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  #121 (permalink)  
Old 07-23-2012, 10:32 AM
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I think you are alright so far. Pull the back tight side to side and put a few staples in that seam. Make sure it is on tacking strip so it will be covered by wire-on. Don't staple any further then this area for now. Next go to the front. Raise front header up 6" or so, center material and put a few staples in each outer edge pull it snug but not too tight. Now carefully lower header making sure you don't pull out your staples or tear your material. Header should hang loose about an inch or so above windshield if not adjust front. I usually put a piece of foam or something between header and windshield for support. Now go to the back quarters and work the top forward and down on each side area at the rear bow. The area around rear quarter windows is one of the last things you do but you might need to clamp them in place while adjusting to get wrinkles out. Now you have to remove the bottom tack rail in and out about 50 more times to make adj. intil it's perfect or you get sick of it and call it good enough which ever comes first Hope this helps.

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  #122 (permalink)  
Old 07-24-2012, 08:14 AM
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Thanks Gringo, I am going to look at it tonight with those ideas in my head and see what I can do.

Brian
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  #123 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2012, 08:27 PM
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Thanks Gringo, I am going to look at it tonight with those ideas in my head and see what I can do.

Brian
Hi Folks,

I've just read this entire thread and it has been a very helpful experience. I got here because I am redoing the top on a 71 Chevelle convertible and I ran into a problem.

Brian - just like you, I was confused about rear bow height. I measured mine 100 times and found out that mine is 1 inch off. It should be 20.5 inches, but it is 21.5 inches. This is both before and after taking off a working and fitting (but VERY dirty) top off. I still have the pads on so nothing's moved at this point. Take a look at the first picture to see the measurement...

Anyhow, I figured I would just "fix" that little problem. But then, I measured the "inter-bow" spacing. It is the spacing between the rear upper bow and the next bow forward. On my car, according to GM, it should be 18.5 inches. And it is!!! But only with the rear bow height set "wrong". Any before you ask, yes, the old top fit well and worked well - it was really badly stained by the previous owner, though.

So here's the question - Do I move the rear bow and mess up the inter-bow spacing? Or do I keep things the way they were and figure the previous top installer knew something I don't???

I'd really appreciate any help you guys have!
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  #124 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2012, 09:17 PM
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Wait until others with real experience answer but I'll tell you what I think, that factory spacing to the second to the last bow is the most important measurement. Do you have the new top? Put your rear bows spacers like they have in the GM manual, measure it off perfectly and set it up like they want. Don't put the rear curtain on just yet, first lay the top over the irons and see how it fits up to the rails at the quarter windows. Now go under the and look at that loop of material that mounts the top to the second from the front bow. There is a piece of metal that is screwed to that second to the front bow. The strip of metal goes thru that loop of material and then you slip it into that bow and put the screws from underneath. If you removed the old top you know this of course. But check it out, when that top is in place like this your rear bow height should be right there under the seam on the ends of the rear valance. There is VERY little room for error. I couldn't understand why everyone was making such a big deal about that bow height. I just couldn't understand why if that bow was forward or rearward an inch or so what the big deal would be. LOL, HOLY COW was I wrong and found out real quick when I put that top on for the first time! The top doesn't have much movement, you are SCREWED if that bow is in the wrong place.

But lay it out, look at it, I don't understand why that bow height off the rear moulding is that big of a deal, the distance between the rear bow and the second to the last bow is REALLY where the rubber meets the road. THAT is your top, your irons, that rear bow distance to the second to the rear bow IS your top. That is where the top mounts and at the rear of the curtain to the body is darn near irrelevant. At least that's how I see it, but let some others give you their thoughts.

Brian
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  #125 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2012, 02:24 AM
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I see you're measuring with the rear curtain off. Did you measure the bow height of the old top before you took off the top and rear curtain? 20 1/2" is the correct bow height for your Chevelle, but if the old top fit correctly with the frame like it is now, leave the entire set-up alone. If the old pads are still good, just leave them alone also. Just make sure that the seam across the back of the top, if there is one, sits in the middle of the rear bow so it can be covered by the wire-on. In other words, don't change anything unless your new top doesn't fit with the old rear bow height.

Don't let the science of installing the top (the measurements) get in the way of the art of installing the top (adjusting the top to make it look good), and vice versa. Does that statement make any sense to you?
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  #126 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2012, 09:19 AM
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Hi Brian - thank you for the info. I think you might be right, judging by Dan's response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes View Post
I see you're measuring with the rear curtain off. Did you measure the bow height of the old top before you took off the top and rear curtain? 20 1/2" is the correct bow height for your Chevelle, but if the old top fit correctly with the frame like it is now, leave the entire set-up alone. If the old pads are still good, just leave them alone also. Just make sure that the seam across the back of the top, if there is one, sits in the middle of the rear bow so it can be covered by the wire-on. In other words, don't change anything unless your new top doesn't fit with the old rear bow height.

Don't let the science of installing the top (the measurements) get in the way of the art of installing the top (adjusting the top to make it look good), and vice versa. Does that statement make any sense to you?

Hi Dan - Thanks so much for the quick and clear response. Yes, I did measure it before I took the curtain or top off. I have a picture of that somewhere, but I can't find it. Regardless, I remember thinking "21 1/2, it is perfect". That's right, I guess I misread the info because this whole time I was thinking 21 1/2 was right.

I can't reuse the pads - they look terrible, but are still intact. I removed one side completely, just to see how things looked, but I have a homemade GM spacer stick holding it. Well, last night while trying to get more measurements, I knocked the spacer loose and realized that the rear bow is at its forward stop... Is that a very bad thing? I just put the spacer back in and I hope everything is ok - the other side's pad is still in place and the spacer is still locked in size.

About the interbow spacing - is it measured from the rolled edge of the rear bow to the middle of the next bow? I attached another measuring picture in case it isn't clear. That's the rear bow and my previous post has the distance to the next one.

Sorry for more stupid questions, but I am pretty determined to get this setup myself.

Thanks again!
Mark
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  #127 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2012, 10:23 AM
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You should be O.K. just putting the spacer back in place, that shouldn't matter at this point. Replace the pads one at a time, don't take both of them off. Then you can measure the other side and match them. I would think the spacing would be measured from the front of the rear bow to the back of the second bow, but I don't know that for sure.

Don't over analyze this whole process, some guy making $3.00 an hour put the original top on, and he was probably hung over when he did it.
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  #128 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2012, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes View Post
You should be O.K. just putting the spacer back in place, that shouldn't matter at this point. Replace the pads one at a time, don't take both of them off. Then you can measure the other side and match them. I would think the spacing would be measured from the front of the rear bow to the back of the second bow, but I don't know that for sure.

Don't over analyze this whole process, some guy making $3.00 an hour put the original top on, and he was probably hung over when he did it.

LOL, how true.

What blew me away Dan was how little room for error there is when you get that top on. I had one side of the rear bow too far forward as you remember. Thank goodness I corrected that or the seam on the top would have been in front of the bow!

I looked at the old top and sure enough, that is how it was! The bead went in front of the wire-on!

Brian
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  #129 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2012, 09:57 PM
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Ok, the top is looking pretty good.



The next step is buttoning up the front and the wire-on. The one problem I have is the seams at the end of the rear bow. They curve a little (or at least how I put the top on they ended up that way) and I am wondering about gathering up that material and stapling it down before the wire on is put over it, is this possible?





At the very least, move the seam over the bow, even if I still end up with a wrinkle there but to hide the seam at the very least.

Also, I am thinking stapling it pretty good across the bow before the wire-on, this would be proper?

Brian
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  #130 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2012, 10:57 PM
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I've been wondering how you have been doing. Looks good. I could see you would have a few wrinkles in this area, but didn't say anthing until you got there. You can try folding this over and stapling but sometimes it makes a big lump and shows on wire on. I would carefully cut it a little and pull your wrinkles out and staple it good. Some tops just come with slits that aren't sewn. Yes staple all across bow before wire on. Once you get it all buttoned up let it sit out in sun for awhile and it will take a set. Then if you want it to stay that way, don't put it down. Just saying. Tedious work isn't it.
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  #131 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2012, 11:17 PM
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The thought of cutting it gives me the shakes. I thought about it but damn that is scary. It would take some sort of sealant like urethane or something wouldn't it?


Brian
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  #132 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2012, 07:18 AM
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Brian, it looks great. Gringo is 100% right with everything he told you. If it was me, I would take out the stitching and overlap the pieces until they are smooth, which might require a little cutting, and then staple it down, and yes, all the way across the rear bow. It will be stapled down by the wire-on too, so don't go crazy with the first row of staples.
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  #133 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2012, 08:06 AM
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And you don't do any kind of sealant there over the seam, just staple it and install the wire-on?

Thanks so much guys!


Brian
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  #134 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2012, 08:32 AM
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As I look closer at your photos, I'd start by taking the stitches out of that little area and see if you can work them out. Pull back area up first and staple it down, then pull front part over it staple down and trim off excess if you have any. If it makes you feel more secure you can put a little sealer, but you don't need it.
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  #135 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2012, 10:02 AM
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Again, Gringo is right on.
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