Removal of old top - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Removal of old top

My Robbins top came the other day in the mail. I was expecting some large box but is was surprisingly small..... As with all new packages I had to open it up just to check it out, all folded nicely and wrapped in plastic. No paperwork of any sort, hmmm, I guess I will check it out later.
Since 100+ is the a average high for this time of year anything I do is before noon.
Today was the day. I took it out to the garage, laid it on the trunk and unfolded it. Nope, nothing but the canvas with the plastic window installed. Ok, let's go ahead and remove the old one, although I have the manual I typically dont use it unless something doesn't look straight forward. I started up front, I removed the latches, marked them, and continued to remove what I have been calling the "brow". Boy, for this being such a rust free car that certainly wasn't the case in there! I peeled the fabric back and the vinyl that wraps the brow. Since there was no material supplied to re wrap the vinyl part I am thinking I will just wrap it in either the canvas from the window cut out or the old top. Still there is like a plastic backbone in there that does not look very savable. Anyone have ideas or cures? Kinda the same thing in the back, some like plastic runner along the rain channel that looks pretty brittle from the years... all the little nuts came off easily and the old top in now in the corner, new top folded nicely and back in the box and I put the boot cover on for now until I proceed, reading the installation manual and hopefully getting some feedback from you guys who have tackled this project in the past! Any tips or fixes would be greatly appreciated.....
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 09:53 AM
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I'm not sure why you removed the vinyl covering the front bow, but perhaps it was shot. Either way, I'd purchase a new remnant of similar black vinyl from a local fabric store and just cut it to fit and glue it on the forward bow prior to installing the new top. There is a reason why the factory used vinyl where they did. Unlike cloth which is porous, vinyl makes a watertight seal.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 11:07 AM
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@SkiBum, I've done a dozen or more of these. There is certainly a learning curve. To begin, the vinyl covering on the header bow is a bugger to replace so that it looks good. Unless yours was shot, there was no need to remove it. I've only recovered one of those and I seem to remember that I needed foam under the vinyl to make it look right. When you remove the rubber seal, there is a metal track under it that is riveted to the bow. Carefully drill the rivets. I always replace the metal track and the rubber seal. As you know, the 3 pcs. of vinyl that cover the attaching nuts on the back, don't come with the top. Use the old ones as a pattern to cut new ones. If you haven't already, remove the seats. Makes it much easier to work inside. I also replace the cables with every top. Lube all pivots on the top frame. Clean all glue off of the bows. If it needs paint, do it now. It is very important to adjust the leading bead (before and while you glue it. I only use 3M contact adhesive in a can with a brush.) so that it lays tightly against the top trim of the windshield. Otherwise you get wind noise. Send me a PM if you would like to speak directly about this.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips so far guys. I have a chunk of vinyl but not enough, I will source some at Hobby Lobby.... the overlapping pieces in the back were in pretty good shape but I will take your advice and just use them for a pattern. I will look to order the piece in the front bow from somewhere, I'm sure one of the big three have them. Maybe this was not the first top for this car? Most stuff was riveted. Norseman, you have to remove the front bow dont you? The top is attached to it...maybe I just described it wrong. ....
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 12:17 PM
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As andylarry described, the front bow is part of the frame and does not need to be removed, but the rubber gasket, and the metal channel that it fits in (and which is riveted to the front bow) should be removed. I don't always replace the metal channel, but before I start shoving the rubber gasket back in, I round the corners of the entry end with a file to ease the gasket re-insertion process. IMO, shoving that front gasket all the way across through the track is the worst part of the entire job.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Gotcha, and I misspoke.. it is still attached to the frame, I just was looking at it thinking it needed to be recovered and my brain immediately envisioned it off the car.... duh. I found that front plate, rubber, and cables in the Vick catalog. I will order them soon, get the 3M glue and vinyl locally. I will sand, paint and lube the frame during our scorcher months to give it plenty of time to cure before the rains come ( usually November around here) and then I can sit in the garage in comfortable temps and install the top at a leisurely, precise pace. Thank you guys for your input, it always helps to hear from those who have travelled the same road.... keep the experience coming!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norseman50 View Post
I'm not sure why you removed the vinyl covering the front bow, but perhaps it was shot. Either way, I'd purchase a new remnant of similar black vinyl from a local fabric store and just cut it to fit and glue it on the forward bow prior to installing the new top. There is a reason why the factory used vinyl where they did. Unlike cloth which is porous, vinyl makes a watertight seal.
Thats what I did. The vinyl was torn, so I got new material from a shop and glued it on.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 03:42 AM
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I rarely remove the frame from the car. All cleaning and prep can be done in the car. Good luck with your project.

ALFA ANDY
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 05:35 AM
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Me and another friend replacing the roof found out that the most difficult part is to get the side flaps glued correctly to the b-post. Not too tight, nor too flimsy. If your original top is in good condition in that area, I would maybe measure and copy the depth for both of the side flaps.

There is also a long photo thread here on BB somewhere and there is also original AR instructions someone uploaded: http://www.myplayyard.com/private/Co...eTopManual.pdf
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andylarry View Post
I rarely remove the frame from the car. All cleaning and prep can be done in the car. Good luck with your project.
I kinda figured but glad to have some verification.. I will start sanding soon. I'm thinking a gloss enamel?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by levp View Post
Me and another friend replacing the roof found out that the most difficult part is to get the side flaps glued correctly to the b-post. Not too tight, nor too flimsy. If your original top is in good condition in that area, I would maybe measure and copy the depth for both of the side flaps.

There is also a long photo thread here on BB somewhere and there is also original AR instructions someone uploaded: http://www.myplayyard.com/private/Co...eTopManual.pdf
Thanks for that tip! I have that link to the manual and will start reading up on it soon so I can become an expert. (Everyone knows what an "expert" is, right? A former drop under pressure....)
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 06:51 AM
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Just as andylarry remarked, it is unnecessary to unbolt and remove the frame from the car, and it is not that difficult to do, but if it is necessary to prep and repaint the entire frame, removing it saves a great deal of time masking and protecting the car and interior. I have found that satin or semi-gloss black POR-15 is a close match to the original frame paint, but be careful when coating the frame not to get paint into the hinges, and don't apply too much lubricant to the pivot points as the excess can stain the new cloth top.

Edward
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 10:19 AM
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don't forget to read Gadwhite's excellent soft top thread ...lots of pics too!
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...n-project.html

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spiderserie4 View Post
don't forget to read Gadwhite's excellent soft top thread ...lots of pics too!
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...n-project.html
Awesome write up! Thanks, I'm sure it will come in extremely handy!
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderserie4 View Post
don't forget to read Gadwhite's excellent soft top thread ...lots of pics too!
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spi...n-project.html
That's the one I've also used when installing my top.
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