Tips For Installing The Convertible Top

jfriese

Active Member
Hi,

Eight years ago I installed new tops on my two cars. A retired auto upholstery guy stopped by and gave me the best tip ever for installing these tops: he told me to not worry about drooping strap material or the top being super smooth. Instead install it just slightly loose and when it's all done (including the side snaps) run a clothing steamer around the underside of the top on the INSIDE of the car. Both the top and the drooping straps instantly tightened right up and the top has been perfect ever since. Perhaps because of this, I have not had any trouble with the tops shrinking over time even though I leave them down for many months at a time. You need one of those stand up kind of steamers, rather than the little hand held things, to get enough steam to do the job, but I think they can be rented if you don't know a seamstress you can borrow one from.

I also realized that the rear window, since it normally lays on the bottom of the well with the top laying on it, was sure to scratch up immediately, so I went to a fabric store and bought the softest material I could find (flannel) and had it sewn into a pillow case type of thing which I slide the window into before laying it down in the well. All these years later the window is as clear as new.

One more tip: be sure to have the top centered side to side because when you install the side snaps it's important that the top material doesn't hang down too far, otherwise the raised windows will hit the edge, when opening and closing the doors, and eventually damage it. If it's not centered, both at the back and front ends, you will have trouble with this.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red
 

Midwest Amphicar

Worlds Largest Amphicar Destination
Another item is not to trust the marks from factory for holes. I will disagree on side snaps. A lot of the frames are weakened and droop or will droop. The snaps pull at vinyl.
I usually only put in the two rear snaps. Later Dave the Wave
 

jfriese

Active Member
Dave,

The steaming trick requires that the snaps be installed, otherwise the top may shrink too much at the sides. The steam gives a slight pull all around and greatly reduces, or eliminates, the problem with shrinkage over time. I think that the damaging shrinkage is caused by the vinyl shrinking but by shrinking the cloth back with steam it gently crunches the vinyl together so that it can shrink over time and not affect the overall top dimensions. The steaming trick is well worth the time of borrowing or renting such a unit.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red
 

Canadian four amphs

Amphicar Expert
I have just put a order in with Top supplyers and am having a special one made for me,in grey CLOTH to match the grey interior on my red Car.
I am eliminating the side zippers and replacing with velcro and having modern zippers that go around the bend easyer pit in.
I and others(You know whom you are) have all damaged tops by forgetting to undo side zippers or the snaps, so I prefer not to put snaps in at all if not really necasary.
I have found that the Cloth tops, aval in many colours, install easyer, look better and dont wrinkle, but are alot more money for a car whose top is down 90% of the time.
Vynal is also aval . in many colours, But I stock white, black and Tan.
Also as Ray in Mich, has showed many.Put rear window in pillow and sit on top of Top after lowering, Less wrinkle in clear!
GORD
 
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