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  Mustangsandmore Forum Archive
  '64 1/2 to '68 1/2 -- The Classic Mustang
  Convertible top replacement: Do it yourself job or Pro Job?

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Author Topic:   Convertible top replacement: Do it yourself job or Pro Job?
Quarterbore
Journeyman

Posts: 15
From: Valley Forge PA
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 07-10-2002 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Quarterbore        Reply w/Quote
We have a 67-vert that needs a new top BADDLY. I am curious if a top replacement is a do it yourself job or something that is best left to a pro?

Also, what do I need to consider when we replace the top? Our car is Nightmist Blue so we want to go with a white top but that is about all I know?

What should I look for or avoid? Do I need to buy padding for under the top? While the top is removed, is there anything with the power top unit that I should service (oil, grease, etc?)

Thanks for any help!

Quarterbore
Journeyman

Posts: 15
From: Valley Forge PA
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 07-10-2002 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Quarterbore        Reply w/Quote
I forgot to add....

Both of our cars have the plastic rear window... Is the glas rear window worth the extra cost? Our 67-vert is NOT a daily driver and is garage kept and only comes out on nice days if that makes a difference.

65conv
Journeyman

Posts: 28
From: wpb, fl
Registered: May 2002

posted 07-10-2002 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 65conv        Reply w/Quote
just replaced mine on a 65 with a plastic rear window. had never done it before. its pretty simple. as long as you have a staple gun and the tacking strips are in good shape you should be able to do it yourself. you have to install the window section first. attach it to the rear bow and the well bow. make sure its centered. then you can attach the top section. it may take a little trial and effort to get it perfect.

65conv
Journeyman

Posts: 28
From: wpb, fl
Registered: May 2002

posted 07-10-2002 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 65conv        Reply w/Quote
one other thing.. you probably want to replace the weather stripping as well.

mellowyellow
Gearhead

Posts: 8198
From: So. Fl.
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-10-2002 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mellowyellow        Reply w/Quote
On a 67/8 the rear tacking strips are different than 65/6. Ford wised up-the back window goes in LAST on 67/8. Much better as a rear window is easier to change. While they are more money, the original web padding is the best way to go. NPD sells these pads-pricey but worth it. Gives better shape. On the rear bow and anywhere there is a cotter pin, turn the bolt around so the pin faces inside. This keeps the cotter pin from putting a hole in top while down-seen it happen more than once. Don't use the glass window-opinion. In time the silicone seam may split. Make sure you use a thin padding over header bow. And if the header bow has any corrosion, wire wheel it clean, fill in any pock marks with waterproof filler, and paint. Over that use a very thin pad. I don't do tops but do a lot of prep on the frame to eliminate any problems. Remove all staples from the bows and tack stripping. A small screwdriver and needle nose pliers will get it done. Paint the frame with a good semi gloss paint. If having it done, check with your installer about the pads, and if pads have to come off, measure ALL distances between bows and from rear bow to the body. One more word concerning pads. Have seen some installers not use padding on the 1/4 between rear window and 1/4 window. Insist on having this padding. Good luck.

mellowyellow
Gearhead

Posts: 8198
From: So. Fl.
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-10-2002 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mellowyellow        Reply w/Quote
Addition to above. In MNSHO the best top is Robbins. They happen to be dist by NPD. I used Electron which is good but Robbins is a bit better. Locally, most folks do not like Crown. If ordering Ford white, consider a special order and ask for Fisher white. It was on 70's GM cars and is a better shade. The Ford white is too creamy. Not nice, opinion. If you can contact Rick S at NPD they can arrange for YOU to order any color you want and ship it direct to you and bill it through NPD. I used that white on a 65 cv with a turquoise color.

kcode
Gearhead

Posts: 3415
From: alvaton,ky,usa Suburb of Bowling Green, M&M #79, MCA #29208
Registered: Jun 99

posted 07-10-2002 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kcode        Reply w/Quote
In my opinion, you can have a $5000 paint job, but put a loose top on it, you just wasted $5000. Nothing ruins a convertible worse than an ill fitting top. Do the prep work on the frame, but let a professional finish the job.

Mike

mellowyellow
Gearhead

Posts: 8198
From: So. Fl.
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-11-2002 12:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mellowyellow        Reply w/Quote
"Bout a year ago, M&Fords did an article on putting a top on a 66/7 Fairlane Cv. When finished, they showed the car with nasty wrinkles saying they would come out or something. Sure! In a pigs a**! WIth proper pads, top and prep a GOOD installer is the last part of the equation. Ask to see his work. If you should see a classic with a good job, ask where it was done. Unhappily, in our area, there are more 'installers' than custom fitters!

mustangs68
Moderator

Posts: 27681
From: Hampton Va MCA#39406 M&M #12 Member Mustang Club of Tidewater
Registered: May 99

posted 07-11-2002 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mustangs68        Reply w/Quote
go with a pro,
after watching a shop put the top on our 95 I swear it was like watching a fight with a 6 legged pig in a mudhole.
sam

MLariviere
Moderator

Posts: 4235
From: Biddeford,Me.USA
Registered: May 99

posted 07-11-2002 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MLariviere        Reply w/Quote
Mike is right. It's like the frosting on a cake. Do it right,because everyone will see it.

I had a Crown vinyl top put on my car professionally,and it came out great. Don't know about vert tops,though.

[This message has been edited by MLariviere (edited 07-11-2002).]

Ralph Rebandt
Gearhead

Posts: 517
From: Farmington Hills, MI
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 07-11-2002 10:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ralph Rebandt        Reply w/Quote
Hey I vote for the pros also. I have a friend, actually my dad's friend who designed the top for the 65ff stangs. He told me that he could do it. Then when I was ready, he sent me to the pros. He said that they had all the tools to do the job right. I ran into rusty stuff also. My price for installation was 480.00. I am glad I took my dad's friend's advice.

Boss302
Gearhead

Posts: 841
From: Coleman, Wisconsin
Registered: Jan 2002

posted 07-11-2002 11:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Boss302        Reply w/Quote
didn't a guy on hot rod tv put a new top on a fairlane on one of their episodes? i

it didn't look like a driveway/weekend type job

------------------
Max
-1989 Mustang GT
225/50R15 tires :) can someone say WIDE

http://mustangsandmore.50megs.com/Boss302.html

"The Horses Shake You Harder Than Sex, the Sounds Ring In Your Ears, Fact Is Your Engines Only on Idle"

mellowyellow
Gearhead

Posts: 8198
From: So. Fl.
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-11-2002 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mellowyellow        Reply w/Quote
Different magazine.

JClark
Journeyman

Posts: 14
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 07-12-2002 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JClark        Reply w/Quote
The answer to that question must be found within one's self, grasshopper.
Really, if you have the time, patience, and a little skill, you can do a very decent job. I replaced my top about 3 summers ago and it looks quite nice. It is not 100% perfect, but it is far from bad looking. The ave. Price in my area was between $600 and $800 for a shop to do the work (plus cost of top and materials). I went with a less expensive top (low on money at the time) and figured anything would be better than the old top with a "natural sunroof". I also consoled myself with the idea that if I screwed up horribly, I'd start over with a professional and I'd only be out a buck eighty or so. If I'd had the money, I would've bought a Robbins top and had it prof. installed, but I didn't and in the end I'm proud to be able to say that I did it myself.
You can go to my profile and click on my website to see photos of the top.

------------------
Justin Clark
1965 C Code Convertible
http://jcsstang.mustangsandmore.ws

[This message has been edited by JClark (edited 07-12-2002).]

Quarterbore
Journeyman

Posts: 15
From: Valley Forge PA
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 07-12-2002 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Quarterbore        Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the replies!

Our car will need new pads, weather stripping, etc as our top is REALLY BAD with the frame through the material in the back. The car also needs a new paint job as we just got this car which was someone elses project car for a daughter who decided she wanted a car that drives like a 1990's mustang as opposed to a 1967!

Accordingly, we are a two 67-Mustang Convertible family and I do not want to blow all of my remaining budget on paint and top this summer! I am planning to get some paint estimates as soon as we get plates on the car. This car will be a fair weather driver only so we can leave her topless for now until we can save up the money to pay off the paint job and put money away for a new top.

NOW, FROM THE DESCRIPTIONS ABOVE, I am assuming that I can remove the top, weather stripping, and pads from the frame without causing any problems for the "Top" guy? I would sure hate to take everything apart to clean and paint it only to discover that he needed to take any measurements!

On the otherhand, our top is NO HELP as it is except to use as a platform to place a tarp over if we were unluck enough to actually take the car out and get an unexpected rain shower? Our car has a BRAND NEW interior so obviously that would not be good!

So, would you strip the top or leave it in it's rotted condition with a tarp in the trunk, just in case!

Quarterbore
Journeyman

Posts: 15
From: Valley Forge PA
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 07-12-2002 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Quarterbore        Reply w/Quote
I just called a top place here that does very good work and I was advised of a couple things... First, he said that I SHOULD get the top done first because the top installation could hurt a fresh paint job and it will be easier for the paint crew to get everything covered for the final appearance... (Anybody agree/disagree?)

Secondly, I was quoted a price of $925 which included new pads, tacking strips, top, plastic window, and well linner. If the well lined does not need replacing, the cost will be $850. I have another place that will look at the car and give us an estimate which I hope to do as soon as we have the car registered.

Perhaps I will look at buying a very cheap top and try to do it myself with the plan to have the pros redo it in a year or two if it really looks that bad? Like I said, we don't plan to use the car unless the weather is nice enough to have the top down?

I do feel like a grasshopper and I only wish I had the green to enjoy all the grass that I keep discovering with these cars!

mellowyellow
Gearhead

Posts: 8198
From: So. Fl.
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-12-2002 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mellowyellow        Reply w/Quote
A painter will tell you get that white top last! It is very dificult to paint Nightmist blue without getting some overspray around. But it can be done. Good Luck ! One final remark. Take the without well liner price. a well liner is about 25 and can be done by you after.

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