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Jeep Wrangler - Restoration & Custom Outfitting
All photos, diagrams, and text on this page Copyright 2013 - David Todeschini - all rights reserved - see Copyright Terms

 

Vinyl Window Wind Foiler

 

I spent an inordinate amount of time on this article because the problem this problem solves has been experienced by almost every Jeep owner (whose Jeep has a Soft Top with Vinyl windows), and none of the forums (to my knowledge) discuss it, or a possible solution. There is also no commercially-marketed products that address this annoying (and potentially dangerous) problem.

 

The Scenario:

It's a gorgeous, sunny Spring day; 70 and white, puffy (cumulus) clouds providing intermittent shade on the landscape and on the open road in front of you. You zip out the rear windows, and put the brand new Soft Top down to enjoy the largest "sun roof" in the automotive industry. You set out on the open road, and you get to going about 60MPH enjoying the sights and the fresh air, and the cool breeze from the buffeting crosswind. For the moment, it's just you, your dog, your Jeep, and clear sailing.

 

You are enjoying one of the best aspects of owning a Jeep, when all-of-a-sudden, a gusty crosswind catches the zipped-down passenger window, and flips it outside the vehicle, where it violently slaps against the passenger door, possibly scratching or dinging a brand new paint job. You slow down and pull over, and you must exit the vehicle to retrieve the window and zip it at least partially up to prevent this from happening again.

 

After having this happen to me on one of the most heavily traveled roads on the East Coast (Long Island Expressway) on a rare day when it wasn't bumper-to-bumper, on my way home to South Jersey, I thought about how I could fix this problem.

 

My first solution was a large clothespin-type plastic clip, secured to the door pocket with a piece of cord, and used to hold the window inside when it was zipped down and nobody was sitting in the passenger seat. This worked, but there were two problems: 1) If the clip wasn't stowed in the door pocket, the cord securing it had to be long enough to reach the zipped-down window, which also made it long enough to get the clip jammed between the door and the body tub. 2) It wasn't a 'passive' solution; I wanted something that didn't require my getting out of the Jeep, or lying across the passenger seat to reach the clip if I wanted to zip up or zip down the window while stopped at a red light (there are some advantages to power windows, after all).

 

My new Soft Top came with about two yards of "scrap" canvas strips that were used to tie the rolled-up canvas in the box it was shipped in. Since I had the material to do what is described below, and it was cut from the same cloth as the Soft Top, it had the added advantage of matching the color of existing fabric (not that it would have mattered if it was another color).

 

I obtained a package of 10 Neodymium 1/2" x 1/8" Magnets and used four of them to construct an "elegant" solution to the problem once, and for all. The idea was to construct two magnet "pouches"; one would be attached to the Vinyl window, the other to the door trim. When the window was zipped down, the magnets would keep the window inside the Jeep.

 

In order to keep the two magnets in each "pouch" from "jumping on top of each other" within the sewn fabric, I epoxied them into a rectangular "retainer block" made with PC-7 Epoxy. After the epoxy had almost cured (8 hours), I trimmed it with an Xacto Knife and allowed it to cure another 18 hours.

 

I made the plastic retainer for two sets of two magnets by laying the magnets on old supermarket "rewards" cards cut in quarters. The two magnets next to each other with opposite poles "up", were held in place on the card by two magnets on the other side of the card. PC-7 Epoxy spread around and over the top of the two magnets on the top of the card, immediately followed by the other half of the card and another 2 magnets to squeeze and hold the whole "sandwich" together. After 8 hours or so, the top two magnets and the plastic card "top" were carefully removed, and the epoxy trimmed and left another 18 hours to cure. This "magnet assembly" is what you see in the first photo (below). Opposing poles of the magnets are facing you. The reason for doing this will become clear as you read on.

 

I used the scrap canvas fabric to hold two magnets with the poles in opposite directions, sewn between a length of this fabric, which was then sewn just below the window's zipper using Waxed Dental Floss as thread (dental floss is very strong, and threads easily through a needle if the end is cut clean). Another set of two magnets was similarly sewn into another strip of fabric, and the fabric secured to the door by screwing it in place using #8 x ' screws and washers. The reason TWO magnets are used instead of ONE (which would have been sufficient to merely hold the window in place) is to ensure that the magnets engage the loop properly to hold the window as close to the door as possible.

 

Alternately, you could use a single magnet for each "end", if you obtain a matching magnet with a hole in the center so you can screw the magnet directly to the door (it is impossible to glue these magnets to the plastic door even with PC-7 Epoxy).

 

NOTE: Pay attention to the polarity of the magnets as you do this; when the window is zipped down, the magnets on the window must fall close enough to the magnets on the door and be oriented so that they attract and hold together, and hold the window close to the door as shown in the photos.

 

IMPORTANT: When you sew the magnet pouch to the Vinyl window, be sure to sew the fabric BEHIND the zipper (inside the Jeep), and as far away from the teeth of the zipper as possible. Use Waxed Dental Floss as thread, and paint the stitches on the outside of the Jeep with clear nail polish.

 

When the window is zipped down, the magnets naturally attract and snap together. The force of the attraction (even through two layers of canvas fabric) is entirely sufficient to keep the Vinyl window from being "blown out the window" by the wind. If more force is required, use MAGNETS WITH HOLES that mount directly to the door (see magnet links below). In this case, you must use the same size magnets for the window, paying attention to the proper polarity.

 
Diagram showing door and window magnet polarities and position on Jeep passenger-side door.

PASSENGER DOOR Viewed from hinge end

 

This diagram shows how the magnets are arranged so that the alternating polarity of two magnets sewn between canvas cloth can be made to provide a consistent "latching" position, ensuring that the pieces come together and settle in only one orientation, ensuring that the window is held as closely as possible to the inside of the passenger-side door.

 

Using bare magnets glued to the Vinyl window and the plastic door is not practical, because there is no adhesive I know of that will bond to the polished surface of the Neodymium magnets. If you treated the door plastic with Wipe New, nothing will stick to that, either.

 

Door and Window magnets secured in an epoxy "block" to keep them in position within canvas "pouches".

Each of two sets of magnets are held together with PC-7 Multi Purpose Epoxy that is trimmed to size and shape after 8 hours (partially cured). The magnets are sewn into canvas (or heavy cloth) "pouches" with alternating poles facing "up". The epoxy does not bond to the magnets; it is there to keep the magnets from assuming their natural position (flat edges touching, North to South poles).

When sewing the window magnet pouch, start at the top corner of the canvas cloth, and sew around to the opposite upper corner of the cloth. THEN sew the top of the pouch to the window zipper (see photo below). DO THIS BEFORE attaching the Door Magnet Pouch or Door Magnet Strip.

 

The Window Magnet Pouch is attached to the top, front edge of the Vinyl window, just at the apex of the ascending curve, on the INSIDE of the Jeep.

 

When you sew the Pouch to the window zipper, make sure that the cloth is as far away from the zipper teeth as possible. This photo taken from inside the door. It shows the Magnet Pouch being sewn to the zipper fabric, with the needle coming out of the stitching (red arrow) on the outside of the window, where the zipper is sewn to the canvas.

 

Close-up of the canvas magnet "pouch" sewn to the top of the Vinyl window on the INSIDE of the vehicle.

Close-up of the Window Magnet Pouch.

 

(The close-up photo makes it look much bigger than it really is).

 

It is a good idea to mark the window with a sticker to keep a passenger from thinking that the magnet pouch is a zipper pull. I used a Brother Easy Handheld Label Maker to create the label shown in the photo.

 

 

The magnet pouch is barely visible from outside the vehicle. The magnet pouch does not interfere with visibility, and it is hardly noticeable from the outside. The close-up photo (above) makes it look bigger than it really is. The red arrow in this photo shows the position of the Magnet Pouch, and what it looks like from outside the Jeep.
The Door Magnet Pouch - prefabricated and ready for installation on the Vinyl window.

This is the Door Magnet Pouch assembly prior to installation on the door.

 

Cut small "X" slots for the screws with an Xacto Knife and use Super Glue to "harden" the holes to prevent fraying.

 

The Door Magnet Pouch installed on the Jeep's door trim using stainless steel hardware.

Door Magnet Pouch fixed to the passenger-side door with Stainless Steel hardware (using Stainless Steel screws here prevents the Window Magnets from being attracted to the screws instead of to the Door Magnets).

 

IMPORTANT: Install this part only AFTER you have sewn the Magnet Pouch to the passenger window, and then zip down the window and engage the magnets to find the optimal position for the Door Magnet Pouch. Using a medium-size cordless drill  with a retracting screw holder/driver makes installing self-tapping screws easier than trying to do it with just a screwdriver.

 

Door Magnet Strip uses a thin brass strip instead of a canvas pouch to secure magnets to the door.

If you want a bit more "holding power" from the magnets, you can use PC-7 Multi Purpose Epoxy to secure the door magnets to a thin brass strip, and use it in place of the "pouch" (photo above).

 

IMPORTANT: Install this part only AFTER you have sewn the Magnet Pouch to the passenger window, and then zip down the window and engage the magnets to find the optimal position for the Door Magnet Strip. Using a medium-size cordless drill  with a retracting screw holder/driver makes installing self-tapping screws easier than trying to do it with just a screwdriver.

 

Door and window magnets engaged, hold Jeep Vinyl window secured to the door trim and keeps wind from blowing the window outside the vehicle.

The Vinyl window in the zipped down position, with the magnets engaged.

 

Note how close the window is held to the door by the magnets in the photo below. There is very little possibility that a gust of wind or a crosswind entering the cab could get behind the window and flip it to the outside of the Jeep. The magnets disengage easily when pulled by hand.

 

The Window and Door magnets engaged - they will only engage in this orientation if assembly directions given in this article are followed.

YOU MAY USE ANY OF THESE MAGNETS

 

10 Neodymium Disc Magnets 1/2" x 1/8"

10 Neodymium Disc Magnets 1/2" x 1/4"

10 Neodymium Disc Magnets 3/4" x 1/16"

10 Neodymium Disc Magnets 3/4" x 1/4"

 

MAGNETS WITH HOLES (DOOR) (see text, above)
 

10 Neodymium Disc Magnets3/8" x 1/8"  with countersunk hole for #4 screw

20 Neodymium Magnets 1/2 x 1/8" Discs with countersunk hole 

 

   

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