Vinyl top replacement...my first one,,,and last...(yes, there were many "what the *%@! did I get myself into?" moments)
How it looks after I finished:
How it used to look:
Do you notice the sweet patch above using leather pieces? / The bubble below near driver's side quarter window has looked that way for over 20 years ... matching bubble on passenger side.
The passenger side front pillar had some fairly major rust as well...overall not too bad for 43 years (half of that time in South Texas sun!)
(Close up of "patches" below back window)
What the patches were hiding
Yes, this was a panic moment
Yes, a new lower piece should have been grafted in...
This explains the bubbles in the vinyl
Fitting sheet metal (with relief cuts) to cover the holes...
Although the hole looked bad (above), there is still quite a bit of metal support below the hole for structural integrity
POR-15...plus about one can of rust converter sprayed into channel
Scraping off old glue...what a joyous job
JB Weld "metal sticks" were used first to decrease the thickness of the body filler (to avoid cracks later)
Application of gold body filler...yes it looks like it was applied by a slingshot
Sanding stage / reapply more filler for imperfections, then sand again
...more POR-15, so hopefully I never have to do this again
Test fit time for vinyl top
Marking my center and thirds
Gluing the center down first, then gluing in thirds
The paper (below) is so that I can press down in the middle first, then remove each sheet and press down that section next
In some pictures you will see part of a "steamer"...this is an absolute "must" if you are insane enough to do this yourself
The mid section "stripe" (above) shows the 1st section glued...I used too much glue. Working the steamer while stretching the vinyl (plus curing in the sun) took this imperfection out later
Test fitting the window trim
Putting in window trim
Reminder of what I started with below
Finally FINISHED! Time to go cruising!
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More advice; if feasible have a professional remove the front/rear windows & reinstall them after top replacement. Read & watch what few DIY posts there are regarding vinyl top replacement. Have patience. If you have the budget, have a professional do this. It can be DIY, but it may not be worth your time & effort. I did it myself so I could save money for my new a/c.