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Anyone ever install their own Convertible Top?


wmsue
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Update .....some good.....some not so good.

I marked and removed the old top. Took out thousands of staples and painted to bow rails. installed the new stay pads on both sides and all is good. I kept checking the bow height and distance for between the 3rd and rear bow. I kept them all in alignment and within a fraction of an inch.

I took the old curtain and transferred all the marks to it. Started to install but is was too cold and had to wait till I had help.

Today my friend came over and we worked outside stretching and fastening it down. It was about 85 degrees and sunny today. I swear I installed the rear tack strips at least 6 times today. The window install came out nice but there appears to be a bit of sagging at the base of the window because of the weight of the window. If I pull any harder I will start to pull the curtain from the rear top bow. I called it OK.

The over all size of the new rear curtain is the same as the old, but the actual window size is different.

So we moved to the top. I marked the center (front and rear), compared it to my old top for trim stick height and found that the mark that was placed on the top by the manufacturer pretty much followed the bottom of the trip stick on my top. I did notice that the top had a bit wider spread in the rear but it made sense because the window itself was wider. So we placed the top on the car, centered it both front and back and installed the cables through the pockets (my car didn't have any cables).

I checked that all the parts that are held in with contact cement lined up and then stapled the top to the rear tack strip following the marked line.

Then the problems start.

I can get about 3 bolts in the tack strip on each side before the top gets too tight and I can't get the curved sections of the trim stick to line up. That means that the top is too tight.......right?

So maybe I should have not followed the line exactly, but it was a good match. We called it a day and came in for dinner around 8:00 tonight.

Over all a good day but a bit discouraged by the tightness of the top. Hopefully after I loosen the curved parts and give it a bot more room, the old staple marks won't be visible. Hopefully......

I have the top clamped to the top bow but I have not glued it yet. I also have not placed any staples into the rear top bow. But it lines up good. The pockets that are to be in the corners of the rear bow are in the right spot. The glue areas on the sides (2) are in the right spot. Should I glue them first and then proceed with giving a bit more slack on the curved areas? Any suggestions? Any thing else I should look for?

But that is for another day. We leave for vacation on Tuesday and I'm not sure if there is another work day before we leave.

Thanks

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  • 5 weeks later...

Update - On Installing your own convertible top.

After taking 3 weeks off for vacation and house repairs, I started on the old girl this week. The time off provided me with many hours of time to think my way through the rest of the install. One word will tell the story of the final install......FANTASTIC. I am very pleased with fit and look of the top. The new cables keep the top fastened down and the over all smooth look and feel of the new top is great. There are no wrinkles on the sides and the new weatherstripping install went well. The rear window fit is great and there is no sagging. The original trim sticks were held in place with only 8 bolts. I think I used about 15 bolts to fasten the three trim sticks in place. I've been working installing the carpeting and seats today. I have to order new beltline moulding clips tomorrow to install the rear chrome pieces. Lots more to do but if I knock off something everyday, it doesn't take long to see the progress. I promise to post some photos asap.

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. The rear bow height chart was a great asset. The words of wisdom about taking my time and using the sun as my friend helped out greatly. We don't get too many sunny days in NE Ohio but we did this week. If anyone else wants to try to install there own top, and if I can assist, please let me know.

Pete, I took lots of photos and hope to have time to work on the article before school starts up in the fall.

Thanks everyone,

Edited by wmsue
typos (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Finally snapped a few photos. My school starts up again next Tuesday so I knew I better post something before all the kids come.

I still have some adjustments to do and I'm waiting for some beltline clips and riviets to come in to finish the rear chrome. But.....It's up and running and on the road.

Just replaced the rear transmission seal, pinion seal and pan gasket. Got tired of seeing them leaking.

Time to put the top down and drive it a bit.

Thanks for looking.

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  • 4 months later...

Bill, what brand top did you finally decide to use? Is that a Convertible Guys (out of RI) top? Was it marked for the tack strips, center and headliner? Is the wire-on pinpoint vinyl or smooth vinyl? Did it come with the rolled bead piece at the front? I want to put a top on my 1970 GS in the Spring. Like you...I'm studying now! Thanks for your help......

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  • 6 years later...

The specs for the bow are in the Buick Skylark manual.

I only have the manual for the Electra (48000 series)

I'll look in the shop today to see if I have any specs that might pertain to your car.

 

Bill

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  • 8 months later...

 

On 7/15/2012 at 6:30 PM, wmsue said:

Update - On Installing your own convertible top.

After taking 3 weeks off for vacation and house repairs, I started on the old girl this week. The time off provided me with many hours of time to think my way through the rest of the install. One word will tell the story of the final install......FANTASTIC. I am very pleased with fit and look of the top. The new cables keep the top fastened down and the over all smooth look and feel of the new top is great. There are no wrinkles on the sides and the new weatherstripping install went well. The rear window fit is great and there is no sagging. The original trim sticks were held in place with only 8 bolts. I think I used about 15 bolts to fasten the three trim sticks in place. I've been working installing the carpeting and seats today. I have to order new beltline moulding clips tomorrow to install the rear chrome pieces. Lots more to do but if I knock off something everyday, it doesn't take long to see the progress. I promise to post some photos asap.

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. The rear bow height chart was a great asset. The words of wisdom about taking my time and using the sun as my friend helped out greatly. We don't get too many sunny days in NE Ohio but we did this week. If anyone else wants to try to install there own top, and if I can assist, please let me know.

Pete, I took lots of photos and hope to have time to work on the article before school starts up in the fall.

Thanks everyone,

 

My first post on this forum.  Not an old Buick owner but I do have a 67 Impala convertible I'm putting a top on.

 

I loved this old post and since you are still active on the forum I thought I'd inquire if you had ever posted that article or any install pics anywhere?  I imagine my install will be very similar.  All the youtube install videos are of mustangs, not many large GM cars at all.  

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Really glad you pointed that video out or else I'd never have watched it.

 

Most of the installation part was the same as with a purchased top like mine.  And it's almost identical to my 67 top.  Its about the best video I've seen yet and will help me a lot on my install.

 

He did leave out a few basic things that many people probably already know.  Like how and when to replace tack strips and where they go.  On my car I had to glue and use sheet metal screws to hold some of the strips on.  

 

But great video!

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Ah Ha! Now that I am on a different computer on a different network, I can see the video. Thanks!👍

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I did my black top on my 51 Super last year. Worked out well, it was easy to stretch as it is in Az just put in out in the sun for awhile. One word of caution protect the paint surfaces really well. I did the top after paint was done and stapler slid off top and dinged the paint even though I had it covered.

would do it again.

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