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How To Remove and Install Classic Two-Part Tops
This 40-page, extensively illustrated how-to manual walks you through removing and installing a two-part convertible top. Any handy person can remove and install their own convertible top and save hundreds of dollars on labor costs. This manual applies to almost all American convertibles made before the year 2000, and some foreign cars, too, like Celicas and Saabs. Our manuals, available exclusively at Convertible Top Guys, have been helping do-it-yourselfers for years. This spiral bound 8 1/2 x 11 book is designed as both a tutorial for first-time installers and as a step-by-step manual, too. They're the best guides on the market. Buy it on its own here or get it for half-price by purchasing one of our convertible tops or convertible top packages.
We have been manufacturing and distributing convertible tops and convertible top parts for the industry since 1975. We manufacture convertible top parts that are included in most replacement convertible tops and SUV soft tops now being used.
As a primary manufacturer for the convertible top industry we are able to purchase and distribute replacement soft tops for convertibles from most convertible top factories. We carry a replacement convertible top (soft top) for just about every convertible. We select from manufacturers based on our long experience with each convertible and each convertible top available for it. We keep up with rather changeable situations in the convertible top manufacturing business in order to provide the convertible restorer with the best service.
For the do-it-yourself convertible top installer, we have our own convertible top installation manuals for many convertible tops. We also offer full convertible top replacement packages which can include the new convertible top, the convertible top hold down cables, convertible top bow tacking strips, under top pads, headliners, convertible top installation tools, and top installation manuals.
The convertible top industry, like many, is loaded with "dealers." Many are reputable but many are not ! We welcome inquiries: support emails are checked two to three times each day and at least once on Saturdays. We try to provide requested service promptly, fully and courteously.
But if you want to visit the shop, you can do so by appointment only. Sorry, we can't accommodate walk-ins.
We own our factory and warehouse and have a responsive, knowledgeable staff who know the convertible top industry and can answer questions about your convertible top. Help, in response to support emails, is thorough and prompt. Our support email address is email@example.com
On line ordering for your convertible top or for convertible top products and accessories is based on our secure and protected site. You may access information by selecting your convertible car in the list above. You will be taken to full information and a most secure ordering page. For telephone orders (orders only please) you may call 800-999-2892.
Many convertible owners have determined that they can install their own convertible top. This is not for everyone, but over half of our customers have done do-it-yourself top installation. There is a significant savings as the typical shop installation for a new convertible top is billed at 8 hours.
Your car's page may display an available installation manual for that convertible top. If your convertible top is a classic, or is an American convertible prior to about 2005 then it will require stapling and gluing. There is never sewing involved. Stapling of a convertible top is best done with an air driven staple gun (which can be rented) or via our heavy duty electric staple gun. Modern tops are doing away with staples and often with glue work. These often require the use of a common pop rivet gun and the removal and replacement of straps, screws, bolts and convertible top frame seals.
Please select your convertible top and you can then click on a link to its page. There you will find a lot of information that we hope you will read, or print out for later reading.
If you want to select a convertible top shop to get a quote for installing a top that you deliver to them, then please contact us at our support email address. We will either have a convertible top shop with which we have good experience, or we will email you advice on how to find and select a cooperative local convertible top shop.
There are important components of a convertible top installation that are not part of the actual convertible top. The important ones are the top hold down cables, the frame bow tacking strips, the convertible top pads (or webbing), the top's rear well liner and possibly other items.
We have assembled, for many convertibles, top installation packages. In these convertible top packages there will usually be hold down cables and, where often required, new top bow tacking strips. If available for your convertible an instruction manual will be included for free in that top package. In the following sections we'll describe some important convertible top accessories.
Most tops are held to the folding top frame, along the sides, with special cables. Replacement hold down cables are recommended when the top frame has been frequently raised and lowered.
Some tops have rear base attachment cables (Jaguar, Volkswagen) but most do not. And a few tops have short rear side cables for the corner flaps of the convertible top.
Some tops, notably the BMW and some very recent modular top assemblies, require no stapling in the installation of the convertible top. Almost all American tops prior to 2005, and other classic two part top designs, require that staples be driven through fabric into the tack strips which are embedded in the top frame. Tack strips are not difficult to remove and replace. Tack strips are most often employed in both the header bow (the convertible top frame bow that is over the windshield) and the rear top bow (the top frame bow that is over the rear window.)
Most cars with tacking strips also employ complex rear "trim stick" assemblies. These are also tacking strips, but they are embedded along the rear belt line of the body of the car. The base of the top is stapled there. Replacement trim sticks are separate from the tacking strips and are much less often required for convertible top replacement.
Many convertible tops have, under them, convertible top pads. These may be reinforced nylon webbing or foam and fabric assemblies. New pads are often required but only after the top has been in use for significant time or has been raised and lowered many times. We may include pads in our packages as it is a good idea for the do-it-yourself installer to perform a conservative restoration.
These are our own published top installation manuals. Most of them have been through revisions based on our own and even customer experiences and inputs during their convertible top installations. Convertible top installation manuals include illustrations and step by step instructions. For example, our classic two part top manual is profusely illustrated and has been through four significant edition changes. This manual applies to almost any American top and many foreign tops as well. A summary of this manual appears on our site. This convertible top manual is a summary intended to orient the shopper in deciding upon do-it yourself installation. The complete manual is for sale and its purchase price is deductible from any follow up order of a convertible top. Look for this top installation summary at the Help link at the top of this page.
The two convertible top latches at the front of most top frames are being reproduced for some cars. If you do not see them listed for your car please inquire at our support email address.
Most weatherstrip seals are not part of the top itself but are attached to the folding framework. We do list many replacement rubber seals for convertible top frames. If a seal is a permanent part of the top then it is manufactured into our replacement top.
While most convertible tops are manually operated, many have hydraulic motors and pistons that allow the top to be raised and lowered with a switch. There is a choice on the menu for Hydraulic Cylinders and this takes you to other hydraulic parts for your convertible top system. Where available these parts should also be listed at your car's page.
RAGGTOPP Canvas/Vinyl Convertible Care Kit contains one bottle of RAGGTOPP Cleaner and one bottle of RAGGTOPP Protectant to safely clean and protect fabric convertible tops per manufacturer's recommendation RAGGTOPP Protectant was especially developed for the true convertible top professional and enthusiast to protect and maintain their fabric, vinyl soft tops and plastic windows from harmful elements The number one factor in deteriorating convertible tops is acid rain, along with U.V. rays, smog, tree sap, bird droppings, salt, tar , dirt, grease, and grit. All these elements contribute to the weakening and failure of convertible tops. RAGGTOPP Protectant is the future of convertible top protection. Over three years of product testing has produced a polymer formula that creates a superior protective barrier that micro-bonds to the convertible top and protects it from the elements of nature and man.
We are continuously building and editing this site which was established in 1996. The clerical work required is large and we expect that we will never finish! Please feel free to use our support email mailbox. We answer emails at least twice a day and then irregularly on weekends.