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ajacks101 06-20-2006 03:22 PM

Rain and tops/covers - Please help a newbie out! ;-)
Hi, I'm brand new to this board, and Jeep Wranglers altogether....I just bought an '03 Sahara w/soft top and finally figured out today (w/out breaking anything) how to take the top down. I think I did it correctly, but the instructions are a little I just a complete moron or is it more difficult than it should be? maybe i'm trying to be too careful, cuz i don't wanna break my new expensive toy....

also, can anyone recommend a good canopy cover that will go on fast and easy in case it starts to rain when the top is down? i figure putting the softop back up and zipping up all the windows will take me a good 20 minutes, the novice that i still am.

is bestop really that different from mopar? in some cases mopar stuff is twice as much, does anyone know if the cost is justified, or are they just more expensive cuz they say 'Jeep' on it?

i dunno, do i need to be worrying so much about the rain when the top is down? i imagine a good rain would ruin the seats and speakers, radio, etc.....but it seems like most jeep owners drive w/the top down w/no worries at all but i'm kinda scared of ruining it....can anyone comment on this?

thanks, sorry to be so long, i'm just curious how most people handle this issue or if its really an issue at all.

bluvikng 06-20-2006 04:11 PM

Welcome to this forum. We all started by not knowing any of this stuff. I will let someone else explain the intricacies of putting your soft top up and down. I don't have one. The wife likes to have the hard top on all the time, except for when we wheel, and then I just put a safari top on. As far as tops are concerned, Best Top is the best. I would not want the inside of our Jeep soaking wet either, so I understand your concern. It is fully carpeted, and has cloth seats, which I would not want to smell like mildew. Quadratec is an excellent sorce of any tops that you might want to put on your Jeep overnight, or parked in the rain. Check out their website, and they will even be glad to send you a complete catalog. Congratulations for buying a Jeep, and joining the world of Jeeping. Hope you enjoy it as much as the rest of us do. Stick around, and feel free to ask all the questions you want. There are a lot of great people, with extensive knowledge, on this site. Glad you found us.

I just wanted to add one thing that I have heard other people tell me about the windows on the soft top. Before you take the top down, unzip the windows, and remove them, otherwise your plastic windows will get creased, and bent. They have a way of putting them between fiber sheets, and then rolling them up. That will preserve them for a long time.

97TJAC 06-20-2006 04:33 PM

Well if u ask TJ_BABE she will say put that top up.. as she is going through a fried stereo due to leaving the top down

however.. I would say it took me a good few hours to get the taking of the softop down quickly and easily... but then again i would get mad easily and quit for a while

the key is just to take your time.. and when u r pulling the top down make sure u fold the top into itself near the tailgate...

as far as tops... I thought i would go cheap and I bought like the 40 dollar cover through and it went on super easy.. just 4 straps and it was contoured for the jeep
well 2 days of rain and I went out and the inside was soaked.. and the material was so thin it turned into wet newspaper and the minute i went to take it off i ripped a huge hole in it

so in closing... dont go cheap if u want a cover to protect from rains... def. get a thick cover... and worst comes to worst u can get some of that blue tarp for now and throw over and tie it down real quick..

as far as rain ruining everything... if u have carept then u def. do not want that to get BLUE said.. that will make the mildew and nasty smell come quickly

good luck on everything
if u need anymore feel free to post up

Texapple 06-20-2006 04:51 PM to WF
I have a this cab cover:

I initially got it to disguise the "help yourself" appearance it had when parked with the top down. It's also works to keep the rain out, too. Be careful removing...water will pool on top. I've had mine for 3 years with lots of use.....the side straps have stretched at the clip (seam), but haven't broken. I'm happy with it.

As far as the carpet getting wet or muddy, just pull it out. I've had mine out several times and power washed it to "newness" then put it back in :D Seats....well, that's another story, mine aren't cloth.

Don GIbson 06-20-2006 05:14 PM

Hey, I new myself, about 1 month now. I can get the top up and down fine. It's getting the windows in and out that takes me some time. My wife wont even try it. That's OK, she has a Grand Cherokee she can stay in. I'm learning quite a bit from reading on this site good luck.

rexmundi 06-20-2006 06:07 PM

The best cover I have found and am going to buy is from Most covers are only water resistant so be careful about what you get.:D

97TJAC 06-20-2006 06:14 PM

yes water resistant def. is not what u want... that is what I had and well it only holds up to "moderate" rain

the part with getting windows in and out..

if you are having a hard time maybe get a small pair of needle nose pliers..this will allow you to grip the zipper better when u go to rezip...

1BLKJP 06-20-2006 06:54 PM

Realistically if you have your top down and get a quick shower it's pretty fast just to put it back up. You only truly zip out the side windows. The back you just unzip up to the corners. I have the best top bikini also, but you can't just put on on and the other because of the header that's involved with it.

Give it some time and some pratice. I always found with mine right after I got it to make sure the back flaps were fastened to the channel when I clamped in the front on the header. Then it was pretty easy to get the side channels back in.

ajacks101 06-20-2006 07:21 PM

I just have to say 'wow'! I'm so amazed at how willing everyone is to help on here, thank you all so much for your input, it really helps a lot!

I can't wait to sit down and explore the rest of the posts so I can learn as much as I can about this entirely new world I seem to have found myself excited!

Thanks again guys and girls ;-)

97TJAC 06-20-2006 07:41 PM

I always thought u ahd to take out the back window all the way
well that is how i always did it

but AJacks there are alot of helpful people on here
have fun reading and learning

rexmundi 06-20-2006 07:52 PM

Sorry that should have been

TJ_Babe 06-20-2006 07:56 PM


Originally Posted by 97TJAC
Well if u ask TJ_BABE she will say put that top up.. as she is going through a fried stereo due to leaving the top down

lol. damn right.

<--------stereo is still fried.

Here's my take on Bikini tops. The one I got from Quatratech is perfect. it only covers the cab (I don't know anyone other than my fiance that I like enough to keep out of the rain) It is put out by besttop. Here's the key... get the non-screw header. It is really easy to put on and it is completely water proof. (Sigh....If only I had it on when it was raining.)

1BLKJP 06-20-2006 08:01 PM


Originally Posted by 97TJAC
I always thought u ahd to take out the back window all the way
well that is how i always did it

Dunno, maybe that's what the books says. :confused: I just always unzip it to the corners and flip it up on top and then put the whole thing down. It always folds right up with the rest of the top. Seems to work and it's one less thing that you have to find a place to put it. The side windows are bad enough.

Now days however mine rarely sees the top. The bikini is always on there and believe it or not actually keeps it about 10 degrees cooler than air temp while driving under it.

ajacks101 06-20-2006 08:43 PM


Originally Posted by TJ_Babe
Here's the key... get the non-screw header. It is really easy to put on and it is completely water proof.

What is this "header" that people have been mentioning?

Sorry to hear about your radio, that sucks!

TJ_Babe 06-20-2006 09:46 PM


Originally Posted by ajacks101
What is this "header" that people have been mentioning?

Sorry to hear about your radio, that sucks!

Thank you for your condolenses. The header is a metal strip that runs along the top of the windshield so that the bikini top has something to attach to. The older CJs and YJs came with (so I've heard) a soft top that screwed directly into the frame. So when you bought a bikini top, you had to get the screw-in header. The TJs came with a clamp in version. Before the non-screw headers people were actually drilling holes into the frame so they could attach the header. Now they have a header that slips right into the clamp holes. No need to drill into the frame anymore. Thus much more effecient and less time consuming.

lunneborgc 06-21-2006 04:28 AM

I recently read about raingear, i'll go find it....

Here's this guy's first hand experience... (from another forum)

Just wanted to pass along a great experience with Raingear Jeep covers, In the last 2 months I've owned 3 different Jeep covers, trying to find one that both looked awesome and performed really well. I had the VDP cover that fit too loose and just generally looked like a bag of smashed ***holes on the Jeep. Then I bought the Weathershied cover from Cover Craft. The description is less than helpful on this product on all the sites I visited. Only when it arrived did it say, not suitable for rain protection blah blah blah. Pretty much the Cover CRAP was the most expensive, $169 and the least protective. Also looked like they used the same lazy seamstress as VDP.

A few weeks back, I bought a Raingear Cover. It was used only a few times but still in excellent condition. This is by far the best cover I've put on my Jeep. Here's a great writeup/review from 4x4 Xplor The fit is very good, it has 8 (I think) tiedown points and seems extremely durable. When I got the cover, I realized that it didn't come with a storage bag. The site says they do, but since I got mine used, figured it must have been lost by the previous owner. So I contacted Raingear to see if I could buy a storage bag seperately. The guy on the phone took my info and said they'd ship one right out. I asked again, how much it would be. He stated there was no charge at all. While I didn't expect this, I thought it was awesome of them to ship one out for free. As a thank you to them, I figured I would share my experience. Also I hope all my trial and error with the different covers helps others decided on what's best for them before buying several different ones, like I did.

If you do a search on here and read some reviews, you'll see no negative feedback about the Raingear covers. They are very reasonably priced as well. The cheapest of them all and by far the best quality. I only wish I had listened to all the positive feedback before waisting my money on all the others.

Later down the thread he posted pics, here they are...

TJ_Babe 06-21-2006 08:52 AM

I want one of those rain gear things. How are they as far as water proof? I've been using a big heavy-duty grey camping tarp. It's done the trick, but a really big pain in the arse to put on. I have my bikini top so that I can still drive in the rain. but man.. while it's just sitting there, that raingear thing looks easier.

97TJAC 06-21-2006 09:44 AM

looks like $109 bucks according to the website
but if it is actually water "PROOF" then it is defienetly worth it..
all the ones i ever seen were water "resistance"

hell i'll just take his jeep :}

bluvikng 06-22-2006 11:14 AM

I just want to bring more light to this subject. I just got off the phone with the makers of RainGear, for Jeeps, or I was very interested in this cover after seeing the above pictures. To my disappointment, they do not have one to fit my YJ with the Poison Spyder roll cage. But as I already had them on the phone, I asked them more about their cover. I know this is the main issue with covers, and as expressed on here, is it waterproof? The answer is, "YES", it is completely waterproof. So thank you, the ones that posted for this cover, for bringing this well built cover to light. I would highly recommend this cover over the rest, and the price is very descent.

lunneborgc 06-22-2006 11:22 AM

I plan on getting one as well sometime after I get home. I've heard nothing but good things about the covers and their customer service.

His jeep is awesome, he's running a RE 5.5" Long arm lift and a BL with 37's.

bluvikng 06-22-2006 11:38 AM can definitely see by the pix that he takes his wheeling very A very well built Rubi.

TJ_Babe 06-22-2006 04:29 PM

Why isn't there a drooling smiley? It's a serious question isn't it?

bluvikng 06-22-2006 04:54 PM

Is this what you mean? ............... lol

TJ_Babe 06-22-2006 04:57 PM

Exactly what I was going for. Perfect. But where did you get that?

amerijeep 06-22-2006 05:38 PM

I hope there isn't a Kat fight. You knopw she's the smiley queen.

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