Best top rear window closure - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old April 20th, 2004, 07:53 PM
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Larry Walton
'97 D-90 ST #2066 UK 4X4
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Best top rear window closure

I have a '97 ST with a Best top. It apparently was never put on the vehicle before I got it. I bought it from a dealer in Phoenix and it appeared to fit fine though I drove with windows removed. I get home (Portland OR) and then try to zip up all the windows.

The sides fit without issue but I can not get the side zipperes of the rear window to zip closed. Hell I cannot even get them to start. Yes I know you need to do this when it is hot out to allow for easier stretching etc but each side is about 2 inches from being able to close.

My D90 has the full Safari cage and the rear most bar is used for top support. I also have the Alpine Bow in the middle. As far as I can tell it is installed correctly.

I do not have a garage available to heat it up with so I guess I will have to wait until August to try again. Is it possible that this top shrank in storage for 6 years??

Has anyone else had this problem?? Suggestions or ideas??

Larry
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  #2  
Old April 20th, 2004, 09:06 PM
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Phil
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Hey Larry, I'm having the exact same problem with the original Tickford top on my 94. The guy I bought the truck from (2nd owner) told me he never put the soft top on so I have no idea how long it's been since the thing has been on. My fingers are raw from pulling and stretching the damn thing. My plan is to let it bake in the sun for a few hours next 80 degree day, then try again. If that doesn't work, I might bite the bullet and order a Badger.
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  #3  
Old April 20th, 2004, 09:22 PM
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Jim Cheney
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Mine does that, I've never gotten it to go on, but I've never tried in earnest on a genuinely hot sunny day. Its actually pretty fun to drive 4 seasons with no back window, at least it keeps it from fogging up and getting road crud all over it. i would buy a drop curtain before I would buy a new top just to have a back window.
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  #4  
Old April 20th, 2004, 09:29 PM
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Arthur Vigil
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Larry,
The Besttops suck. I think I had 4 or 5 in the 6 years I owned my ST (all replaced or repaired under warranty).
Yes, they do shrink. Yes, they must be installed when warm. I used to leave my out in the sun for a couple of hours before I attempted it.
The Besttops will not last forever, they have a lifespan of around 5 years depending on the conditions they encounter in that time. I didn't learn that until the final top was put on my vehicle by the dealership.
Because I had sooo many fitting issues over the years, LR Denver East finally agreed to have a rep from LRNA come to Colorado and review the problem.
He personally drove my vehicle to Bestop in Broomfield, CO and had them put their latest ('97 version) top on in their factory.
It was the one with the side bars just behind the door tops.
It was the best of the Bestops, but still not the quality of the Badger tops I've seen.
I sold that D90 before the top had time to shrink, but I doubt it will last much longer than any of the previous tops.
I'd agree with Phil, go with the Badger. Either that or take yours to an auto upholstery shop and ask if there is anything they can do to help.
Good luck.


Phil, that is interesting. I always thought the Tickford tops were better quality, although they're now 10 years old, so maybe they were.
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  #5  
Old April 20th, 2004, 10:14 PM
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You can always heat up the top by heating up a small room in your house with a space heater and then put it on. It should work as long as it is not real cold outside. May or may not work, but it is worth a try
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  #6  
Old April 20th, 2004, 11:23 PM
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Tyler
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Don't feel bad i have the same problem. Except that I had the seam on the side split. I just got the top back from an auto upholstery shop and the sad news is that there's nothing that can be done with these tops. They can be repaired when they rip but the material is too heavy and shrinks too much. I'm planning on begging and pleading with the family to buy me a Badger top for christmas.
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  #7  
Old April 21st, 2004, 12:20 AM
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d l
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rear window problems

I am glad I am not the only one who has had this problem. I put my soft top on for the first time on sunday and i fought the back window for an hour. I finally took both side windows out and was able to stretch the top enough to get the rear window in. I don't know if the sun had heated up the top enough at that point to allow me to finish up or if god was finally finished laughing at me, but it worked. My top also has a rip in the rear in the same place as yours does--is this common or coincidence?
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  #8  
Old April 21st, 2004, 06:54 AM
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Sounds like a common problem. Its a simple fix though. You just need to use heavy duty thread and sew it closed.
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You got fins to the left, fins to the right,
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and you're the only girl in town.

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  #9  
Old April 21st, 2004, 10:29 AM
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James
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I had a bitch of a time getting my top back on after I took it off on a sunny day. The top has always been on so I didn't have a shrinkage issue but it still took me over an hour to get the thing back together.

One bit of advise I can give is try unzipping the side windows a bit to give the top more flex and stretch. When I put my top back on I worked front to back and zipped in the side windows completely. When I got round to the back I had no slack to work with and a good 2 inch gap to close like you mentioned. After pulling and chewing up my fingers for 1/2 an hour I tried opening the sides and that helped a lot.

PS I have the bestop.
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  #10  
Old April 21st, 2004, 11:01 AM
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Keith DuFresne
'94 AA Yellow 90
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I also encountered the same rear window issue lately...but it was because of my own idiocy. I rigged up a bolt system for the window so that I could pull it back into the truck and latch it to the safari bar to allow for quick ventilation (and quick closure in the rain). After a summer, the stupid thing deformed to the point where there was no going back. And after having taken the top on and off a couple of times (teaching the kids in the neighborhood every word they shouldn't know) I finally ordered the Badger top. The promise of the rain gutter kit and easy on and off are things I'm definitely looking forward to. So far Badger's been great to work with, they've been friendly and helpful and are also looking into having the gutter kit powder coated for me before it's sent down with my top.
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  #11  
Old April 21st, 2004, 12:33 PM
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d l
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cuss words

my 2 year old daughter now says mudder fugger....my wife is not amused
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  #12  
Old April 21st, 2004, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
my 2 year old daughter now says mudder fugger....my wife is not amused
LOL Priceless!
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  #13  
Old April 21st, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Craig Dickson
1995 D90 Red Soft top
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What I finally figured out was to let the top sit in the sun for a few hours than zip all the windows on FIRST before slipping the plastic edge piece under the retaining rail. I found this works much better than trying to zip the windows on AFTER the plastic edge piece is slippped in place.
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  #14  
Old April 24th, 2004, 08:12 PM
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Phil
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I was able to get my Tickford top on much easier today. It was only 60 degrees but sunny, so I set it in the sun for 3 hours and it went on relatively easily. I got all snaps snapped and all zippers zipped which was an improvement over the first try.
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  #15  
Old April 26th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by flippedrover
Sounds like a common problem. Its a simple fix though. You just need to use heavy duty thread and sew it closed.
Yep, common problem. Mine had about 5 ripped seams. I sewed them all back up with a curved needle and heavy duty thread.
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  #16  
Old April 27th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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Same problem with mine - I even managed to zip the rear window only to have the seam split (I was cranked on express and chocolate at the time)
My wife had the best solution which is really obvious, we moved to California where it is always warm. Top goes on and off easy AND you gett lots of practice doing it.
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  #17  
Old April 27th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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Craig Dickson
1995 D90 Red Soft top
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Speaking of tops, in two weeks the top comes off until October 1st!!!! I can never quit my job or I will lose my parking garage space
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