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**TECH WEEK** Install soft top on Model A sedan and custom rain gutters

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Crusty Nut, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    My usual disclaimer is if I can do this, then so can you. It is true here too. In my opinion a vinyl top looks the best (most traditional:confused:) on a Tudor. This is the blow by blow of how I did mine last week. I followed my own recipe of parts I thought would work better than chicken wire and cotton, and it seems I was right.
    I also did not want to use stock type rain gutters, so I built some.

    First gather your materials. You will need to order the roof vinyl and the steel moldings from your favorite Model A parts house.
    The aluminum gutter extrusions I ordered from Restoration Supply.
    Everything else you need is easy local stuff.

    I started by filling the roof with a piece of 1/8" Masonite. I wasn't sure how it would work on the compound curve, but I put one relief cut on each side and it laid down perfectly. I put the relief right over the forward most roof bow to hide it since the roof bows and stained masonite will be the finished inside roof. I held it all down with a handful of small screws. I put this on about a month ago, so I brushed some black paint on the rough side to make it look a little better.
    [​IMG]

    Next you will need some glue and 7 feet of 1/4" Landau foam (unless you want to use cotton batting)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ********Please let me post it all before you comment. I'll have 4 or 5 posts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  2. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    Mark the middle of the foam with a sharpie.
    I also put masking tape all around the edges on the car. I marked the middle of the car on that.
    [​IMG]

    So I sprayed some glue down the middle of the car and foam and let it tack up. Then glued down the middle 2 feet of the roof so it would stay put.
    That let me smooth out the foam and mark the edges for trimming.
    [​IMG]

    All trimmed
    [​IMG]

    In this picture you can see I marked the middle of every nail hole to make it easier to find where the nails should go when the big piece of vinyl is draped over it. This was a huge help.
    [​IMG]
     
    mgtstumpy likes this.
  3. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    Next comes the vinyl. I had built a simple frame out of 2X2 wood and stapled the vinyl to it a few days earlier. This helped a bunch to smooth out the creases from shipping and may have even pre-stretched it some.
    [​IMG]

    You will need help with the stretching and nailing. My lovely wife was a great helper. I used stainless body nails from Sac Vintage Ford. I bought a big bag years ago and it seems to be a lifetime supply.:rolleyes:
    Start with centering it on the car and run 10 or so nails into the header wood.
    *IMPORTANT* Don't sink them all the way it. Leave the heads about 1/4" up so you can easily pull them if need be.
    [​IMG]

    Then go to the back of the car and pull it tight, but not so tight you rip out the nails in the front, and put in another 10 or so nails. Remember, none of the nails get set all the way down until all the nails are in all the way around the car.
    At this point, working in the front, or back, pull and nail until you are about 8 inches from the corners. Do the same to the other end.

    Then, start on the sides with another 10 or so in the middle of the side.
    Do the same on the other side. Pull and nail, pull and nail, pull and nail.

    By now it is shaping up and you are getting stoked.
    [​IMG]

    Leave the 4 corners for last, pulling in a diagonal toward the corners of the car. You guessed it, more pulling and nailing.
    [​IMG]
     
    mgtstumpy likes this.
  4. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    Go ahead and trim off the excess on the sides, you know you want to.
    [​IMG]

    I chose to use the 2 piece stock type steel trim front and rear. I know why most people use hide-em welting, the steel is a pain in the ass! The front was pretty easy, but the rear has a long compound curve. Just go slow and don't let it think it is in control, you are. You may need to call it a few names.
    You will want to put some sealant under the steel. I used 3M strip caulk rolled out real thin. I'm sure others would work fine too.

    Nail the lower half of the trim to the car. To avoid the nails from the vinyl, remember the lines on the masking tape showing the nail holes? I went back and made a dot wherever the nails ended up, so I knew where they were too.
    [​IMG]

    Once it is on, gently snap the top piece into the lower piece. I recommend talking nicely to this piece, or your project could go a little sideways.
    [​IMG]
     
    mgtstumpy likes this.

  5. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    Next is rain gutters. I didn't want to use stock type gutters and the reviews of the 2 piece aluminum ones were varied.
    I bought a stick of the gutter extrusion from Restoration Supply. It just comes straight.
    [​IMG]

    Using my torch to anneal it, it became very soft. I then put my shrinker/stretcher to work matching the curve of the body. I am new to the shrinker/stretcher, but it was quite easy and satisfying. I cleaned them up some, but was too lazy to polish them. I was beat from all the pulling and nailing.:rolleyes:
    [​IMG]

    So, I just drilled them at even intervals and used stainless screws to attach to the body.
    [​IMG]

    I used some black 1-shot and a brush and painted the front/rear trim black and bingo bango, the roof is done. I did this over the couse of a few hours for a few days. It isn't really difficult work, just a lot of it.
    Viva la Tech Week!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Kiwi 4d, BradinNC, GASSERBOB and 3 others like this.
  6. hvychvy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2005
    Posts: 1,874

    hvychvy
    Member

    Looks great,thats exactly what she neded!!
     
  7. ccain
    Joined: Jun 13, 2009
    Posts: 609

    ccain
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That looks awesome! Nicely done!
     
  8. 31modelo
    Joined: Apr 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,129

    31modelo
    Member

    Looks great and thanks for the tips.
     
  9. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620

    BuiltFerComfort
    Member

    This is good stuff! Good step-by-step and also confidence-inspiring.

    Are you going to relieve the front corner of the rain gutter? Seems like the rain gutter sticks out a bit and might catch on something (like your hand?) But it could just be an artifact of the picture angle.

    It also looks like rain would drop inside the raised part of the body at the rear - the gutter would dump rain on the door side of the bump. Again might be picture angle?

    In looking at it I'd either pinch the front closed or angle grind it, and try to find something to fill in the gutter at the back, so if you had to open the back door in the rain it would not drip on you.
     
  10. That's great looking! Do you use the same techniques to do a Coupe top? I'm gonna do mine soon.
     
  11. Rusty
    Joined: Mar 4, 2004
    Posts: 9,449

    Rusty
    Member

    thats awesome!!! thanks for sharing
     
  12. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    The front end is just fine. I think it is the camera angle. I the car is a tudor, so no worries with water coming of the rear gutter. Also, with the way the gutter rakes down to the front, 95% of the water comes off the front anyway. I water tested it and the water flows rear nice.

    Same techniques, just a little different. Coupes roof vinyl doesn't go all the way down to the gutters.
     
  13. irace2win41
    Joined: Jan 19, 2009
    Posts: 120

    irace2win41
    Member

    Nice step by step for us Tudor guys. Made it look easy....
     
  14. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,188

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    Very nice! Now you've got me re-thinking using my wagon roof I got for my Sedan.
     
  15. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    Member
    from Garage

    Thank you for this..

    I have looked at the way "ford" did this originally, http://abarnyard.com/workshop/roofinstall-1.htm
    and its very close you your way, with the exception of some of the modern use of todays materials.

    the only thing i dont care for are the screws showing on the after market gutter, i have nice OEM's so i will go that route, but everything else you bring to the table is greatfully appreciated

    Looks great
     
  16. josh77
    Joined: Jun 8, 2008
    Posts: 235

    josh77
    Member

    Excellent job, thanks for the pointers. Will be very useful when I do mine. Where did you get the 2 piece steel trim? I like that look a lot more than hide em.
     
  17. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    All the ealy Ford parts suppliers have it.
     
  18. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,917

    chaddilac
    Member

    Looks great... I just think the gutters should be black also...:D
     
  19. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    yep, I've been thinking the same thing.
     
  20. Very nice, thanks for showing me the way.
     
  21. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    thanks all!
    Bump for tech week.
     
  22. Hot Turkey
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 1,237

    Hot Turkey
    Member

    Very well done.
     
  23. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,359

    falconsprint63
    Member
    from Mayberry

  24. draginsteel
    Joined: Oct 21, 2007
    Posts: 462

    draginsteel
    Member

    Thats a great concept.

    That aluminum extrusion is also available at awning shops.

    We would pop rivit it to the metal awning frame and then sew a 1/4" pvc tube into the awning cover. It would then slide into that extrusion and the fabric pulled tight. I don't see why it wouldn't polish nicely.
     
  25. Slim Pickens
    Joined: Dec 15, 2008
    Posts: 3,342

    Slim Pickens
    Member

    Thanks, great tech tip. Slim
     
  26. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,594

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    all tech week to the top 7
     
  27. Vergil
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 785

    Vergil
    Member

    Great job, as well as a very nice car, thanks for sharing.

    Vergil
     
  28. Craig Owens
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 442

    Craig Owens
    Member

    Great looking job, Matt! Your car really turned out nice...can't wait to see it in person.
    Craig
     
  29. bartmcneill
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 391

    bartmcneill
    Member
    from Ada, OK

  30. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut
    Member

    Looks like it worked for you. Happy I could help.
     

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