice and snow build up.

5. I either wash it by hand or take to a self wash spray bay.

6. It is noisier than my BMW and about as equal to my motorcycle. I don't care I love driving it anyway. I went up to Monterey for the MotoGP wekend and if I thought it was getting to noisy I just slowed down and enjoyed the ride and the views.

CATWHISKERS 12-16-2007 05:38 PM

To Me, It Seems That Soft Tops Are The Realthing. Like Muzzel Loaders Why Go To The New In Lines? When You Can Have The Real Thing Cap Locks. I Love The Old Ways. I Have A 97 Tj Rag Love It.---jeep's Rule.

soupy1957 12-17-2007 05:32 AM

sort of like the "use a condom" -vs- "Don't use a condom" decision, eh, CATWHISKERS?!

-Soupy1957

hmenker 12-17-2007 11:02 PM

Soft Top and No Other
 
Though it is a bit more noisy with a soft top, I wouldn't trade it for any hard top. This is my second Wrangler with a soft top and I live in the western panhandle of Maryland in the Appalachian Mountains. We receive 200"+ of snow annually and pretty frigid temps often below zero in January and February. The heater in my '04 Unlimited is great and I'm never cold. It runs through a touchless carwash with no problems. Best of all is it's ease of removal for summer days. People speak of the inability to clear the windows of snow and ice in winter and they are right to some degree. I keep a gallon of winter grade windshield washer fluid and use a cloth to put it on when I need it. It doesn't hurt the plastic and easily clears the "glass." HTH

soupy1957 12-18-2007 06:56 AM

Didn't know there WAS such a thing as "Winter Grade" Windshield washer fluid? (Brand Name?)

-Soupy1957

JCS05Rubi 12-18-2007 07:42 AM

most shops, or places like Jiffy Lube have them, you can also buy them in the stores. Basically, summer windshield washer fluid is a high concentration of water to be cheaper. Winter mix, has a high concentration of menthanol or something like that, that active ingredient, to help melt ice/snow and salt off the windshield. Also prevents the water from freezing.

MOz 12-18-2007 02:46 PM

Choice B.... I would not buy a hard top even if I ordered a new one.

LimeTJ 12-19-2007 06:30 PM

Had a softop only TJ for 2 winters. Now have a JK hardtop and feel that the TJ was warmer. The JK is a 4 door, so I know I am heating a much larger interior. Plan to buy a softop next spring and do a swap twice a year. Freedom top is nice with the panels removed, but the softop had a much better open air feel.

soupy1957 12-29-2007 07:57 AM

LimeTJ: Did you get any leaking from the T-joint, on the Freedom Top like I did? (Minor leak, but still a "leak")

I have been told that there will be a Service Recall coming in the mail in the next couple of months, (probably a molding replacement).

-Soupy1957

LimeTJ 12-29-2007 09:51 AM

No leak at the T-joint. In fact, no leaks at all, in some serious downpours. Had a few drops on the driver side dash when new, but none since removing and reinstalling the t-top.


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