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  #151 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2012, 01:14 PM
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Hi Dan,

The car is a 1971 Chevelle. I have used the old top to get markings from, but it is not in the greatest shape. Plus, I don't think it was well-installed to begin with.

Here's my current progress - I decided to tighten the front bow up a bit with some spring clamps:


After that, here's the passenger's side:



Driver's side (you can see the lump of fabric that still hasn't gone away completely, circled):


A wrinkle I am pretty concerned about:



And my biggest concern - a strange GAP that shows up if I tighten the main top to the header bow (using spring clamps):


So I have two major questions at this point:

1) When you say the top has to be installed from back to front, does that mean I MUST staple through the top into the rear bow before proceeding to the header bow? I was hoping to staple the rear bow only once I am sure things are going to fit and line up correctly.

2) What do you think of that GAP I showed in the picture? It seems to be on both sides (equally) depending on how tight I make it. I think that when I tighten the front of the main top so much, the rear bow doesn't pull the curtain all the way forward and the gap grows... Would this eventually work itself out???

Any ideas appreciated!

Thanks,
Mark
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  #152 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2012, 01:46 PM
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top

I have a couple questions. Is your rear bow set corectly? It's hard to tell by pics but looks to me like it should be leaned ahead an inch or so. Are you sure the pads are in correct place? That one pics shows pad clear to bottom of rear bow. The bottom of pads are usually up 5 or 6 inches up from the end of rear bow. That gap is probably because the clamps are holding the top up a bit and not letting window pull tight. Put a few staples under where you have the clamps. Latch top down and see if window pulls tight if not tighten up pads. With a glass window the pads have to be very tight because they are heavy.
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  #153 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2012, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
I have a couple questions. Is your rear bow set corectly? It's hard to tell by pics but looks to me like it should be leaned ahead an inch or so. Are you sure the pads are in correct place? That one pics shows pad clear to bottom of rear bow. The bottom of pads are usually up 5 or 6 inches up from the end of rear bow. That gap is probably because the clamps are holding the top up a bit and not letting window pull tight. Put a few staples under where you have the clamps. Latch top down and see if window pulls tight if not tighten up pads. With a glass window the pads have to be very tight because they are heavy.
Hi Gringo - Funny you should mention that. I got started in this thread because I noticed that my rear bow was too far forward! After talking with Dan, though, I discovered that I am probably ok as the old top fit on this way and was pretty much the same overall size and measurements. According to the measurements, it is still a little bit farther forward than it should be, though the weight of the curtain did pull it back a little. Last time I measured, I was about 1/4" off towards the front.

I don't know what you mean by "shows pad clear to the bottom of the bow". I had the rear bow locked into place using the GM-style spacer sticks when I put the pads in place. They match up with the old pads in terms of where they lined up and I cut them off just rearward of the last bow. On the sides, they drop down part of the way, but not down the the belt line or anything.

I am attaching a couple of pictures of where the pads reach down on the sides so you can at least kinda see what I mean.

Thanks again! I really hope I can get this thing looking good!
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  #154 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2012, 03:57 PM
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You don't have the pads permanently installed either, do you?

I'll say it again. You can play with this until you're blue in the face with your spring clamps, but the pads need to be installed properly, and permanently, the rear bow height needs to be set permanently along with the rear curtain, and the rear of the top needs to be attached solidly to the trim stick before you can fit the top on the frame properly.
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  #155 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2012, 04:27 PM
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Pads

Pads are ok. I was looking at your second pic where you had arrow to bottom of pad. It looked like it was clear down to end of bow. I like to have them as tight as a drum as I can get them. I agree with Dan on above post.

Last edited by Gringo; 08-25-2012 at 04:37 PM. Reason: added more
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  #156 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2012, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes View Post
You don't have the pads permanently installed either, do you?

I'll say it again. You can play with this until you're blue in the face with your spring clamps, but the pads need to be installed properly, and permanently, the rear bow height needs to be set permanently along with the rear curtain, and the rear of the top needs to be attached solidly to the trim stick before you can fit the top on the frame properly.
The pads are permanently installed! The rear bow height is set, but a little too far forward (like we discussed earlier). The rear curtain is fully stapled (lots of staples) to the rear bow.

What you are seeing there is from when I was test fitting the pads - it was the only pic I had to show Gringo where the pads went to on the sides of the rear bow. I unfortunately didn't take pics of when I fully stapled the pads and clipped off the over-hang on both the front and rear bow. (No spring clamps! )

I have the rear trim stick completely stapled at this time - only the rear and front bows are un-stapled. I think it is working out, but I have to take some more pictures. I'll post them once I do. The only spring clamps left are holding the blankets to the outside of the car for protection of the paint!!!

Do I have to staple to the rear upper bow before I can staple the front bow? From my understanding I could get away with leaving the rear upper bow unstapled. I would want to leave it un-stapled over the rear bow ONLY until I can get the front bow situated and then I would staple the main top the rear bow as well.

Last edited by delkra; 08-25-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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  #157 (permalink)  
Old 08-26-2012, 07:49 AM
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Don't staple the top to the rear bow before you staple it to the front header. The last thing you do before installing the wire-on to the rear bow is staple the top to the rear bow. Only staple the top to the rear bow when you are satisfied the top is installed correctly.
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  #158 (permalink)  
Old 08-26-2012, 09:23 AM
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That was one mistake that I made, and it was only one staple, almost screwed the whole thing up. I put one staple over the center of the rear window into the rear bow and then a couple on each side at the end of the bow. I did all my side rear top stuff and it was all looking so good and then went and snugged up the front at the header a little more (moved it forward about a quarter inch). It all looked good but I hadn't gotten to stapling the top to the bow or adding the wire-on. I went out to the garage and saw that the center staple had pulled thru the top! The hole was dangerously close to hanging off the front of the bow!!!!

Yesterday I put it out in the sun and left if for a while then pulled the top back stapling it all the way across. It seems to be fine as the top clamps down nice and it isn't stretching it too much.

That was almost a serious screwup!

I know one thing, I looked at maybe 35 or more similar make model and year convertible tops yesterday at the Goodguys and my top is average among them. It is not one of the best by any means, neither is the rest of the car! And it is most certainly not one of the worse, as is the rest of the car.

Honestly, that made me feel a lot better. One thing I am totally convinced of, if the top is being used it WILL have some funkies that is for sure. So my answer to my few wrinkles, put the top up and down often and then even if they were there from the beginning they will be justified.

But I saw some REAL funky tops like huge folded messes at the edge of the header. I was wondering how I was going to pull this off because there is so much material there, a LOT of cars had this huge chunk of material folded all under and it looked like CRAP. I know I will do better than that. Also, another thing that cracked me up was the amount of cars with the wire-on all crooked! It looked like a piece of rope thrown over the roof! Yeah, I am feeling a lot better about what I have done. I have thought how if I were to do another one next week how it would be soooo much better and easier. Then I come to my senses in that I will likely NEVER do another one.

Brian
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  #159 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2012, 01:06 PM
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Thanks so much guys for the info and push to cut that top at the bow and remove the wrinkles. It worked very well and actually pretty easy.













I then did the other side that was a little harder. I lifted the top up off the windshield to loosen it up and found that probably wasn't the way to go as I had to remove the staple I put in and move it a little and re-staple it. I then using a nice sharp razor cut away the excess and under lying material.



















The wire-on will cover it easily and it is going well. I tightened up a few more wrinkles and it is looking VERY good.
Thanks again for all your help guys!

Brian
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:23 AM
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I am down to the wire here, THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH! I couldn't have done this without you, one last thing (I think, but come on, there will probably be more) how do I fold this vinyl around the moulding at the ends?

I have this piece to experiment with and I have came up with this that produces the best result I could find but is there a better way?

Brian



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  #161 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2012, 07:28 AM
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By the way, I did put a little silicone sealer across that rear bow where I cut the top and gathered it. I just couldn't leave it without.





I ran a piece of masking tape as a straight edge (saw a bunch of convertibles at the Goodguys with the wire-on all crooked!).





And wham, just like that the rear was done!



It was at that point I found myself literally "giddy" with excitement. Again, thank you so much!

Brian
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  #162 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2012, 08:45 AM
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Also, that loop of material that is glued to the roof at the second bow, it's tight over the top but very loose at the bottom, this is with the top up and clamped. Is this going to be anything I should change? My old top had that piece ripped off it when I bought the car so I hate to do the same the first time I put it down!

Brian

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  #163 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2012, 11:49 AM
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That shouldn't be a problem, Brian.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:02 PM
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[QUOTE=MARTINSR;1588728]I am down to the wire here, THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH! I couldn't have done this without you, one last thing (I think, but come on, there will probably be more) how do I fold this vinyl around the moulding at the ends?

I have this piece to experiment with and I have came up with this that produces the best result I could find but is there a better way?

Yes, here's how it should be done: Don't trim out any of the fabric. The fabric should be sewed to the molding and then simply folded under.
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  #165 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2012, 01:34 PM
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And thanks again Dan!

Brian
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