Soft Top Ballooning and Stiffening - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-15-2019, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Soft Top Ballooning and Stiffening

Something I been thinking about for a while. The front part of the soft top, over the front seats, is buffeting/ballooning/flapping and ultimately stretching and sagging. And how to fix it.

Story:
I owned a Trektop NX on my 13 JKU. It came with silver bows that stretched across the front and rear, supporting the top. At speed, 40-70, the top would balloon up and leave 1-3 inches of space above the support bar. The bars kept the top from sagging down, nothing to keep it from expanding upwards.

I got a new (used) black twill OEM top this week. There are no support bars across the door tops. OK. The front part of the top is raised up in the middle, angled down toward the windshield. On the highway, typical ballooning.

Has anyone thought of reinforcing the top? Adding sewn-in or stuck on extra bows to keep the top shape?

What about gluing a panel of some kind, plastic or aluminum, to the sections of the top that remain flat when folded? Then they would be stiff, and not expanding upwards. Stress would only be on the flexible parts, and maybe those can be reinforced.

Any way for us to improve this top? To make it thicker, quieter, etc?

Frame rails, engine, log axles - the simple life. 2013 JKU. 6 Speed. 3.73. That's it, the rest is up to the aftermarket..
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-15-2019, 02:11 PM
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I did this mainly to prevent pooling of water when parked. It's a bikini top, tho', no "top" hardware that might prevent this from working for ya. I didn't notice any billowing of the top afterwards, though that was not my concern. I don't do much highway and my OEM softop wasn't on long enough to recall any memories.

A piece of 1" x 5' PEX tubing (Lowes/HD), stuck the ends on top of the seatbelt shoulder adjusters. If I felt like making a project out of it, I coulda done a decent job of trimming the ends to interface better with whatever hard parts would support simple, no tools fastening. I just slapped it in there.
I think a tripod style "bow" with slightly smaller diameter tubes would be a better solution, with one bow coming back from above the rearview mirror while the rear points attaching to the sports bar or other upper b-pillar area. Obviously, that involves a minor application of brain cells that I've been keeping in reserve for my next hangover, but I didn't think the project warranted getting drunk.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-16-2019, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe99 View Post
Something I been thinking about for a while. The front part of the soft top, over the front seats, is buffeting/ballooning/flapping and ultimately stretching and sagging. And how to fix it.

Story:
I owned a Trektop NX on my 13 JKU. It came with silver bows that stretched across the front and rear, supporting the top. At speed, 40-70, the top would balloon up and leave 1-3 inches of space above the support bar. The bars kept the top from sagging down, nothing to keep it from expanding upwards.

I got a new (used) black twill OEM top this week. There are no support bars across the door tops. OK. The front part of the top is raised up in the middle, angled down toward the windshield. On the highway, typical ballooning.

Has anyone thought of reinforcing the top? Adding sewn-in or stuck on extra bows to keep the top shape?

What about gluing a panel of some kind, plastic or aluminum, to the sections of the top that remain flat when folded? Then they would be stiff, and not expanding upwards. Stress would only be on the flexible parts, and maybe those can be reinforced.

Any way for us to improve this top? To make it thicker, quieter, etc?


I've driven an 11 4 door w/ TrektopNX & those spanner-arch-bow-strips that you mentioned; the little Velcro straps on it that you cinch the top to does an ok job at keeping the top from causing you to lift-off , lol. It poofs slightly at hwy speed but nothing like you're mentioning. If the things are not installed right they'll behave funky. But , not experienced the amount of inflation from it u mention . Maybe I'm unobservant? I don't really drive mine over 10mph any more but recall the top when I did hit 80mph & it was noisy but still affixed ....ballooned maybe 1" ?





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post #4 of 6 Old 04-16-2019, 09:52 AM
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I bought one of these, and its worked well.

https://www.extremeterrain.com/skid-...jk-4-door.html.

Basically, same thing Fred has, but you can mount it where ever you want.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-16-2019, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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The poof or ballooning at highway speeds is really just the nature of the cloth top. It goes from 1-2 inches above the aluminum bow.

The top is a stretchable drum. It will only get more saggy and loose with age - twss.

I don't think the solution is more bows and straps, I think the fabric needs to be stiffer.

Let's say I want to glue some kind of lightweight sheet material onto sections of the roof fabric - any suggestions of material?

Frame rails, engine, log axles - the simple life. 2013 JKU. 6 Speed. 3.73. That's it, the rest is up to the aftermarket..
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-16-2019, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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My Trektop came with a stitched-in bar and straps to hold it down onto holes in the roll bar.
Propping up the top is not the problem.
Making the roof itself semi-rigid is the goal.

Frame rails, engine, log axles - the simple life. 2013 JKU. 6 Speed. 3.73. That's it, the rest is up to the aftermarket..
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