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Old 07-24-2007, 09:56 PM   #1
Vergil
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Default Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

I wanted to put a top in my '31 Coupe and wanted to use the short grain material instead of the long grain. I checked around and could only find kits with the long grain and I also was going to install it by myself so I gathered information from HAMB, Juliano's, Fordbarn and any where else I could. I purchased the aluminum moulding from Mac's and the top material from Bratton's. As you can see from the pictures I haven't a lot of head room over the coupe so some of the pictures may not be the greatest.

I started by making a 2"X2" frame to attach the top material to. For the coupe the outside dimensions was 55"X61". I stapled the top material to the frame with a few staples to square it. I then started streaching it front to back and side to side and corner to corner. I left the staples sticking up a little so when I went back and streached it again they were easy to remove. Do this in the sun to soften the material and it streaches easier.






I masked off around the top opening and made sure the bows and side wood were even.



I used material for the pickup tops to put down first, it gives it a little more support and no the tacks aren't lined up. I attached it to the wood with tacks and stopped it at the body metal edge. I used surgical clamps to hold the tacks and you can streach the material and hold the tack in postion with no problem.



I made a pattern with butcher paper of the top where the finish outer welting channel is before I started taking pictures. I transfered the pattern to a piece of 4'X4' plywood and routered a 5/16" groove in it. It takes two pieces of the aluminum moulding to do the back and sides. I overlapped the ends where they meet in the back and trimmed them when I installed them. It takes patience and time to bend the trim, have wood blocks and clamps handy to hold the trim in the groove as you work around the corners. If you are going to use the hidem welting you don't have to worry about this step.



The moulding on the left I used across the front, the center moulding is what I used on the back and sides, the right hand one shows the rubber strip that covers the nails in the center moulding piece.



I rolled out the chicken wire and cut to length. I also used tape across the ends to keep from scratching the car.



I taped off more of the car and the cloth insert has been trimmed to size.




I used a few nails to hold the wire in place as I streached and secured it in place, Again I trimmed this at the edge of the body metal. I don't know if this is the correct way but this is how I done it.








Across the front header was a slot for something so I cut the wire just past the groove and pushed the wire ends into it to help secure the wire and besides something needs to go in the slot and this was the last chance I had to put something in it.




I turned the top over and marked out the center front and back and also marked the front and back of car center line. The top is actually black and not blue as the picture shows.



I have the top up above the car and put the cotton batting down. I laid things on the cotton to hold it in place as I cut it. I cut the batting to lay on the body metal up against the first ridge from the inside edge. Be sure the chicken wire is tight and flat with no high or low spots.




Here I have centered the top and started tacking it into position in the outer welting channel. The back and side holes are spaced 5/8" apart so I made a gauge to get the correct distance between tacks. I used every other hole for the top tacks and the aluminum moulding will used the other empty holes. I used finish nails in a block of wood and then bent the nails to 1 1/4" and across the front they are set at 1 1/2". I seen where this was done I think on the Fordbarn and boy it sure works nice. I used tacks to hold the material in and used nails to hold the moulding.






Vinyl material tacked in and trimmed just to the outside of the tacks and down in the channel.






I primed and then painted the aluminum trim pieces SEM Body Trim Black. Before painting and installing the moulding I cut the two pieces to meet in the center of the back. I used a putty type material under the moulding to seal the material edge and tack heads ( Home Depot has it as duct seal and it is in the electrical dept). I cut off small pieces of the sealer and rolled it out to just smaller than a std. lead pencil and flatten it out over the tacks and made sure the material edges was covered with it. Any excess will squash out when you install the moulding. I also covered the nail heads in the moulding across the front before bending the fold over down. The fold over bends down easy so don't kink it. Here the mouldings have been installed.




After the moulding was installed I masked off the top center and the body metal and give the mouldings another shot of paint. After the paint dried I installed the rubber insert to cover the moulding nails. I used a very small bead of 3M trim cement in the bottom of the moulding recess to help hold it in place. Do not streach the rubber when installing it or when winter hits the ends may shrink.




This is the finished top. The front moulding piece was cut to length and the ends contoured before painting and installation. Forgive the grammer and any mistakes I made on the top and I'm sure there are easier ways to do it. Hopefully this may help at least on builder.

Vergil
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:03 PM   #2
skipstitch
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Fantastic How-to... this has to go in the Tech archive!
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Excellent post.... Thanks so much.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Sweet !!! I am about to do this on my 32 ! Thanks..
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Great post!

I can remember my dad and Marshal doing our sedan... neat process, thanks for sharing!

Sam.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Great etch...just downloaded it to my desktop....too bad im leaving the top out of my coupe this time...but always handy if I gotta do it. Im a fan of the short grain too. Great job.
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

nice job. Looks like someone could open his own trim shop!
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Well done!
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Thanks for sharing the knowledge. Cool tech!
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Very very nice!!! I have always liked the cloth insert rather than filling the roof with metal. Thanks for taking the time to show us how it's done right.
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:59 AM   #11
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Very nice. Just curious, but how long did the whole job take?
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:34 AM   #12
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Fantastic ! looks perfect, now, pat yourself on the back not only for a nice job, but a great "how to" write up.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Quote:
Originally Posted by COOTER View Post
Very nice. Just curious, but how long did the whole job take?
Probably two and a half days total. Bending the aluminum moulding was the slowest part, I forgot to mention how I cleaned the excess putty from around the moulding after it was installed so I guess I need to take another picture and add to post. Thanks for the positive responses.

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Old 07-25-2007, 12:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Awesome - wish I had this a year ago - I might have tried to fix the top in my '34! Watching this for inclusion in the Tech Archives...
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Very nice!
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:21 PM   #16
41 Dave
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Vergil, Way to go ! Hope the flattie is back up and running !

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Old 07-25-2007, 03:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Great information and interesting read...Makes me want to buy a car with a hole in the top!
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

That is amazing, thanks for taking the time to take photos and right the post too.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

Fantastic! thanks for sharing all that great info.
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Installing a '30/31' Coupe Vinyl Top Insert With Pictures - Dialup Will Be Slow

The workmanship displayed here is amazing. Very well done.

I've always wondered this, and never come across an answer...why did Ford leave giant holes in the roof of these models? Was it purely a cost savings to leave off the vast expanse of sheetmetal and fill it in with wood/cloth? Or was he limited in some other way- i.e. side of the stamping dies?
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