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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I hope you're all being safe and staying healthy out there.

Will confess that when it comes to automotive maintenance, I'm basically a 2nd grader. No instinct, tools, knowledge or courage.

That being said, I have a new soft top coming in form my 2013 Wrangler Sport (2 door). However, there is a broken cable on the driver side which I'm having a hard time finding. I've tried looking a few 'parts lists' but there seem to be different names for this particular cable/wire and I want to be sure I'm ordering the right one. Also, the pricing seems to be wildly different ($13 vs $109) so clearly I'm doing something wrong.

Any of you experts know the cable/wire I'm talking about? It runs from one of the back supports, along the inside of the soft top and into the header. I think it's for adding tension to the top so it doesn't leak, assisting with folding the top back, or both (or something entirely different, I have no idea).

Thanks for any help and sorry to be such a numbskull.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here you go.
Check around for pricing.
Soft Top Tension Cable
Thank you jdinny - I actually saw that one when I was trying to figure it out - but the 'with sunrider top" made me question if that cable set up was specifically for a particular brand soft top (told you, I'm REALLY stupid with this stuff). I assume that you're saying it should probably work for me even with the Smittybilt top I just ordered?
 

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New top? You shouldn't have to buy anything to fix it. Make them send you a new one. If it's some sort of as-is deal, contact smittybuilt for the part.
 

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Thank you jdinny - I actually saw that one when I was trying to figure it out - but the 'with sunrider top" made me question if that cable set up was specifically for a particular brand soft top (told you, I'm REALLY stupid with this stuff). I assume that you're saying it should probably work for me even with the Smittybilt top I just ordered?
No, that is for OEM top.
If you ordered a NEW top, it should/will come with the tension springs. The top sould come complete
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ah thank you guys. To be clear - the top that is on it now, which is damaged, was on it when I bought it last summer. The dealership wasn't sure if it was original or what the deal was but I was so excited to FINALLY get a Wrangler, I didn't care too much. Midway through the winter, the tension cable on the driver side snapped in the middle.

I ordered this top but didn't seen anything about the tension cables.
 

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That's just the vinyl, I believe. Since it's designed to fit the OEM hardware, then you should be fine using a new OEM tension cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you both again - I guess I should have specified "vinyl covering" instead of just saying "soft top" which I didn't consider earlier. Your help is appreciated. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to get the top down again in the sun and stay dry when it's raining/snowing!
 

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If I were you I would call Best Top. They make the OEM tops and sell a wide variety of other tops as well. They should be able to tell you and sell you anything you need.
 

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The OEM frame normally has a much longer life span than the covering. The covering is not vinyl but generally various grades of canvas. There are the budget series (such as the Smitybilt), then the more mid grades referred to as "sailcloth" and then the much longer lasting, thicker (and more expensive) twill. On the OEM tops the standard top is the sailcloth and the premium is the twill.

Generally there replacement top refers to the fabric and windows with no hardware whereas the complete top includes everything with the assumption that there is no current soft top (when the Jeep may have come with a hard top) or the current frame is worn out. That later was my case two years ago on my TJ when I went with the Bestop Trektop NX rather than a full new frame and top.

The Sunrider refers to the front section of the top that flips back without putting the top down. That was an option on some TJs, but I believe all the JK/JKUs came with that feature.

I would plan to start saving money for a replacement top. The Smitybilt tops are what you pay for. My TJ had a Smitybilt replacement top on it when I bought it in 2014. It lasted four months before I had three seam leaks and the rear window would no longer stay zipped on the interstate. I replace it with a Bestop Replace-A-Top and the fabric was easily twice as heavy as the Smitybilt. I had the top on for four years before I was having the TJ painted. My frame was no longer in good shape. I gave the Bestop Replace-A-Top to another WF member and he still has it on his Jeep. I found out from the previous owner of my TJ that he had put that Smitybilt replacement top on only about two years before he traded in the Jeep. It was also bad about flapping on the road.
 

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The OEM frame normally has a much longer life span than the covering. The covering is not vinyl but generally various grades of canvas. There are the budget series (such as the Smitybilt), then the more mid grades referred to as "sailcloth" and then the much longer lasting, thicker (and more expensive) twill.
I don't think any top is canvas. The standard JK top is sailcloth, which is two layers of marine-grade vinyl and one interior poly/cotton mix. The Twill is two layers of cloth with a rubber inner layer.
 

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No. Sailcloth is canvas. Canvas is a very tightly woven treated cloth. Vinyl is a plastic. Vinyl also does not hold up as well as sailcloth to folding. Vinyl is also rolled out in a sheet. If you look at the fabric of a Jeep soft top, you can see the weave of the thread. The quality of the tops are in the layers and thickness of the layers of the fabric and the thickness of the vinyl in the windows. The most expensive tops are the twill fabric with is softer to the touch than the sailcloth. Sailcloth gets it name because it's original design purpose was for the sails on a sailboat.

I guess you have never had a vehicle with vinyl seats. If you had, you would never forget them.
 

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No. Sailcloth is canvas. Canvas is a very tightly woven treated cloth. Vinyl is a plastic. Vinyl also does not hold up as well as sailcloth to folding. Vinyl is also rolled out in a sheet. If you look at the fabric of a Jeep soft top, you can see the weave of the thread. The quality of the tops are in the layers and thickness of the layers of the fabric and the thickness of the vinyl in the windows. The most expensive tops are the twill fabric with is softer to the touch than the sailcloth. Sailcloth gets it name because it's original design purpose was for the sails on a sailboat.

I guess you have never had a vehicle with vinyl seats. If you had, you would never forget them.
Yes, I had a car with Vinyl seats. In Southern California.

Can you give me a source on canvas tops? I can't find anything. Here's my source:

Note the section on old-school vinyl tops, to which you are referring. Now, move to sailcloth:

Sailcloth
This fabric offers three layers of weight, with two exterior vinyl ones for weatherproofing and noise deadening, and an under layer of poly/cotton substrate designed to stabilize and reinforce the overall fabric. All of this combines to form a 28 oz. thick barrier that is 50 percent quieter than regular vinyl or denim. This material does cost more than vinyl or denim, so it may not make sense if your vehicle is merely a weekend driver or trail only, but anyone who is a daily driver certainly will notice a significant difference in ride quality.
 

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A sailcloth top is not canvas. This ^^^^^^
 

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Sailcloth is a type of canvas. Sailors will call their sails canvas many times. Canvas is a durable material. Modern canvas comes in various grades. It is a tightly woven fabric from thread made of various materials. It is noted for it's durability.

Vinyl is a plastic and shines brightly reflected light. Take a close look at your physical top. Yes, it has a soft sheen, but that is not vinyl it is polyester as a component in the threads. There are only two top choices on an OEM top, the standard and the premium. If you want to replace the top (keeping the frame) the best choices are one of two Bestop products, the sailcloth (in black denim, black diamond or other colors) or twill. Twill is the equivalent of the premium factory top. It is thicker and the outer layer is a softer appearance.

If you doubt sails are made of canvas, talk to a former Navy boatswain (pronounced bo'sun). They deal with them all the time, even on our modern Naval vessels (except subs) have a sail locker. While the sailcloth they have is not for sails (except for the USS Constitution and USCGS Eagle) it is still used throughout the ship for other uses.
 

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Sailcloth is a type of canvas. Sailors will call their sails canvas many times. Canvas is a durable material. Modern canvas comes in various grades. It is a tightly woven fabric from thread made of various materials. It is noted for it's durability.

Vinyl is a plastic and shines brightly reflected light. Take a close look at your physical top. Yes, it has a soft sheen, but that is not vinyl it is polyester as a component in the threads. There are only two top choices on an OEM top, the standard and the premium. If you want to replace the top (keeping the frame) the best choices are one of two Bestop products, the sailcloth (in black denim, black diamond or other colors) or twill. Twill is the equivalent of the premium factory top. It is thicker and the outer layer is a softer appearance.

If you doubt sails are made of canvas, talk to a former Navy boatswain (pronounced bo'sun). They deal with them all the time, even on our modern Naval vessels (except subs) have a sail locker. While the sailcloth they have is not for sails (except for the USS Constitution and USCGS Eagle) it is still used throughout the ship for other uses.
You're conflating the general term "Sailcloth" with the name Jeep gave the 2007-2018 standard top. It has nothing to do with sails. Also, there are many types of vinyl. They aren't all shiny. Most of the material used on leather seats is vinyl and looks exactly like leather.
 

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Sailcloth is the term to describe the material. Sailcloth is used for many purposes other than sails. I refer you to the actual description by Bestop for their non twill tops.


And from the Bestop site:

 
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