There are multiple benefits to the new design.
After decades of struggling to remove hardtops, Jeep has finally filed a patent to make this task much more manageable. CarBuzz discovered the patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office detailing new construction for the removable hardtop panels that will finally enable one-person disassembly.
The rear window is the main difference between the existing hardtop and its proposed replacement. Currently, the hardtop breaks up into three pieces; two panels over the driver and front passenger and one large piece that covers the rear passengers combined with the C pillars and rear window glass.
Jeep wants to break the existing hardtop into six pieces: two front panels, one large panel to cover the rear passengers, two smaller C-pillar panels, and a hinged rear window.
Jeep proposes a new system where the rear window is no longer connected to the large roof panel covering the rear passengers. In this new patent, we can also see the back window fold rearward into the truck's bed or even slide out to the side, meaning you can retain a roof and remove the window entirely.
That means removing the hardtop will be a one-person job for the first time. Other benefits include fewer bolts and latches and not losing fingers or scratching the paint. At least Jeep knows how to build a decent removable roof, unlike Ford. When folded down, it provides the ultimate open-top experience. But because it's connected to the body via newly designed hinges, it can fold back and lock into place.
This new folding mechanism is why the patent only describes the Gladiator and not the Wrangler. If equipped with the same hardtop, the Wrangler's rear window would hang from the rear where other drivers could drive into it. In this case, the sliding removal may be an option.
Jeep says there are multiple benefits to having a hinged rear window. In the closed position, it acts as a basic wind deflector, though you may have to play around with several configurations to determine the best setup.
The rear window also acts as a barrier between occupants and the bed. Imagine being hit in the head by a two-person tent because the driver had to do an emergency stop.
The new hinges also allow the rear window to be removed completely by sliding it to the side. Jeep says this is advantageous because it allows for more loading room. With the back window completely out of the way, you can load something that stretches from the bed to the front passenger seat. An owner might only use this feature once every two years, but it's nice to know it's available.
We can already hear all Jeep owners jumping for joy because removing a Jeep's hardtop is right up there with solving third-world debt as one of the most challenging tasks a human being can attempt. For reference, see the video below, and remember that the presenter is an expert who works for Jeep.
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