soft badger vs. hard fiberglass - Defender Source
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Old July 8th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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Jim Garaventi
97 ST
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Marblehead, MA
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soft badger vs. hard fiberglass

I'd greatly appreciate any POV regarding a badger soft top vs a fiberglass top for getting through Boston winters. Thanks.

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Old July 8th, 2004, 10:08 AM
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I have never seen a rover in person
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Well for the price of either you could almost get a spare Range rover classic.

I can tell you this much, the fibreglass top sucks in winter.


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Old July 8th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Mike Hippert
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94 D-90 Grinding Rover
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Location: Manchester NH USA
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Never having owned a badger I can't say much for it, but I do have a fiberglass top and I can say this. The fiberglass top (for me) is about the same as the Bestop with a drop curtain. The Badgers I have seen seal up much better then my Bestop or my fiberglass top. Although with a little extra foam around the cage the Fiberglass top will seal up pretty good.

For me the biggest battle in the winter is fighting drafts, and the faster you are driving the worse it gets. With the Bestop and the Drop Citrine if I drive over 50 mph the defrosters cannot keep up with melting the snow on the windscreen. But with the fiberglass only it could keep up with it at near 60 mph. The Badger addresses allot of the draft problems around the door tops with the gutter kit, and this is your biggest draft area.

I think the only real advantages the fiberglass could have is the option to add a headliner for insulation and you could get a fiberglass top for less then an $1800 Badger. Although it takes more time to get the fiberglass top on and off then a Badger.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 11:20 AM
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1994 NAS Defender 90
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Location: Harwichport MA
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Jim as I live in Boston and have had all three tops I can tell you that if you had to pick just on top pick the Badger 1.
It is the best all around top.It seals just as good as the Hard top and is easier to put on and off when the warm weather comes.

If you dont care about going topless then go with the hard top as it is slightly better as a weather barrier than the Badger when the sleet and rain come down. (cloth vs fiberglass).

Most of the time I run a Badger Surrey with the drop curtain and it is fine. When it gets to around 45 degrees range i put the Best Top on with no windows and the Badger drop curtain.
Once it gets to the freezing mark the hard top goes on till about March.
my 2 cents
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Old July 8th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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Hey guys - This is straight from Chris Laws (Badger Coachworks) out of an e-mail he sent me.

"Our tops are pretty durable, but the plastic windows will shatter in cold weather (15 deg. and colder) if folded or twisted. Any winter weather will cut down on the ideal life expectancy of our tops, and salt spray will pepper the plastic windows. It is recomended to use the hard top in the winter if you have one. To date none of our customers have ordered replacement windows for their tops".
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Old July 8th, 2004, 11:56 AM
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94 Arles Blue #1644
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Location: Baytown, TX
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I have neither but recently was able to view the fiberglass HT up close and personal. The owner thought it was a piece of junk and I must say I concur. It might actually be constructed of fiberglass but it has the look and feel of cheap, thin plastic. This one had to be custom reinforced along the drip edge and other places and large unsightly amounts of silicone sealant were applied at the joints and seams. I have had HT Jeeps and the OEM Jeep HT is FAR superior to the LR Part. I desparately wanted one before i saw it up close. The HT is an embarassment to the D90 line of LR accessories IMHO. If you have access to a HT to look at, check it out closely and compare it to a Jeep HT. Pay attention to the way they negotiate the area around the tubing above the doors. The way they designed that area looks like an afterthought. Just a thought. Brian.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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Rich Campbell
06 LR3 01DII D90s sold
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: PA
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I have the hard top and use it in the winter months. It took a while to figure out where the water was coming from but I finally sealed it up. I used a lot of clear sealant around the bolts holding it down across the windshield and around the front corners of the doors. I like it much better then my Ticford top in the winter. For me the improvment was most noticable in how quiet it is inside. This was worth all the work putting it on. If you get one make sure you put it on during a warmer day, the top will crack easy in cold temps. I didn't really notice any difference in terms of temp. Hard or soft top it is cold in there. Fortunatly I don't mind the cold too much and who ever is with me can always walk if she likes, at least that is what I tell her.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 08:23 PM
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Jason Herring
94 D90 ST #1253
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Location: San Pedro, CA, USA
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These comments are exactly why I have been asking about the possibility of using the aluminum top as a 'hard top convertable' top & then switching to a soft top when the weather is friendlier.

The ST roll cage won't fit inside the SW aluminum top, though, right? That seems like a silly design.

I am thinking of getting an ST and an aluminum top, getting the POE rear upper door for the aluminum top, and setting up some sort of quick-release system to take off the aluminum setup so I can drop on the ST top.
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Old July 9th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Scot Yount
95 Coniston Green D-90 SW
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Location: Boston
Posts: 116
Originally Posted by bd90
The HT is an embarassment to the D90 line of LR accessories IMHO. If you have access to a HT to look at, check it out closely and compare it to a Jeep HT. Pay attention to the way they negotiate the area around the tubing above the doors.
In all fairness to the rover fiberglass can't compare it to a jeep because jeeps don't have the rollbars you yourself mention. One also has to keep in mind that NAS Defenders are the only ones with these bars and therefore the only ones that have the plastic top. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there are only 5000 or so D90s in North America, a tiny portion of the business. There are 5000 Jeeps in Boston alone. Chris Laws' Badger tops are cloth and over enough winters, will wear. Better to have both as the only real reason to have the crummy hardtop, is to make your softop last longer. Find an old Tickford and have a auto top shop sew the beltrails on. A fab solution for almost no dough. Ask Ken Loy about his.

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