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How Fast Can You Get a Wrangler Top Up?

Jeep Owners?How Fast Can You Get the Top Up?

Posted by: mrlynn [PM] [Ignore this user]

Date: July 29, 2009 02:41PM

From time to time I toy with the idea of getting a Wrangler. But I’m always deterred by the prospect of the time it takes to put up the soft top if it starts to rain. And here in eastern MA it rains a lot.

Even if you run into a store or the bank, with a normal convertible you can push a button and up comes the top. But with a Jeep?

How long does it take you?

There is one company making an electric top for some Wranglers:

Anyone have experience with this contraption? My brother says he read somewhere that it was junk.

/Mr Lynn

The top itself probably goes up quickly, but the side curtains are another matter. If you’re concerned about getting wet perhaps a Wrangler is not for you.

An electric top on a Wrangler seems blasphemous.

You want an electrically-powered top for a Wrangler?
My God! This is heresy!

Next you will probably want a tolerable ride, decent handling, and good reliability from a Wrangler.
However, achieving those goals will be considerably more expensive than the electrical mechanism for the top.

Pretty quick, if it’s raining.


Yes, falling rain is a great motivator.

I remember trying to assemble the top on an Austin Healey Sprite in the pouring rain. We thought we did it pretty quickly until we realized we had assembled the frame backwards and the top wouldn’t reach the windshield.

By the time we took it all apart and did it correctly we were soaked. We’d have been better off if we’d just kept driving.

I would just get a bikini top for the jeep. It is quick to put up and take down, or you could just leave it on all the time if you are worried about it raining.

The ads for bikini tops mention sun, but not rain.

Looks like there’s a reason for that.

/Mr Lynn

What I really want is a convertible with a stick shift. But I want a year-round driver, not a ‘garage queen’, as anything nice would be (e.g. a Mustang GT or a BMW 3-series). A Jeep would have the added ability to get around in snow. But I’ve no desire to stand out in the rain phutzing with a recalcitrant top.

/Mr Lynn

Next Jeep club gathering ,rodeo/rally…great competition game.
WITH water spayed from hoses over the contestants.

“A Jeep would have the added ability to get around in snow.”

Some Jeeps, yes.
Wrangler, no.

The part-time 4WD system on the Wrangler is great for driving off-road, for getting yourself out of a ditch, or getting yourself out of a snow drift. However, once you are on the road, you can only use its 4WD if the road is totally snow-covered.

In other words, once the plows come though and the snow coating is patchy, you cannot safely use that part-time 4WD system. At that point, you will be limited to using the Wrangler as a RWD vehicle, which means that it will be about as good on wintery surfaces as the Mustang (i.e.–not very good).

If you get a RWD vehicle, you would be well-advised to get a set of 4 winter tires on their own steel wheels. Otherwise, you will experience traction problems when the going gets tough.

True, but the bikini top is really supposed to be used with the doors off, so you might get a little wet, but in a real rain storm, you would have no hope of staying completely dry. That is just part of what makes owning a Wrangler fun!

Sorry, VDC, didn’t see your comment until now.

I used to put snow tires on the rear of my RWD vehicles (don’t see the need for 4). But of late (last 15 years, actually) I’ve just used all-seasons on my big vans. Works pretty well, especially with some concrete blocks in the back to add weight.

/Mr Lynn

If you watch these videos, make sure you watch them all the way through.

By ‘winter tires’ do they mean the same as ‘snow tires’? They used to be narrower than standard (or all-season) tires, with blockier, deeper tread. They were not reputed to be good for rain, or ice. Since here in eastern Massachusetts we get a wide variety of road conditions in winter, I took to using all-seasons as an acceptable compromise.

/Mr Lynn

“Snow tires” are a thing of the past. The technology has come a long way, and “all season” tires are such a compromise that they are not really adequate for any single season except summer. Today’s winter tires are much better than the snow tires you remember.

I sincerely hope you secure those concrete blocks. If they become projectiles, they could turn a minor collision into a fatal occurrence.

Hmm. . . Good point about the blocks. There are seats between them and the front (usually the ‘fold and tumble’ rear bench folded down) but they were not otherwise secured. I guess it would take steel cables and reinforced floor eyes to do it properly. . . Maybe I’ll just leave them out this year.

I use the van mainly for trips. I’m wondering about my wife’s '07 Subaru Outback, though. It’s an automatic with ‘all-wheel drive’ (actually, I think 90-10 in favor of the front, unless they’re slipping). Four extra rims and tires would be expensive, but might improve safety in winter, if those videos are true.

We’re a long way from the ostensible topic of this thread, but it’s interesting.

Back on topic, I parked next to a guy in a yellow Wrangler Sport the other day. He said it took him only a couple of minutes to get the top up if it started to rain. And he said it would go through anything winter could throw at it.

/Mr Lynn

If what you’re really looking for is a sporty convertable with a stick that’s usable year around, and your price raneg tolerates a BMW 3-series or a Mustang GT, there are a number of options out there now. Droptops are returning.

You could start with a Consumer Reports New Car preview t see what’s new on the market and test drive some that look interesting. I live in southern NH and can tell you that there are countless convertables that do fine in the winter. The key is good tires and good technique.

If you do decide on a soft top Wrangler be sure to buy the best winter gear you can get your hands on. 'Cause you’re about to freeze. Look up “wind leaks” in the dictionary and it probably has a picture of the Wrangler.

“If what you’re really looking for is a sporty convertable with a stick that’s usable year around. . .”


“. . .and your price range tolerates a BMW 3-series or a Mustang GT. . .”

Well, used maybe. New ones break the bank.

“If you do decide on a soft top Wrangler be sure to buy the best winter gear you can get your hands on. 'Cause you’re about to freeze. Look up “wind leaks” in the dictionary and it probably has a picture of the Wrangler.”

I can imagine. Seems to me the logical strategy is to get a hard top for the winter, and take it off for the summer.

/Mr Lynn

Have you considered a compromise, like a Scion tC with a sliding glass moonroof? You can get in one for under $18K brand new, they’re sporty, yet winter-tight and warm. Usable year around.

For something even sportier and used, I have friends with Miatas, Honda S2000, old MR2’s (Toyota), and even Mitsubishi Eclipses that dive them year around.

An issue of Consumer Reports Car Guide from the local bookstore might give you some other ideas.