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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

My 1984 S3 has a nice blue canvas cover which is in a overall good shape and not easy to find (I think). As a winter job,I would like to keep it but change the vinyl back window which is split and taped from previosu owner... I found the right material (40 gauge Marine vinyl fabric) for the change but I would like to know if some of you have done such change. I found some companies who are doing boat cover industrial sewing and who are willing to have look but they do not want any metal bars on the way as expected. Removing the cover seems to be a pain, but appears do-able.

you opinion is welcome here specifically: do you use specific sealant prior to sewing the vinyl on the canvas? the transverse metal bar seems to be lightly glued on the cover ? how do you glue them back?

Your experience on this matter is appreciated.
regards,
Francois




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I don't think there is any sealant applied.

In the distant past I was able to repair an MGA conv top's rear window by using contact cement to glue in a new piece of clear plastic. It lasted a couple of years until I replaced the whole top.

To do a proper replacement of your rear window the entire top would need to be removed. There are numerous small nuts on studs along the rear edge. These are prone to breaking if the nuts are seized on by corrosion. The front edge of the top is glued onto the header with contact cement. And there are vertical bars behind the side window opening that are probably glued in, too. There are flaps of fabric that fold over the top bars that are then glued in place. So, lots of tricky un-glueing needed to remove the top. And then re-gluing to put it all back in place.

If It were me, I'd spend your money to buy a new top. By the time you do all the above and have a new window stitched in, you'll have done a lot of work to retain an old top.

BTW, the Conv Top Manual is here: https://www.alfabb.com/threads/convertible-top-install-instructions.33541/
 

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Oh boy, that looks well past its sell by date;)
Always try to raise/lower the roof when temperatures are not too cold...and always use a big plush beach towel or similar wrapped in a "sausage" form and put this along the window when putting the roof down...it keeps it in a 'circular' form so no chance of folds and nicks to crack the vinyl.

some years ago I posted a video (well, sort of a pictorial how-to) from a german company (the only one I know that offers this service) of how to replace the rear vinyl without removing the top. It looks quite do-able to me and sure saves a lot of trouble removing the top (as Eric rightly points out, remember those 22 bolts/studs at the back that you have to remove, some of which will snap off!...removing the top can in some cases turn a half day job into a week's work!)

Job takes two people. They do not use any sealant...you need the correct marine type thread, an awl to poke holes, lots of pins to keep things in place and a hooked needle (and the person working from the inside shouldn't suffer from claustrophobia!)

 

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Discussion Starter #4
just removed the 22nuts. better than a yoga class! 2 broke. good new is that there is not rust underneath beside a few nuts (the ones which have broken in the corners). I ll see if I can weld two new bolts or devise on a new solution ... I suppose they are welded on the frame
thanks for the links. I ll look into it to see if I can do this myself..or I ll follow the initial plan to bring to a professional sewer.
I don't mind buying a new one, but are you sure these blue canvas style softcover are even sold? I dotn think I hve seen them anywhere....I don't like the vinyl tops. the seal with the back window and the Canadian cold make them even more fragile...

best regards
Francois, London, Canada
 

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you can drill out the 2 broken studs and replace with time serts [EDIT: sorry, not time serts, I meant "Rivnuts"]. A few threads on BB about that.
If the blue top is good, why replace it. Tops are expensive if they are good quality german cloth
https://classicalfa.com/in064-1-soft-top-spider-1970-93-dark-blue/

If you have the top off the frame, then the replacement of the window will be easy to any professional, they will have all the tools. Or a marine shop maybe?
 

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Exactly! the top is a very good quality and has probably never been changed.. Removing the top completely is an excellent exercise to clean up a straighup what need to be.. I ll let you know about my progresses. I found a shop doing this for boats. I just need to bring the material+cover. I got the new vinyl here: www.MarineVinylFabric.com..I took the 40 gauge. It cost me 3 times the price of the yeard to ship it in Canada...
I am not sure what you mean by time serts. I suppose you meant inserts: Yes I am interested by the links on these if you know them.never done this before.. I am always hesitant on welding on the frame because of the electronics of the car
 

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Discussion Starter #7
you can drill out the 2 broken studs and replace with time serts. A few threads on BB about that.
If the blue top is good, why replace it. Tops are expensive if they are good quality german cloth
https://classicalfa.com/in064-1-soft-top-spider-1970-93-dark-blue/

If you have the top off the frame, then the replacement of the window will be easy to any professional, they will have all the tools. Or a marine shop maybe?
I just looked for time sert… I did not know this wording...I knew these as helicoils. I never play with them so I think this is the right time indeed!
 

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I just looked for time sert… I did not know this wording...I knew these as helicoils. I never play with them so I think this is the right time indeed!
I just looked for time sert… I did not know this wording...I knew these as helicoils. I never play with them so I think this is the right time indeed.

Same endeavour but different products... cool things
 

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^^
yep, sorry, that's what I meant to write, a 'rivnut'....(got my rivnuts mixed up with timeserts/helicoils!)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for these good ideas. Soft top removed, vinyl windows changed by a boat cover/tent repair shop for $70 Canadian. rivnut kit acquired and I removed the broken studs cleanly and the holes for the Rivnut for M5 are well centered
Now it s time to put it back together but I have a few questions before:
1-what magic chemical/product do you use to protect (to some extent) small area of bare metals from corrosion (such as the holes made for the rivnut)?
2- I ve removed the stainless steel edge to clean this area well (see photo). The edge fixed with metal screws was buffered with some sort of grey mastic. I was considering using good quality grey silicon caulking to replace it. good idea or not? other more adapted material?

20191207_094606.jpg
 

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I would use butyl "dum-dum" caulk rather than silicone. As for sealing the bare edges of the holes drilled for rivets, a good anti-rust paint, such as POR15 should do the trick, but TBH, I didn't worry about it when I did mine.
 
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