Vinyl top how to? MartinSR? Anybody? - Chevelle Tech
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  #1  
Old Jan 25th, 04, 11:34 PM
baddbob71 baddbob71 is offline
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Alot of the cars I work on have vinyl tops, my upholtery guy usually installs these for about $200 labor plus materials but now doubled his labor charge to $400. I'd like to start installing these myself but have never attempted the job. I know of nobody else within 50 miles that would install these for me, it seems to have become a lost art Can anyone here walk me through the installation process? Any books on the subject? I can't see it as being very difficult. My customers are at the mercy of the upholstery shop. Bob
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  #2  
Old Jan 26th, 04, 1:12 AM
MARTINSR MARTINSR is offline
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I have never done one. I have pulled up a LOT of them off the quarters and around the rear window for repairs and glued them down successfully. But that the extent of my experiance.
What I have done, and what I have seen, it is not that big of a deal.
But honestly, I think I would farm it out, mark it up a few bucks and leave it at that.

Do things that you REALLY know and can make money doing.
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  #3  
Old Jan 26th, 04, 8:28 AM
vettefella vettefella is offline
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Installing a vinyl roof, especially when done in conjunction with other body/paint repairs is a reasonably easy, straightforward job. The actual installation time should be about 2-3 hours. I have installed them by myself, but the job is so much easier if you have a helper.

Frankly, I wouldn't take a job of just replacing a vinyl roof that's not done as a part of body/paint repairs. There are way too many glitches and pitfalls, rust, molding/clip issues that can jump up and slap you in the face, but simply re-installing the vinyl after other body/paint work is pretty easy.

If you would like, I can walk you through my way of installing the vinyl. Email me.
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  #4  
Old Jan 26th, 04, 10:51 PM
flywheel flywheel is offline
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Hey vettefella,I'd be interested in hearing them tips also.I have one to install on my elky soon.It's painted now,so after I get the quarters sanded and buffed out I'll be ready

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  #5  
Old Jan 27th, 04, 6:16 AM
vettefella vettefella is offline
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Flywheel, you have mail...
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  #6  
Old Jan 27th, 04, 7:19 AM
baddbob71 baddbob71 is offline
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Vettefella, you've got mail, thanks
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  #7  
Old Jan 29th, 04, 8:52 AM
flywheel flywheel is offline
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Thanks vettefella,I may have some ???'s soon.I'm still working on getting the doors and fenders back on and lined up now.I haven't laid out the top yet so where the seams will need to go is still alittle fuzzy to me,and the double "u" .One folded under and one folded up and into the folded under one???.That seems like it would be hard to do.It may easier when I lay it all out and see it [img]graemlins/clonk.gif[/img]

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  #8  
Old Jan 29th, 04, 8:07 PM
Bo6869ChevelleMan Bo6869ChevelleMan is offline
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Flywheel or Vettefella , could you send me the info. on installing new vinyl tops ? Thanks,Mark --------------------------------------1968 Chevelle Malibu (Weekend Cruiser) 1969 Chevelle Malibu (Daily Driver)
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  #9  
Old Jan 29th, 04, 10:48 PM
firstchevelle firstchevelle is offline
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I would also appretiate a copy of the artical, i pulled my top off yesterday and am very disapointed in the prep before the otehr top had been installed. I cant wait to get another one on.
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  #10  
Old Jan 30th, 04, 9:40 AM
70_chevelle 70_chevelle is offline
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vettefella - Maybe you should just post it here! I'm interested too.

Thanks,

Lee
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  #11  
Old Jan 30th, 04, 9:55 AM
vettefella vettefella is offline
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Guys, I emailed that to three people. If one of them would be kind enough to post it...??? I was having slow load problems yesterday and cleaned out all my cubby holes. In the process, I deleted the vinyl top procedure.

Badbob71 probably has the best copy. I had made a couple of minor additions from the other two.

If no one has posted it within a day or so, I will retype it and post.
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  #12  
Old Jan 30th, 04, 10:47 AM
drptop70ss drptop70ss is offline
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Here is my copy, you can reply with your additions if you want.

First, I assume you have an A body and the replacement top you are going
to install is one that is commercially available from sources such as
OPG, GroundUp, Yearone, etc. and is of the "better" quality.

Additionally, when the vinyl tops were installed at the factory, it was
done before the molding clips around the windshield and back glass had
been installed. That is the best way to install replacement tops. Most
upholstery shops won't/can't remove the clips to install replacement
tops and that can cause problems a few years down the road.

Further, when the tops were installed at the factory, they put four
screws into the vinyl. One at the ends of the two seams front and back
at the recess of the windshield and the back glass. It isn't absolutely
necessary to do that on the replacement tops, but is advisable.

Even the best quality vinyl will shrink over time. That's why it is
best to install the replacement with the clips removed and to put screws
into the ends at the seams.

Installations procedures:

Purchase at least two, preferably three spray cans of 3M Super Duty Trim
adhesive. Do not attempt to use the "General Trim Adhesive". It may
only require two cans, but if you aren't experienced in this procedure,
you don't want to find yourself short of adhesive.

Lay the new top out on a flat surface, preferrably in the hot sun or at
least in a 75+ environment. The lower the temp, the longer you must
let it sit so that the packing wrinkles will be completely relaxed.

Depending on the specific application, you may need to do two or four
"seams". You may need to do seams at the "A" pillars and almost
definately at the panel below the rear glass. These seams are best done
after the major portion of the top has been glued down.

If you've never attempted the installation of a vinyl top, you should
get a helper if at all possible.

Once the new vinyl has had a chance to "relax" the packing wrinkles, lay
it over the roof of the car. Measure, double measure, triple measure
exactly where the seams of the new top should go. Mark the roof of the
car with a magic marker or whatever at the exact points where the seams
should be. This will require stretching the vinyl into nearly the exact
position that it will be once it is glued down.

When you have determined the seam points, make sure that the top doesn't
move from that point on. This is where a helper is so important.

You can start from the front or either side to begin the glueing
procedure. I prefer the front but it isn't a big thing.

Carefully fold the new vinyl back onto itself approximately halfway of
the top. Spray the adhesive moderately on both the vinyl and the roof
on the car. If you haven't already determined exactly where the seams
should be, you'd better do it now, because it's about to be too late to
change your mind.

Wait 3-4 minutes for the glue to begin to set, then fold the new vinyl
into place. Don't wait the full time recommended on the spray can,
otherwise you will have absolutely no latitude for error correction. Be
absolutely sure that the seams are in exactly the positions you've
marked, otherwise, they will be crooked/wavy after it's all over.

At this point, don't be overly concerned about fit/glueing at the
gutters or around the w's or rear glass. Those should be done last so
as to make any minute corrections...if that is possible.

Once the first half of the roof has been glued down, do the other half
in the same manner, makng sure that the seams are exactly straight.

When the major portion of the roof is glued into position, prepare to do
any necessary seams at the A pillars and the rear panel below the rear
glass. You probably won't have to do a seam at the A pillar, but if so,
just follow similar instructions as the rear panel.

The strip of vinyl for the panel below the rear glass will come as a
separate piece. Trim the ends of the major roof piece to the
approximate length necessary. The metal body seam is a good point to go
by. Lay the rear panel strip out straight. Spray glue onto at least
the first/last inch of the major roof piece and the rear panel strip.
Fold about 1/2" on the major roof piece into about 1/2" of the rear
panel piece. You will have a "double U" type of fit at that point.
Make sure you have sufficient glue in the entire area and press the
seamed portion down firmly until it sets.

Glue the rear panel strip down to the opposite side. This is where it
gets tedious. You must make a seam just like the one on the other side
and when it is glued down, it must be flat wthout wrinkles. It requires
some "fooling around" before the glue has time to set. Don't worry
about getting glue on the outside of the vinyl. It can be easily
removed when you are finished with lacquer thinner or other
solvents/adhesive removers.

Once you've glued down the major portions of the top including the A
pillars and the rear panel, it's time to make sure the gutters and
around the windshield and rear glass are properly in place. For the
front and rear glass, simply pull the vinyl tight(it should already be
properly aligned side to side and front to rear), spray glue on the edge
of the vinyl and into the recess where the glass sits. Trim the vinyl
so that it will go to the bottom of the recess. Press the vinyl into
the recess. When you have it pressed down, cut small slots for the trim
clip studs to peek through the vinyl. If you are completely replacing
the studs, simply glue the vinyl down the smoothest you can, then
install the replacement studs or screws with clips, whichever you are
using.

At the gutters, you should have already removed the chrome trim(if any)
on the gutters.
Spray glue liberally on the vinyl and into the gutter. Make sure the
vinyl is glued firmly into the gutter before attempting to re-install
the chrome trim on the gutter.

At the sail panels and along the rear deck panel where the molding goes,
make sure that it is liberally glued along the edges and preferrable
fitted over the molding clip studs. The fit is very critical at these
points. Remember that vinyl shrinks with age. If you cut it short, it
will pull away from under the molding in a few months/years.

Golly, I'm as tired as if I had actually installed a vinyl roof. Did I
skip anything? If so, feel free to ask questions.
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  #13  
Old Jan 30th, 04, 2:43 PM
vettefella vettefella is offline
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Just one thing that might be helpful...At the gutters, when the chrome trim has been re-installed, the vinyl should have been trimmed so that it fits underneath the edge of the chrome just barely...not so much that it goes over to the outside edge of the gutter rail.
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  #14  
Old Jan 30th, 04, 4:19 PM
baddbob71 baddbob71 is offline
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vettefella, You did a good job here. Everybody owes you a thanks- [img]graemlins/beers.gif[/img]
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  #15  
Old Jan 31st, 04, 10:13 AM
flywheel flywheel is offline
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Anything critical about smoothing the vinyl out and/or the amount of glue put on?
Thanks vettefella....

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Rick
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