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Soft top questions (sealing, life span, etc)

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 88K5Jimmy, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. 88K5Jimmy

    88K5Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    I have come to the conclusion that a soft top will last a long time, because heeps seem to have good luck with them. However, I am concerned about them sealing on our rigs. I replaced the seals on my hard top when I first got it because it leaked and I DO NOT want leaks again. That is why I am skeptical of soft tops and their sealing capabilities. I will keep the carpet and back seat in also.

    So my question is what type of soft top does not attach to the body with screws/hardware, etc but attaches some kind of way with the rubber seals? Also, how do they attach on the tailgate? I don't want to have to screw any snaps, etc into the tailgate for the rear window.

    Lemme hear your good and bad experiences with soft tops, brand, quality, noise, weight reduction, sealing etc.

    Thanks
     
  2. zach78k5

    zach78k5 1/2 ton status

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    i just bought a Fasttrac top and have had it on for a couple of months and not a drop has gotten through on the few rainy days i have had. I love it
     
  3. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    I think most of the soft tops for our stuff have rails that bolt to the bedsides, using the bolt holes that hold the hard top on. But I've got some bad news for ya... All of them require that you drill the tailgate and install snaps. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif It might be possible to use some glue-on Velcro, but I think it would tend to come loose at high speeds.
     
  4. jakeslim

    jakeslim 1/2 ton status

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    I have a soft top in my garage that I plan on installing one day. I too do not want to drill up the tailgate. I will probably wander the aisles of Homedepot and try to spot an answer. I do this all the time when I am not sure what to do and its amazing the issues you can solve with a little ingenuity.
     
  5. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    I run one of the Fasttrac tops as well that I got here from Steve. The side rails bolt into the same places where the top attached. You have to use screws into the body at the front where the hard top came off and across the tailgate. There is NO risk of interference or whatever with the window. The screws are only about 1/2" long or so.

    Mine seals great. I still run with full carpet and back seat. I have had my top through some pretty severe Texas thunderstorms including a couple of HUGE hailstorms. The last major hailstorm severely damaged my convertible firebird and put quite a few dents in the hard steel of the Jimmy's hood, but the top was unscathed.

    I can highly recommend the Fasttrac top. If you go with something that requires no drilling, you will probably be compromising your "no leak" priority. If you want it not to leak, the rails need to be held tightly and securely to the body of your rig. Hard to do that without putting a screw in somewhere.

    If you want some pics, let me know. I can either dig some up or shoot some for you.

    P.S. I did have it leak ONCE. Of course, that was because I left it down over night and it decided to RAIN! I was out at 3AM in my boxers trying to get the dang top up in driving rain. Took about 10 minutes thanks to no help from anyone!
     
  6. 88K5Jimmy

    88K5Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    If you don't mind can I get some pics of how it attaches across the top, the sealing surfaces etc. That area is my main concern with leaks.
     
  7. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    I'll grab some tonight. As a matter of fact, I even drove it to work today with the top up but the windows out.

    People think I am odd to drive my 85 Jimmy on 42s with "custom" sheet metal and a few severe vibes and no a/c to work when I have a perfectly good '03 2500HD sitting in the driveway. Those people, though, just don't know how much fun it really is to drive one of these suckers!

    I'll get some shots of the mounting rails and so forth for ya and post them here.
     
  8. BlazerWheels

    BlazerWheels 1/2 ton status

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    I have a fastrac also. Have had it on since late April. Right after I installed it, it decided to rain for about a week. NO LEAKS!!! It fits nice, and has a good look. I really do like it a lot. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif You do have to drill into the tailgate and around the top of the cab, but that is all. I am actually considering selling mine /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif (new house), I'll send you a pm about it. Either way though, you will like a softtop.
     
  9. Kyle89K5

    Kyle89K5 1/2 ton status

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    talking about the tailgate, does anyone else think that it would be possible to use a peice of flat plate, quick mounted on either end of the bad, to attach the snaps too?

    How about a nice long magnet on the back with some thing rubber or ?? to keep the scratches down?

    I've always wondered why the only way to attach to the tailgate is to drill holes. there ARE better ways, I just don't think anyone has given it enough thought...
     
  10. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    There is quite a bit more force than you may realize hitting that back window, especially at highway speeds. Rolldown your front windows and there is quite a bit of additional force being applied from the inside.

    You will need a good solid way to secure the bottom of the rear window on the soft top to the tailgate. If you secure it to the sides of the bed, you wouldn't be able to open the tailgate without removing it. In addition, it would be difficult to ensure a secure seal to the tailgate as the body/tailgate/fenders move independently.

    Guess I don't see the big deal of attaching screws to the tailgat. These screws will in NO WAY interfere with the rear tailgate window mechanism/glass. If you were to adhere some sort of velcro or whatever, it would be just as permanent. If you used something like a magnet, it wouldn't hold considering the wind pressures and would have significant potential to scratch the paint. If you put something to buffer against the scratches, you have just decreased the effectiveness of the magnet.

    If you don't want to secure the lower part of the rear window, then don't. You don't HAVE to use the channel on the rear window. Without it, however, your rear window will not be held snugly against the body. Or, better yet, run without the rear window.

    Kind of hard to come up with alternatives if we don't know what kind of objective you are trying to achieve or particular impact you are trying to avoid.
     
  11. Mastiff

    Mastiff 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I'd be highly concerned that if I drilled into my tailgate, every single hole would be full of rust with 2 years.

    It seems like they could do it similar to the way they do on the newer Jeeps. There is a rigid support going from one side to the other, across the tailgate area. The support is quick detachable for when you need to get in. I always just flop it up on top of the soft top when I want to get in.

    Of course, it's easy for me to speculate when I don't actually have to built something that works. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  12. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    The span between the fenders on a Jeep for a rigid support is much less than on a K5. Therefore the risk of flex is much less. In addition, the tailgate on a Jeep is much lighter as it doesn't contain a window or anything else. Therefore it is much less likely to move independently of the fenders themselves.

    As far as rust goes, if that is the goal, there are ways to prevent that. Use silicone around/in the hole as the the screw goes in and secures the rail. That will seal the hole effectively. I have numerous holes in my rig for attachments. I have never had a rust problem due to holes being drilled.

    If the rear of top is not properly secured, you risk getting wet carpet, damaged interior, rust on the interior and so on. Those risks are much greater than a small hole drilled on the tailgate and properly sealed upon attaching the rail.
     
  13. Kyle89K5

    Kyle89K5 1/2 ton status

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    Point taken, but in my case, with the windows down, there is a vacuum like affect. It doesn't beat on the back window much at all.

    That being said, I run the Bestop Tigertop. That means I drilled over 50 holes into my truck to mount it, I'm not worried all that much about drilling either /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  14. Mastiff

    Mastiff 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    How about a soft top that simply continues to use the rear window?
     
  15. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    The rear window glass is secured in place by the channels in the hard top. If you remove the hard top and roll up the rear window, it becomes extremely vulnerable to damage.

    As far as the drilled holes, the STC Fasttrac soft top requires 5 holes on the tailgate and about 10-15 (can't remember off the top of my head) for the front of the top at the cab (in the hard top recess).

    I took numerous very informative pictures last night, but my websites are down today. I will get them up tonight and post a link in this thread.
     
  16. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    Sorry for taking so long, but I have put up numerous shots of my STC Fasttrac top on my website. You can only get to it through this link, as I have no links to my photo albums from my other pages. (You know, as with the truck, my website is still under construction!)

    I got the top itself from Steve here at CK5. Let me know if you have any other questions or want any other shots.
     

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