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Old 14th July 2015, 15:22   #1
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Default Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

I have a Thar CRDe. (At least, I do until Maruti births its new entries, then we shall see.)

Anyway, what I am thinking about doing is replacing the rear canvas flap that holds the plastic rear window. The idea is to have somebody make me a new canvas flap with a normal safety glass window sewn into it. This would give me a clear piece of glass to look out of when I need to back up etc. For those of you familiar with jeeps, the plastic window that is OEM picks up dirt and dust quickly, inside and out, limiting vision. It also goes opaque when sun comes from the rear and it accumulates scratches, holes etc. that make it hard to see out of.

I can think of two ways to proceed. One, alter the existing flap maybe by taking out the original plastic window and adding in a 2nd heavy gage piece of canvas that holds a plate glass window.

The other is just to make a whole new flap of heavy gage canvas, maybe two ply, with the window sewn into it. I have had trouble with the original zippers and closure of my original flap so I am not too concerned with ditching it. It leaks anyway. (or, just buy a Bimbra hardtop)

One problem is that with a rigid piece of glass in the flap, the flap will no longer roll up. I figure I can just swing it up toward the inside and tie it to a cross piece of the inside top frame.

Another problem is how to keep water out along the sides where the current zippers are. The current zippers jam a lot, come off track, and I have had to have seat cover techs resew them a couple of times as the wonderful Mahindra zippers like to separate from the top. Seat cover techs and maybe some guys who do work on auto-rickshaw tops and tarps are my prime candidates for doing the work. Anybody else that you guys can think of to do the work?

I have been also thinking about world hunger, world peace and the general suffering of mankind. But first, this flap business. I feel that if I can solve this, the other problems will fall in line.

I invite your thoughts and possible ideas for improvement.

Last edited by DirtyDan : 14th July 2015 at 15:25.
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Old 15th July 2015, 00:45   #2
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Default re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

The thick gauge canvas may not be enough to hold the glass. Why don't you use an aluminium channel the kind that is used for sliding glass on showcases. Use it on the top side and the lower. The channel can be hemmed in with canvas with a tick thread underlay.
Get an additional flap sewn from the inside along the entire length of the zipper that attaches by Velcro on the other side of the seam. That will hold the water out.
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Old 15th July 2015, 00:48   #3
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Default re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

Another possibility.

Forget Glass. Use Clear Acrylic. Lighter = Simpler to fix. Lesser chances of an accident.
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Old 15th July 2015, 11:53   #4
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Default re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

From what i have observed in friends' Thars, the top is quite good and doesn't leak nor do the zippers jam. Could your's probably be a one off case?

Tried waxing the zippers?

Also, instead of this trial and error, why don't you just fit a reverse camera and sensors combo? Cheaper and more reliable.
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Old 15th July 2015, 12:31   #5
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Default Re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

DirtyDan,

The real problem is the poor quality of plastic. It only gets worse with time (yellow'ish colour, scratches etc.). Try replacing the OEM plastic with some truly high quality stuff from the after-market. I remember stressing on this point when a new top for my Jeep was being made. Top quality plastic can make a huge difference.
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Old 15th July 2015, 13:08   #6
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Default Re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

Hi DD,

Thar zippers suck. Also the rear Mica sheet.

I've had the OE Thar softop till I changed my radiator to the back. The only solution for the rear problem is to change the rear zippers to proper ykk branded heavy duty ones. Or put velcro, easier to handle than zip.

The Mica sheets. The problem is the inherent property of those sheets. You need to keep changing it every year. There are some high quality ones which will last you a year or two more.

IMO, putting glass isn't practical and will add new problems. Or else go for a hardtop and solve all the problems.
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Old 15th July 2015, 14:32   #7
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Default Re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

DD,

See whether this will work. I might also do this one day as my plastic sheet has gone dirty and looks bad.

Remove the canvas completely
Cut the plastic portion nice & Clean
Take a 1 1/2" canvas strip and stitch this strip from the edge side of the cut window area (all around the window area)
Then, measure and make a 1" x 2mm square piece of metal to seat around the cut window area
Drag the 1 1/2" canvas strip over it and stitch/stick the other side nice & tight
This would mean, you have the window opening area reinforced with metal
Then, measure a 3mm clear Acrylic window piece to the size of the square metal piece
Apply silicone gel around the window and place the Acrylic sheet over it
Neatly drill small holes and fix the Acrylic sheet tight (just for additional support)

For added safety from rain, since you are anyway removing the canvas, the horizontal top portion above the window on the canvas, you can have a small little flap to divert water

I am sure this will work. The benefits being..

Acrylic tends to get scratches and fade - But, with the above method, you can just remove the piece and put a new piece every year. Easy stuff

swami
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Old 17th July 2015, 14:34   #8
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Default Re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

Where would I likely find acrylic suitable for windows?

Where would I likely find good quality plastic for windows?
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:51   #9
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Default Re: Jeep: Solution to poor visibility from the plastic windows

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
Where would I likely find acrylic suitable for windows?

Where would I likely find good quality plastic for windows?
Hi, there should be specific markets for these products in every large city. If you do not have one, you can ask the guys who make advertisement sign boards and office name boards and they can source it for you.

Plastic sheets - I am not sure about as many people use it for different applications. e.g., people who make plastic tents with clear plastic would be one lead

Hope it helps.

Swami
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