Sun & salt & latches...
Have had jeeps since teenage years...first was an old army type, then CJ-5 and forward to current models. When the looks started changing to modern rendition started buying older models. Moved to Galveston Island in 2008, bought my customized competition orange 1999 Wrangler "Cheeto" and lost it 2 months later to Hurricane Ike Sept. 2008 so I didn't have it long enough to experience all the problems with sun, sand and SALT. Several months later, replaced it with my present 2002 Wrangler; bought new soft top and interior folding frame assembly for top in 2009. It was professionally installed. Have had nothing but problems with closing the top and latching it @ windshield. Takes 2-3 strong people to pull the top to the latches and then hold it & lock in place. I have never had this problem before...what's wrong? Also am fighting corrosion due to salt accumulation; 2010 wheel rims badly discolored with permanent corrosion as well as painted metal areas such as folding top assembly visibly discolored with whitish film. How do I get that stuff off & keep it off (hopefully). Finally, the underbody is getting really rusted; lifters, etc. covered with superficial and/or surface rust. Very difficult for me to clean underbody thoroughly on a regular basis w/out a lift. Has anyone ever run their Wrangler (with a soft top) through an automatic car wash ON OCCASION so that high pressure water can clean underbody? Think there is an automatic "soft-wash" & detail place here on the island. Wondering if it is worth it occasionally to help stay ahead of the rust damages. HELP...please!
Couple things. With the top, unfold it and let it sit for a bit in the sun, it helps loosen up the fabric. On ours I clip the front first, then do the sides and back. Seems easier to me.
It's always worse on a new top as the fabric is very tight and you really have to stretch it. Over time it will loosen up if it's left on. If it's left down most of the time, the fabric tends to tighten up and makes it like day one all over again.
As for the salt, that's on you, it's called maintenance, you have to make the time to take care of your vehicle. Not coming down on you, it's just something that has to be done in severe conditions like you have. Just like the folks up north, where I'm from originally.
If you don't maintain your vehicle in the winter from all the salt used on the roads, you'll have a rust bucket in no time. I've froze my butt off more then one time in the winter hosing down the underside of my vehicles, at the car wash and at home.
Just something you gotta do, take care of it and it will take care of you.
As for the car washes, yeah lots take em through them. Just have to deal with a little water inside sometimes.
If it's already rusting, all you can do is remove the rust and apply some type of protection to help keep it at bay.
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