Vinyl Top installation

Vinyl Top installation

Postby Randy_W » March 27th, 2009, 8:45 pm

Vinyl Top Install,(as told by Randy)
(before you start cover the hood and trunk)
Remove all moldings around windshield and rear window. This can best be done with a tool made for this job, although flat blade screw drivers have been used successfully. Snap On, Sears, or almost any good tool source can supply a windshield molding clip tool. You VERY CAREFULLY slide the tool between the glass and the chrome. Slide the tool toward you parallel to the chrome until it contacts the molding clip, rotate the handle down until the clip releases the chrome. Repeat this procedure until all have been released. It is very important that you keep the tool flat and away from the glass. If you touch the edge of the glass with the tool you will be buying a new w/s. Some people wrap all but the tip of the tool w/ masking tape. Once this is done carefully lift away the molding. If you get heavy handed you will damage the trim. If there is sealant preventing you from removal, trim carefully with a razor blade or knife. Remove the drip rail moldings on either side of the top. I use a plastic trim paddle to pull the bottom lip away from the roof, then very gently twist it away from the car.( every one has a way of doing this job to avoid damaging the trim, if it works for you then do it). Remove the trim around the rear of the top, this will vary among car types. Once all trim is removed I use air to blow out all the channels before removing the top.(a brush or whisk broom will work) Start at one corner and lift the top away from the car. Some old tops will come apart, just use common sense and remove it the best way you can. You can use a scraper to loosen the tough parts. I have found that if you use a blade to cut the top all the way around at the edge of the flattest part of the roof, it will be easier to get the little strips out of the channel. Once the top is off go have a beer( or coffee or kiss the wife or something).You must remove ALL of the old glue, vinyl ,etc... If there is any rust, now is the time to fix it. Minor stuff can be patched with plastic or fiberglass, anything major should be addressed by a professional. Once this is done sand the whole roof smooth and either prime and paint it or use epoxy primer,( lacquer primer is not water proof) that is why so many old ones rusted. After all this is dry and ready, lightly sand the top with about 400 grit( the exact grit is not important) sandpaper. Take the new top out of the box and unfold it in the sun if you can, to get the wrinkles out. Enlist a helper. Now measure the center of the top(side to side) at the front and rear edges and mark them. Fold the top side to side and with scissors nip a small mark front and rear to mark the center. Align the top so most of the extra is at the rear ( this will be important later). You only want the top to go about four inches down on the windshield, we will take care of the "A" pillars(windshield posts) later. Fold the vinyl in half side to side on the roof inside out. You will need a good quality glue. Use 3M or equivalent adhesive that is made for the job. Contact cement that is made for counter tops will work fine also. It is best to spray on the glue, if you have to brush it on it must be very thinly applied. Glue has to be on both surfaces. Let it dry to a sticky feel, but won't stick to your fingers. The top should be pushed from the center to the side until you have about three inches stuck well. Then with a friend's help lift the vinyl up and over the glued portion of the roof, gently lower the vinyl top to the roof while smoothing it to avoid wrinkles( always work from the center out). Repeat on the other side. The sail panels can be tricky, pull both corners down and away from each other and smooth from the center out. Trim all left over vinyl on a line that matches the rear lower trim, and leave about three inches on the front and rear glass. Glue the channels and push the top into the channel, you may have to split the corners( be careful and don't split them too deep. Cut pieces from the left over vinyl for the "a" pillars and below rear window if needed. Glue these into place and fold the ends under and glue them down for a smooth finish. Replace all trim, clean and dress the new top. Now go have several beers or coffees or whatever............Randy
Don't mess with old men, we didn't get that way by being stupid!

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