Anyone done their own Convertible top replacement?

Exterior, Paint & Bodywork

  1. 68fury3

    68fury3 New Member

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    My new to me 68 Fury III Convertible is in really great shape other than the drivers side seat and the convertible top. I know that if I pay someone to do both I’m probably looking at least $2k for parts and labor. I’m a DIY guy and have built and worked on motorcycles professionally for almost 20 years. This is my first venture into the classic car world though. Have any of you ever done your own convertible top replacement? The frame is all there and the mechanical stuff all works fine, it’s really just the canvas and the well liner that needs replaced. (Plus a little sheet metal work on the front bow which I know I can fix.) Any advice? Any pictures or tutorials? It definitely looks like a huge pain in the butt but I think I wanna try it myself. I’ve searched the forum and didn’t come across anything. Thanks, D.J.
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  2. rkrochen

    rkrochen Well-Known Member

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    I did my own but did lots of research first. My biggest advice is to check that the frame is working correctly and aligned properly before you start. I realized after I completed mine I have a slight twist in the frame. It’s not a big deal but I need to revisit it in order to get the windows to seal properly. The instructions you receive with the top are generic but still apply quite well. I got mine from convertible top guys and am happy with it. Also take lots of pics when you take it apart for reference.

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  3. 66l78rat

    66l78rat Member

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    Wow.i admire you DIY attitude but I would think alot of previous experience installing them is warrented to get the job done right. Good luck
     
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  4. 68fury3

    68fury3 New Member

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    Thanks, looks great. That’s who I was planning on using for the top. Biggest problem is that my top is already gone so I have no reference starting point at all. I’ll be starting from scratch.
     
  5. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Professional Tinkerer FCBO Gold Member

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    This is great! You have a golden opportunity to have EVERYBODY here following your future "How To" thread, with many, many pics! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Best of luck with it.
     
  6. polara71

    polara71 Old Man with a Hat

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    Or how NOT to. It is great, I hope he does it. I didn't have the nuts to gamble $500. and I'm glad I didn't.
     
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  7. Cazman

    Cazman Active Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Not to rain on the parade, but I tried my own and wish I had someone do it professionally. I could never get it tight.
     
  8. 300rag

    300rag Waiting out the storm FCBO Gold Member

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    Is that cloth?
     
  9. quadsforsale

    quadsforsale New Member

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    It's difficult to get convertible tops aligned straight and tight. Not an easy beginner job. Best to watch an experienced person do one before starting the process.
     
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  10. 68fury3

    68fury3 New Member

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    That’s the type of feedback I’m looking for. I’m looking for real life experience and not opinion. I know it is challenging to say the least. Thanks for the feedback.
     
  11. rkrochen

    rkrochen Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is a canvas style material. Very pleased with it.
     
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  12. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Professional Tinkerer FCBO Gold Member

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    I have a feeling that the OP is FAR from being a rookie at these sort of auto/mechanical challenges.
     
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  13. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    The factory service manual details it fairly extensively - worth reading it to gain some insight... and talk to some vert top installers out there. I bet there are internet forums just on that!
     
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  14. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat

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    I've done it, as well as vinyl tops and headliners. It's do-able. Less of a skill with fewer tool requirements than body and paint work. But still very challenging, so take your time. I might advise you to go to a local pull-a-part yard and see if there are any 'verts there, like a 90s Lebaron or a 2000s Mustang. Study how those are done and take things apart. That's one realm that hasn't changed much until the advent of the newer-style "hard" tops (Sebring, 200, etc.)
     
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  15. rkrochen

    rkrochen Well-Known Member

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    It has a few challenges but if you take your time and study what you are doing it’s really not that hard. The way I look at it is we all needed to do everything a first time and the only way to learn is to try. I also believe if someone else can do it I can too. With this philosophy over the years I have learnt a lot and can say I have accomplished a lot. I may have had a couple of setbacks but I am away further ahead today than if I wouldn’t have tried.
     
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  16. 68fury3

    68fury3 New Member

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    That’s my attitude too. When I started my motorcycle shop almost 20 years ago I didn’t know a damn thing really when I look back at it all. Lol. I have come a long way and have built custom bikes that have been featured in national magazines, learned to rebuild motors and transmissions, etc. This is exactly the type of thing my brain is wired for. A new challenge and a new skill set with a great reward at the end of the job. Thanks for the words on encouragement. I’m really leaning toward doing it myself. I will do it this winter so there will be no rush and I can take all of the time I need to do it right.
     
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  17. HWYCRZR

    HWYCRZR Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    They key is understanding the function and trying to envision why the engineer designed something a certain way and how it may have been manufactured or assembled and in what order. If you can grasp those things and take the time to think out the process of what you are doing, it can be done. I have never done a convertible top, but during my ‘68 Polara projects I had many firsts. I installed the headliner, made patterns and re-created and sewed my seats cushions and upholstery as the factory intended. I even went down to the spring wire threaded through burlap to “tie” the springs together. Very fulfilling when you succeed.
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  18. tallhair

    tallhair Rufus "Mod Hair" Firefly Staff Member

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    Need more pics and details about this beauty
     
  19. 78Brougham

    78Brougham "Chump" FCBO Gold Member

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    As much as it would be cool to diy it, with the cost of material these days, I'd plop it on the door of someone who does it everyday for a living. I had my '70 Newport done by a pro and could never have done it myself, turning wrenches is one thing installing a top and having it come out right is another, its better left to the professionals. IMHO.

    If they Eff it up its on them, if you Eff it up, it'll cost you double, and you'll have to do the "walk of shame" and take it to them anyway.

    Great looking car BTW! Good luck!
     
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  20. polara71

    polara71 Old Man with a Hat

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    Agreed! I wanted to do mine myself but couldnt get the nuts up. I had a back window shatter after attempting to drop the top for the first time( 1988) It got caught up on the rear speaker and the shop never caught it.
    This time I was close to attempting it just to say I did. It was worth the $2100.00 not to. The installer, a thirty five year interior/top veteran had set the top three different times to get it wrinkle free. Then I noticed the rear top trim was set wrong. He ordered another piece and corrected it. All in all he worked on my car 3 days.
     
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