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35 Buick top material cleaning


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I have seen vinyl seats painted with Rustoleum that did not crack after 20 years. It is a flexible paint. It would probably work as well as anything. I would not regard it as permanent but a way to refresh and preserve a top insert that was nearing the end of its life. If it cracks after a few years it's a small loss if it was due to be replaced anyway.

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14 hours ago, bryankazmer said:

No!  For two reasons.  First, the paint solvents may soften your top (which was not originally vinyl).  Secondly, the paint film is less flexible than then the fabric so will be prone to crack.

 

There are  automotive paints and flex additives designed to be used on plastics, such as modern car bumpers and trim. They've been around for 40 years so it's no guessing game. Check with your local autobody supply. 

 

There are upholstery repair kits with special paints designed for use on vinyls. Check with Mohawk Finishing Products. 

https://www.mohawkproducts.com/

 

Rustoleum is not flexible enough to keep up with vinyl top flexing while driving. Like all enamels, after a few times parked in the hot sun, it will harden and then crack with the flexing of wind turbulence of driving . Then you have a mess to deal with.

 

There's one thing to try that won't harm the top. Wash the vinyl well with mild detergent, like Dawn dish soap. Just like washing a car, don't do it in direct sun light. Rinse well and dry it and then coat with Armor-all, or equivalent vinyl protection. 

 

In the meantime, you can start studying up on how to replace the top here,  

 

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Strange results I've never heard of before.

 

I've been using Armor-all since it came out, on my modern cars, and my customer's old cars - tires, vinyl tops, plastic trim, rubber door and windshield  weather seals, linoleum running boards -  and never had any problems. The only thing I've seen better was 30 years ago stuff called Clear Guard which was like Armor-all but thicker viscosity and lasted longer.  Around here, every fall, we make sure to Armor-all the door weather seals on our modern cars  so we can open them when the temps get below freezing after a damp spell.

 

Paul 

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I believe that the current formula addresses this, but Armor-All tire dressing was some years ago accelerating sidewall cracking.  It's an emulsion, and the hydrocarbon part ( basically plasticizer) was a solvent for anti-oxidants in the rubber compound, extracting them.

The non-sticking is the hydrophilic residue keeping water from freezing on the rubber surface.

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Current ?

I've been using it since the 1970's and had no problems.  Customer's cars I restored in the 1980's and 90's, that I used Armor-all on the tires, cobra grain tops and accessory trunk coverings, and rubber and linoleum running board covers, show no signs of cracking. Even Lester tires I put on a full restoration in the later 1980's, refurbished that car for a new owner a few years ago and it's been to car shows since, have no cracks.  Maybe it was something else causing the problems, like environment of where/how the vehicles were stored, or products used to clean them ?

 

I'm not trying to sell Armor-all, I'm just surprised to hear others had problems after my experience having used it on my personal cars since it came on the market, and in my restoration business of 40 years. 

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Restored cars are pampered enough and outdoors little, so the effect will be slower, but the chemistry is as I described.    Yes the environment is part of it, but stripping the antioxidant makes the rubber vulnerable to that environment.  On vinyl the effect will be less because the underlying polymer has a primary stabilizer besides an anti-oxidant, and the degradation is different anyway.

 

The formula has changed over time.

 

I

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Some of my customers use their cars almost daily when there is no snow and salt on the roads, so they are not what I would consider "pampered" as in never being out much. And all my modern cars are not what anyone would call pampered. They've always been outdoor vehicles parked in sun year-round. I buy them used and keep them at least ten years. No signs of armor-all caused damage inside or out on the often driven antiques or my modern cars.

 

Maybe living in the country with clean air and not with city air is the answer ?

 

Paul

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8 hours ago, bryankazmer said:

 

 

The formula has changed over time.

 

I

 

Doesn't amoral,  (thanks, Rick  😉), contain silicone ? Makes things like dashboard covers shine and distractingly reflective ? Gets on things and doesn't ever come off ? Makes any surface totally resist applying ANYTHING else to it ? Wrecks leather ? Brings lots of business to automotive upholsterers ? I don't know, I don't use it.

 

On 1/22/2020 at 4:17 PM, oldford said:

Bill Hirsch makes a vinyl dye that is more suitable... If it doen't clean up well, try the dye.  I've used it and it does not wash out...

 

Frank

 

Bill, (how much we all miss him, r.i.p.), always had great stuff. I got a product called Surflex from him 30 years ago and treated the original top on my 1924 Cadillac with it. Still looks good ! So I used it on the '27 4 or 5 years or so ago. Just wash the top with soap, real soap like Ivory Snow, and then I do a wipe down with 99% pure industrial grade denatured ethyl alcohol. Surflex goes on real easy. Hirsch doesn't carry it any more, but you can find it thanks to the internet. Or call the Hirsch company and see what they carry now, as Frank recommends.            Good luck,     -    Carl 

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I use Simple Green to clean tops.

 

two years ago, I used a can of black oil house paint to seal a really badly weathered top. looked great, but I only did that to sell the car wo replacing the top. Wouldnt use oil house paint if I were keeping the car.

 

did look nice, but doubt it will hold up well. it was a quick fix on a model A tudor.

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Simple Green is an effective cleaner but it is very important to remove it completely before it dries.  Residual can permanently stain some plastics.

 

yes, I think Armorall does have silicone.  Modern dash plastic is designed to have a low gloss to prevent windshield glare - which is completely undone by a coat of Armorall.  Also creates windshield fogging which the low volatiles dash skin was formulated to avoid.

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