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Discussion Starter #1
I have a question about if there is supposed to be any rubber seal between the bottom of the aluminum channel and the top of the tailgate. If there is supposed to be one, what does it look like? I read in one thread that there was a "bulb" of rubber somewhere along the channel but I couldn't reference where it is supposed to be.

Does the standard soft top allow the tailgate to open and close and still provide a good seal ?

Also I'm wondering about the orientation of the aluminum channel. Is it supposed to be horizontal with the round slot to attach the window, towards the rear of the Tracker ?

Of course the garnish on the left side is broken at the back end also. I think I can make up a piece to make it look more finished but does it do anything in regards to keeping water out ? If it's simply cosmetic, I'm likely to leave it the way it is for now. The soft top hides it just fine.

If anyone has any ideas on how to make this whole window bottom rail attachment scheme less problematic and provide more longevity I'd like to hear any and all suggestions. I'm toying with the idea of a moveable bracket that can be leveraged down and locked into place, once the rail is secured in it.

I have not had the joy of struggling with one that is intact yet. I can imagine problems occur mostly when the top is old and has shrunk and doesn't want to allow the rail to drop enough to snap in place.

I definitely want to make sure the area between the top of the tailgate and the bottom of the rear window is not a HUGE air leak, when I'm done

Trying to save the $200 and several hours to replace the top. Would rather apply the $ to a hard top. So far I'm into it for less than $20 for the thread and clear vinyl. The Flex-Tape - yes that stuff on TV ... it really is amazingly sticky - I plan to use to adhere the zipper to the top is left over from another project. I have various pieces of metal stock I can fabricate the brackets from.
 

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I had the same problem. Things shrink and won't fit right, letting in air, exhaust fumes, rain, dust, etc. I fixed mine by rivetting a couple of velcro strips to the bottom of the plastic window (the canvass portion) that hang down, and affixed a couple strips of the mating velcro on the back door with small sheet metal screws. I pull the velcro tight to affix to the door, which causes the window to fit tight and be a bit outside the door. If I open the door without removing the velcro strips, no biggie, they just "rip" open. Total cost of repair about $2. I posted on a thread years ago on this group. If you can't find them, I'll post again. Good luck.
 

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Look at part #46 here;
https://catalogs.ssg.asia/suzuki/?lang=en#bWFya2V0SWQ9PXx8c3Q9PTYwfHxzdHM9PXsiMTAiOiJNYXJrZXQiLCIyMCI6IkFsbCBSZWdpb25zIiwiMzAiOiJWaXRhcmEgXC8gU2lkZWtpY2siLCI0MCI6IlNFNDE2IChFMDMsRTI4LEUzMyxFNjA6TVkgMTk5OCkiLCI1MCI6IkJvZHkiLCI2MCI6IjIwOSAtIEMgREVDSyBUT1AgKEMpIn18fG1vZGVsSWQ9PTJ8fGVxdWlwbWVudElkPT0xNTM5MXx8cG9zRmlsdGVyPT1NT0RFTC9TRTQxNixZRUFSLzk4IE1PREVMfHxncm91cElkPT0yNDN8fHN1Ymdyb3VwSWQ9PTQ4MTk0

I have the older top that uses the fiberglass rod. Of course, that top shrinks, as well - I no longer open the tailgate by removing the rod (almost impossible now) - I unzip the window.

By the way, off topic, I see you own (almost) my favorite car - a TR6. I wanted to buy a new one in 1971, but they cost $3500. Way too expensive, so I ended up with an MB ($3000). I still regret it, decades later.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK it looks like the weatherstrip is comprised of a pair of chambers the rear chamber being slightly smaller. Does it glue on ? Does the weatherstrip contact the top of the tailgate or does it contact along the font edge of it at the top or both ?

My aluminum channel has a thin metal piece along the forward facing slot. It doesn't run full length on either end. Stops about 3-4 " from teh end of the channel.

The parts diagram hides most of the channel so it doesn't show this attached piece but it also doesn't show it as a separate piece either. The thin metal piece looks as if it could have been part of a weatherstrip assembly but I don't see any residual glue, bonded rubber or rivet holes in it.

I also discovered I am missing the garnish that goes along the top of the tailgate. It looks like I'm going to have to get creative anyway, as far as the weatherstrip goes. DessertRratt's sugestion is beginning to look even more attractive.

I'm just not a big fan of Velcro and I know it will get clogged up with snow and ice at some point here in New England. Probably when I most need it to be air tight.

I'm trying hard to steer clear of just taping it shut and never using the tailgate.
 

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I don’t have the newer top, so can’t really help you insofar as the fittings. Hopefully someone else joins in - but again, whereas it is difficult for me to disengage the rear window from the tailgate, I get around this by opening the tailgate by unzipping the window. In a way, that’s actually a better way, as with just opening the tailgate, the window is still intact and blocks a lot of access to the rear of the car. With the window still attached to the tailgate, and the tailgate opened by unzipping the window, the opening is much larger.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I did some work on the top yesterday and noticed that indeed I do have the garnish along the top of the tailgate. Not sure why I thought it was missing ???

I had to restitch the rubber piece onto the window along the bottom. I was able to do that on a machine. Then I stitched a new piece of vinyl directly onto the old vinyl and cut away most of the old.

Back out at the car, most of the zipper had already become unstitched from the top so I removed the rest of the stitching. Now I'm in the process of restitching the zipper back onto the top.

With the metal channel at the correct height (still only one bracket holding it loosely) I noticed the holes from the original stitching was way too high now. I had zipped the top half of the zipper onto the window and was checking to see if I could reuse the old holes in the top. No way. The top has shrunk too much.

No wonder one bracket is broken. The holes are off by almost 2". So I am now in the process of hand-stitching the zipper back on as high as I can get it. It BARELY reaches the soft top now. The zipper teeth will be exposed and hopefully won't leak too much water like that.

It's tedious work to hand stitch anything and it was getting cold by the time I figured out the routine. Only got about 4" stitched so far. 17 degrees F this morning so maybe no more today unless it warms up enough. My days of a heated garage are way behind me and I miss them. oh well I'll carry on as best I can until I get this thing ready to use.

I was looking at draw latches. Trying to figure out how I might incorporate one into the bracket. After seeing how loosely the metal bar fits into the remaining bracket I think I need to worry more about the receiving part of the bracket itself, instead of a draw-down clamping mechanism.

I don't think it would be possible to zip the window closed if I stitched the zipper back into the same location. I'd likely tear the top or break something if I tried to force it the 2" it needs to stretch.
 

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Ranger88Den, I would certainly be interested in seeing pictures of your project. I too have been struggling with my soft top and have just about decided to not worry so much about the tailgate area. It sounds like you are on to something.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I stole a photograph from somebody else's website that shows very clearly what the aluminum channel and weatherstrip looks like. Whoever you are ... thank you.

Also I discovered I have the weatherstrip piece. It had fallen off of the channel and was laying in the back along with some of the other "previous owner's swill", that I finally cleaned out. Now I know how it is supposed to mount ... if the photo is correct.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am still doing work on the top. I replaced the clear plastic rear window. I have also restitched the zipper in at a lower spot to allow for shrinkage. The clear plastic in the side windows are in good shape. I also restitched the zippers a little lower to allow for shrinkage.

I had to do some repair/restitching along the edges everywhere, windows, top edges, etc.

One thing I did that seemed to make the biggest difference is that I relocated the two anchors for the rear top bow. By removing the anchors/pivots, I could put one of the bolts into the rearmost hole to plug the threaded hole and protect it. The other bolt went through the rearmost hole in the anchor/bracket but it screwed into the frontmost hole along the top of the bed.

This very effectively moved the rear top bow forward about 1-2". Now, it's easy to fit the bottom plastic stays underneath the garnish slots. It was helpful with the two panels that come down on each side of the rear window. One of them had pulled all the stitching out from being too tight.

There was no way I was going to be able to get the other side off without breaking something because it was too tight also. Now the rear window is somewhat loose due to0 the fact that I had already restitched the upper zipper piece on a little lower.

I should probably post a picture of the new rear top bow anchor locations. They seem to fit perfectly and snugly even though only one bolt is holding each one now. It almost seems as though the designers decided to provide a simple means to alleviate the too tight syndrome when a soft ages and dries out/shrinks.

Probably giving them too much credit though.
 

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Check with a upholstery shop. They should have catalogs with these things listed in different sizes. Worse case is let them replace the entire zipper. Repaired many when doing that type work!
 

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Or if you live near a boating area, check with companies that would make canvas tops for boats. You might also want to contact companies that make aftermarket tops, but there is no assurance that they use the exact same size zipper.....
 

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Yes you can get crimp on zipper pulls, but barring having to find the correct size, check your junk drawer for a coil type key ring. Spin it through... done.
 

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I suppose much depends on what ‘zipper broke’ actually means.....did it come off the tracks? Just the pull broke? ???
 
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