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Repair in Progress: Plastic Soft Top Window Buckles

Lord Bronco

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I did a dumb thing last week. But after noodling on solutions the next day, I believe I’ve arrived at the ideal fix.

It was raining on and off all day. While it wasn’t, I opened the top to position one and drove to a friend’s house. Upon arriving, I lowered/closed the top in case it rained while I was there, but I didn’t clamp down the latches up front, since I planned to open it back up when leaving if weather permitted.

Later when I left, it wasn’t raining, but I decided to leave the top closed and remembered I needed to clamp the latches. But then I got in the Bronco and took my time before leaving, picking out something good on CarPlay to listen to. By the time I backed out, I’d forgotten to close the latches. Got to about 60 mph on the highway and the top violently blew open to position one. I began to pull over but before I could, I heard another loud sound like it was trying to jerk back some more.

Pulled over and inspected everything. No damage to the top itself or the top frame, but four of the six plastic buckles used to attach the side plastic window panels had broken (two of three on each side) just from the force of the top trying to blow back. The side tynes on the three-pronged male end (attached with sewn-on strap to the window panel) had broken.

I considered my options. Get replacement buckles (at least the broken male piece)? I’d have to have a pro securely re-sew the strap back around it. Order a new window panel altogether? No idea even if the cost since parts aren’t available, and it would take forever.

For the temporary solution, I secured the male and female components together with zip ties. Later in the day I found these replacement buckles. I ordered four. Can use the male piece of same to replace mine without any cutting or sewing. The Bronco female piece is secured to the top with a grommet, so I’m hoping I can leave that in place and that the male piece of this product will fit the same (I ordered the same size).

Will update when it arrives as to whether it works. These appear to be stronger quality than the factory buckles anyway. I’m hoping my stupidity will at least net a perfect fix that others can use for reference, because the factory buckles are weak and may break at some point without stupidity. If all goes well, this fix is ideal, without professional assistance, instead of a shitty “solution” like zip-tying forever.

Ford Bronco Repair in Progress: Plastic Soft Top Window Buckles C9AAFA36-81D3-48DF-B8AB-E48DD8A534CE
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Portapot

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That sucks....I worry about doing the same thing. It won't fit in my garage with the top in Position 1, so I close it and don't latch it, so I can flip it back up when I pull out, and am worried I will forget.
 
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Lord Bronco

Lord Bronco

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That sucks....I worry about doing the same thing. It won't fit in my garage with the top in Position 1, so I close it and don't latch it, so I can flip it back up when I pull out, and am worried I will forget.
I don’t have a garage, so I had been doing the same thing all last week prior to this, but the difference was, in the morning I’d open the top to position one first thing, before heading to work, because the weather was nice. But Friday night I opted to keep it closed.

The lesson for me is just fo ahead and get in the habit of always latching it when it’s down. It takes max of 10 seconds. Trust me, otherwise, when it flies open on the highway and sounds like the entire top is about to fly off of the Bronco, you will not feel very smart or happy with yourself.
 

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That sucks looks like an easy fix ,thats item 6 on the checklist secure cockpit latches ,before remove pin from ejection seat and after master power on.
You can get those latches anywhere and simple job for seamstress to sew good luck
 

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Lord Bronco

Lord Bronco

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I've used those replacement buckets and they are good.
Yep, they have good reviews and won’t require a seamstress, so long as the male piece from the replacement fits the female piece on the Bronco top, which it likely will. I will, however, regularly make sure the screw in the replacement is snug. If these work well, I may order a few extras to have on hand.
 

swooshdave

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Yep, they have good reviews and won’t require a seamstress, so long as the male piece from the replacement fits the female piece on the Bronco top, which it likely will. I will, however, regularly make sure the screw in the replacement is snug. If these work well, I may order a few extras to have on hand.
If they don't just cut off the other part too.
 
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Lord Bronco

Lord Bronco

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If they don't just cut off the other part too.
Not sure that would work. The top (female) piece is not on a strap like the bottom piece. It is secured through the top material itself by some sort of grommet.

I’ll snap a photo later.
 

JaxGtc

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Sorry for your mishap. I have actually been looking at the sea to summit side clasp repair as a potential solution for the soft top window slack/wave. The current buckles do not allow for tightening, but it appears we need to take up just a little slack. No way I want cut off anything, so I was thinking about installing just one end of the repair buckle just upstream of the corresponding factory buckle - leaving the factory buckle in place. It would seem that would mate with the opposite factory buckle and pull things tighter.
Since you are becoming intimately familiar with these buckles, perhaps you can offer some input on the idea.
 

Berwolf

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That sucks. Hope this works and thanks for helping others who will surely have the same fate.

My routine is to always do up the driver side latch at least so this hopefully doesn't happen. Has saved me a few times already and allows me to be lazy, haha.
 

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That sucks. Hope this works and thanks for helping others who will surely have the same fate.

My routine is to always do up the driver side latch at least so this hopefully doesn't happen. Has saved me a few times already and allows me to be lazy, haha.
You can easily reach the passenger side from the driver seat top - FYI.

I’ve been messing with tightening the straps on the bottom/male buckle to alleviate some wave. Right now I just have a few butt connectors pulling the strap tighter. Makes a significant difference. I am not sure why they left so much slack…thinking changes in weather?
 

88to21bronco

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That sucks....I worry about doing the same thing. It won't fit in my garage with the top in Position 1, so I close it and don't latch it, so I can flip it back up when I pull out, and am worried I will forget.
I've done the same many times, but mine starts to lift at like 30 mph, so I usually see it start to lift and stop on my road. Surprised it stayed to 60 mph.
 

soonerbronco

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You can easily reach the passenger side from the driver seat top - FYI.

I’ve been messing with tightening the straps on the bottom/male buckle to alleviate some wave. Right now I just have a few butt connectors pulling the strap tighter. Makes a significant difference. I am not sure why they left so much slack…thinking changes in weather?
The wave (or slack) in the rear side windows was deliberately left in to facilitate the ability to lift up the rear top assembly when loading or unloading cargo. Try lifting the soft top assembly at the tailgate and you’ll notice the flexibility built into the rear side windows….. I don’t like the crinkled look either, but it is what it is…..
 

redone17

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The wave (or slack) in the rear side windows was deliberately left in to facilitate the ability to lift up the rear top assembly when loading or unloading cargo. Try lifting the soft top assembly at the tailgate and you’ll notice the flexibility built into the rear side windows….. I don’t like the crinkled look either, but it is what it is…..
That’s what I’ve read too - but, I have zero problem lifting the soft top while those are pulled taught with the connectors. That’s why I went the temporary route first - so see if it would pull any stitching or cause problems. None so far. But, it’s summer.

Also, why would that slack matter of you are giving it MORE slack by lifting?
 

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Thank you for sharing so no one here makes the same mistake.


I did a dumb thing last week. But after noodling on solutions the next day, I believe I’ve arrived at the ideal fix.

It was raining on and off all day. While it wasn’t, I opened the top to position one and drove to a friend’s house. Upon arriving, I lowered/closed the top in case it rained while I was there, but I didn’t clamp down the latches up front, since I planned to open it back up when leaving if weather permitted.

Later when I left, it wasn’t raining, but I decided to leave the top closed and remembered I needed to clamp the latches. But then I got in the Bronco and took my time before leaving, picking out something good on CarPlay to listen to. By the time I backed out, I’d forgotten to close the latches. Got to about 60 mph on the highway and the top violently blew open to position one. I began to pull over but before I could, I heard another loud sound like it was trying to jerk back some more.

Pulled over and inspected everything. No damage to the top itself or the top frame, but four of the six plastic buckles used to attach the side plastic window panels had broken (two of three on each side) just from the force of the top trying to blow back. The side tynes on the three-pronged male end (attached with sewn-on strap to the window panel) had broken.

I considered my options. Get replacement buckles (at least the broken male piece)? I’d have to have a pro securely re-sew the strap back around it. Order a new window panel altogether? No idea even if the cost since parts aren’t available, and it would take forever.

For the temporary solution, I secured the male and female components together with zip ties. Later in the day I found these replacement buckles. I ordered four. Can use the male piece of same to replace mine without any cutting or sewing. The Bronco female piece is secured to the top with a grommet, so I’m hoping I can leave that in place and that the male piece of this product will fit the same (I ordered the same size).

Will update when it arrives as to whether it works. These appear to be stronger quality than the factory buckles anyway. I’m hoping my stupidity will at least net a perfect fix that others can use for reference, because the factory buckles are weak and may break at some point without stupidity. If all goes well, this fix is ideal, without professional assistance, instead of a shitty “solution” like zip-tying forever.

Ford Bronco Repair in Progress: Plastic Soft Top Window Buckles C9AAFA36-81D3-48DF-B8AB-E48DD8A534CE
Sponsored

 
 



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