BigJimny Meet 2019 (17 May 2019)

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Jimny softtop?

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09 Mar 2019 22:21 #204369 by Wailin
Jimny softtop? was created by Wailin
Searching for a jimny for the last few weeks here in Dublin. I have viewed three, one of which I drove. All had rust issues and the one I drove had the dreaded "wobble" at around 40-50mph, quiet severe. The other's probably had the same issue because I could see oil seeping from the swivel joint under the passenger side on all of them. It seems very difficult to find a clean rust free sample.

So I have seen a 2006 one for sale but it has a soft top. From the photos it looks clean, but so did the others! Is there any cons to the soft top over the more common hardtop? I think they look quiet nice and in sunny weather they would come into their own.

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09 Mar 2019 22:59 - 11 Mar 2019 08:42 #204370 by Max Headroom
Replied by Max Headroom on topic Jimny softtop?
Hi Wailin

As an ex biker, I 'accidentally' discovered the pleasurees of open air motoring in the early 80's and have not looked back since. I doubt I will ever have another "tin box" as my main mode of transport other than my first car, and a momentary glitch the in mid 2000s.

I own and run a 2006 VVT open-topped Jimny and I love it. All Jimnys are fun to drive but in summer this comes into its own.
During last year's heatwave the roof came off and stayed off for what seemed like weeks on end. I left it parked up at night topless too although it did get a bit damp inside from dew. (I have since made a 'temporary' overnight cover held on by strong magnets to eliminate that. But the damp quickly dried out as soon as the sun came up.

While fabulous to be able to drive around like this in the summer, it's worth remembering that British summers aren't usually that great.
The open topped Jimny hood-design is at best poor. Don't get me wrong; provided it is in reasonable condition it will keep the rain out even in the worst weather but the original hoods were ill-fitting and made from a very inflexible vinyl. I've owned many convertible cars over the years and the Jimny hood is by far, the most awkward.
A new hood will set you back around £300+ from MONSOON I have one of their hoods on the vehicle and it is slightly better than the one my brother had on his brand new Jimny O2... but not by much.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the open top variants is the awkwardness of access through the rear door ; you have to (partially) unzip the rear window and undo the fasteners and velcro to open the door.
The poor design of the hood also means that the corners of the hood will occasionally get trapped in the door if care isn't taken while closing it, and frankly, the whole process of opening and closing the back door becomes something of a chore if you need to do it all the time.

If you do look at the convertibles as a possible choice, take a good look in the boot area under the floor where the jack goes, for corrosion.
Check the function and condition of ALL the clamp-type fasteners that lock the forward, overhead edge of the hood to the vehicle.
Inspect the transparencies in the hood for cracks and discolouration (although discoloration can be cleaned-up to a good degree using acrylic polish). The hood should never be folded in such a way that the folds cause creases on the transparencies.
Check all the press/snap (Durable-Dot) studs - you will probably find the ones at the bottom corners won't quite reach the male part of the stud - again, this is simply due to the poor design; even the Monsoon hood is a bit too tight in this area. (It's easier to fit the corner fasteners on a warm day than when the vinyl is cold and stiff). Its on these corners that the vinyl edge-piping has the potential to crack and then the main material of the hood will begin to suffer.
The 'Durable-Dot' or 'Snap' fasteners used were poor quality and rust, but are very easily changed for stainless ones that are all-round a much better quality stud anyway. Really, Suzuki should have used 'Lift-The-Dot' type fasteners around the lower edges; and I may fit these myself later..

On the targa-top over the driver's head, the steel frame that the vinyl mounts onto is prone to corroding. Monsoon make a fibreglass replacement but its stupid money in my opinion.
Bear in mind that the original metal one is very simple and can be repaired by a good welder. I shot blasted mine and got it into good paint, waxoyling the inside of the tubes, so it should outlast the car now.

Finally, my convertible lives outside ALL year. I dont suffer too much with damp inside but I do use a 'bandolier' with bags of silica-gel crystals to help keep it dry inside during the worst of the weather, which I lay across the top of the dash. This dampness is caused by condensation rather than direct ingress of rain.
In winter it is noticeably slower to heat up the interior than my neighbours conventional Jimny, but I just wear a woolly hat and gloves for a few miles more than she does.
Bear in mind a convertible will be inherrently noisier to drive too. Only on a very blustery day might you get an occasional draught under the sides of the targa but these are minimal and of no concern; and should be regarded as just part of owning a basic convertible.

All that said, don't let me put you off!
I have been trying to give you the 'cons' of owning a convertible which is what you originally asked for. But I can tell you, I would still choose to own another open top Jimny over the 'estate' variant anyday, but then, my name is Max Headroom and I totally live for open air motoring. B) ;)

Last edit: 11 Mar 2019 08:42 by Max Headroom.
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