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I searched high and low and can't find anyone that makes aftermarket replacement latches for the soft top. So I don't feel bad posting this message even though I know opening and closing the top is a subject that has been beaten to death.
Am I missing something? Why doesn't any aftermarket company make improved design latches? Ones that have a longer throw to them to make latching easier. Very simple to make, and I think they would sell well.
So I have a smittybuilt soft top. I leave the back window intact when I lower it. I just jeep the window from kinking and it works fine. Those worried about scratches, I say scratches are going to happen. I use plastic polish and it buffed the plastic windows out nicely.
But if you leave the back window in and the sails attached, it gets hard to latch the front. With two people it is easy, one pushes and the other latches. With one person, the latch gets really really frustratingly close to catching, but doesn't. The top is nice and taunt. I could possibly do some adjusting to loosen it up, but I like that it is tight, so I would rather just have a latch with a long throw. Seems like a nice cheap solution.
It has been raining a lot this summer in the northeast and that has really kept the jeep in the driveway closed up and unused. If you could easily throw the top up, it would get out more. With long latches, the top could go up in under 10 seconds. It won't get you the side windows in that time, but if it starts raining, at least getting the top up gets most everything dry and gets you out of the rain.
Bottom line, long throw latches would really really improve the jeep's quality of life. And I have to think there are a lot of other people out there who would agree???
 

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Are you pushing the rear corners into the tub before latching the header? If so, most install manuals for soft tops recommend latching the header and then pulling down on the rear corners and clipping them into the tub. It makes the header latches much easier to do.
 
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