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Review:
Can-Back 4Runner Soft Top

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Author: Scott Wilson November 1999
At Can-Back's facility

Can-Back has been making tops for pick-up trucks for several years now. Recently they entered the 1st generation 4Runner (1984-1989) market with the addition of their new 4Runner top. This top is bound to be a big hit with 4Runner owners.



Buckle

The top is made from Sunbrella fabric, a canvas-like material. Each seam is double stitched making them very strong, and nearly impossible to tear. The fabric is a fantastic choice for their tops since it is not subject to the shrinking and expanding that vinyl experiences when the surrounding temperature changes.



Shrinking material may seem like a trivial point, but to anyone who has owned a vinyl 4Runner soft top I'm sure it is not. It is very aggravating to be enjoying the outdoors with the windows rolled up in your soft top, but need to roll them down when the weather turns cold. The vinyl top shrinks making it very difficult to roll down and snap the sides of the top in place. Since the Can-Back top is not made of vinyl, it will be easy to roll down no matter the temperature.



'No Holes' mounting Rear flap stick-on strip

If asked to choose one thing about the Can-Back top that makes it better than all other 4Runner tops, without hesitation I would say it is the mounting system. Installing the Can-Back top requires drilling NO holes into the vehicle. The Can-Back mounts using the exact same factory holes that the hard top is held in place with, and a stick-on strip is used to secure the rear flap to the tailgate.

Since the top is held in place using factory holes, just like the factory hard top, there are only 12 bolts to remove to take the top off. If you choose to put your factory hard top on for the winter, this will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to make the switch compared to other 4Runner tops on the market. Taking the Can-Back off for the winter is far from necessary, unless you live in an area where the winter conditions are exceptionally harsh.



Side windows are a great option

I was extremely impressed with the Can-Back during a recent rainstorm. The top let no water into the truck, and water did not soak into the Sunbrella fabric! Similarly I was very impressed the first time I washed my 4Runner with the Can-Back top on. The water (no matter how much water I threw at it) would not soak into the fabric. The water beaded up like you would expect it to do on a freshly waxed paint job. One stroke with a towel and the water was whisked away, leaving the fabric dry.

The Can-Back top comes with a window in the rear flap, and windows in the sides of the top are an option that can be added. The window material they use is some of the thickest I've seen in soft tops. The window material is also lightly tinted, helping to keep inside temperatures cool and outside eyes from prying in.



Stainless Steel Frame

Can-Back sells their 4Runner top in two flavors… the CAN-BACK model, and the PACHYDERM model. The design of the two tops is the same, but materials used for the rails and bows are different. The PACHYDERM model is made of mild steel that is power coated. The CAN-BACK model is made of stainless steel.

One feature on this 4Runner soft top you won't find in any other brand is the ability to mount a roof rack atop the soft top. Both of the Can-Back frames are strong enough to support a roof rack and gear. In addition to the weight of the roof rack the PACHYDERM will support 200 pounds of gear, and the CAN-BACK model will support 350 pounds of gear.



Tank Trap in Hollister Hills

On a recent trip to Hollister Hills I subjected the top (by accident) to some abuse. While climbing Tank Trap the side of my 4Runner was leaned into the dirt & rock wall, scraping the body and Can-Back mounting rail as I climbed. I put some scratches through the powder coat, but did not crush the rail. It stood up to the abuse of the trail and held its shape wonderfully. I have never seen another top that would handle abuse like this. I know I will get many, many years of enjoyment from this top.




 


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