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Old 10-30-2015, 10:41 AM
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Another 2015 JKU Freedom Top Leak

First Jeep owner here - have wanted one since I was a kid and last year, my dream came true!

Great car, but I noticed right away that during extremely heavy rainstorms, the Freedom Top would leak just in front of the rear view mirror into the dash console.

Took it to the dealership and was told that I did not fasten the soundbar screws tightly enough. Okay, fair enough. Next week it rained pretty hard overnight. Got into my car in the morning (I park on a flat surface) to find water dripping into the console.

Took it to the dealer again and was told that they located the source of the leak and replaced the seals.

Well, two nights ago we had a bad rainstorm and what do you know, I got into my car again the next morning and found water dripping.

This is now my third trip to the dealer to fix this. I spoke with the service manager and told him how unhappy I was that this wasn't fixed. He told me that he would get his service foreman on it and supervise the repair himself.
He said that one of the main issues with Jeeps is a leaking Freedom Top.

Well, that's all fine and good and I understand that I have to go through the repair process. But if it's not fixed after this point, I'm going to get angry. Yes, I understand it's a Jeep. Yes, I understand that leaks are common. Yes, I understand that this leak is not catastrophic compared to others that I've read about.

Bottom line is that I worked very hard and pay a good amount of money each month for this car that's supposedly rugged, and water leaking directly onto the electronic panel is not okay with me.

Wish me luck...

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Old 10-30-2015, 10:46 AM   #2
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You'll need luck(or patience), but its just going to always plague you, even if they fix it, I am betting it will come back again. I would just re-seat everything but cover all the gaskets with some dielectric grease or equivalent. I've given up at this point, most of the time, no leaks, but I know its just a matter of time before it does it again.

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Old 10-30-2015, 10:52 AM   #3
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Its raining for first time since I bought a HT off CL. I washed it the other day with no leaks. I will test it again today with this rain. So far I have never had any leaks with any HT's or even soft tops.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:52 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear about your issue. For what it's worth, i know that quite a few people on here have exactly the opposite experience with the sound bar screws, in that if they are too tight it will cause the top to rock backward and not seal in the front.

Best of luck!
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:07 AM   #5
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My roof leaked in the same location. I determined that the windshield header weatherstrip was low in the center. The weatherstrip looked like it was misformed when it came out of the mold / extrusion. I built up the weather strip so that it would seal to the removable roof panels. The repair was successful.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:20 AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm at the dealer now for the third time - this time, the service manager is overseeing the case. I'm looking over my service records and the last one said that they could not find the leak after water testing for 15 minutes. Funny, because when I spoke with them prior to picking it up, they told me they "had located the source."

I have no patience for this runaround...
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:32 AM   #7
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My roof leaked in the same location. I determined that the windshield header weatherstrip was low in the center. The weatherstrip looked like it was misformed when it came out of the mold / extrusion. I built up the weather strip so that it would seal to the removable roof panels. The repair was successful.
Exactly... You can buy some weatherstripping foam at home depot and wedge it under the sealing bulb to add load to the top. That should help.

I'll have to take a look at my freedom top tonight as I'm not completely familiar with the seal layout - but this is likely easily fixed either as described above or by adding some open cell foam.

As I've said in other posts - The dealership techs are NOT sealing experts... they simply do what the manual tells them. They throw parts at it and hope the problem goes away.

Our Jeeps have a very intricate seal system due to the fact that there are so many interchangeable parts - and if you look at the joints - specifically the upper a-pillar and b-pillar, you will see open cell foam. This is a "catch-all" we use in the sealing industry when there is more variation in mating parts than the seals can accommodate. Luckily - it also works in cases like yours.

I really feel for all you folks having leaking issues - I seriously wish y'all lived closer to the Detroit area... As I've said before - I didn't work on the seals Wrangler program, but we throw out hundreds of various seals almost daily after we are done testing them... It would be easy to fix most issues fro our garage. I really wish we had the Wrangler account, then I could address these problems directly.

Now - If you have a Ford Explorer or F250, I'm your guy... I ran the 250 program for 8 years... wait... uhhh nevermind..
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:25 AM
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Just spoke with the service manager. Apparently this is a Star case, as Chrysler released a fix for this very issue in 8/15 and serviced my vehicle as per those instructions. However, they still can't get mine to leak at the dealership. For some reason, my issue is difficult to replicate, so I have a feeling that the techs are thinking that I'm making this all up.

Service manager said that they may have to order new tops altogether. I understand the intricacy and puzzle-like design of these tops/doors/hinges, but I have to tell you that taking my only day off during the week for the third time now to spend in a dealership is taking the wind out of my sails just a bit.

To be honest, I'm not comfortable trying to fix this myself, as I suspect that would give the dealer more ammunition for blaming me for the issue.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:30 AM   #9
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I'm not a big fan of the freedom tops, I really wish it was a one piece unit, I think that would cut down on the leaks a little.

MissChung, I think a body shop would have a better chance of figuring out the jigsaw puzzle, the Jeep Techs are probably the wrong guys for the job.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:33 AM
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But it's under warranty. I'm not sure I want to involve an outside source at this point as that might affect the coverage, right? I just got the car in February, it's not even a year old, just over 6,000 miles.

ETA- I'm not a fan of the 3-piece top either. Part of me wonders if a soft-top would be better but I'm certainly not spending more $ at this point.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:45 AM   #11
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But it's under warranty. I'm not sure I want to involve an outside source at this point as that might affect the coverage, right? I just got the car in February, it's not even a year old, just over 6,000 miles.

ETA- I'm not a fan of the 3-piece top either. Part of me wonders if a soft-top would be better but I'm certainly not spending more $ at this point.
Hate to say it, but you will likely get a leak in the same exact spot on a soft top.

I don't have leaks with the freedom top, but with the soft top, if I hit the top center of the windshield with the high pressure wand, I get drips onto the console..

So - I keep a towel in the Jeep and if its going to rain, I put it over the center console.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:58 AM
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I believe that. The service manager has just told me that they can't replicate the leak in the shop so they are submitting the information to Chrysler and waiting for instructions as to what to do next.

This really wouldn't bug me if it wasn't a brand new vehicle built from scratch. I've driven used cars with mysterious oil leaks, transmission problems, rattling steering wheels, condensation and wet floor mats, you name it. Never would I suspect this from a new car with less than 10k miles on it.
A good friend of mine has has Jeeps since the 70s and he's never had a leak, he agrees dealer should fix it.

We will see what happens.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:58 AM
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My roof leaked in the same location. I determined that the windshield header weatherstrip was low in the center. The weatherstrip looked like it was misformed when it came out of the mold / extrusion. I built up the weather strip so that it would seal to the removable roof panels. The repair was successful.
So since the dealer was unable to duplicate the leak, he is replacing the windshield weatherstrip and freedom panels. See if this works..!
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:34 PM   #14
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So since the dealer was unable to duplicate the leak, he is replacing the windshield weatherstrip and freedom panels. See if this works..!
If it were me I wouldn't want them fixing anything until they determine what the problem is, why add mixed matched parts to the situation.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:19 PM
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I understand that perspective, but I don't know what else to do. The issue is that after water testing it for over an hour (and I sat there and watched), they can't get it to leak the way it does for me after it's been sitting in the rain overnight. So basically Chrysler has said that unless they see it, they can't fix it. So I can either allow them to fix it in the way I mentioned, or wait until it rains again and start the process over again. It's kind of my word against theirs, even though the service manager said he believed me about the leak. He said I could also leave it at the dealer the night before a heavy rainfall so they could try to replicate the issue I have at home, but they aren't forecasting any rain in the near future.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:24 PM   #16
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Just curious - How did they water test it? Just a garden type hose? Or was it a high pressure wand?

The OEM's have a special water booth with specific nozzles at various heights and pressures that the vehicle has to withstand for a certain amount of time... we have one here at the office. Its a LOT of water... Not sure of the Chrysler specs, but Ford/GM are a 20 minute soak in the booth - no drips anywhere.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:37 PM   #17
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Ok... I'm giving it a shot - We have the Grand Cherokee program...

I reached out to that program manager to see if he knows who has the JK program. Looks like we also have the Patriot and Compass...
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:30 PM   #18
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Set up a go pro and a good light in the Jeep next time it rains.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:51 PM   #19
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So I just got a new jk 2door in September. It has the freedom top on it and I have taken it off a lot. I haven't had any leaks. Am I just lucky so far or are y'all seeing if it leaks it's been leaking from day one?
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:14 PM   #20
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I bought mine back in the end of Sept and a few days later we had some heavy rains come in. I noticed right away a decent leak where the front d/s door meets the A pillar and the freedom top in the center right above the radio. What worked for me after reading a bunch of the threads on here..

1. Remove freedom and then proper reinstall it making sure none of the rubber gets pinched or folded when putting it back on.

2. Some members recommended this stuff so I gave it a shot. I put it on ever possible gasket, even where it wasn't leaking at all. Roof, doors, rear gate, etc. Luuube

3. Totally removed the sound bar screws. When I picked up from the dealer, one was tightly screwed in and the other was just enough. It makes sense that tightening those down cause the front of the panels to lift slightly.

Hope this helps a little for you. I still check out everything after a good rain fall and I seem to be ok now but I'll aways keep an eye out for it now.
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Old 11-04-2015, 05:09 PM
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Just curious - How did they water test it? Just a garden type hose? Or was it a high pressure wand?
A high pressure wand that came down from the ceiling of the shop. They kept it at one spot for around 15 minutes, then another, then another. I feel like the only way they could get see the leak is if they put it in a booth with 10 power washers pointing at different dire tions. The leak must have something to do with the pressure with which the water hits and the fact that water sits on the top for several hours. When you say you have the program, what do you mean exactly?

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So I just got a new jk 2door in September. It has the freedom top on it and I have taken it off a lot. I haven't had any leaks. Am I just lucky so far or are y'all seeing if it leaks it's been leaking from day one?
Well, I bought it the first week in February, so it went through the snow okay. I didn't notice it leak until we had heavy downpours in the spring. It only happened during extremely heavy rainfall.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:01 PM   #22
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I sometimes wonder if the bending and twisting of being on uneven ground, or travelling down bad roads helps make it leak. Maybe the top gets tweaked when driving around. I noticed that when it was showing, I was either coming to a stop, or going up/down hill. Also, this only really shows up during a really good soaking, like multiple days.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:43 PM   #23
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When you say you have the program, what do you mean exactly?
I work for a Sealing supplier - we design and manufacture vehicle weather seals. Having a program means we are design responsible and have an engineer assigned to that specific vehicle and all warranty / design issues.

For example - I designed the Current Ford Explorer door seals - I was responsible for cradle to grave development and had to investigate water leaks and other failures in the field.

Point being - Vehicle sealing is a relatively small community.. If I happen to know the engineer who has the JK, he/she may have some suggestions. Just shaking some trees...
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:28 AM
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Point being - Vehicle sealing is a relatively small community.. If I happen to know the engineer who has the JK, he/she may have some suggestions. Just shaking some trees...
Thank you!

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I sometimes wonder if the bending and twisting of being on uneven ground, or travelling down bad roads helps make it leak. Maybe the top gets tweaked when driving around. I noticed that when it was showing, I was either coming to a stop, or going up/down hill. Also, this only really shows up during a really good soaking, like multiple days.
OCDDave, kind of silly for such a serious off-road vehicle, wouldn't you say? For heavens sake, the brochure shows it on top of a rock boulder!

I will see if this current fix by the dealer works, otherwise it's on to the next step. How frustrating.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:14 AM   #25
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Thank you!



OCDDave, kind of silly for such a serious off-road vehicle, wouldn't you say? For heavens sake, the brochure shows it on top of a rock boulder!

I will see if this current fix by the dealer works, otherwise it's on to the next step. How frustrating.
I just keep mine in the garage now, and make sure all the seals are covered in dielectric grease. I haven't much issues since doing this, now much more like once in a blue moon.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:15 AM   #26
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I work for a Sealing supplier - we design and manufacture vehicle weather seals. Having a program means we are design responsible and have an engineer assigned to that specific vehicle and all warranty / design issues.

For example - I designed the Current Ford Explorer door seals - I was responsible for cradle to grave development and had to investigate water leaks and other failures in the field.

Point being - Vehicle sealing is a relatively small community.. If I happen to know the engineer who has the JK, he/she may have some suggestions. Just shaking some trees...
@escher , you may be the missing link. I'm very interested to hear what you come up with. I personally think more people have issues with the A pillar door seal than with the hardtops with leaks. To me, the door seal design is just horrible, but then again I'm no industry expert.

I'm sure many, many of us would appreciate any insight you can provide here. Awesome.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:34 AM
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@escher , you may be the missing link. I'm very interested to hear what you come up with. I personally think more people have issues with the A pillar door seal than with the hardtops with leaks. To me, the door seal design is just horrible, but then again I'm no industry expert.

I'm sure many, many of us would appreciate any insight you can provide here. Awesome.
Agreed.

As for keeping it in a garage, that's not an option for me, as neither my home nor workplace has one. The dealer told me that he's seen many leaks in the Wranglers, which obviously isn't a shock to me at this point, but I'm hoping they can fix this. IMO more people really should speak up, especially with new vehicles. But I have a feeling lots of people don't use their Jeep as a daily driver and maybe think that a leak is just par for the course.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:11 AM   #28
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Agreed.

As for keeping it in a garage, that's not an option for me, as neither my home nor workplace has one. The dealer told me that he's seen many leaks in the Wranglers, which obviously isn't a shock to me at this point, but I'm hoping they can fix this. IMO more people really should speak up, especially with new vehicles. But I have a feeling lots of people don't use their Jeep as a daily driver and maybe think that a leak is just par for the course.
Mine is only in the garage when at home, not on the road, or at work. Maybe that dry time at home and overnight helps me avoid the leaks, but the dielectric grease on the seals did help, at least as far as I tested the last time this happen to me. I will say I haven't had a re-occurrence in sometime now, so for now, I am just crossing my fingers. I think deep down though, that I just don't trust the Freedom Top, and would never want to take a chance of leaving it outside for extended periods in the rain without checking on it.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:19 AM   #29
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Have you sat in it while going through a touchless car wash? If not I'd give that a try. If it leaks let the dealer send a tech through the car wash and locate the leak.
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:12 AM   #30
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Misschung...did you do what i mentioned the other day on the other thread?..if not please try it.I hate leaks so I am ridiculously all over the installation of the tops. I need to repeat this for others...put each top on first before clamping...go inside the jeep and push up a little and set them back down into their respective seals...by doing this you have made sure you didnt just slide them across the seals and folded one cockeyed..go outside and bump the passenger side into place then go to the DS and do the same thing making sure ALL the gaps are even all around. ESPECIALLY the center line...corners must meet evenly..may have to take few bumps to get it there..clamp the two fronts first then back corners and then the rest...do not put the rear bolts in...they will not help...they are there for running the freedom tops without the rest of the hard top on. take for a drive...if you dont hear any air leaks you may have got it..if you are real determined like i am i run a hose over the gaps to make sure i got it...p.s. notice I said hose...the high pressure doesnt always get it. If you have a leak while driving it is going to be from the front header...if the leaks are when sitting then it is usually the rears and on a 4dr it is both the rear and at the center pillars..the hose method allows a good amount of water to get around the channels like sitting parked in a rain storm and the rain going thru the water channel system....ya I know its a pain but i cant tell how many times a few of my friends have taken theirs back to the dealer only to have the same thing over and over until I showed them what to do...dealers aint jeepers...they went to some school for everything but the water leak class!.
and being on flat ground does nothing...this is a body on frame design...if the frame was that weak you would be popping the freedom tops off every time you went off road
try it before you all take your junk to the dealer and have them mess with everything.
Cameron

on edit...keep in mind water follows the path of least resistance so just because it is leaking in the front doesnt mean that is where the leak is...remember there is a channel on each side of the seal so if there is is a leak in the seal in the back it could follow to the front or side depending on how you are parked..ok i am done

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