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elerner61
06-14-2011, 12:42 PM
So I have had a cloth convertible prior to my Z4M (’03 Miata), but since a replacement top for the car is pretty expensive I decided to spend some time researching protecting and maintaining a cloth top.

After searching the BMW forums for existing threads and information I then spent about 15 minutes talking with someone from Wolfsteins, the makers of Raggtopp. Here’s what I came away with:

Cleaning and Protecting a Cloth Top:
No groundbreaking information from that which is available in forum threads already. The process should consist of vacuuming the top with a soft bristled brush attachment. Wash and clean the top with a recommended cleaning product such as Raggtopp using a soft bristled brush. Protect the top using a recommended product such as Raggtop Protectant. There are more details to this that we’ve all read before and I’ll leave that to the other existing threads.

Here’s the new, not well broadcasted information:

Maintaining a Cloth Top:
If your top does not get soiled by any foreign matter that needs to be addressed (i.e. sap, bird poop, ) to clean your top as part of your normal car washing regimen you should vacuum your top with a soft bristled attachment and then use a lint cleaning roller. That’s all! Don’t rinse the top with water. Don’t wash the top with a Cloth Top Cleaner and then rinse off, and definitely Don’t wash the top with car wash/shampoo or any other cleaning product. The Raggtop rep. said that doing anything other than vacuuming and lint brushing the top wear's away the protectant and is not in the “best interest” of maintaining the cloth top

So why should we believe this information? Well it came from someone with years of experience with cloth tops and what he is advising is not in his own immediate best interest (to sell more product)!

So, thoughts on this information? I think I’ll probably rinse the top with water every few weeks/washes to see how the protectant is holding up but other than that, just vacuum and lint brush it.

TOGWT
06-15-2011, 02:29 AM
Seems like sound advice...

elerner61
06-15-2011, 11:11 AM
One more tid-bit from the RaggTopp folks:

Most off-the-shelf car wash soap/cleaners over time will damage the stitching on a fabric or vinyl top. It will always start around the back glass window. Never fails, and if you are in a parking lot, sometimes you can spot a convertible with this problem.

You live, you learn.

MotoWPK
04-07-2013, 01:35 PM
The info related above about what to do with the top when washing the car is just the question that occured to me (my 2013 128i vert is so new I haven't even washed it yet). So this was spot on and thanks for posting. But...it does raise a related question.

Everything I've read about using protectants (e.g. Raggtop) refers to applying after several washings, which gradually reduces the sealant built into the top. So, if one is keeping the top dry when washing the car it would seem to reduce the need to apply protectant except, I suppose, after several rains - right?

Or, is sun exposure considered as much as wetting/washing of the top? The flip side of that being what if your vert is garaged - would seem this variable is also largely reduced (since even if drive a lot, most hours are in the garage).

TOGWT
04-08-2013, 02:49 AM
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chet31
04-09-2013, 10:58 AM
The info related above about what to do with the top when washing the car is just the question that occured to me (my 2013 128i vert is so new I haven't even washed it yet). So this was spot on and thanks for posting. But...it does raise a related question.

Everything I've read about using protectants (e.g. Raggtop) refers to applying after several washings, which gradually reduces the sealant built into the top. So, if one is keeping the top dry when washing the car it would seem to reduce the need to apply protectant except, I suppose, after several rains - right?

Or, is sun exposure considered as much as wetting/washing of the top? The flip side of that being what if your vert is garaged - would seem this variable is also largely reduced (since even if drive a lot, most hours are in the garage).

I do a deep cleaning and treatment of my top once/yr in the Spring. I use 303 products, but I'm sure you can't go wrong with the Raggtopp products. I drive my car year-round, top up all winter, sun, rain, snow, etc. I have yet to do my "spring cleaning" and my top still beads water. My car is garaged, and I work at home, it does not sit in the sun all day, so I can't speak to that.

I pretty much follow what the OP indicates. Once I treat, I pretty much do nothing with the top except vacuum it occasionally (cottonwood trees are the enemy). I do ONR washes, and leave the top dry. Straight water (rain) is going to remove far less of your treatment than soap and water. Rain is also more "distilled" than tap water, so I far prefer rain hitting my top than tap water. My top looks like new.

Anyway, deep cleaning and conditioning your top once/year is a good starting point, and you can adjust from there depending on your conditions.