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Old 06-17-2019, 05:46 PM
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Exclamation Rain leaks into Freedom top panels?

I have an odd problem that I've seen mentioned before, but there haven't been many people who've found solutions. I have a 2012 JK Unlimited.

When we get a rain storm, I end up with a significant amount of water (a quart or more) INSIDE of my freedom top panels. It's happening to both the passenger side as well as the driver's side, but seems a bit worse on the passenger side.

This is a complete pain in the backside to deal with. The panels end up too hot to touch in the Texas sun and need to be handled to drain them...otherwise water sloshes around in there while I drive and leaks from random places on the inside of my Jeep. It's a freaking mess until it's drained. (I don't think mold would survive the heat inside of the black roof panels in Texas, so I've got that going for me.)

I'm attaching a picture of me draining one of them.

I've tried remove them and reinstalling them about a half dozen times now. The rubber seems relatively clean up there. What in the heck is the deal with this? How can I make this stop, short of sealing the damned roof forever? I have a MaxCare warranty if that helps, but I'm not sure if this is something they'd cover under that.

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Old 06-17-2019, 06:05 PM   #2
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You cant plug/seal the holes somehow?

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Old 06-17-2019, 06:31 PM   #3
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We been getting near sold rain every since I bought my 2018 JK Freedom top, a year ago. It stays outside. So far, no leaks at all. Or water getting into the panels.

I wonder if they improved them any from 2012 to 2018. Or I have something to look forward too.

I would ask if the factory warranty would pay for this. Worse they can do (and prob. will do) is say no.

Quadratec has them for 877. I think they give a discount for forum members.
https://www.quadratec.com/products/11190_2912_07.htm

Also you could go with the bestop sunrider option. But on the youtube reviews, while people like them, they do leak some.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:49 PM
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Thanks for the thoughts so far.

I've read that some people replaced all of the rubber up there, and some people just replaced the panels entirely. That's really expensive though, and just doesn't seem like it should be needed. If it came down to that - I might try to find some take-offs from a wrecked jeep before I buy brand new ones.

I also might try to find a way to seal that part of the panels up, but I think it still needs some kind of ventilation somewhere. Having a sealed air cavity in there with the crazy range of temps that the roof panels can see doesn't sound like it would end well.

What I don't understand is how the panels are all pretty much the same, but mine end up full of water and most people never have that issue. I'd really like to know the exact cause before I start nagging the dealer about potential warranty work...my dealer seems to often be able to figure it out, but it tends to take them forever.

Anyways...if anyone has any ideas, please feel free to share them. I really appreciate it.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:21 PM   #5
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Mine do on occasion. Dont seal that hole or you won't be able to drain em anymore

I read a fix a while back I will try and track down. I run a soft top 8 months so the couple months with the hardtop doesnt bother me. Usually just the ps and only an issue for me if I forget to drain and it and temps drop/ freezes. Pretty annoying with ice rattling up there-lol

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Old 06-17-2019, 07:49 PM   #6
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I've had this happen, hopefully it's as simple for you as it was for me. I could hear water sloshing around inside the freedom panel over my head every time I came to a hard stop. For me, it was caused by over-tightening the big screws through the sound bar.

My understanding is that the freedom panels are designed to tolerate some moisture, and there are small drainage holes that would normally route water out the sides but they get sealed when overtightened - and cranking down on those screws is probably everyone's first move when chasing down a leak. Your point about having a sealed air cavity is right in line with this.

There are a few threads on the subject over the years, on this forum and others (eg https://www.jk-forum.com/forums/jk-t...-201499/page2/). Good luck!
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:41 PM   #7
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Awesome. I was actually wondering if the tightening of the screws might somehow be the cause of this happening. After reading many reviews, I always been careful to be super easy on tightening them screws. Once I encounter only a tad resistance, I stop. You want to tighten them finger tight, but I resist after reading about them. Same with oil filter.
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:25 PM   #8
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Throw the screws in a bag, and stow them somewhere. Mine have been out for 2 years now (not sure I could even find them) and I don't have any leak issues. The only time you need them is if you have the entire top removed, and want to run with just the Freedom panels in. Then you do need them.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:43 PM
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I just wanted to follow up to my own thread about this in case it helps someone else.


The folks that mentioned keeping the rear screw-in pieces of the freedom tops a bit on the loose side were absolutely correct. It seems counter-intuitive that it seals better with those NOT very tight at all, but that's how it worked.


We just had a rain storm here yesterday and I have those screwed in just tight enough so that they probably won't loosen up any further on their own and I didn't have a single drop get into the roof panels.


Those panels can still rattle around up there ever so slightly since a lot of the roads around here are like a washboard, so I might play with seeing how much I can tighten them without causing a problem - but that was the solution.


Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. I appreciate you folks.
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:39 PM   #10
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This happened to me only once. Speaking of the screws, you're aware of the lil flip-up spacer that's up there? Black piece that act either lies flat, or you can spin it up. If I'm correct, it prevents the screws from pulling the panel low if being over-tightened. Hinged black pieces on each side - maybe 1.5-2" long.
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvitous View Post
This happened to me only once. Speaking of the screws, you're aware of the lil flip-up spacer that's up there? Black piece that act either lies flat, or you can spin it up. If I'm correct, it prevents the screws from pulling the panel low if being over-tightened. Hinged black pieces on each side - maybe 1.5-2" long.
They are only to be flipped down if you are running the freedom tops without the rear of the hard top installed, and then you need the screws. They should lay flat if you are running them with the main hardtop installed.

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