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Anyone ever install their own Convertible Top?


wmsue
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Hi everyone.

Thanks for all the help in selecting tires for my 65 Electra, now I have a new question to post.

How easy are the convertible top kits to install? I see some of the kits come with a detailed instruction manual and 'claim' that it's not really difficult if you take your time and work carefully.

Are the canvas tops any more difficult to install if I choose to go that route?

I've done most of the work on the car myself and would like to give this a try too. The old top is still on the car and I could use that as a guide. I had that top installed in 1977 and it still looks good but the seam threads are falling apart. I'll be installing new canvas top, a new glass window, cables, pads. pump hoses, the works.

Thanks for you help.

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Bill,

You are fortunate to at least have your present convertible top on. If the top mechanism is lined up and all of the windows close properly, etc. that will help. I did my 63 Wildcat and it turned out nicely. The main key is stretching the top tighter than you think is possible...

I got a book on upholstery that showed a conv. top installation on an early 60's Impala. I realize your car is one year later than that installation would be a carbon copy of, but it should help. I assume you have some mechanical skills? A canvas top would not be correct for your car if that matters. Also, you will most likely need new weatherstripping all around.

I will look up the name of the book later today.

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Hi Mike

I was planning on installing all new weatherstrips when I install the top. I have to leave my windows down about 1/2" because the top frame has some sagging. Will new cables and adjusting the frame take care of that? I have to factory service book that explains how to adjust the frame. I'll try adjusting the frame before I install the new top to be sure I get it right.

I was thinking canvas top because of the look and durability. The pinpoint vinyl is less expensive and might be an alternative if it's less difficult to install.

I'll look for the book if you happen to find the author. Maybe Youtube has a video or 2 that could help me.

thanks

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Bill,

That is something I have never done, but often considered doing myself. If you decide to do it yourself, please consider taking photos along the way and writing an article on it for the Bugle. I would give you all the pages you need, and a lot of other members would like to know the steps and how difficult or easy it is. I do know that heating up the new top makes it easier to install and stretch, therefore it is best done out in the sun on a warm day, or else indoors using a heat gun to warm it up some. You will most likely need new tacking strips, which go into the bows and around the base of the top well, to receive the staples. Restoration Specialties & Supply of Windber, PA. sells that.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, TX

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It was long ago, but I did put a new top on my 72 Centurion. It was a real bear in that ya had to take out the rear mechanics to pull the nails or staples out of the strip in back. The old top had to be marked so the new one could be put in correctly, ya can't stretch em when ya had to nail em in place. Even as tough as this car was to do, I did it myself, the top install came out great. I think in the 60s they attached the top by way of a rail in the back which allows you to adjust as you go. My point is, yes it was tough, but very doable, take your time and read up on how to do it. If I remember correctly the cables hold the top down on the edges, as well as making sure it folds right when putting it down. Like I said it was a long time ago. My vote.. do it.

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Yeah, the cables hold the sides from flapping around, they won't solve sagging (at least that is the way I understand it.)

I couldn't find my copy of the book but I am 90% sure this is it. I am 100% sure it isn't the other book listed by B. Caldwell.

Amazon.com: Automotive Upholstery Handbook (9781931128001): Don Taylor: Books

Follow Pete's advice and install new tack strips. I didn't put a new one in the middle and the cable strips eventually pulled up and flapped around. I was able to re-staple it no problem. Speaking of stapling, use stainless staples! They are expensive, but you use less than a full box. I just used an Arrow manual staple gun. The pros use air guns.

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As a former convertible top installer I would agree that it can be done by an amateur, but I would suggest if you have a shop experienced in 1960s cars then it may be worth having them do the job. BUT that experience is the key. If a shop is only experienced in modern convertibles they may not know the difficulties of a 1960s convertible and have few advantages over doing it yourself.

The top sagging into contact with the side windows indicates a problem, I would take a look at adjusting that now, with the old top on. It could have fasteners loose or falling out. It could also be in the window adjustment, but try the top first. Take a look at your weatherstrip, it probably needs to be replaced and is available but expensive. Put the top halfway up and inspect the front bow underneath where it meets the windshield. Check the weatherstrip there and poke around with an awl to see if it seems soft underneath from rust. There is a pressed cardboard tacking strip that probably needs replaced, both here and at the rear bow under the trim strip that runs over the top.

You probably know the car originally had a pinpoint vinyl top rather than canvas. I would probably stick with that so it looks original, the canvas on a 1960s car can just not look right IMO. It is no more difficult to install either way. IMPORTANT NOTE if you find a local shop that you decide to use let them order and provide the top unless they request otherwise. That way they have to guarantee the fit and cannot claim your top is at fault if there is a problem. Good luck, Todd C

PS--I agree on the stainless staples and that the cables are only there to keep the top material from flapping, they are not structural to the frame.

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i did ask myself the same question.. do it myself or pay a shop.( I guess to some extent part of my angst was leaving my roadmaster in a shop knowing that a some guy would move the car around and be climbing over the car to put the top on didn't appeal to me... and not knowing how long it would take).

So....I tracked down an old car restorer who has done many old car convert tops. He agreed to come over and have a visit with my car in my garage, and give me a few tips so I could try it myself. I was lucky because this guy was partial to 47 Buicks having owned one a long time ago)

There are just some basic tips that he gave me that helped me do it myself on my 47 roadmaster convert.

One was to have a helper ( Carol agreed to assist).

Another was to take my time and check the fit before tacking.

Find the centre, mark it and align the top, on centre.

I recall I started at the rear bow to fasten the top.

The top was then attached around the rear belt line working from one side to the other checking the tightness and , side ot side fit , with a few staples only to be sure the fit was right first.

The final attachment was along the front header. He suggested the I 'crack' the latches to allow the top to lift a couple of inches, and attach the top to the front of the header. Use the same side to side tacking to get it centred right, then staple it on. When the roof is pulled down in to latched down position, it will be tight on the top. My fit turned out very nice.

I am still happily married ( recall Carol was my helper).

One tip he gave me was to use the hard plastic like side trim molding ( like you can buy at at a car parts store like parts source) in the tacking strip channel, to replace the old style cardboard tack chanel fill material that was , in my case , used in the 47 Buick. This material receives the staples and holds very well. I think there is a picture or 2 of my convert roof in my photo gallery. and the story is in me and my buick

Edited by ewing (see edit history)
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sure you can.every trmmer had to put his first one on.the advise has been all good.but my eperience,46 years and maybe 2000 tops,tells me that a great many small adjustment,malfunctios,add up .your top sagging over side glass may be just from top shrinkage,or bushing wear,or stop adjustments.when you install keep car and top in a warm room.lay top out to warm,and get rid of box wrinkles.check rear bow height,that is very critical.be sure to replace pads and cables.tack strips too.rubber tack strip is available,rarely exact fit..i have used wood,oak or mahogany.the rubber has tendanct to" move".also once you are ready to fasten the front save a little grief,use contact cement toattach until you have the fit right,its hard to hide to many staple holes when not right the firs time.then when you put the wire-on on the back bow be sure it is same length as original,too long ca rip top when put down.most top comp.have guide marks,good for a start place.caution with heat gun,tops will damage easily,distortion of grain,separate from backing,burn thru,melt.also realize the material will shrink a little.good.luck.

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When I was investigating an insurance policy-funded convertible top replacement, one of the KEY things the local shop was emphatic about was that the top worked -- hydraulics, switches, etc. BEFORE they got it. You might think you could maneuver the top up and back against the mechanism, as you might a manual top, BUT she was emphatic that if it's a power top, it's "power" should work.

Two reasons for this, as I later realized. First is the time they'd spend muscling it around. Time = $$$$$, very possibly funded via the owner's pocket. Second is that with a power top being muscled around, things might get a little out of alignment or cocked in the crucial tacking operations. Therefore, much better to have the top working "as designed" so that how the top fabric is positioned and tacked will reflect "real world situations".

I strongly concur with poci1957, if you let a shop do the work, let THEM handle all procurements of the top and additional items needed. It might cost a little more for them to do it, but they'll probably end up with a fresher product (than from an NOS vendor, for example) and they'll be responsible for the whole shebang. Everything has a cost, but this is one area where, to me, the extra cost is worth it. Key thing is to look around and make sure they know what they are doing (from references, etc.), PLUS that the person/crew they have doing it ARE experienced and have a known track record in this area . . . at that shop, too.

The other thing I realized in shopping for a top replacement is that there are many other related items, as mentioned, which can make or break a good top installation. The pads and tack strips can be very important to not only a good install but also good longevity of the top itself. Getting all of the adjustments re-visited BEFORE the old top comes off can be very important, too, as you are going to desire to replicate the prior top with the new one.

Seems like there are also some issues with the hydraulic fluid in the mechanisms being upgraded from brake fluid to something newer? Brake fluid was probably used as it was available and inexpensive, but it also attracts moisture, which can attack the chrome steel rams in the top's cylinders. Seems like 5563 mentioned ATF in a previous post a while back, for the '63 Wildcat convertible? Necessitated having the rest of the system's lines/hoses also being compatible with it, too?

As mentioned, getting that top stretched tighter than you think it should be can be a key thing to having a good looking top installation, with no sags.

For me, when the time comes, I'll let the local shop do the work as I know they are reputable and have been around for many years. They might well be one of the few trim shops in the area that know about those things. For me, that makes sense, but I know that others might be more adventurous and have a place they can dedicate to the top replacement activities.

One thing that might be considered, IF the option exists for your vehicle, is to have a "headliner" section for the top. Chrysler used these on their LeBaron convertibles in the 1990s. Made the cars almost as quiet as the closed-coupe cars running down the highway. Possibly some Reattas were that way, too? Hides the mechanism and such, but could also significantly increase the cost of the top.

Take care and good luck!

NTX5467

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If you are going to do it yourself, I also have a few suggestions. I have installed three tops; a '65 Wildcat (identical to yours) a '69 Ford Galaxie and an '83 Riviera.

First, as all others indicated, have everything working on the top. I used ATF in the motor in my '65 when I first bought it in '83. If the motor, hoses and cylinders are all working, just keep working the motor til you get all the air bubbles out of the lines and motor.

Make sure your latches line up well with the windshield header. Adjust and get them opening and closing easily.

Assume that the cables will need to be replaced and have new ones ready to go on with the new top. Weatherstriping is also a great fix at this point; I got mine from Steele.

Also, have all the side glass aligned properly. The door glas is adjustable under the door panel; I have never had to adjust the rear glass but I assume it adjusts inside the car with the interior panels removed.

Are you replacing the rear glass? If the canvas attaching to the glass is shot, or if the exterior vinyl that attaches to the rear is worn, I strongly recommend you do the rear glass when you do the top. I also recommend you replace the vinyl liner inside the top well. It attaches to the same bows in the back that the top attaches to, so install a new one now.

As for the vinyl strips that take the tacks, the vinyl moulding used to replace the old cardboard strips is an excellent idea; I improvised something like it when I did mine because I didn't know where to find the replacement cardboard strips.

How are you going to attach the top? I recommend a power stapler with plenty of staples.

As for installation, DO THIS ON A WARM DAY! I noticed you are in Ohio, so do it inside a warm shop or wait until spring. Lay the top out completely flat in the direct full sun for at least an hour; this will get the creases out of the top that result from it being folded into the cardboard box. Also, a soft warm top is easier to stretch. Stretching the top is VITAL to a good installation. If you have ever seen a convertible going down the freeway at 65 MPH and the top looks like a parachute, you will understand how important it is to stretch it fully when installing the top.

When you are about to trim or cut anything, check everything at least twice; you can't undo a cut and if you cut short, you get to buy a new top!

When you finally remove the old top, this is a good time to drape the interior of the car with drop cloths and paint the frame and bows with a good spray paint. You will really like the look of a freshly painted frame and bows when the new top is in place.

Finally, BE PATIENT! While a pro can do this in a few hours, this is easily an 8-9-hour job for a first timer.

If all of this doesn't intimidate you, good luck! There is nothing like doing a major job like this yourself when you are finished.

Joe

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Thanks for the all the info and precautions from everyone.

I plan on putting the top on in early August. My old Buick goes to the body shop in late June and before I put any chrome or the interior back together I want to put on the new top. I had a local shop reupholster my seats and door panels and they did an excellent job and matched the fabric and pattern exactly. My only fault was that they put the window wipe trim pieces on with blind rivets instead of the staples I provided. I'm not sure I trust them to do exactly what I ask for again.

I saw a canvas top convertible in a parking lot yesterday and it was so dirty that I'm not sure it would ever come clean. Are canvas tops that much harder to clean? Or is it just the Ohio winter salt and grime that's taken it's toll. I have no plans of driving my Buick in the salt and ice of Ohio....again. I drove this car all through high school and most of college until the engine died. I've been acquiring parts and working on it on and off for the past 35 years and to finally think it will be on the road again is fantastic.

the body shop that will paint it is very reputable. I've seen their work and talked to the owner and feel very comfortable with him doing the work.

I will be buying the upholstery book from amazon this week and gather as much info as I can to make this project a success.

On a technical note.....I rebuilt the power top pump a year or so and all the switches and cylinders are fine. I was planning to install new hoses and change over to ATF this spring. the sagging in the top is at the hinge area just above the edge where the two windows meet on each side. Instead of the two sections meeting horizontally, they have the makings of a V. I'll check the books and make any corrections before I start anything on the top.

I'll try and document my research and the total top replacement and maybe take a shot at writing it up for the Bugle.

Please keep the ideas and concerns coming. I truly appreciate all of them.

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Hi All

The sagging in the top frame was bothering me so I braved the cold and went out to the shop a looked at the service manual. The book explains the common problems and lists a few solutions for frame alignment and even shows how to install the folding top. I've got plenty of time to digest the information (and save up some cash) before tackling the job this summer.

One technical question though........ My top well boot is still intact but I was reading on a few web sites that the well boot is installed to that when you open the truck you see the black vinyl. the black vinyl on mine shows when you look through the rear window. I'm thinking mine is correct because I had gray cardboard lining that hided everything in the truck.

Anybody know where to get the new 7 pc trunk lining (or a pattern) for my Electra?

Ebay has the 7 pc set for $150.00. That's about 2X what I'd ever pay for a few pieces of cardboard. I've seen others years trunk lining for sale at various places but never for a 65.

Thanks

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When you look through the rear window with the top up, you should see the vinyl well cover. As you have an Electra rather than a lesser model, you should have the cardboard liner that is what you see when you have the trunk lid up. The well cover will keep the top separated from what's in the luggage compartment and the cardboard pieces keep the pump out of sight. At least that's the way I'd look at it.

As you do a thorough inspection of the top mechanism, you might pay particular attention to the pivot points in the frame. Obviously, they might have some wear and elongation in some of them, which you might not be able to compensate for with adjustment tweaks. You might need to do some repairs to the particular moving parts, so getting an idea about that early on might help the project progress as desired later on.

Sounds like you've got things pretty much under control! Keep us posted on your progress, please!

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Too bad you're 5 hours away or we could partner up and help each other on this.

I've never installed a top either, but have one ready to go on my '65 wildcat.

still have to pick up the pads, cables, well liner, boot, etc and decide whether to go glass or plastic on the window.

I've never touched the hydraulics, so I probably ought to pull the manual and check everything.

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As I recall, Ford used the first "solid" rear windows in their full-size convertibles in 1965 (to go with the new body series that year. Trumpeted as a great improvement and upgrade from the former clear vinyl windows. Seems like it even "bent" in the middle (with what is now called "living hinge") as the top went up and down.

Usually, the vinyl would yellow, become more opaque, and crack with age . . . back then. Therefore, as the time frame for the "glass" window is reasonably correct, I'd do the extra expense and do that, too.

Even if you might be worried about judging points, I suspect that any deducts would be minor while also making the whole top replacement a much better and enjoyable investment with the solid rear window. Many who might see the car with the solid rear window in it might perceive that as more correct than a piece of somewhat wrinkled vinyl back there, for that year of vehicle. Even if it was a 1955, I'd still go with the solid rear window, no matter what, but a pre-war car might be different.

Just some thoughts on this (still) cold and snowy day in North TX (5563 and others in CENTRAL TX are having similar weather, too, for a change!). The THOUGHTS of "convertible weather" being here soon are very enticing!

NTX5467

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I am pretty sure the 1965 GM full size cars also had their first glass rear windows too. I would always use glass when possible, it should be within about $100 and is more than worth it to only do the job once. Likewise the well liner. It has to be removed with the rear tack rail anyway and may have been in the sun for 40 years, so unless yours is in very good condition for $75 or so it is good to replace now while you are in there.

Bill, it does indeed sound like you are taking the right steps and planning ahead. If you are buying the adjusment manuals you are already ahead of the local trim shop, and doing all that before the interior is installed is best anyway. If you do all the adjusments, tack strips, and (afterward) weatherstrip replacement and adjustment they can do the soft trim with little special knowledge or labor required beyond an average top, and should be able to give you a good price.

We mentioned the tack strip earlier, and replacement tack strip is available in the plastic material like the moldings mentioned by ReattaMan. It is far better than the original cardboard and is available in (at least) two sizes specific to replacement tack strips. This is another job for you to do before turning the car over to the shop, try Restoration Specialty for them when you are ready. Good luck, Todd C

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Thank Joe. I've got glass now and I know that's "correct". The glass is the reason I need to replace the top. It's weight has torn the vinyl at the upper bar. Upholstery shops won't touch it without an estimate of a 75% chance that after peeling back to replace the window, the entire top will need to be replaced. It's at least 20-25 years old (since that was when the car was painted), so it needs replaced anyway.

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The glass in my top has torn away from the vinyl as well. I was going to replace the glue with something called Sikaflex. I bought it from Jamestown Marine Supply Store and read reviews that numerous people had great results for sealing a leaky read window with it.

When I went to use it i discovered just how bad the seams on my top are.

I am definitely going to replace mine with a glass rear window. I had the plastic one for a year or so before and hated it. Darn near wiped out the car on the car on the highway because I couldn't see when I was merging into traffic.

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wmsue,

I did get one upholsterer to install a temp fix. Basically took a piece of top vinyl and glued it to the window material and the top. Worked for about a year, then the weight of the glass combined with the heat from the black top wore down the glue and it failed.

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BILL, I replaced the convertible top on my MGB a couple of years ago. It was nothing like what you're facing - more like changing the hood on a baby carriage. However, I did learn one solid lesson: contact cement is permanent. If your project makes any use of this smelly, stringy stuff, watch out.

The front of the top cover on the "B" has to be cemented to the full width of the header bar. I was oh so careful getting it perfectly aligned, then just as I pressed it into place, something slipped and I got a wrinkle. Actually, I got a bunch of wrinkles out of this but only one on the roof cover. When I tried to pull the cover off to straighten it, the fabric backing started to tear away from the vinyl top layer. I gave up and rollered it on nice and snug and the rest of the job went just fine.

Only I can see that little flaw and it always reminds me, well, at least I did it myself.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the Bow Height Chart. I've printed it out and will save it for the install.

So here's the update......

I've researched more of the procedure of installing your own top and have the upholstery book recommended to me on order. I've taken most of the rubber weatherstripping off to see how it all attaches and how the top is stretched to fit above the rear windows. I reinstalled all the weatherstripping and trim pieces securely so when I actually replace the top, there will be no question as the what goes where. The more familiar I become with the task the more I feel that this will be my August 2011 project. I've been an art/shop teacher for 30+ years and it doesn't look anymore difficult than stretching a canvas painting or the general shop project that we all take on. Just no drinking any of the home brew beer until the work is done.

While I was inspecting the top I discovered that there are NO cables installed. I found the pockets but apparently the previous installer didn't bother to replace them. The side panels are loose but I never really drove the car much after I had the top replaced in 1977. They never had a chance to flap in the wind.The engine blew on the highway in PA and the car has been sitting since. This weekend I'm going to empty the trunk of all the parts I've been buying and investigate how the rear bow is installed.

I'm going to follow Pete's suggestion and take lots of photos and try to write an article for others to follow if they feel up the the challenge. Thanks for the suggestion Pete. Your article in the latest Bugle on the 64 is a great story.

Thanks

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  • 6 months later...

Update on project 'Replace my own Conv. Top'

The body shop that i want to paint my car has been too busy fixing insurance claims cars (mostly deer accidents) so I'm waiting patiently....sort of.

I posted in the general forum the other day and decided to update this post too.

I ready to strip the frame of the top rail weatherstripping and get replacements but I've run into a problem. My side mouldings have a stiff metal channel that run through them and the replacements I can find DO NOT have this metal channel. I've talked to Steele, The Convertible Top Guys and Cars, and s far no luck. There is no real way to separate the metal core unless I burn it off. It was definitely molded around the metal core. Anybody have an idea how to make the new moulding work? Does anyone make weatherstripping WITH the metal core? I had a suggestion from the Conv. Top Guys to 'gently pry the moulding off the rubber'......that will never work.

I've noticed that the prices vary by more than $100 for the weatherstripping. I generally believed that Steele had the better product and their prices does reflect that. But if their product does not have the metal core.....Is it worth buying from them? I will post photos of the weatherstripping tomorrow.

I still plan on installing my own top after the paint job. Looks like it will be in the spring.

Thanks

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Hi- two things on GM tops of that time period.

One, the rear of the top is secured by three metal pieces, with tacking strip, you install back bottom of top to tacking strips, then bolt in place from inside the car. Use very few staples the first time, with your air setting so the staples are "loose". Install rear of top, then see where the wrinkles are, figure out where rear of top needs to move on tacking strip, disassemble, do again. If you get it the first time you are very, very, lucky. The factory used a buck, to which the top assembly was mounted, and they could install the rear of the top just as if it were already bolted to the car. No one has such a thing now, as far as I know...

Two, when you go to the front to wrap the front of the material around and glue it, first, stretch it as tight as you can, and make a mark where the material would hit the front of the header. Then, make a mark about 1/2 inch beyond that (toward the rear) and use that as the installation mark. No matter how much you can stretch it by hand, the material will be loose if you don't put more "pre stretch" on it.

I glanced through other posts, if this is duplicate information I apologize.

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Thanks for the info David. All the info I'm getting is PRICELESS and will help out greatly. I was looking at how the back bow attached to the top yesterday and wondering if it was stapled to the top before attaching to the frame or the other way around. Thanks for clearing that up.

Attached are 2 photos of the center section of the conv. top showing the weatherstripping and the frame without the weatherstripping. I can't imagine NOT installing a metal core molding of some sort.

Thanks all.

post-59118-143138663637_thumb.jpg

post-59118-143138663638_thumb.jpg

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I love this thread!! It is definitely one I am going to save as there is a ton of great info here!!

Keep it up guys.... any more tips?

Seconded. I'll be doing this over the winter sometime, so it's good to have the information.

Does anybody know how feasible it is to replace factory rivets in the lift arms? Mine has a missing rivet or two that have been replaced with bolts. It affects the operation and will need to be refurbished.

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If you are replacing a top in the winter be sure the material and ambient temperature is not too cold. As soon as the temperature warms up you will experience a lot of sag. You can't properly stretch the material if it is too cold. Good luck with your project!

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Hello Bill, this is poci1957 who responded to your weatherstrip post. Maybe trimacar can chime in on the weatherstrip question, note his excellent advice on the top itself above.

Looking at the photos I think you may be OK with the replacements, if not ideal. As I stated the earlier GM cars required metal backing just because of the way the top was made, but these appear to screw on in a way that should be OK. Still would like more feed back as it has been a while since I worked on one of this generation, good luck, Todd C

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Update

I took a chance and ordered at set of weatherstripping from Steele last night. I found that there are 2 different types of molding for 65's, an early and late type. One has the metal backing and the other does not. According to the description and the size of the center rail pc. I need the type that does not have the metal backing. However since I have the metal backings on my old ones, I ordered that one. Hopefully I can make it work. The difference lies in which piece has the molded ends attached to it and the size of the center rail molding. My molding measures exactly 18 5/8" tip to tip. The 65 early design is 18 3/4" and late design is 18 1/2". I guess I whole new thread could be started to discuss whether the rubber would shrink or expand after 46 years. But I'll leave it to updating whether the parts I ordered will fit or not.

Thanks

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Update.....

Not a match.

I took a chance and odered the ones with the metal core and they are too big. I can tell without even opening the plastic wrap. Atleast that will make returning easier.

I'm going to contact Steele to see if I can send my old weatherstripping and have them try to match it up with something. I'll contact the referenced name above to possibly have them make them also.

Wish me luck.

Keeping my fingers crossed..........

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  • 6 months later...

Fast forward to April 2012

I got the weather stripping problem sorted out last fall. I got a set from Steele and they are not 100% correct but I'll make them work. Some of the screw holes don't line up but it will work out.

Got tired of waiting for the body shop to fit me in. So I constructed a tunnel 14' x 24' and covered it with 2 mil plastic. The old Buick fit nicely in it with plenty of room to operate a spray gun. The paint job came out pretty darn good. I did manage to get one tiny mosquito and an eyelash buried in the paint. If I didn't point them out, they would be hard to find. No runs! No hits with the hose! The metallic looks even but I do have a bit of orange peel. I sprayed Acrylic Enamel with a hardener. I might try and buff it out in a few days.

I'm ordering the replacement convertible top and window on Monday. I'll start applying all the trim this week and hopefully get the seats in before too long.

thanks to all who helped solve the many problems I've encountered so far.

I've have all winter to read and prepare for the install of the new top. Heck with the money I might save, maybe I can afford the high test gas I need to run the old girl.

Please ignore the weeds and lack of mulch on the garden outside my shop. The mulch is in my green Ford Ranger on the right. I just had my priorities in order and painted my car first. I weeded and mulched while the paint was drying. It was a good day.

Thanks for listening

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  • 1 month later...

Bill,

One suggestion I forgot to mention before. When you go to glue the front of the top to the bow, open the top about 6-9" and let the top bow rest on something, keeping it paritally open. I think I used an empty paint can.

The reason for this is because there is no way you can pull the top tight enough with your hands. When you staple it with about 6-9" open, then close it, the top will then pull very tight.

By the way, how much money did you save doing your own paint job? It looks great!

Joe

Edited by Reatta Man (see edit history)
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Update on Replacing Top........

Been driving to old buick around the past few weeks to get a feel for driving a 'boat'. The engine still didn't run quite right till I followed the suggestion of my neighbor and replaced the intake manifold gasket....again.

It runs like brand new now. It seems that one of the rubber tabs from the valve cover was slightly under the intake and creating a leak. All fixed.

Today I read the manual over again and started removing the old top. I found that there are NO cables in the flaps, the stay pads are 2" off on one side, and there were only 9 bolts holding all of the rear trim pieces to the body. There are a lot more than 9 holes in the body for the bolts. There were signs of rust so I cleaned everything up and put the first coat of POR-15 on all the rusty hidden areas. Tomorrow I hope to start making alignment marks on the new top and start the install.

I ordered and received a Porter Cable upholstery staple gun the other day.

Wish me luck!

p.s. I'm taking lots of pictures.

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Thanks Joe.

I saved a bunch on painting it myself and it feels good to accomplish it.

Maybe I saved enough to afford the high test gasoline.

I have to drive to upstate New York (RedHook) to pick up my wife in early August and I keep telling her that I'm taking the Buick. I remember seeing a car show in Rhinebeck, New York advertised earlier. Maybe it's the same weekend.

35 Years ago I met my wife in Upstate NY driving the same car. It's only fitting that it makes a return visit....all fixed up.

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