Soft Top Care

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Boogle
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Soft Top Care

Post by Boogle » Sat May 05, 2012 8:07 pm

This is a guide on how to care for your Z4 soft top.

The Z4 soft is what's called a 'mohair' roof - ie. it's fabric rather than vinyl. If you previously owned a fabric roofed car, you already know what to do. If you've owned a Vinyl roof before, don't use the same products - they won't work, and may cause damage. On the plus side if your Z4 roof does get lightly damaged, it will still be watertight. The outer fabric is a protective layer, the waterproof layer is underneath.

The Basics

The Z4 roof is remarkably hardy, and you don't need to worry about it that much. However, you should bear in mind the following points:

* It's safe to use ordinary car shampoo on the roof, no damage will come of it. However, don't use aggressive shampoos or shampoos with a wax component. Ideally - don't use shampoo at all.
* Bird poo must be cleaned off as soon as possible, use a microfibre cloth and water. Bird poo left alone will stain the roof, and if left for an extended period of time may corrode the waterproof layer giving you a minor leak.
* The roof itself will not cause mildew and mould to grow. However, mould and mildew can grow on dirt on the roof.
* Clean and proof the roof every 6 months.
* Don't lower the roof when wet. Other than it contracting while drying, it can increase the chances of you getting mildew.
* Don't lower the roof when it has frost or ice, it will damage the fibres.
* Lower the roof whenever possible!

Cleaning

You can use any soft top cleaner designed for fabric roofs, the most popular are:

Renovo: http://www.renovointernational.com/
Autoglym: http://www.autoglym.com/enGB/product-pr ... GG&Range=1
Raggtopp: http://www.wolfsteins.com/

For the paranoid, Raggtopp is the only approved cleaner & proofer for the Z4 roof.

The Autoglym product only comes in a 'kit', and since you'll use more of the cleaner or proofer, you'll end up stockpiling unused bottles after a while.

You should clean and proof your roof every 6 months. You don't want to be doing this in summer or winter, so that leaves spring and autumn. Set aside a whole day for cleaning your roof. If you don't have a garage the day needs to be overcast, no rain, and ideally not windy. The steps below are going to assume you're using Renovo, but generally all but Raggtopp follow the same guidelines.

Cleaning - Step 1

Give your roof a little brush to get rid of any large particles of dirt. Next use a sticky lint remover (you can get little rollers for removing pet hair from most supermarkets) to remove all of the fine loose dirt.

Now pour some of the cleaner into a bowl and dip a 5cm paintbrush in. Brush evenly, like painting - work from the centre of the roof to the outside. Don't worry too much about spilling any, since we'll be washing the car straight after (plus the rinse will spray cleaner everywhere anyway).

When you've gone over the whole roof, lower it a little so you can access the canvas that's hidden away under the rubber seals. This is where most grime builds up, so give this area a thorough cleaning.

Wait for an hour.

Cleaning - Step 2

Dip a large, soft sponge into a bucket of warm water and agitate the roof. Give the roof a thorough clean - you don't want any dirt left in the roof fibres. As before once you're done with the roof, lower it a little and access the 'hidden' canvas. Be extra thorough with this hidden area.

Raise the roof, and thoroughly rinse it off. If you have a hosepipe use that, otherwise buckets of water will do the trick. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.

Now lower the roof slightly and rinse the hidden area. Be careful not to flood the inside of your car!

Cleaning - Step 3

The rinsing will have made a mess of your paintwork, and the cleaner will leave marks. Wash your car as you normally would, try to avoid the roof. Make sure to rinse off any shampoo that gets on the roof.

Wait for the roof to completely try - no need to lower the roof slightly; it'll dry evenly, even the little hidden bit.

The roof will take quite a few hours to dry, this is as good a time as any to give the car a quick detail and attend to all of the bits you've been putting off.

Cleaning - Step 4

Now we need to 'proof' the roof. By putting a hydrophobic coating on the roof we ensure water doesn't hang about, this significantly reduces the amount of standing water in the roof, which in turn reduces the chances of you getting mould/mildew. Most proofers also contain UV inhibitors to ensure the black colour doesn't fade.

Before proofing, you need to mask off bodywork that is close to the roof. You don't want any proofer getting on your paintwork. If you're careful, you can just use a little masking tape. If this is your first time, or you're a little clumsy use masking tape and newspaper:

Image

Follow the same technique as you used with the cleaner. Pay special attention to any areas with stitching or joins. As before once you've done the roof, make sure to lower it a little and give the hidden area extra attention.

Once you're done the roof should look something like this:

Image

Leave the roof to dry, I tend to leave it overnight. When dry it should look something like this:

Image

Note that it appears very slightly uneven, you may notice brushstrokes or lighter areas. Do not worry, this will even out over the next few days and you'll have a fantastic looking black roof in no time:

Image

Cleaning - Done

You've now cleaned and proofed your roof. Other than watching out for bird poo there's nothing left to worry about. When washing your car, try to leave the roof alone as much as possible to make the proofing last longer.
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Soft Top Care Guide

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Stuart Truman
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by Stuart Truman » Sat May 05, 2012 8:09 pm

That's a cracking write up, thanks! :thumbsup:
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AlanJ
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by AlanJ » Sun May 06, 2012 8:15 am

Excellent :thumbsup:
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andysat
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by andysat » Sun May 06, 2012 11:39 am

:thumbsup:
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markeg
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by markeg » Sun May 06, 2012 1:27 pm

Cheers, great "how to" :thumbsup:
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Boogle
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by Boogle » Fri May 11, 2012 4:40 pm

Thanks for the kind words :)
Z4 '06 3.0si Sport Silver Grey, Cruise, Aux-Input, Dension, ZHP
Prev: Z4 '57 2.0 Sport Stratus Grey
Soft Top Care Guide

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Stuart Truman
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by Stuart Truman » Fri May 11, 2012 10:53 pm

Mod's, I think this should be a sticky... :thumbsup:
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andysat
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by andysat » Sat May 12, 2012 8:58 am

Stuart Truman wrote:Mod's, I think this should be a sticky... :thumbsup:
+1 :)
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by gazrobbo » Sat May 12, 2012 9:44 am

Good write up. The first time I did mine with auto glym, I didn't mask the bodywork. But The sealant left marks, which were a bugger to get off. so The use of a bit of news paper is a good idea.

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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by gazrobbo » Sat May 12, 2012 9:45 am

Good write up. The first time I did mine with auto glym, I didn't mask the bodywork. But The sealant left marks, which were a bugger to get off. so The use of a bit of news paper is a good idea.

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buzyg
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by buzyg » Sat May 12, 2012 1:31 pm

Stuart Truman wrote:Mod's, I think this should be a sticky... :thumbsup:
+2

Great write up. :thumbsup:
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dan425
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by dan425 » Sat May 12, 2012 1:48 pm

There are debates as to whether you should use any waterproofing product on the outer layer of your roof, some forumites state that the outer layer should be kept semi-permeable as it was designed, rather than treating it with something like AG Cabriolet Care Kit.

It might be worth summarising both arguments in the OP, without being biased, to allow other members make an informed decision.

Not meant as a criticism, it's a cracking write-up! Good job.


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chrisj900
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Re: Soft Top Care

Post by chrisj900 » Mon May 14, 2012 11:02 am

:thumbsup: washed mine a few weeks ago then the next day was hit by the mother of all bird craps
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