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Tops

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Restoration pictures and text of both hard top and soft tops

pic#1
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   The top is being stripped of all chrome and parts to be blasted.Parts are loged on the computer for location and condition.

pic#2
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   Because the top is fiber glass we decided to soda blast it.The top will have to be scrubed before any primer can be sprayed to remove the soda residue.After blasting the top will be put back into inventory untill we're ready to refinish it.

pic# 3
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   Two coats of urethane 2 part primer were applied,sanded with 180 and 2 additional coats were added.We will see if all scratches can be sanded out by wet sanding with 400 grit.

Pic #4
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       Painting and color sanding the top is explained in the body section.I sent the top to an upholstery shop to have the head liner and weather strip installed.I installed the windows, chrome and latches to complete the hard top restoration.

Pic # 4a
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      If the hardtop is left off the car for a time the sides tend to expand enough to not let the side pins enter the slots making the side clamps hard to engage when installing the top. I used the same rod  I used when working on the soft top with fabricated ends to pull the top back into shape.

Pic #5
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       Disassembling the soft top frame was a challenge.Needed are a good 1/8 punch,a #  8-32 and 10-24  taps , drill bits and a lot of patience.

Pic #6
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          The parts were sand blasted and powder coated for assembly.It is very important to keep each side seperate because the frame has right and left side parts.

Pic #7
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     When I install the rear clamp receivers I cut a piece of ready rod, with a nut and washer and insert the unit adjusting the nut and washer until the receiver barely touches the finish on the top of the rear deck panel. Use another nut and washer and lightly tighten to adjust the frame.After frame is fitted tighten to keep the receiver from moving on the top of the rear deck panel.

Pic #8
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      The corners on the rear deck are prone to have a bad fit and sometimes the hinge that lays across the rear deck gets bent out of shape. The material is fairly soft and can be molded with a mallet,vise and a sponge (leather glove doubled works good). Hit on the ends only, not in the middle and not on any other piece of the soft top frame.

Pic #9
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      A friend had his frame fitted and welded for the corner fit and because aluminiun is soft, after a few years the corners came up again.Someone in the chat room sugessted this method. Take a 3/4 X 4-1/2 X 1/8' metal strip, drill 2 holes on each side of the hinge to fasten with a # 10 flat recessed bolt. Before drilling the holes in the frame have the latch assembly lightly fasten on the top side.

Pic # 10
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  •     When fitting on the rear deck a slight bend was needed at the hinge point as visable in the picture. This is not always necessary.The plate was positioned and holes were drilled to not interfere with other holes drilled in the frame.

Pic # 11
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      Put the side receivers on the body and measure the pin insert from side to side.Put all the rear frame pieces together leaving the bolts loose and with a 3/8" ready rod , adjust the nuts so the pins fit the inserts (56") Set the rear frame on the body, lock the rear clamps with the side receiver pins in the inserts and tighten the rear clamp hinge bolts into the frame. Check the corner fit and if not correct  lossen the rear clamps, disassemble and put a slight bend in the reinforcing strip, tighten the strip first and than tighten the rear clamp. A little bend here goes a long way. Fit each side to obtain the best fit.

Pic # 12
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      Puting the side peices together with new pins.The newer frames need two pin kits.

Pic # 13
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       I used these instructions when putting the side frames together. The lenghts of the pins are important.

Pic # 14
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      The rear and side frames  are all pined together to the swing arm and the header and center cross arms are fastened. New tact strips were installed and on the rear frame the metal retainer was used to help suport the corners. The tack strips had been rivited but we used a #8 tap and bolt. Restoring the frame was a big job but now were ready to go to the upholstery shop.

Pic # 15
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      Car is now in the upholstery shop and the webbing straps are installed. I glued the  tack strip in that went over the top as there were no holes from the factory and must had been pressed  in. I had to take that part off and used # 8 bolts to secure it.

Pic # 16
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       Notice how nice the corner sits down on the body. I hope it stays.

Pic # 17
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      The car is back home and the top looks great. The top was a big huddle to complete and I'm glad it's finished.