Basic guidelines on how to install a convertible topInstalling a convertible top can be challenging, especially the first time that someone attempts it. We’ve seen some people with no experience do a beautiful job, as good as a professional installer, on their first try. And then we’ve had others who have gone to great lengths to explain how talented they were at restoration, and then see them do a very poor installation. The bottom line is that we can give you guidelines on how to install a top, but in the end, you are the only one who can determine whether you’re capable of doing it.
Here's a bird's-eye view of the completed convertible top.
Protect the replacement plastic window while you work on it so that it won't get scratched while you put it in place.
Put in place the rear window protector so that the window won't get scratched after it's fully installed.
The side pads are put in place in such a way so the vinyl won't get creased by the metal rails.
Mark the middle of the frame with chalk.
Measure the center of the rear tacking rail so that it will match the middle of the bottom part of rear window assembly.
Start tacking in the middle and work your way outwards.
Tack it in place and remove access the pad.
Mark the middle of the top of the rear assembly.
Line it up and staple it into place.
Measure all center points of the headliner and then lay the headliner into place.
Cut off the excess pad.
Place the quarter side tacking rail and staple it into place.
Lift the frame and support it with a steady object. In this case, we used a cardboard tube.
Staple and secure the side pads into place and then tack them.
Hammer the staples until they're flushed into the front part of the header bow.
Since the weather was cold, it was hard to stretch the top so Freddy heated it up to make it easier to stretch.
With the top in its closed position, stretch the headliner and mark it with chalk.
Stretch and fold the front part of the headliner and tack it into place.
The rear assembly was a little bit too long. If this happens, mark it with chalk, take off the tacks, stretch it into place, re-tack it and cut off the excess material.
The rear of the frame can not be stapled so use a rivet gun and rivet the pad into place.
Place a few layers of tape over the staples to avoid marking the vinyl. Repeat on the opposite side.
Cut off the excess vinyl with enough left over to be able to work it into place. A few inches should be enough.
Stretch and measure the quarter side of the vinyl to see what adjustments need to be made.
If the weather is too cold, place the car outside in direct sunlight to soften the vinyl so that it will be easier to work with.
Remove the excess vinyl.
Stretch it into place and tack it down.
Place the front roll into place.
Now place all of the weather stripping into place.
With a spray gun, spray glue on the inside of the vinyl where it will make contact with the side of the rack.
Punch holes where the weather stripping for the rear window will be put in place.
Tack the wire-on across the rear bow with the flap of the wire-on toward the front of the car, taking care to apply it straight. Bend over the top and hammer flat.
Start tacking it
Let the car sit for a few days and allow it to set.
Now that the vinyl is easier to work with, stretch the quarter panel to take away the wrinkles with the contact cement in place. Repeat steps 25 and 26 for the other side. Check for wrinkles.
Tack one side of the top trim.
Install the end caps.
Add contact cement and smooth out the excess vinyl to give it the finishing touch.