Anyone done their own Convertible top replacement?

Exterior, Paint & Bodywork

  1. 68_fury_ragtop

    68_fury_ragtop Member

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    I keep debating about the same thing.
    My top is in fair condition, but starting to show some signs of wear.
    Most of the time, I just keep it down anyway.
    I did the interior and it came out pretty good, and am tempted to try my hand at the top.
    The other temptation is the convertible top guys are just 22 miles south of me. I can drive down there and pick it up, or if I need additional supplies, they are only 1/2 an hour away. If you do end up doing it, please post pictures, and let me know any issues you run into. If I do it over the winter, I will do the same.
     
  2. 1970cat

    1970cat Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    if there isn't a top on it now, you will need exact measurements of the bow placement. the rear bow is especially critical. make sure your frame is straight along the sides ,the header seals tightly to the windshield and the frame goes up and down evenly side to side. the factory service manual has adjustment procedures. make sure your tack strips are in good condition along with your seals.
    remove and clean up your trim sticks ( i don't recall what mopar calls them). tack or staple and glue your pads to either side. you will have to fold them over and trim them. there should be slight indentations on the bows where they rest. might be screws that hold them to the header, i can't recall. make sure your side cables are in good condition and secure.
    put a 2x4 between the windshield and front bow to keep it raised a little. mark the center of your rear bow and rear curtain with chalk. use some spring clamps to hold the curtain to the rear bow, making sure you have enough length for the curtain to reach the just below the center trim stick. fasten the rear curtain with the center trim stick. now you will have to play around removing and readjusting the spring clamps and 2x4 to get the rear curtain tight when the top is secured to the header. once you are satisfied that it will be tight when closed, clamp it, raise the top a little (2x4) and tack or staple it to the rear bow.
    lay the top in the sun or someplace warm and mark your center before laying it on the car. mark the center of the header and rear bow. the upright sections by the quarter windows are a fixed point. they can only go in one place. i start by fastening it there. now the trickiest part. you'll have to remove the center trim stick because it and the rear curtain go inside of the top. clamp the top to the rear bow. there is a slit in it over the rear bow you will have to make sure that slit is centered over the bow and doesn't open up creating a gap. you have to wrap the top around the back and fasten it while keeping it wrinkle free using the side trim sticks. once satisfied, refasten the rear curtain and trim stick.
    now with the 2x4 between the header and windshield, pull the top forward and you will have to play around with the 2x4 and clamps again to make sure that the top closes tightly but not so tight that the motor won't close it. keep in mind that it will eventually shrink some with age and exposure to the sun.once you get it where it is right, clamp it ,tack at the rear bow, raise the top and glue it to the under side of the header. ( i used 3m super strength spray adhesive). the rear bow welt opens up. lay it over the slit on the bow, tack it,and trim the ends to cover the slit . close it over the tack at lock it with a mallet. screw the end caps on. put your seals back on and leave the car in the sun for a few days to remove any minute wrinkles.
    there may be an easier way to do it, but that is what works for me. also, don't tell your friends you know how or you may end up with an unintended side business :)
     
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  3. detmatt

    detmatt Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    My top guy did mine in about 5 hours soup to nuts while I was busy making a little bit more money than he charged me during the same time span. If you’re really determined to do your own you should find a trimmer that would let you assist on a couple.
     
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  4. tallhair

    tallhair Rufus "Mod Hair" Firefly Staff Member

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    That sounds like a great idea Matt ... both options haha
     
  5. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    ^This is one of the keys to successfully running a business^
     
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  6. detmatt

    detmatt Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    I call it choosing my battles.:thankyou:
     
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  7. 65_Polara

    65_Polara Member

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    My cousin and I did one on a Miata once and we knew less than nothing about what we were doing. Granted, it was 1/3 the size; but I was pretty happy with how it turned out. It helps to let it sit out in the sun for a while to make the material more pliable. My '63 Valiant is going to need a top soon and I'd sooner die than pay someone $2000 to also not know what they're doing. This was assembly line work--not magic.
     
  8. mr. fix it

    mr. fix it Old Man with a Hat

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    As mentioned earlier, make sure that the frame is good and properly aligned
    Mine was not and it shows
    Setting the stack height is the starting point then working forward to the front
    A good installer will check this first
    Make sure that they plan to align the frame first before even touching the material otherwise the top is doomed to misalignment all of its life
     
  9. Zymurgy

    Zymurgy Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Also just because a guy has installed 100 Corvette tops doesn't mean he has a clue with installing something as big as our c-body tops.

    If you have it done professionally, still get referrals and I personally would never have a guy touch ny car without seeing a job they have done up close and in person.
     
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  10. 68fury3

    68fury3 New Member

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    What fabric did you go with? Glass or plastic window?
     
  11. 68fury3

    68fury3 New Member

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    I’ve come to the decision that I’m definitely going to try doing it myself. I don’t mind spending the money to pay someone with the know how but right now just isn’t the time for me. For $600 or so I can get everything I need to DIM. Plus, if I am successful, I might start offering it as a service at my shop, who knows. Lol I’ll definitely make a post and keep everyone updated when I do it. Thanks for the input everyone!
     
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  12. rkrochen

    rkrochen Well-Known Member

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    I went with plastic. I don’t intend on using the car much when the top is up.
     
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  13. 68fury3

    68fury3 New Member

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    Did you do the crush vinyl, pin point or Haartz?
     
  14. rkrochen

    rkrochen Well-Known Member

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    I went with the Haaretz stayfast canvas and I like it a lot.
     
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  15. rkrochen

    rkrochen Well-Known Member

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    The one thing you may need to do is source some stainless steel staples to fit your gun. The staples they provided didn’t fit any guns I had, they were smaller than usual.
     
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  16. Zymurgy

    Zymurgy Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Good luck, I will be watching your thread. I hope you change my mind, and I take this job on myself too.
     
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  17. mr. fix it

    mr. fix it Old Man with a Hat

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    Mine needs doing as well. Has vinyl right now but thought canvas would look great.
    Io have seen red canvas on a white 66 Monaco convertible & it looks sweet when done right
     
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  18. Zymurgy

    Zymurgy Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    You need to do it that would look awesome. I have tried to picture the black canvas myself. I have liked canvas on every car I have seen it on.

    By the way, I have a friend who has a 89 Rolls-Royce with a red leather convertible top, good God how much would that cost to replace???
     
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  19. 3175375

    3175375 Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I don’t believe that you can get a glass rear window.
     
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  20. rkrochen

    rkrochen Well-Known Member

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    You will need to order a boot as well.
     
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