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chocolate brown 1974 Mercedes 450SL
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When my sister gave me her 1974 450SL to sell for her, I noticed that the soft top would soak up rain like a sponge, eventually leaking through to the inside of the car, fogging up the windows. After asking around without much success on how to waterproof the top, I bought a bottle of StarBrite Marine Canvas Waterproofing solution on Amazon.com. Following the directions, I masked the car using a combination of auto safe masking tape, brown paper, aluminum foil, and old sheets. Wearing rubber gloves, goggles, and a breathing mask, I saturated the top with solution and let it dry for 2 days. It worked quite well; water now beads up and rolls off the top. In hindsight, I wasn't too happy with the toxicity of the product and wonder if there would be a way to wax a canvas top in the same way that you can wax a canvas Barbour jacket. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, please see the attached PDF file. Hope this helps. Thanks, Chris
 

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Nice post. I was going to buy RaggTopp, but after a little read-up, I decided to use your more toxic approach. I could imagine this being used on lots of things other than the soft top so ordered a gallon. (I could see this being very useful for patio furniture.) It looked like it was going to be ~$25 for 22oz, or ~$40 for 128oz because they offered free shipping on the gallon (prices from Amazon).
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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There are a number of products that are sold for waterproofing canvas type products. Some (the less expensive ones?) are based on silicone and others have a fluorocarbon (Teflon) base.

This link compares these types:
303 Products, Inc.: High Tech Fabric Guard

3M's Hight Tech 303 Water Repellent is touted to be the best product. Sailors use these products on their Biminis and Dodgers and marine suppliers like West Marine carry these products as does Sailrite where you can order on-line This link has both a silicone and the 3M product. It also has a seam sealer.

But in thinking about it, why would an MB top need waterproofing. The fabric my top is made from has a woven polyester exterior and the typical dobby weave inside liner, but between the two there is a rubber like material that provides the waterproofing. Perhaps some tops are made from other materials, but I can't see any reason to waterproof the MB top.

However, using the 3M will prevent dust penetration, while the cheaper silicone products apparently attract dust!

(PS: Sorry for the wordiness - I have looked into these products in past for boat use)
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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But in thinking about it, why would an MB top need waterproofing. The fabric my top is made from has a woven polyester exterior and the typical dobby weave inside liner, but between the two there is a rubber like material that provides the waterproofing. Perhaps some tops are made from other materials, but I can't see any reason to waterproof the MB top.
Regardless of the material the top is constructed of, it has seams which perforate it. These seams, if not treated, will make excellent conduits for rain water, which will soak thru due to capillary action of the fluid, which results in a wicking action of the canvas seams.

From experience, Raggtop does work well, and is easy to apply. No need to mask off the car, as the Raggtop will clean up easily if cleaned immediately (simple damp microfibre, and touch-up detail spray wax for any trouble spot)... and unlike other products, it touts including UV protection in its formulation. Another side benefit is, the top looks more luxuriant after application. I pulled the canvas out of the well the other day, and it looked like new... almost like velvet. A simple wipe-down with a microfibre, and any dust, etc was eliminated.

Having not tried any other formulations, I do not know how it compares... Applying it has eliminated the soakthru of rainwater on the seams of my top...
 

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We're going to need someone who's tried both. Your review of RaggTopp does sound convincing. It's a good thing I ordered something or I'd never make up my mind.

My top really needs to be replaced. One of the bows has actually torn away from the top, and I think I've actually got a series of holes now in that spot. I get the feeling that having a 1 gallon tub of some serious chemical might be more likely to hold me over until I get around to replacing the top.

I will report on how it makes the top look. I believe mine currently looks very good with no tears or apparent exterior wear. The headliner is a different story. It looks to me like an old dirty doily from my smoking grandmother's house. (No offense intended MomMom! God rest her soul.) :)
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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Regardless of the material the top is constructed of, it has seams which perforate it. These seams, if not treated, will make excellent conduits for rain water, which will soak thru due to capillary action of the fluid, which results in a wicking action of the canvas seams.
I have never had any seam leaks, even with my previous top which was likely about 25 years old when I replaced it - water did come in through the holes though! But it seems others have had seam leaks.

In the Sailrite link I provided above, there is a seam sealer. That or a similar product is probably what is needed if you do have seam leaks.

A coat of the 3M or Raggtop product or something similar will likely make it easier to keep top clean and make it last longer. This is a good link on HOW TO CLEAN AND PROTECT YOUR TOP
 

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I restore a lot of "old" stuff and I have found that the non-toxic stuff rarely does as good a job.
 

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I watched the video before I made my purchase of the toxic PTEF stuff. If it wasn't a Boxter I could have watched the whole thing. Just kidding. I watched the whole thing, but wasn't convinced. I felt too much like I'd run out of the can before I finished spraying the line of holes from where my bow is disconnected.

Me buy lots kemikal Pour on thick
 

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Reminds me a lot of Rain-X

I just used this method:
- Vacuumed the top with a soft bristle connection on the shop vac.
- taped off my windows with 1" around the edges
- Taped foil in the middle of the windows
- laid foil under the top at the sides, back and windshield and closed the top
- filled up a little over 22oz bottle from the gallon of Star-Brite waterproofer with PTEF
- started spraying it on.
It seemed to saturate pretty quickly on my top. It clearly soaked even the inside around the seams on my old dried out top. I SOAKED it. What do I have to lose?

My top really should be replaced, but I like that it appears original, and I don't feel like laying out the cash for a new MB top. The middle bow is totally disconnected (no stitching remains) and there is a row of holes across the top where the stitching was. I hope this helps hold water out. Maybe since that's a high-point in the top and it's now "waterproofed" it will at least prevent water from coming through.

My biggest issue was probably the bubbles I got on the surface from the way it was spraying out of my sprayer bottle. I noticed one large one that appeared to be drying and might have left a mark. So I was sure to remove any bubbles, many of which disappeared just by blowing on them.

I'm going to let it dry for a week or so before folding or even testing it.

I will report my results in a week or so.
 

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chocolate brown 1974 Mercedes 450SL
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Discussion Starter #15
Look forward to hearing how the waterproofing worked for you! BTW, StarBrite also makes a seam sealer that I saw on Amazon. If you're still having problems with leaking through the seams, might be worth experimenting with. I haven't used the seam sealer myself. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!
 

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Pictures - 3rd time's the charm?

Not storing passwords in Mozilla is killing me with disconnects. I get distracted with work sometimes too. Sorry it took three posts to successfully post the pictures. Oops!

As you can see. I'm not sure any amount of seam sealer would have stopped this. It was just seeping through like crazy.
 

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Has anyone used the Mercedes soft-top water-proofing solution? I mean, if they use it it must be alright yeah? Anyone got any feedback on it?
 

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Fotografa: Link?

Update on my sealant: The bottom side of the top had saturated uniformly by ~6-10 hours after spraying/saturating the exterior. The pictures above were taken shortly after spraying the top. I'm starting to think it would have been a very good idea to clean the interior to the best of my ability before using the StarBrite product. (However, in my case, the less time spent on this top, the better.)
 

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500SLC #2624. Black on Black.
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Fotografa: Link?

Update on my sealant: The bottom side of the top had saturated uniformly by ~6-10 hours after spraying/saturating the exterior. The pictures above were taken shortly after spraying the top. I'm starting to think it would have been a very good idea to clean the interior to the best of my ability before using the StarBrite product. (However, in my case, the less time spent on this top, the better.)
Convertible Impregnating Spray, part number A 001 986 31 71 10
 

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