2012 Jeep Wrangler: The Top
February 17, 2012
Here's the deal: I've never owned or driven a Jeep Wrangler and never -- before today -- dealt with a Wrangler soft top. But this weekend I intend to drive this thing around with no top. So, today is the day I learned how to do it. Despite what you might have read or how you feel, it is a learning experience.
I even got the bright idea to time myself on the top's reassembly. After all, anyone can take things apart. So, being a mission-focused male, I paid little attention to how it came apart. One quick glance at the soft-top guide in the glove box and I arrived here in a few minutes.
Care to guess how long it took to put it back together?
After about 20 minutes of futzing with the rear gate/window interface -- what I thought should be the first step in reassembly -- I called resident logic specialist, Dan Edmunds. Mind you, I did have Jeep's very own soft top instructions in front of me. These instructions advise (logically, I should add) reassembling the top in the reverse order used to take it down. So that's what I was doing.
Dan, however, pointed out some tricks which at first seemed counterintutive but ended up paying big dividends. Step one, he said, was to fasten the top to the windshield header. Now that's the last step if one follows the lowering instructions in reverse order, but it worked. This, I suspect, is because the it's about 75 degrees today and the top material is quite flexible. Dan also mentioned that our resident jammer, who shall remain nameless, shweckled the rear window zipper some days ago and that it was in need of love. He advised silicon spray lube. So I obliged. The tiniest squirt when the zipper began to slow made things smooth again:
The only other sticking point were these plastic brackets which locate tailgate bar against the body. It's not obvious at first which way they go, but they'll only work one way, so trial and error solved that problem fairly quickly:
Here the tailgate bar isn't fully seated. It pushes into the mouth of the bracket easily enough.
In total, after my phone call with Dan, I spent six minutes and 28 seconds reassembling the top. And there's ample room for improvement.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor