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Hard Top versus Soft Top

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by Doug_G, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    When we bought the car, my wife wanted the hard top. So we got it, and it came installed on the car.

    Last weekend I finally got around to popping off the hard top. I found I really enjoyed driving a convertible! Never had one before.

    Certainly it's easier to get out with the top off, but I also find it's slightly easier with the soft top than the hard top. There's a nice edge on the hard top that can catch the top of your head if you're not careful. I think the hard top is also a little wider. So I was quite happy to leave the soft top installed for now, and maybe switch back in the fall.

    Today there is a forecast for showers and a possible thunderstorm. My wife insisted I put the hard top back on, because she doesn't believe the soft top would be the slightest bit waterproof!

    I know there's lots of owners out there who don't have the hard top. How do you find the soft top works in bad weather?

    Doug
     
  2. chronopublish

    chronopublish 2008 Roadster #VP27

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    There are warnings on the soft top itself that water may enter the cabin if it rains hard enough. I've driven the car with the soft top in the rain and have yet to experience this, so it would have to be raining awfully hard for it to matter, I think.

    Bonus - Maybe it's just me but I think it's really cool that I can touch the soft top with my hand (from inside) and feel the rain drops pelting it from the other side.
     
  3. bolosky

    bolosky Member

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    I live in Seattle where we get rain sometimes. :) I ordered the hard top, but it took many months to come so I spent last winter with only the soft top. I never had a problem, except when I didn't install it correctly (it's a little tricky, and if you get it wrong there's a small gap by the windows).

    If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't bother ordering the hard top. Now that I have it, I'll probably put it back on for the winter, but that's mostly so that I don't feel like I wasted my money.
     
  4. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I didn't get a hard top. I've been in some EXTREMELY heavy rain, and not had my soft top leak at all.

    Then again, other times even in light rain, I've gotten a few drops from the corners. It just drips on the frame rail. I got less of this after I had Tesla adjust the windows.
     
  5. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    I've driven the car through an absolute torrent at 70mph - zero water ingress.
     
  6. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    No leaks on my soft top; fitted a hardtop though as wifey felt that if I turned it over I'd be safer... I've currently rolled zero cars and have no plans to increase that count.
     
  7. dwegmull

    dwegmull 2013 Model S 85

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    Only soft top here. I have noticed a few drop of water inside while driving in heavy rain. I did not get much experience driving in wet weather and I would not be surprised if I had not installed the top on properly on a couple of occasions, especially when the car was new (I took delivery in December 09).
    One thing to keep in mind when switching between hard and soft tops: you need to adjust the windows! I forget which way it goes but in one case they will not close completely and in the other they will try to go too high, putting extra strain on the motor and possibly causing some damage. I remember some owners doing the adjustment themselves...

    Greetings,
    David
     
  8. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Thanks everyone. I passed the link to this topic on to my wife, who said, "oh sure, blame me for everything!". :tongue:
     
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I remember hearing somewhere along the line that the adjustment depends on your specific car, and in some cases it might not even be necessary.

    I think we might be in the latter category, because I did not notice a significant increase in wind noise when I put on the soft top.
     
  10. ChargeIt!

    ChargeIt! Member

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    Driving in rain gives actually less of a chance for water entry (except around side windows). The cables at front and rear edge do a pretty good job. It is STANDING (parking) in heavy or prolonged rain that might be more likely to result is some wetting and water entry. So, once you reach your destination, try to park in a rain-sheltered spot.
     
  11. rsquared99

    rsquared99 Member

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    It took nearly a year for my clear coat hard top to arrive and I had it installed during my annual service last month. It looks so good, I don't think I want to take it off, even though the Phoenix area doesn't require a hard top any time of the year!
     
  12. tennis_trs

    tennis_trs 2010 2.0 Roadster Sport

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    No water issues for me with either top. I've changed between soft and hard top a few times myself and don't appear to need any window adjustments.
    I also just recently got my clear coat hard top after waiting many months and really like the look a lot.
    Before the Tesla I'd had only other roadsters, with never a hard top, removable or not, for 17 years. I only got the Tesla top because I thought the clear coat CF would look great and figured I'd put it on very infrequently. But I actually like having the hard top on a good bit and the effort to change tops isn't too bad, so I think I'll put it on a fair amount when there are reasonable stretches of cold or precipitation, when open top driving would be less possible.

    I actually think it's a little easier to get in/out of the car with the hard top on than with the soft top on. I think the part that mates with the top of the window is a little more out of the way, or smaller, on the hardtop.
     
  13. dwegmull

    dwegmull 2013 Model S 85

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    Interesting point. I've never looked at a hard top up close. Next time I'm at the store, I'll ask to sit in a car with one...
     
  14. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Curious, you came to the opposite conclusion. The thing I like about the soft top is that the roof rail is round and smooth. I caught the top of my head on the hard top edge once, and lacking hair in that area... OUCH!
     
  15. ChargeIt!

    ChargeIt! Member

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    You must think those of us with hair ... are wearing hard(-hat)-hair that prevents the OUCH ... LOL !
     
  16. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Trust me... I do have before/after experience when it comes to hair. Scraping the top of your head defintitely hurts more without hair!
     
  17. ChargeIt!

    ChargeIt! Member

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    Hmmm ... ok ... then I guess there's another reason to not be looking forward to Kojak days ! :biggrin:
     
  18. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I ordered mine without a CF hardtop since it's something I can order at any time but is there any big safety/security advantage to a hardtop? I've never owned a convertible before. Thanks.

    Dave
     
  19. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    The hard top is probably a bit more secure, in that someone could theoretically take a knife to the soft top to get in. But if you don't leave valuables in the cabin (negligible storage room there anyway) they're not going to be able to do much of anything once they get inside. If they're that keen to vandalize the car then the hard top is not going to stop them. So the security advantages are probably marginal.

    Apparently the soft top can leak a tiny bit of water if you're driving in a heavy downfall. I've been in a major downpour with the hardtop and absolutely nothing came in. Does it matter? Simply getting into the car in a rain shower will probably let more water in.

    The hard top is more durable and easier to clean. Since I only put the soft top on in nice weather, it'll probably last forever.
     
  20. AndrewBissell

    AndrewBissell Member

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    It's quite easy for the soft top to absorb a lot of water and then release it into the cabin as water vapour that fogs the windscreen. You then spend energy on heat, fan and/or air con to de-fog the screen. This equals higher Wh/mile aka less range per charge.

    Since I swapped (for the winter) to the hardtop, this range-reducing issue has gone away.

    I also find that it's easier to get in and out with the hard top than the soft top (which has bulkier edges). Of course the soft top, when it's OFF is altogether easier!

    Finally, the clear coat carbon fibre hard top looks amazing! Shame not to show it off for at least a few months a year!
     

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