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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For ages Wrangler owners have been plagued with leaky tops. Mine in particular is only a year old (2015 JK) and recently noticed the driver side carpet would be soaked after a hard rain.

I was able to successfully fix this issue and wanted to share on here and hopefully will help many others’ water leaks. By all means, I’m no expert at this so if there’s any misinformation please let me know and I’ll correct it.

This is not a “one size fits all” guide. I am pointing out one particular scenario that I feel is quite common - and that is the leaky A-pillar at the roof. For mine, the trouble area happens to be at the top windshield corner (and not the door). I have seen others suggest to have the door realigned and can help if that is your trouble area.

I’ll describe step-by-step to my approach and fix.

The first thing that gave it away was the wet floor mat after a hard rain.


Well that’s crappy… checked under the mats and carpet is SOAKED. So remove the two rubber floor plugs to let the water drain and try to get as much moisture out with towels. Take the floor mat out let it air dry for a couple of days (or remove the carpet altogether for quicker dry time).


Next sign that it was coming from the A-pillar was a bead of water along the crevasse where the dash meets the pillar.


After removing the corner plastic panel I noticed water droplets coming from in between the rubber and the frame. That’s the first biggest giveaway that the trouble area was not door-related, but more on the windshield side.


So I removed the front hard top on the leaky side to inspect the rubber channel along the top of the windshield frame. Toward the corner, I lifted it up to see underneath… and it looked like there wasn’t a whole lot of butyl applied in that area from the factory, and also looked unevenly applied.


I tried to remove as much of the old butyl as I could, just to rule out bad butyl altogether. NOTE: this stuff is sticky as hell! It has the consistency of used chewing gum. It will come off the frame eventually, but bits will probably be stuck to your fingernails for days.


I got new butyl at a local auto parts shop for $20. It is used to replace windshields so it comes in lengths of 15ft… which is super long for a small fix like this. I couldn’t find smaller portions anywhere else but I figured it would be handy to have on hand for future leaks. It is also used in resealing leaky headlights.

One thing I have found in my research was that butyl also comes in a tube but I have seen mixed reviews on its application. People say it cures after a while. The butyl ribbon never fully cures, which is good because it does not dry out and crack, while letting itself form a tighter bond with the flexible rubber weather strip.


I put on a solid bead of butyl. Press along the weather strip back on top firmly to remove any air bubbles. Now you can test by spraying water at that corner and see if it still leaks. If it does then take a look at it again, maybe there is a gap somewhere in the application.


Now the waiting game… it rained hard again last night, and I checked today. Guess what… no leak! Not even ONE drop! I was a bit skeptical about this repair at first since I thought it was too easy to be true. But who knows, it’s only been a day. The real test is to see how long it lasts. The good thing is I have plenty more butyl if reapplication is needed.


Now remember, if your trouble area is not on the windshield corner weather stripping, it could be somewhere else. Take a look at this repair manual. It was very helpful for me to determine where my trouble area was. https://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/jk-water-leak-diagnose-and-repair-manual-705042.html


This guid is also hosted on my website for convenience:
http://tamtruong.com/jeep/diy-leak-repair/

Cheers!
 

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:appl: Thanks for this.. i'll definitely give it a shot some time soon. Mine looks similar to yours and I just kind of accepted it for now. I tried the basic steps, reseating the top, putting the conditioner on the strips, making sure nothing was folded over and no luck yet.
 

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Thanks for the write up. I too have had to go back through and re-seat the top panels and make sure nothing was folding over and everything was lined up. Had a leak due to that once. But now, just noticed a leak and it either the issue you address or it looks like the "foam" piece that the rubber gasket from the freedom top panels seat against may be slightly damaged.

Anybody know where you can get that thin foam gasket stuff? Looks like it would come is some sort of sheet or piece that would be molded over the spot when you stick it down or cut to fit.
 

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"Anybody know where you can get that thin foam gasket stuff? Looks like it would come is some sort of sheet or piece that would be molded over the spot when you stick it down or cut to fit. "

I had bought a repair kit from the local Jeep dealer a year ago when trying to address my 08JK leaks. There are a bunch of preformed pieces in it and considerable threads in the past.

I still have the unused kit (about $50) as I traded in the old Jeep for a new one.

Thanks to OP for the fine job on finding a solution and posting great photos/report.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the write up. I too have had to go back through and re-seat the top panels and make sure nothing was folding over and everything was lined up. Had a leak due to that once. But now, just noticed a leak and it either the issue you address or it looks like the "foam" piece that the rubber gasket from the freedom top panels seat against may be slightly damaged.

Anybody know where you can get that thin foam gasket stuff? Looks like it would come is some sort of sheet or piece that would be molded over the spot when you stick it down or cut to fit.
Yeah, my foam/mucket looks a bit warped too from taking off and putting back on the top several times. I'd like to find a source for this too. I had considered buying from the dealer... but I just can't justify that price for the amount you get. I'd rather get a sheet of that stuff somewhere and cut it up myself.
 

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@Michel347 great idea! I have been looking for something like that foam tape but looks like it's not available in the US stores
Yes available in the US as well, saw them in Burlington, Plattsburg, Fort Lauderdale...

If I remember they were under King Frost and Cleverbrand brand names.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A quick check-in:

It's been just over a year since I did this fix and I am happy to report that I have yet to see another water leak! I have not touched that seal ever since and it rains pretty often here in Houston - sometimes quite heavily. The Jeep is parked outside 100% of the time without any cover :)
 

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