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Topper windows that don't leak?

Discussion in 'Tonneau Covers, Caps and Shells' started by Tundra9831, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Feb 10, 2018 at 5:05 PM
    #1
    Tundra9831

    Tundra9831 [OP] New Member

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    I'm mainly researching Snugtop and ARE toppers and need some sort of ventilation for the dog, but what type of windows are the least likely to leak water from these brands? Sliders, Windoors, pop-out etc?
     
  2. Feb 10, 2018 at 5:10 PM
    #2
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf Where's my popcorn salt? Damnit

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    My ARE has slider type on the sides. No leaks. Drop down window on the front. No leaks. I think most windows are pretty leak resistant nowadays.
     
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  3. Feb 10, 2018 at 5:14 PM
    #3
    Grumpy Uncle

    Grumpy Uncle Pushing string down the hall SSEM #10

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    My snugtop has front fold down and side pop out, no leaks. snugtop xtr
     
  4. Feb 10, 2018 at 5:38 PM
    #4
    Patriot

    Patriot Member

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    I have an ARE Z topper, no leaky, and dark tinted windows no streaky and no peaky :rofl:
     
  5. Feb 10, 2018 at 7:33 PM
    #5
    cu52

    cu52 New Member

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    ARE on my Tacoma never leaked.

    Snugtop on my old 09 tundra leaked. I had to silicone the windows to get that to stop with black silicone.

    Looking for a topper for my 13 now.
     
  6. Feb 10, 2018 at 8:22 PM
    #6
    Tundra9831

    Tundra9831 [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for the input....keep it coming. I'm curious to hear from others that have a topper that does leak or does not leak to see if there is a trend.
     
  7. Feb 10, 2018 at 9:55 PM
    #7
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    There isn't really a trend. I've been an A.R.E. dealer since 1988 and in that same time have also been a dealer for Century, Leer, Astro, Covermaster and Ranch. While most never leak, of the ones that do, a small percentage of those are an actual problem with the cap, usually the fiberglass being too thick or the window hole being cut to large. More often than not, it's the window itself and on a new cap I would have the dealer replace it. Cap manufacturers do not manufacture the windows, they come from only a couple of manufacturers in the U.S. Creation windows was the largest supplier to cap companies for years and did a great job but when they were taken over by Starcraft the quality took a nose dive and unfortunately they're still the largest supplier. Standard framed half sliders are probably the most solid. Frameless screenvent windows are good but I have had problems with the bonding and the alignment of the window to the cap needs to be right or the top of the crank out portion of the window may not seal well. Same goes for windoors. Vented windoors are hit or miss, they have several working parts that all have different seals. When you try to wrap glass in aluminum, seal it with urethane and rubber, secure it with screws and use a clamp ring that's bent on a different brake than the frame, by a Sunday night third shifter, you may not get the best window. Most likely you won't have any problems but if you do, any reputable dealer should be able to take care of it. Cap companies have no problem sending out a new window and most dealers are compensated for labor by the cap manufacturers.
     
  8. Feb 10, 2018 at 10:03 PM
    #8
    Tundra9831

    Tundra9831 [OP] New Member

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    Wow, this is great info, thanks! What do you think is more durable / better design.....an ARE Z series with optional slider side windows or an ARE V series with sliders? Asking about both the back window and side windows. Cheers!
     
  9. Feb 10, 2018 at 10:32 PM
    #9
    Patriot

    Patriot Member

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    The only trend is inexperienced installers doing piss poor installations...

    I have owned several ARE toppers over the years and can relay my experience. Leaks are usually due to poor installs between the topper and bedrail. A good experienced ARE installer will make sure that the rail clamps are tightened properly as to not squeeze or clamp the topper insulation so tight to the bed rail that it flattens under the clamp and causing a gap in between rail insulation and remaining topper clamps. A pin hole gap will give water a path in. The clamps should be snug, not banana Joe super tight. A good installer will also NOT place insulated tape on your trucks bed rail. That is a big no no and a biotch to remove from your bedrail should you decide to not run your topper. It should only be applied to the bottom of the topper, not the bed rail. Better yet, if the shop tells you they need apply insulated tape to your trucks bedrail, you probably picked the wrong shop, leave. I have never had bed rails taped.

    If you get a bed rail leak, it’s usually due to a poor insulated tape gaps during the install on the bottom of your topper, again no trend. It’s just not rocket science. Once the 180-200 lb topper settles on to your truck bed rail properly insulated with the tape, you should not have leaks, if you do take naturally it back. It’s likely “Goober the Topper tech” did not properly install the topper insulated tape and you probably picked the wrong shop.
    Window frame leaks are really pretty rare, but occasionally might occur. I have never had any window leaks on the (5) ARE toppers I have owned over the years. Lucky I guess. I still think a good knowledgeable experienced installer is key taking his time to do it right is key.

    Removing the topper and reinstalling often may sometimes result in leaks if you don’t reinsulate with new topper insulated tape. The insulated tape is not expensive to buy and replace. And when applied right will keep your topper from leaking. A periodic check of your topper clamps is wise, especially after a new install.

    FWIW...
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    goffredo and Prostar 190 like this.
  10. Feb 11, 2018 at 10:23 AM
    #10
    Tundra9831

    Tundra9831 [OP] New Member

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    Patriot, thanks for that feedback. I wish there was a local place with great reviews for installs, but at least I know what to ask about or watch for if I go this route.
     
    Patriot likes this.
  11. Feb 11, 2018 at 2:09 PM
    #11
    JMB

    JMB Not new, just a little old.

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    5100s all around, 295-70-18 Defenders, 1.25 Spidertrax spacers, BD reverse lights, de-badged, interior LEDs, footwell LEDs, reverse LEDs, ARE cap, front receiver hitch for cooler holder, cooler holder/rod rack, backup camera, Kenwood HU, Westin nerf bars, Husky floor liners, folding rear seats, remote battery posts, plastidip grill chrome, Powder coat bumpers.
    My ARE-Z never had a leak problem. Where you will get a leak is around the tailgate. They're not made to seal tight and at the top there's about a 3/4" gap. I added weather strip and some sheet rubber, no more leaks. The sheet rubber is glued now, the duct tape was for testing.
    20160727_174656.jpg 20160727_174715.jpg
     
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  12. Feb 11, 2018 at 8:45 PM
    #12
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    As far as the Z vs the V, they're a horse apiece from a structural durability standpoint. The Z does require a little more finesse when being installed. The rear door usually needs some fine adjustments. Looks wise the Z is certainly the nicer of the two, the V has a more traditional, boxey look. The sliders on the Z will have a fascia piece at the rear of the window to fill the recessed area as the slider framework isn't at the same angle and doesn't have a mitred corner. The front windows, whether it's a picture or sliding window, fixed or tilt, they're all pretty good if installed properly.
    @Patriot is spot on! Too many installers take no pride in their work and let stuff go out the door that isn't even close to being right. Always ask about the seal being used and how it's applied. Ask if the installer seals the front corners of the bedcaps and the seam where the bulkhead meets the bedsides. If you choose a Z, make sure the installer knows how to and will adjust the hinge set screws and the latches so that the door is properly aligned and will hit the rings and latch tight. Also, always ask to look at the cap before it's on your truck. Just like sloppy installers, A.R.E. employs some sloppy builders and painters. Look for blemishes or excessive dirt in the paint, wavy trim and window alignment. On the inside look for missing screws and on the Z, which has a headliner, look for headliner material protruding from between the clamp ring and the window frame. That material will occasionally cause a window to leak if it gets sandwiched in between and it just doesn't look very good. A good installer will have corrected any of these problems before you get there. Also, a conscientious shop, one that wants you to be satisfed with your cap, should point out any major issues and offer to return it to A.R.E. for repairs, repaint, whatever the case may be. It's an inconvenience for the customer but it's the best thing to do. I do it because I want my customers to be happy when they leave my shop. Last week I received 11 caps from A.R.E., 3 were returned to them for quality issues and 1 wasn't even taken off of the trailer because of shipping damage. I wouldn't say that this is typical but A.R.E. does have some recurring QC problems. Leer, Snugtop, Century... they all have some QC issues.
     
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  13. Feb 11, 2018 at 8:58 PM
    #13
    Tundra9831

    Tundra9831 [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for sharing your info / experience. This sort of thing makes me leery about getting a topper and reminds me why I decided on the Diamondback HD cover. Hmmmm, I guess if I decide to go this route I know what to talk to the shop about. Cheers!
     
  14. Feb 11, 2018 at 9:07 PM
    #14
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    I wouldn't be leery of getting a cap and I hope I didn't sound too negative lol. I sell 200+ A.R.E.'s a year and most go on without any problems. These are all just things to keep in mind. If you're in an area where you can shop around, you'll know when you find a knowledgeable and reputable shop. If nothing else you can always road trip it to Green Bay, I'll take care of ya'! :D
     
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  15. Feb 11, 2018 at 9:16 PM
    #15
    Tundra9831

    Tundra9831 [OP] New Member

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    Good perspective...thanks! If Green Bay weren't 2500 miles away, then I would consider it...haha :) I know you don't sell Snugtop, but any industry feedback on ARE vs Snugtop?
     
  16. Feb 11, 2018 at 9:34 PM
    #16
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    Not sure how they stack up but I would think that they're relatively comparable. Every cap company seems to have a slightly different style. The Z door for example is patented and is specific to A.R.E. and Snugtop has the "slide up door" that's uniquely theirs. A.R.E. is made in Ohio and they're nationwide. I'm not sure where Snugtop is made but they seem to be strictly the western half of the country. The closest Snugtop dealer to me is in Missouri so it's pretty rare that I get to see one. Of the few that I have seen they appeared to be well made.
     
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  17. Feb 12, 2018 at 4:37 AM
    #17
    Spitfire

    Spitfire New Member

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    My local dealer stopped dealing with a.r.e bc of quality control problems
     
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  18. Feb 12, 2018 at 5:59 AM
    #18
    B_brand

    B_brand New Member

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    I have a Leer and the windows on it do not leak. I had an ARE on my Tacoma and they did not leak either. One thing to note is how the windows open. The ARE has sliders but the Leer I have now has a hinge that allows the windows to swing out. I like the Leer opening mechanism better, but I believe the ARE has a similar setup on different models.
     
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  19. Feb 12, 2018 at 7:42 AM
    #19
    Spitfire

    Spitfire New Member

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    I am very happy with my century so far has the windoors and removable front slider
     
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  20. Feb 12, 2018 at 8:05 AM
    #20
    AlexWV

    AlexWV Trophy Husband

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    My windows on my ARE slide open and flip up, no problems. Also front flips down with no problems.
     
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  21. Feb 17, 2018 at 7:15 PM
    #21
    goffredo

    goffredo Grease Nipple

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    This is a great point -- consider what your options are when your cap gets old enough that it inevitably starts to leak, and it's outside of the warranty period or your installer has closed up shop or whatever.

    For my next cap, I'm going to look for: windows and openings that are the least likely to fail; cap installers who are reputable and offer the best warranty; and finally, windows which are easy to leak-proof when they do finally start to leak.

    For example, I would get fixed windows (i.e., ones that don't open, slide, or otherwise move at all) down the length of both sides, so that when they did eventually start leaking, I could fix cheaply and easily by caulking the shit out of the perimeter of the window. On the other hand, consider a hinged side window ... replacing the rubber seal around such a window is probably really easy if you can remove the entire window, peel off the old seal and clean off its old adhesive, and stick a new seal on. But if the window isn't removable, or it is but the screws or hinge has rusted in place from 10 years of road salt and you can't order replacements any more because they are no longer manufactured, you're in a jam. Just like my 18-year old Snugtop Expo. I've basically had to caulk shut the side pop-open windows for exactly this reason.
     
  22. Nov 15, 2018 at 7:01 PM
    #22
    Pigglet222

    Pigglet222 New Member

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    Green Bay? What’s the name of your store? I wasn’t too impressed with the local one by me...
     
  23. Dec 3, 2018 at 4:30 PM
    #23
    lsaami

    lsaami Let ‘er buck

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    My dad's ARE leaks from the rear door because the PO backed out out of his garage with the door open so the edge is bent. it has a sliding window on one side, and an access door on the other side, and those are leak-free.
     
  24. Jan 12, 2019 at 8:45 AM
    #24
    Panthra

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    I have an ARE TW series topper. windows with slides and also opens up to the top. The windows themselves do not leak however the area where they are inserted into the topper do leak, I have a bed rug in the back of the truck and the topper. The frame around the windows leaked and by the time I discovered it, my bedding was wet, tools rusted and mildew formed. It is a mess. I stored the topper for the winter and will try to find a way to fix this summer. If you look at the "TacomaWorld.com" site there is a large feed about ARE toppers and how much they leak...windows, and back doors. I would NEVER purchase another A.R.E. topper.
     
  25. Jan 12, 2019 at 9:20 AM
    #25
    tundracap

    tundracap New Member

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    The ARE Z series on my 2006 DC never leaked in 11 years. Ever.
    The Leer XL on my 2017 CM leaked at the windows the first rain after I got it. Not happy. Dealer pulled and supposedly resealed the windows without issue, but it still cost me couple hours of my time and frustration.
     
  26. Jul 22, 2019 at 11:01 AM
    #26
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    I'm assuming that the cap was removed, liner sprayed and the cap reinstalled? If that's the case there's probably either no seal on the bulkhead of the truck, the seal isn't adhered to the bulkhead or it was stretched and has shrunk. When I install them I lift the corners of the bedcaps and put some butyl rubber under them and then run a layer of tape across the bulkhead that matches the height of the bedcaps. That way the tape on the cap will compress against the tape on the bulkhead and make a good seal.
    As far as the tie down rail, I'm not sure. I'm sure that it was removed to spray the liner and there is a hole in the center of the bed. There's a T shaped guide pin on the tie down rail that goes into that hole and its possible that the rail isnt sealed at that hole. You could remove the rail and put a seal across the rail or some silicone at the hole and see if that remedies the leak.
    Post some pics of the problem areas if you can and I'll see if I have any other solutions for you.
     
  27. Jul 22, 2019 at 2:18 PM
    #27
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    I just ran out and looked at mine and the front rail has a plastic push pin in that holds the rail in place. Like you said, the guys that sprayed your liner probably broke it off and just didn't replace it. Should be easy to find a pin to put in there or cover the hole with something.
    There is a vertical seam at the front corners where the bulkhead meets the bedsides. Something to try if you're willing is to unclamp the cap and slide it back 4 or 5 inches. You'll be able to see the tape on the front rail of the cap from underneath. If it's making contact with the bed it will be dimpled or have a mark across it where it's been sitting. You'll also be able to see if there's enough tape or butyl at the inside front edge of the bedcaps where that seam is. Typically that seam doesn't get filled in with liner material just because of where it's at.
     
  28. Feb 16, 2020 at 7:29 AM
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    Tundra2

    Tundra2 Zoinked

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    Do you happen to remember off hand who made Astro? I'm trying to find some parts, but can't find anything online.
     
  29. Feb 16, 2020 at 9:59 AM
    #29
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    Astro was it's own company back in the day. Now they're marketed as ATC but their molds are completely different. Depending on what parts you need you might be able to find them thru an ATC dealer. If you're looking for something like the old rear spoiler on a CR1500 or CR1800, that's gonna be tough to find. Let me know what parts you're looking for and I can try to find you some info.
     
  30. Feb 16, 2020 at 10:51 AM
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    Tundra2

    Tundra2 Zoinked

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    That's what's on the tag. I need a rear glass. We were mowing, and found a rock in the yard. You can guess where it went.
     

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