Surrey top or Full Bestop for South Florida? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 01:46 PM
bradleyt09
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Brad Taylor
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Surrey top or Full Bestop for South Florida?

I'm a relatively new owner of a '97 D90ST. The truck currently has the fiberglass top on it and I've been thinking about changing the top to either the Bestop surrey or full soft top that came with the truck. I know changing tops is a PITA so only want to do this once and then keep it that way always. From what I've read in this forum, it seems that it is impossible to zip the windows in and out of the full soft top on a daily basis. If this is true, then I don't see any advantage to using the soft top and should just stick with the fiberglass top. Please let me know if there is any advantage to the full soft top over the fiberglass top, or is it purely esthetics?

Now, the surrey top sounds great, especially, if I remove the door tops. Can you guys offer me any insights into life with a surrey top? This is not my daily driver so I can pick the days, but I do enjoy driving it often. Of course, it rains alot down here so I don't know how practical the surrey top is. Also, is the summer too hot to run a surrey, or is the winter too cold? These sound like stupid questions, but I want to think it through before removing the fiberglass top. Thanks in advance for your input.
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  #2  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 02:05 PM
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I think a surrey top would be perfect for S Florida year round, since you can pick the days you drive. I can't remember it being colder than 45 when I lived down there. I say go for a Badger Surrey, I have one and love it. Easy to remove and put on and will keep you dry in a light rain. I may move back to FL and this would be my only top.
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  #3  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 02:27 PM
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Surrey. I have not had my full top on since 2004.
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  #4  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 02:27 PM
CDeWan
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Clay DeWan
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Badger II

I would not recommend the the surrey top for south Florida - it gets in the 20s in the winter with the frost warnings (for the strawberries and oranges) and hot as hell the other 10 months out of the year. Not too mention raining at 3:00-4:00 everyday. If you are not going to use the back area for people moving then a badger half cab with removable door tops would do as well.
Also, I believe you can roll up and down the sides on a badger II so you don't have to take out the windows but don't qoute me this way you would get a surrey when you need it and can roll it down.

Now remember some of the difficulties zipping in and out windows is because in cold weather the tops do not stretch like they would in warm weather and since you are in warm weather you should not experience that problem most of the months out of the year.

Another option is to go with a bikini top over the cab and then get the Exmor Trim 3 pieces for the rear of the truck that are made from mesh. Since Safari Heritage Parts is in Orlando you could ask to see a trial of how much water that mesh repells when on.

IMHOs
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  #5  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 03:00 PM
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20's in S Florida? Nah son. That's not accurate. Not sure how a full top would make sense in extreme heat either, unless you have A/C that works beyond what most D-90s put out. Surrey would keep you cool but allow a breeze. Just my opinion.
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  #6  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 04:20 PM
bradleyt09
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It seems a pretty general consensus that the surrey is the way to go. As I already have a Bestop surrey, I can't justify buying a Badger. So for you guys that run a surrey top, what do you do when you get caught in the unexpected torrential downpour - I don't care about me getting wet, I'm asking about truck maintenance. The rear mat is not removable as the rear bench seat is mounted over it, so it seems that the water will just sit below the mat. Also, concerned about the rear seats getting soaked and the foam getting wet. I drive my kids in the back so no tonneau option. Are my concerns warranted, any thoughts? Also, do you like the quick release door tops?
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  #7  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:11 PM
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Hey my thoughts. I have a hard top love it. The PITA is only tough if it is not a 2x per year issue. I had a hard time storing it but found great solutions from members of this forum. I have purchased a surrey top love it too. The first thing i did was take the HT off put the Surrey on and promptly started to rain. Everything was drenched including the the kids passenger and yep me too. So switched to the Soft top this will give me the best of all the worlds. Sure its a little more floppy and if not used in a while let it sit in the sun and drench it with a lot of armor all or derivative there of. This way you will be able to stretch it those careful few millimetres to make it work. (do not up AA on windows ) It works for me and I'm sticking to it lol. I suggest the soft top because of the versatility. Good luck ! It's only a PITA the first time after that it is about an hour for the HT to be put on. Good Luck and get the quick release door tops.
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  #8  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:18 PM
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Full top zip the windows out
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  #9  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:32 PM
CDeWan
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really

I suppose you were in Tampa in 1976 like I was when it snowed. And I am sure you spent years listening to the frost warnings for Lakeland, Brandon, Bradenton for the crops. Yes 20s in Florida is a reality...o wait you said that you live there for a little while does that mean spending 26 years growing up there? I am quite familiar with FL weather.


Quote:
Originally Posted by WeBeCinYa View Post
20's in S Florida? Nah son. That's not accurate. Not sure how a full top would make sense in extreme heat either, unless you have A/C that works beyond what most D-90s put out. Surrey would keep you cool but allow a breeze. Just my opinion.
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  #10  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:45 PM
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The guy lives in Palm Beach, FL. Your comment made it sound like 20's are pretty common, once every few years it might get down that low for a night.

Getting back to the point, being that you can drive your 90 as a 2nd car, it would be easy to not drive the days in your lifetime it will be in the 20's in Palm Beach. As for the rain, I could see where a full top would be beneficial in a downpour. I think you would be fine with the surrey, but choose what you deem fit for you.

There are guys here in CO that have a surrey on year round, even in brutal cold.
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  #11  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 06:34 PM
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If you are worried about the back in downpours, get a half tonneau cover.
They come up for sale now and then. Or you can splurge and get badger version.
I've seen some setups where people run bikini, drop curtain with half tonneau, so why not a full surrey, drop curtain and half tonneau for rainy/colder days. There will be a draft through the sides but not so bad.
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  #12  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 06:39 PM
CDeWan
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Ran that set up

Gery,
Totally agree! Ran the bikini and Art Vigil drop curtain and the full tonneu (94) up to the drop curtain for a long time that worked great. The back splash is a bitch without the drop curtain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityD90 View Post
If you are worried about the back in downpours, get a half tonneau cover.
They come up for sale now and then. Or you can splurge and get badger version.
I've seen some setups where people run bikini, drop curtain with half tonneau, so why not a full surrey, drop curtain and half tonneau for rainy/colder days. There will be a draft through the sides but not so bad.
------ Follow up post added May 2nd, 2013 06:42 PM ------

Yes but you guys in CO are nuts with the cold and are a heck of a lot more tollerant than me. Complete wussy when it comes to the cold.


Quote:
Originally Posted by WeBeCinYa View Post
The guy lives in Palm Beach, FL. Your comment made it sound like 20's are pretty common, once every few years it might get down that low for a night.

Getting back to the point, being that you can drive your 90 as a 2nd car, it would be easy to not drive the days in your lifetime it will be in the 20's in Palm Beach. As for the rain, I could see where a full top would be beneficial in a downpour. I think you would be fine with the surrey, but choose what you deem fit for you.

There are guys here in CO that have a surrey on year round, even in brutal cold.
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  #13  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 07:03 PM
bradleyt09
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Brad Taylor
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I can't run a tonneau because I use the back seat for hauling the kids. So if I just go with the Surrey top and do get caught in the rain, what maintenance do you after a good soaking to ensure things dry out OK and not ruin the seats, etc?
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  #14  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyt09 View Post
I can't run a tonneau because I use the back seat for hauling the kids. So if I just go with the Surrey top and do get caught in the rain, what maintenance do you after a good soaking to ensure things dry out OK and not ruin the seats, etc?
You don't have Corinthian leather back there do you? ;-) Last I looked a NAS defender 90 is basically a souped up tractor. It is meant to take the elements pretty well. Best I can tell you is to use it as you see fit and address maintenance as needed. Bench seat can have water proof cover (Badger makes a very nice one). There is a products called Boesheild and Fluid Film that you can spray on the metal parts that helps keep rust at bay that are not as goopy as Waxoyl but that is also another option.
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  #15  
Old May 2nd, 2013, 10:33 PM
bradleyt09
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Brad Taylor
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Corinthian leather is a classic. Is Ricardo Montalban the new spokesman for LR? Your point is well taken. I realize these trucks are utilitarian, and that's what I love about them. I guess I'm just overthinking it a bit, but curious how you guys deal with water intrusion, or maybe you don't and just let it dry out on its own. Anyway, I appreciate the comments and humor.
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  #16  
Old May 3rd, 2013, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyt09 View Post
It seems a pretty general consensus that the surrey is the way to go. As I already have a Bestop surrey, I can't justify buying a Badger. So for you guys that run a surrey top, what do you do when you get caught in the unexpected torrential downpour - I don't care about me getting wet, I'm asking about truck maintenance. The rear mat is not removable as the rear bench seat is mounted over it, so it seems that the water will just sit below the mat. Also, concerned about the rear seats getting soaked and the foam getting wet. I drive my kids in the back so no tonneau option. Are my concerns warranted, any thoughts? Also, do you like the quick release door tops?
While I don't live in Fl I run my truck from May to October with no top on it. The only thing I've had to replace is the stereo twice due to rain. With a surrey you shouldn't have a problem with the center console getting wet. But you might want to look into a cubby box cover.
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  #17  
Old May 3rd, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Hay Brad, I live just up the road in Stuart. On my ExMoD 90 I ran with the sides rolled up on my soft top 95% of the time. On a day like yesterday I would just roll the sides down - or maybe not. I am thinking about a full surry top and a drop curtain. You might also check out Safari HP they have some mesh surry kind of top that look pretty cool. Give a shout if you are up this way. We are due for a get together soon.
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  #18  
Old May 3rd, 2013, 03:01 PM
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With the sun, do what you can to protect the padded cage parts. They dry out and can crack, and since they are no longer available, makes sense to protect it.
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  #19  
Old May 3rd, 2013, 09:11 PM
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I live in Tampa and just roll with my full Badger top without windows. It's perfect for me...plenty of air and sunshine but enough protection from a quick summer storm. I haven't zipped my windows in since I moved here two years ago. I also have the benefit of parking in a garage at home and at work though-- also not my daily driver.
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  #20  
Old May 4th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherpamike View Post
I live in Tampa and just roll with my full Badger top without windows. It's perfect for me...plenty of air and sunshine but enough protection from a quick summer storm. I haven't zipped my windows in since I moved here two years ago. I also have the benefit of parking in a garage at home and at work though-- also not my daily driver.
Every time I pass a soft top down here, it's just like this. Almost never see the tops off completely because of the daily downpour. I'd also give a call to Safari HP and see what kind of fabrics they have over there. Was just at a rally and got a sample of Exmoor's new sunshade type of fabric. Really, really cool looking, and is supposed to have water shedding qualities. Now whether that means it'll hold up to a huge downpour, that remains to be seen. Besides, you can always take the 1.5 hr drive up there and check 'em out in person!

<HIJACK>BTW, we South FL people definitely need to do a meet & greet - got a small house in Jupiter, so close by!<END HIJACK>
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