soft top installation

peterboz

Member
Hi there , I got a vinyl cloth soft top [ i think it is one of Gordon] and the instructions with it are not so clear to me.
A friends of mine has one and he said don't stretch it up as much as told in the instructions .
Because it will close very difficult.
Are there members of the forum who installed one and have some tips for me?
 

SNOWBIRD

Amphicar Expert
I have a detailed instructions I usually send out with my Top kit. email me off line and will send to you.
The vinyl tops are very stiff in winter, make sure there at least at room temp. much better at 80*, supplier does not give much extra material for going over the front, I do not put the round 1/2 in, pipping across the front as makes top even harder to shut.
I do put a thin padding on the metal header and cover the sharp edging with a 1/2 round.
My kits come with Velcro at the sides instead of zippers.. If you forget to undo it you hear a rip but not a Top rip!
 

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Yes, do not put them on tight!

You will have trouble getting the top up. I know this from personal experience.
I like that velcro idea. I leave the zipper unzipped.
 

jfriese

Active Member
The tops I used were from Gordon's. I did use the 1/2" pipping that Gord leaves off. It sits forward of the top frame and lays on the windshield header so it doesn't really add much extra thickness for closing the top. I think it's there to break for force of rain water from pressing between the top and the windshield header.

It's important to get the top centered because if you don't one side window or the other will scrape when working the doors with the top up. One very important tip I got from a retired upholstery guy was when the top in installed steam the top from the inside with a household steamer. It did a perfect job of balancing the top and the new straps that I had installed. This was a standard household unit. I doubt that a small travel size would do the job. I propped the top above the header several inches when figuring how long to cut it for length at the front. I think I propped it up about 4 inches.

At best, these tops are a pain to put up and down, usually a two person job. I once talked to Hugh Gordon about it and he told me when putting it up reach an arm between the top frame and the first top support member, pulling the member forward to get the pins to drop in. That worked well but I haven't had either of my tops up in years. I would be sure the top was quite warm before trying it today. To protect the back window I had a friend that sews to make up a flannel pouch to slide the window in when putting the top down. This completely avoids damage to the plastic window when the top is crunched down on it. It will stay looking perfectly new.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red
 

SNOWBIRD

Amphicar Expert
I was able to paste info here!


Subject: RE: Top instillation
NOTES>>>It is easier to install Vinyl top if it has been open up a few days, and is very warm. Cloth tops are much easier

Frame set up..
The frame must be in excellent working condition before you start. I recommend welding a triangle brace where the front cross member joins the sides. all welds must be smoothed down .Install 1/8 foam padding across this front frame and u-shaped trim over front edge, Drill out old rivets and make 3/16.Try to use 3/16 wide head rivets.

Webbing. .set all the bows to the proper distance with the front latched in place. (I use masking tape to temp. hold in place) The most important one is the rear, so frame will clear the zipper and window.
1. lip of body to center of rear bow...18-3/4 to 19 1/4
2 rear bow forward....14'
3.mid bow..23 '
4.to front edge..17 1/2
The center bow has 2 pieces of rubber (heater hose) where it contacts the side frame. Tape on with black tape.

Webbing. I start by folding both ends back on the inside a inch or two,
Lay the webbing in place and mark out the rivet holes. Take a 3/16 hole punch and punch out these rivet spots bit by bit testing each time, holding in place with unused rivets and tape. When satisfied of a good fit rivet all in place. Make sure there are no sharp edges on the popped rivets. Put some tape over top of rivets and leave there.

Top.
Lay the new top over the roof and center roughly. If top was not left out in a warm place now would be a good time to just leave it sit and heat up area for a day. The vinyl window comes with 2 pieces of protective material, use these during assembly to protect it, then take and get them sewn together to make a pouch to put window in when top is down.
Starting at the rear, center top, and mark 1st hole middle (tops come with pencil marks where holes should go, but do not trust them) work out each way to sides, to know which holes to make use the tops alu. trim. Take top off and punch out these to make 3/16 holes
Set top back on car, starting at center put studs through Alu, trim and hand start all nuts, the last 2 sides are real tough to get in.
I have started with 1 side then gone across, but last one is still %^^&. The snaps used for this must have at least a 1 inch thread section. When finished the chrome should cover material only leaving the finished end loop past it.
a helper is a good idea for next job.
Pull the top firmly to the front centering as you do, Temp. hold in place with a couple of spring clamps, make sure the sides are down covering frame and equal. Take a pencil and draw a line across the front right at the bend (leading edge) Mark center on the top and on the frame, so you can line back up in next step.
Take off all clamps ,pull top off and back. Start lowering top frame about 3/4 way down. Remove 2 pointed pins.
Bring top over the frame, center and fold over, bring the pencil line about 1/2 inch more (will pull the top tighter) too much and top wont fit at front,...Install the 2 pointed pins in place. Put top up and latch into place. If all looks good 3/4 lower again and add center alu. trim pc. and re test. next add the 2 alu. side pieces one at a time testing . A screw with trim washer goes in each side, Fit carefully. Do not install the side snaps until top has been on a while (If at all)

Rear side window.
Older tops have Troublesome zippers here, My newer tops have a more forgiving Velcro.
The alu. trim on top rear must be removed along with its rubber insert.
set the side pieces in place and mark out the 3 holes where trim screw will go through, (again, best if holes punched out)
Originally this was glued but I find it easier to find holes if not glued yet.
I take and punch out the window rubber 3 spots then install in Alu, trim, then put on car (screws go through rubber into holes in Alu.) see my photo I sent along
It is still the toughest part of the whole installation.
If you have a zipper top I would install a long bright cord (key neck thing) on it to remind you to unzip it before lowing top. Many tops have been destroyed because of this or not undoing snaps,
Best is not to put to many snaps on and forget about doing zipper up.

Top Opening and closing.
The best way to store your top was shown to me by Ray H.
after all zippers, snaps have be opened and checked by.... YOU... unhook front hold downs, Un zip rear window, put in storage pouch and lay back on engine cover.
Have you and a partner on other side lift top and start folding back and down. as it comes down pull out top material towards rear and sit on engine cover as top and frame are gently put into boot area. Now bring top material forward, folding the sides into a triangle as you lay on top of frame. Now bring rear window with its boot cover over all top. Now install Tonna Cover. There is room for a few life jackets in front of top.

GORD>S

Remember ,, now I have seat toppers to use instead of Tonna!, now you can sit up there when car is in water,, Don,t do it on the road, you Will get pulled over by police!
 

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peterboz

Member
Hi all thanks for the replies.
I have managed to put the top on not to tight I think.
The car has past it new registration / title but i keep the old licence plates . And it past it's 2 years tests for being on the road again [ brakes ,endplay on everything that moves and the lightning thats why the chrome rings on the front are not on it.]
It has been sitting in a garage from 1978 and needed some work ,now it is almost ready to hit the road and water.
VIN 104099 year 1966
20EEF05E-913F-4349-8C2A-85AE05F30D29.jpg
 
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Wow!

That is a beautiful car. I like the look of the black top. My red car has a white top now, but was one of the original black top cars.
No sag in the frame and looks like a great job on the install!

I also like the aggressive tread on those tires.
 

peterboz

Member
Mark thx,
The tires are NOS Vredestein M&S 6.40 x 13 and they where produced in the 60 and 70 and sold as an option for the Amphicar.
They where also stored in the garage box where the Amphicar was .It took me 20 years to buy the car.See picture november 2018.
.thumb_IMG_0860_1024.jpg
 
Interesting. That car has many original characteristics being stored so long.

My car had the Ceat wide white tires on it. Here is a picture of what they looked like.

Ceat.jpg
 

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