I'm attempting to replace a vinyl top on a 71 cutlass and had a few questions. I've already removed all the trim and the old top. The paint underneath looks pretty sound(no rust and not lifting). Can I just remove all traces of old adhesive and scuff it up or shoud it be taken down to bare metal and resprayed (epoxy primer/POR15)? What would you recomend as far as adhesives go? Is there something I can spay from a can that would do a good job or is there something that I can shoot from a gun? Lastly where is the best place to get an adhesive, my local auto paint store? Thanks, Jim
06-16-2004 04:42 PM
As long as the base paint is good, there is no need to strip to bare metal. Usually just repair any rust or minor damage areas and remove all traces of original glue.
It has been over thirty years since I worked in the Trim business. So the techniques may have changed. But, way back when we used sprayable contact cement. NASTY, green-yellow stuff that once you pressed the top down to the metal it was stuck forever!
We would mark off the roof down the center. Mask the edges. Mark the underside center of the top. Then spray both the top and the roof with contact cement. After the cement is dry to the touch on both surfaces we would place glossy butcher paper or wide masking paper (won't stick to contact cement) on 1/2 the roof. Opposite the side we were going to apply first. Fold the top down the center glue side out and lay it on the masked side of the roof. Then line up the center lines and CAREFULLY roll and stretch the two exposed cemented roof/vinyl surfaces together. Then with the first side done. Pull the loose vinyl half back onto the installed side . Remove the paper mask from the roof and repeat the previous process. working from the center out. This works good if you have minimal or no help. If you can get four guys together. Have one on each corner and carefully line up the centers. Then carefully lay the glued vinyl to the glued top. working air bubbles out from the center to the edges. Stretching constantly. Lots of Sweating as it has to be WARM when you are working supported vinyl.
You should be able to get cements from a well stocked supplier and I suppose by now there are different adhesives to make the job a bit easier.
06-16-2004 05:13 PM
Removing all of the glue isn't necessary. Once you've pulled the vinyl, go over the surface lightly with 40 grit on a sander. This will take off any glue that would possibly let loose. Make sure to touch up any sand scratches through the paint. Our technique for installation is pretty similar to Bob's, except we use tarps on both sides of the roof leaving a 3" strip exposed down the center, with center marks front and rear. The key to installing vinyl tops is knowing how to work with the cement, and knowing when the cement is ready once sprayed.
06-17-2004 04:54 AM
Are the adhesives all the "contact" type? I would think that it would be easier to make a mistake if working with something that grabs right away. Do you need something that grabs right away so the vinyl can be stretched?
06-17-2004 05:30 AM
Contact cement is used because it can take the extreme conditions a top must go thru. Weather, heat etc. Regular trim adhesives tend to either harden (turn to powder) or loose their initial grip and let the vinyl shrink up or move on the sheetmetal.
06-17-2004 06:42 PM
Sorry, one more question. I was thinking that I would not have to remove the "rain gutter" molding but it looks like that was how the original vinyl was held in place. Is it possible to do the install without removing this trim? I was always under the impression that once you remove this trim you'll never get it back on. Thank you to all who have replied.
06-17-2004 07:33 PM
Yes, you can remove the trim. The tool looks like a realy wide set of pliars. You wrap the jaws in a shop rag, hook it onto the lower edge of the molding and GENTLY pry the trim off the rail a little bit at a time. Even with the tool it is a ******. Most of the tops we did were for used car dealers and body shops. To keep from messing with the rail trim we would glue and fit the top up to the back of the drip rail then trim the vinyl just a bit short and then 1/2 fill the rain gutter with a matching color or clear silicone sealer. This seals the edge of the top and keeps the edge hidden.
01-31-2013 12:24 PM
Hey guys every reply is correct, I have installed vinyl roofs on long streched limos with sun roofs. Love this forum:)