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Old 18th December 2009, 12:07   #1
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Default Maintenance & care for your Jeep / Gypsy's Soft top

We love our Jeeps and Gypsys. The ones with a soft top are usually more desirable since they give you the option of removing the top as well.

However, the soft tops have a disadvantage of getting dirty, soiled and creased since they are basically made up of fabric / vinyl.

With some knowledge on how to clean and protect your Gypsy / Jeep's soft cover, you can prolong its life span.

I'm compiling a list of methods below which i have gathered from websites and personal experience from my Gypsy days on the care and maintenance of soft tops.

SOFT-TOP MATERIALS

Most soft tops are made of a durable polyacrylic/polyester canvas or vinyl. Some things to know before choosing cloth convertible top cleaners:

The fabric-like canvas (Jeeps) tops feel nice and look great, while the vinyl tops (gypsy) are more economical and easier to maintain.
Fabric tops have a tight weave, but they breathe.
Unlike vinyl tops, a canvas top is not waterproof, it is only water resistant. To make the canvas top waterproof, it must be treated.
Without protection, the canvas top is susceptible to leaking and stains.
Likewise, vinyl tops need protection from the sun and pollutants.


DO:

DO use a CLEAN soft terry cloth or cotton rag to wash your windows

DO wipe the windows from left to right or right to left to clean them

DO rinse thoroughly to completely remove whatever cleaning agent you've used

DO apply a protectant to ultimately protect and extend the life of your entire soft top and its plastic/vinyl windows

DON'T:

DO NOT use bleach -- it will strip the soft top's vinyl and plastic windows of their natural properties

DO NOT use common household cleaning products -- they tend to contain silicone or petrolem solvents

DO NOT use household spray window cleaners -- they tend to contain alcohol and/or ammonia which will rapidly dry out the natural oils in your windows

DO NOT use paper towels on the windows -- they will definitely scratch your windows

DO NOT apply much pressure while cleaning -- because even the smallest particles of dirt can scratch the window

DO NOT wipe in a circular or swirling pattern -- this goes aganst the natural grain of the Jeep windows themselves and could create scratches

Other Tips:

Clean the soft top whenever you see dirt accumulate on either the attached vinyl windows or the top surface. Clear any pebbles or sharp objects from the soft top with your hands to prevent tearing.

Wash your soft top at least once a month (or when it is dusty or dirty) with a non-detergent-based auto shampoo. If your top is not dirty, rinse it thoroughly with plenty of cool water. Make sure the shampoo you use does not contain gloss-enhancing oils. If the shampoo contains oil, the top will absorb the oil and become a dust magnet.

The recommended tool for washing is a soft scrub brush. Do not use a scotch brite, sponge or wool mitt, as they will leave lint. If your top has soil marks, stains or bird droppings, use a small, stiff upholstery scrub brush. If you can rub the brush across the back of your hand without scratching your skin, it's safe to use on your soft top. Do not, however, use a scrub brush on the vinyl window. It will scratch. Make sure you rinse the top thoroughly with a stiff stream of water to remove all of the shampoo and dirt.

On canvas tops, dry using a synthetic chamois or microfiber towel. The best method is to use the towel or chamois to blot up the water. Don't wipe. Do not use a terry cloth towel or diaper to dry your canvas top, as they will leave lint. On vinyl tops, a synthetic chamois or microfiber towel will also work well, as will cotton towels. On vinyl windows, microfiber towels seem to work best.

Best way to protect the vinyl windows from yellowing is to use a plasticizer. I don't know if it is available in India but i had got a bottle (raggtop or something) once from Germany and it had lasted me 2 years (10 euros). Use it once a month on the windows and wipe dry. This plasticizer prevents the UV rays from attacking the vinyl windows. When UV rays hit a vinyl window, it causing a off-gassing reaction. This makes the vinyl porous and starts absorbing things which cause the yellowness.

Furniture polish is designed for interior use and was never intended to be used outdoors, therefore it only adds a coat of wax which is of no benefit to the vinyl. Many other products used on cars are petroleum based. Petroleum and ammonia based products slowly eat away the surface of vinyl and rubber causing more problems than they solve.

Store the soft top in a dry area when it's not in use. Cover the windows with a towel and then roll them up so the vinyl doesn't touch itself. This will prevent scratching. When you fold your top, make sure the fold lines are matching the natural fold lines. Do not create new ones. Also, always, wash, dry and then store your soft top.

If the buttons on the soft top are rusted, replace them and then store it otherwise you will get dirty permanent rust stains. I always have a box of atleast 20 buttons in stock. They are freely available and do not cost much. It takes hardly 5 minutes to replace a button. I can source these buttons if anyone wants them.

Take the backend of a candle and rub it like a pencil erasure along the zippers to prevent jamming (both sides - inside and outside)

Tips for the supporting rods for the soft top:

After removing the rods, make sure you store them in a non moist area and do not store anything on top of it or they will bend.

Always pouch and label the screws and use a small string and tie the bag to the frame so you will not misplace the screws.

Do not use rusted frames or they will stain the soft top. What i do is sand paper the rusted area and spray black paint (available at most paint and auto stores Rs. 200max - use 2 coats) and leave it to dry.

Alternative to spray paint - enamel paint, clear nail varnish or worse case urgent scenario use duct tape around the rod.

Last edited by Tejas@perioimpl : 18th December 2009 at 12:08. Reason: typos
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Old 18th December 2009, 18:00   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post

SOFT-TOP MATERIALS

Most soft tops are made of a durable polyacrylic/polyester canvas or vinyl. Some things to know before choosing cloth convertible top cleaners:

The fabric-like canvas (Jeeps) tops feel nice and look great, while the vinyl tops (gypsy) are more economical and easier to maintain.
Fabric tops have a tight weave, but they breathe.
Unlike vinyl tops, a canvas top is not waterproof, it is only water resistant. .
A great effort compiling all this Tejas.
I would like to add that there is a breathable vinyl fabric that i have come across called "Sunbrella" (refer the website) Sunbrella: On the water which i am planning to source for making my gypsy top.

regards,
Dr. Abheek Ghosh
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Old 23rd December 2009, 07:56   #3
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we should have a compilation of mechanical check up points too for the jeeps. would make maintainance much more simple and organised
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Old 23rd December 2009, 21:18   #4
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Tejas, are you serious about these cleaning instructions?

I was stunned when I read the whole thing. These apply more for a vintage car or the family car.

Quote:
DO NOT apply much pressure while cleaning -- because even the smallest particles of dirt can scratch the window
What about thorny bushes and tree branches that strongly brush against the Jeep?

Please don't take it the wrong way. These instructions can't really be applicable to our offroading machines. What we do off-road will totally undo all the care you take during the cleaning routine.
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Old 23rd December 2009, 22:24   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Tejas, are you serious about these cleaning instructions?

I was stunned when I read the whole thing. These apply more for a vintage car or the family car.
It's not as difficult as it looks. It takes an hour and you need to clean it like this only once you done offroading or after 3-4 months or before removing and storing the soft top.

In a nutshell, all you need to clean is:
- a soft cloth
- ammonia free detergent
- lots of water

To stow the top: cloth to put between the plastic and common sense while folding.

While fixing the top: make sure there is no rust on the supports. That's it.

Quote:
What about thorny bushes and tree branches that strongly brush against the Jeep?

Please don't take it the wrong way. These instructions can't really be applicable to our offroading machines. What we do off-road will totally undo all the care you take during the cleaning routine.
That's the whole point. You can't avoid the thorns, but you can take care while cleaning the mud splatters so you don't make it worse. And ideally, you should clean the vehicle after an OTR.
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Old 21st April 2014, 08:44   #6
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Exclamation New Thar canvas top leaking.

The recent rains have tested my canvas top (Thar) and it has set a benchmark in leaking. Though it is just 4 days old, purchased from Delhi, I cannot travel back to get it replaced.
Condensation is also a problem.
Any ideas/advice guys?
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Old 21st April 2014, 09:36   #7
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Default Re: New Thar canvas top leaking.

Quote:
Though it is just 4 days old, purchased from Delhi
You can get this checked with Local dealer , there is no reason why they should not honour warranty.

BTW :: why did you not bought from Chandigarh / Mohali ?? Did you got any offers from Delhi ?
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Old 21st April 2014, 09:39   #8
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Default Re: New Thar canvas top leaking.

The top is basically two layers. The inside of the top is what prevents water from coming in. If stored in a crumpled form for a long time, it develop cracks and will leak.

If you want to DIY fix the leak, the best option would be to remove the top, and paste a layer a thermocol. It will seal the leak, and act as a heat insulation as well.
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Old 22nd April 2014, 06:22   #9
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Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
You can get this checked with Local dealer , there is no reason why they should not honour warranty.

BTW :: why did you not bought from Chandigarh / Mohali ?? Did you got any offers from Delhi ?
I was in Delhi for a few days and decided to buy from there as I did not want to wait for a week to come back to Chandigarh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
The top is basically two layers. The inside of the top is what prevents water from coming in. If stored in a crumpled form for a long time, it develop cracks and will leak.

Thats the probable cause of this problem.


If you want to DIY fix the leak, the best option would be to remove the top, and paste a layer a thermocol. It will seal the leak, and act as a heat insulation as well.
Thank you. If nothing else works ill try this.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 22nd April 2014 at 08:58. Reason: Merging back-to-back posts. Plz use the Multi-Quote button to reply to more than one post at a time. Thanks.
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Old 22nd April 2014, 09:37   #10
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Default Re: Maintenance & care for your Jeep / Gypsy's Soft top

Quote:
I was in Delhi for a few days and decided to buy from there
Did you got stock deliveries from Delhi & any Offers / Discounts ?? Here they are asking 3-4 weeks . Were they able to raise invoice on chandigarh address , I might pick one..
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Old 23rd April 2014, 06:21   #11
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Default Re: Maintenance & care for your Jeep / Gypsy's Soft top

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Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
Did you got stock deliveries from Delhi & any Offers / Discounts ?? Here they are asking 3-4 weeks . Were they able to raise invoice on chandigarh address , I might pick one..
My mechanic sourced it from someone in Faridabad, it took about 2 days. It was not readily available in Delhi. No billing/invoicing just cash.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 07:18   #12
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Default Re: Maintenance & care for your Jeep / Gypsy's Soft top

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudcat View Post
The recent rains have tested my canvas top (Thar) and it has set a benchmark in leaking. Though it is just 4 days old, purchased from Delhi, I cannot travel back to get it replaced.
Condensation is also a problem.
Any ideas/advice guys?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
You can get this checked with Local dealer , there is no reason why they should not honour warranty.

BTW :: why did you not bought from Chandigarh / Mohali ?? Did you got any offers from Delhi ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudcat View Post
My mechanic sourced it from someone in Faridabad, it took about 2 days. It was not readily available in Delhi. No billing/invoicing just cash.
@mudcat,are you talking of the soft top or the vehicle itself?
I Purchased a Thar Crde 3 months ago,has seen decent amount of rains till date,but the Soft top doesnt leak from anywhere.Not from the front at least.
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Old 26th April 2014, 16:44   #13
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Default Re: Maintenance & care for your Jeep / Gypsy's Soft top

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Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
@mudcat,are you talking of the soft top or the vehicle itself?
I Purchased a Thar Crde 3 months ago,has seen decent amount of rains till date,but the Soft top doesnt leak from anywhere.Not from the front at least.
I was talking about the soft top. I took off the soft top yesterday and fixed/pasted a EP sheet under the top. Lets see how it performs now.
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Old 3rd May 2014, 17:25   #14
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Default Re: Maintenance & care for your Jeep / Gypsy's Soft top

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Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
Did you got stock deliveries from Delhi & any Offers / Discounts ?? Here they are asking 3-4 weeks . Were they able to raise invoice on chandigarh address , I might pick one..
Hi Mudcat,

Can u please share the contact details from which you purchased/fitted the soft top?

I am looking for one in delhi.

Thanks.
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Old 7th July 2014, 16:41   #15
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Default Re: Maintenance & care for your Jeep / Gypsy's Soft top

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Originally Posted by uniq62 View Post
Hi Mudcat,

Can u please share the contact details from which you purchased/fitted the soft top?

I am looking for one in delhi.

Thanks.
I did not get his number, since the top looked good when it was installed i did not bother about getting any contact details from the canvas guy.
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