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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know what the measurement is supposed to from the rear window top bow down to the car body for a 66 chevelle convertible? I am getting ready to install a new top. I can't use the existing measurement as I'm pretty sure it is wrong. I replaced my entire top last year with one from a 67 olds. The top was complete down to the rear plastic window and top stapled to the original strip. I swapped it all and the only problem was that when I put the top up, its really a stretch to get it latched and when I do, it pulls backward on the front window header enough to effect the doors closing just a bit. i have tried every combination of adjustments to the top latches and the top mechanism adjustments. In every case, its still too tight.

If I'm starting from scratch and I have to restaple the rear, is the bow measurement critical or can the final adjustment be made by latching the front, pulling the vinyl tight, marking it and then stapling it in place?

Clyde
 

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Mine is at another location so sorry I cant measure, but cant you just adjust the latches to get the latching to ease up? You should be able to back out the hooks on the latches to lessen the pull.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
droptop,

Yes, I can turn out the latches until it doesn't bind, but then it won't seal on the header and you get the air and water leak. It is obviously too short as the latches don't just pull down, they have to pull it forward about 3/4". When I unbolt the strip around the back, it works perfectly. The top has shrunk over the years as it now pulls up away from the top of the side rails and actually shows some of the underside of the top.

Clyde
 

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will go to my shop tomorow,
will get measurement then.
dont forget to install new "pads"
when putting on a new top and window (plastic curtain)
 

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the center roof bow to the rolled forward upper edge of rear roof bow should be 16 1/64" according to my service manual it doesnt list a dimension from rear bow to the metal body where the pinchweld moulding goes hope that helps
 

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Maybe need to loosen all the bolts/trim strips at the pinch-weld area (no top-frame bolts, just the ones holding the top material at the back), while the front is latched.

That should allow the material to move slightly, yet still remain tight... Retighten those bolts before operating the top...

The bows should all move slightly to accomodate the material movement...

Of course, this is just speculation on my part...
 

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ok here we go....

1st.I have installed tops over 25 years,
when ever a top is installed (then stretched)
When the top is latched to the windshield.
WHEN the doors "pinch".or hit the body'you have a problem that needs to be fixed first ,before you install a new top , window , pads ,and wellbag.

when the doors wont close correctly,
you have a problem with the FRAME,
or the body MOUNTS
hopefully its the body mounts,hey,40 years old,
if they are the originals, gotta replace!.
if its the frame,especaily around the rear of car,
its only 3 sided ,not boxed like the rest of the convertible frame that is boxed.
When the top is latched to the windshield,
the top actualy pulls the rear of the car up towards the front,or the cowl, pulls towards the rear of car,making the doors hit the body.
MAKE SURE YOUR CAR IS SOLID

MY RAGTOP, the more I stretch the top ,,, :D
the doors remain the same.straight . :D my car is SOLID.!

fix (your frame or mounts )
or both :D
then......

your rear bow hieght is...
well lets talk top companys'...
hope you know who made your top. :eek:
these catalog co. will sell whatever
tops they can get at the cheepest price
(just like the GOVERMENT).
its usually a ARO OR ELECTRON mng. top
there are better tops on the market.hopefully its not a ACME top

I will list the top mng. and there REAR BOW HEIGHTS as they ere listed in each catalog

FOR A 66 CHEVELLE

ROBBINS 22"
EZON 22"
ARO 22 1/2"
ELECTRON 21 1/2"

FOLLOW THE MEASUREMENTS!
TO the top co. I have listed.
some have the same pattern , some use there own

as to the basic instalation,
click on my user name, then
click on (view my recent posts)
click on # 29

GOOD LUCK

if you need detailed instalation,
I can proved it, but it will take up more space
than this reply
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies everyone. I appreciate any help I can get. I didn't realize that the measurement was manufacturer specific. I ordered my top through NPD. Not sure who manufactured it but I will be checking tomorrow.

442, I will check out your posts on the subject. If it's not too much trouble, I would prefer to have the details.

Clyde
 

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Thanks My442Ragtop...

I wish I would have heard this several years ago...

I too got my top from NPD, along with some other stuff, so I felt like it was a good deal... I also figured if I can get a top for $150, then the shop can get one for about the same (yet will charge me much more for materials... I guess I am too cheap... At least two shops said they use the Robbins brand, and don't have problems...

A few upholstery shops had major issues with installing a "customer-supplied" top, especially one of unknown manufacturer, with most shops not guaranteeing their instalation...

I finally had a shop install that NPD top (I think it was Aro), and it doesn't fit right... Personally, I blamed the installer (although I never told him)...

The installer told me it wasn't fitting right, and I KNOW he put in much more time than typical (I randomly stopped by several times, and he was always working on MY car, not someone elses, and he always looked stressed)...

Next time, I will let the shop purchase the top of their choice... So much for trying to save money...

So now I have $900 into the top, and it doesn't fit right (looks okay though). Mine actually hangs low and the door glass hits the top when opening/closing the door...
 

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to 1966_L78
as to the top hitting the glass , try adding more foam rubber in the "pads", above the doors.
this will raise the top slightly, and may fix your problem
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Guys,

One last question. Do you seal the back of the convertible top around the tack strips or just bolt it up and let the drip edge underneath just channel the water off. I did when i installed the top. I ran a bead of small diameter rope type sealer like you use on a windshield. sealed really good but was a pain in the a** afterwards because i couldn't adjust it. What did they do at the factory?

By the way, my new top is an EZ-on made in USA. Looks good laying there on the carpet. Any opinions on this brand?

Clyde
 

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all I can say is, EZ-ON, is what the co.name
says E Z ON!
THEY ARE THE BEST FOR THE PRO'S,
cause you don't have to drop the rear,
or should I say, the rear 3-piece trim
stick around the rear window .or the 1 piece trim stick on the 71-71 cars.,more than 1 time!,to adjust the wrinkles on the top!

as to the bead of silicone around the top and window,
the FACTORY never used such a thing,
it might interfear with the rain gutter,
and make the water "BACK UP"
AND GO SOME WERE ELSE.
than it should go, then making a problem,
ie. water in the trunk,or in the car. :eek:
 

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My 442Ragtop:

Thanks again... I noticed that my old top used to have some rubber blocks between the side rails and the bow (3rd bow back) that would actually raise the bow... I know I took them out but never reinstalled them (on the bare frame) thinking the top-installer would install as needed... I will have to hunt around for those, I should have them here somewhere...

Thats kind of what I thought. The top is just low by the back edge of the door window, but not at the front...
 
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