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Caseyrhe

70 Convertible top replacement

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1 hour ago, Caseyrhe said:

Ordered my top from WCCC after watching their video, anybody have any tips for me they have missed?

I'm not an upholster but I can install a top and do it correctly and it is unpleasant, so my tip is to have a professional upholster install it for you if you want the best chance of having it be correct, and even then they often aren't. Explaining how to install a top correctly in text is basically impossible.

Look at the side of the top they put on near the rear in the end of the video. It has more wrinkles than my 99 year old grandma. They missed around a bazillion points in that video and some of the things they did were incorrect, or at least not the best way to do them.

Also, not all tops are made equal. The best tops are the double textured ones from Crown in Long Beach Ca. , EZ Tops, and Robbins. I would not use any other brand.

You will need very good glue like wilwood contact adhesive but it must say "Flammable" on the can.

You need to roll all your windows up and make sure they fit the weatherstrip correctly and are lined up correctly BEFORE you remove the old top. IF everything lines up correctly, you then need to measure the distance from the rear molding to the center of the rear bow and make sure this distance remains the same during installation because everything goes off of this point.

On the rear pieces that bolt to the rear body that the top staples to, it is better to start by stapling them a little lower than the marks they put on the material in case the marks are too high meaning too close to the rear bow. This is one of the most difficult areas to make look nice because the material tries to wrinkle as it goes around the curve in the body which is the problem they had in the video.

Also, it is very common for people to make the top WAY too tight so someone has to push down on the front of it while someone inside the car tries to latch it. Avoid this mistake at all costs because it can not be corrected once the top is stapled to the header bow.

It should be installed in a warm environment to end up with the best results.

There are also several adjustment points for the top frame, but if the frame has never been adjusted after it left the factory, the only adjustment you may need to use is the one that affects the line of the top over the side windows. This adjustment is on the rear pivot point right above the rear quarter glass, and if needed, I adjust the frame so it is parallel to the glass after the old top is removed and before installing the new one. It sometimes requires another small adjustment after the new top is installed. To use this adjustment, put a wrench on the nut then put an allen in the screw then hold the allen while you loosen the nut counter clockwise 1/2 turn. Turning the allen a little in either direction will lower and raise the pivot point over the front side glass.

Cover your interior with plastic so the glue does not drip on it which it will if you don't, lol.

A hair dryer or steamer can be useful but they can also do damage if used incorrectly, so it's best not to use them if you can avoid it.

It is best to install the top too loosely than to tight because you can fix it if it is too loose.

Also, the repo weatherstrip is complete crap because it is much harder than the original so this complicates things somewhat and unfortunately there is no alternative option for these pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Caseyrhe said:

Thanks Barnett, should have listened to my gut before ordering. Worse case, I'll call the guy that installed my bro's headliner and see if he will come help.

Yeah, I wish ridge runner and I had better news, and we are not trying to discourage you, but this is really one of those things that is truly an art and is actually more complicated than rebuilding an engine. Having someone help you would useful as long as they are patient, and just plan on it taking at least 8 hours and probably more.  No matter how good someone is at installing a top on these particular cars, it is still nearly impossible to get 100% of the wrinkles out of it in the rear corners, but at least a good installer can make them so they are small and not horrible looking like the top in the wccc video, and when the top shrinks some in around 5 years in the sun, they may be completely gone..

 

 

 

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The advice above is all good. I did my own and it came out great but it was probably as much luck as skill. Take your time - a lot of time - test fit everything 3 or 4 times and do it where it is warm. Take the WCCC videos with a grain of salt. They improvise a technique on tape and everyone assumes it's the way everyone does it. 

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Did you take bow measurements before top removal? The back window placement is probably the hardest ,expect to instal and remove a few times . Also does your new top have the webbing that goes under the top ,that is the most important part of the top ,it keeps the bows at their propper spacing and sets the back window and keeps it tight so it doesnt flop around . 

The first one i did i just did it ,came out fairly good but i used regular stapless and they rusted very quickly . 

The warmer the material the better ,it should be laied out in the sun to allow the wrinkles to smooth out and make the top easier to stretch . I found out if i block up the front about one inch when i stretch the top when it is closed and latched  the top will be nice and tight and prety much remove all wrinkles . The rear corners may have to be set and reset a couple of times to remove wrinkles . Once you get the top on and latched ,roll up the windows and leave the car in the sun ,when the material cools it will stretch the wrinkles out ,leave the top up for a few days . It is a pain in the butt to do a top but it is kind of fun also .

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When I bought the car, The tac strips had been removed, top assembly unbolted, and out of the car. The top is pretty rotten, but intact. I still need to install the frame/top back into the car, bolt up, connect the hoses, and add fluid. 

I ordered the pads, not sure if webbing comes with it. 

On the Staples, will look for ss ones, 1/2” long?

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14 minutes ago, Caseyrhe said:

When I bought the car, The tac strips had been removed, top assembly unbolted, and out of the car. The top is pretty rotten, but intact. I still need to install the frame/top back into the car, bolt up, connect the hoses, and add fluid. 

I ordered the pads, not sure if webbing comes with it. 

On the Staples, will look for ss ones, 1/2” long?

I have some wooden jigs i use to set the bows ,they are just 1 × 4 with notches for the top bows ,been a while since i used them ,dont know if i still have them

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36 minutes ago, Caseyrhe said:

When I bought the car, The tac strips had been removed, top assembly unbolted, and out of the car. The top is pretty rotten, but intact. I still need to install the frame/top back into the car, bolt up, connect the hoses, and add fluid. 

I ordered the pads, not sure if webbing comes with it. 

On the Staples, will look for ss ones, 1/2” long?

oh my, you are going to have some fun now.

it will probably take 4 hours to install the frame and get everything adjusted providing your windows are already properly adjusted. I don't remember exactly but you want around 1/2" gap between the windows and the frame without the weatherstrip on. It might be useful to install the weatherstrip before installing the top material just to make sure your frame is adjusted properly.

if it is missing the tack strips, you can use hard rubber strip then glue that into the tack strip channel but screw it in a few places also if there are already some holes in the metal bar.

yes 1/2" is too long fr the stales. i don't remember exactly but ridge runner might but i think they are around 5/16"

 

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You will probably have to readjust the top bows after the vinyl is on ,if the bows have any play at all they will lift the sides . I am not sure how the 69 adjust but 65 68 has a alen bold cam bolt ,you turn it and it will lower or rais the sides

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Trust me, if I can do it, anyone on this forum can do it (with enough bull-headed stubbornness). I was fortunate that my frame was was not monkeyed with, though. Make the wooden jig Ridge Runner referred to, and get the frame all squared up before any soft material goes on.

DSCN1680.JPG

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If memory serves, the front was riveted and the back is glued, as you pointed out (my rear strip was intact, so I didn't have to monkey with it). Based on a tip from somewhere I don't remember, I used a cheap aftermarket body side molding for my front piece (the kind they sell in Autozone to add that special flair to your 1978 Cordoba) . Drill and pop rivet. It was made of soft plastic and held staples well . If it's available, the real deal would be superior. I will look to see if I have any pictures.

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