Convertible top - will it last longer up or down? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 00, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Warrenton, Virginia
Posts: 39
I heard two opposing stories on how to keep a convertible top looking good and last long. First, I heard the worst thing to do to a convertible top is to put it down. Putting it up and down wears out the motor, the piston, and reduces the life of the material. Another story I heard was to put it up and down as frequently as possible to lubricate the oil in the pump, and to prohibit wrinkles and mildew in the top.

Every Memorial Day, I put the top down on my Chevelle. It is always garaged, so I keep the top down for the summer. I put the top back up in October for the winter, and keep it up until the next May. Is this good? Should I put it up every time I am not using it, and then put it down for shows? The top is five years old, and is in excellent condition. I want to do everything I can to maintain its condition and take care of it. I appreciate any advice/hints you can offer. Thanks alot!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 00, 12:20 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Niles, Michigan, U.S.A
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I dont think it would hurt to leave it down. If you have good pads on the bows it shouldn't crease it a whole lot. I have never had a problem with putting the top up and down on my previously owned convertibles, and plan on putting the top up and down as needed on my 65SS convt project when its done. Thats what they are designed for.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 00, 12:37 PM
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I feel it's best to store it with the roof up. I had a '66 Vette with two tops (read: folding top folded for months on end) and it's roof shrank so much I couldn't use it anymore. Besides I would much rather replace an electric motor than a top.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 00, 12:39 PM
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Mine are also garaged, and I keep the tops up when the car is not being driven. I dont know if it would get creases if left down, but I have always feared that happening. Plus it keeps the damn cat out of the car!

70 chevelle ss396 conv
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 00, 12:46 PM
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Richard Morder
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Strasburg , Va
Posts: 361
I do basically the same, down for the spring/summer (boot on), (unless I got caught in the rain), up for the fall/winter, I keep it clean and treated (to keep it pliable),if your top still looks new after 5 years , my pump/cyls/and hoses are still the originals and work fine, I wouldn,t expect them to last forever if I raised and lowered alot though, but if you've rebuilt the system you should be good to use as often as you wish

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 00, 6:55 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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I just had my top replaced and both the manufacture of the top and the installer recommend that you always put the top up when you are not driving it. I do have a manual top so the wear issue is not an issue.

67 SS Convertible
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 00, 7:53 AM
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Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Ontario, CA, USA
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Keep the top up when you are not driving it. If you don't believe the top creases when leaving it down for extended periods you can come and look at my Impala.
I've had Impala convertibles in the past (a 61 and another 67) where I put the top down and then up at least once EVERY DAY for four years. I never had a problem with the pump, lines or pistons.
Also, you didn't ask, but if your top is black and you leave it down and without a boot in the sun long enough the inside fabric will eventually fade. I'm reminded of this evertime I drive the Impala.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 00, 8:05 AM
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A real good quality top should not crease when left down for long periods. With my 67 I leave the top up when not using the car for long periods (bad winter months). In the spring, summer and fall I usually leave it down. I do get some creases when it has been down for a week or so but they come out after a few hours in the sun.

I also, when not using the car, I don't latch the top, this allows the top to shrink a very little over the winter, and when I latch it in the spring it nice and tight.

My white top has been on for 8 years now, and if I could just get it clean it would be perfect.

67 Malibu Conv (always under construction)
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 00, 8:48 AM
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Location: Madison WI
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What do you use for cleaners / protectants for your convertable tops? I also got a new boot for my 67. The boot was a tight fit without the top on, now that I have a new top on it, the boot will not snap in the corners.
Is there someway to stretch it a little ?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 00, 3:17 PM
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I agree with Kevin. The soft top on my 56 Vette has been stored so long that it WILL NOT latch at both ends because it has shrunk so much. The last time I latched both ends, it was so taught that the windshield frame was pulled back enough to expose the upper edge of the windshield glass.
The last I had the conv top down on the 70 (extended period), it was difficult to get the front hooks into the windshield frame holes.

Tom Parsons
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 00, 6:33 PM
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Don't keep them down!
They will shrink . If you use them a lot, just make sure they are up over night, and when they are in winter storage.
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