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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I have a 1988 Spider Veloce parts car with a new top that has zero miles. I would like to remove the frame and top as one unit and install it on my 1985 Graduate. The catalog numbers cross reference so they are compatible.

From what I can tell, there are three bolts on each side that must be removed. They appear to act as a pivot point for the frame.

Then there are about 20 smaller nuts that appear to attach the top to the frame of the car. The attaching points are at the very base of the convertible top. This makes sense.

This all seems too simple and I was wondering if someone could show me the error of my ways.

Please keep in mind that I am not installing a top on a frame. I am removing the entire unit and placing it on another car.

Thank you for your time,
Regards, Joe
 

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Yea, that's basically it. Two thoughts:

- When installing the frame & top on your '85, leave the three 8mm bolts on each side loose initially. Once you have the back of the top bolted to the body, and the top clamped to the windshield, tighten those bolts with the frame pushed as high as it will go.

- There might be a dozen 6mm studs at the back of the body - not twenty! The nuts tend to get rusted to those studs, and it's easy to shear off a stud with too much torque. Obviously you don't care if this happens to your parts car, but use penetrating oil + some care when removing the nuts on your '85.
 

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It is a fairly simple task but there are a lot of nuts to remove at the back edge and along the sides of the top. Once you get them off, you will want to have a helper to lift the assembly out and the new one back in. It will be easy to scratch the paint otherwise.

Couple of suggestions:
You may need a metric die to clean up the threads on the old stud.
Consider using anti sieze on them along with new nuts and washers.
If you break a few off, the easy solution is 10/32 riv-nuts from McMaster Carr.

I had a few break off and the fix was to drill them out and install the riv-nuts. You can make your own install tool from internet search, no need to buy one.
 

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This photo shows two riv-nuts I installed along the side, one good stud and the three mounting points.

While you are there, you may want to consider cleaning and coating the rain gutter and maybe replacing the drain tubes. There is a tube on each side and two on the back. It will never be easier to do this job than when the top is off. I have replaced my drain tubes and the gutter will get a good sanding and a coat of POR15 later this week.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jay,
Excellent suggestion. The beauty of bulletin boards is you get the opinions of those who have done it. I feel much more confident now.
Thanks, Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gary,
Luckily, both cars are relatively rust-free, if you can imagine that. Of course, because I live in Rochester, NY, our year-round cars are heavily rusted so it may be a matter of perspective.
I like that suggestion about riv-nuts. I don't need them yet but chances are I will in the future so it is best I prepare ahead of time.
Thanks, Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Gary,
POR 15, drain tubes and rain gutters never entered my mind. That is a fantastic suggestion. I will definitely do that because doing it later will be a pain.
One of the things I have learned in the old car hobby is that having a good parts car is essential. The convertible from the parts car has never been on the road and the nuts holding it in place were not all that tight. The unit is worth more than what I paid for it so I consider myself pretty lucky. On the other hand, 20 years of vintage racing an MGA has left me with a barn full of broken motors, generators that detonated, etc., so I guess I'm due for a little good luck.
Thanks, Joe
 

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Joe,
Sounds like you are already ahead of the curve and will do just fine. I have two parts cars and they are worth way more than I paid for them. Only problem, is how and where to store the extra engine, transmission, etc.

Weather here in GA finally has no rain in forecast for three days so today I will prep the gutters and clean for POR15 tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Gary & Jay and all others,
I am making progress in removing the top from the parts car. My road car will remain untouched until I learn as much as I can on the donor car.
The three pivot bolts, for the lack of a better term, that reside parallel to the back of the seats were removed quickly. The small nuts (about a dozen) were loose and came right off. There is a tiny screw at the beginning and end of the chain of small nuts. Both are rusted so they are soaking in penetrating oil for the night.
My first question is, do I remove the chrome trim outside and at the base of the top? It seems to me it should come off.
Secondly, now that all but the two rusted screws are removed shouldn't I have had a "sproing" moment by now? I would have thought there would be a certain amount of tension released. Maybe the two latches at the front are keeping it from happening.
Finally, after the rusted screws are removed (& possibly the chrome trim) it looks like I simply pry the top frame from the studs previously held in place by the small nuts.
I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop as this is all new territory for me.
Finally, I'm not sure if I am replying correctly so I hope that all who were kind enough to take the time to help me are able to read my post.
Thanks, Joe
 

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Joe,
The chrome strip Along the back where the top meets the trunk is sandwiched in place. It touches the trunk metal then the top is a layer then there is a galvanized bar that squeezes the fabric against the chrome trim which pushes on the body.

There is a similar arrangement on each side with separate pieces. Once you get the nuts and washers off and all the little screws, just a couple of these, you should be able to free the fabric from the sides and back. When it is free, you can remove the stainless trim pieces.

Now you are ready to pull the assembly. You will have to push each side inward a little, like closing the doors and hold it while you lift vertically. At least that was how I had to remove mine.

Sounds more complicated than it is.

Pictures please:winkiss:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Gary,
I took a lot of pictures but am having trouble with my phone. When resolved, I will upload for the benefit of others thinking about such a project.
All the screws and nuts came out fine, and I was able to remove the galvanized (?) strips that press the top against the studs. The studs are attached to the body. The canvas has been pulled away from the studs. All ship-shape to this point.
The problem is pushing each side in, as you said. It is offering more resistance than I had imagined so I stepped away before I damaged anything (learned that trick the hard way). It is very clear that if the two sides are aligned perfectly a squeeze and then pulling back in the channel to a wider spot should work. It doesn't.
My concern is that the bows will be torqued out of alignment if I use too much force. Is this normal? I have time to do it right so I am open to any suggestions. Maybe I am being too careful.
Thanks for any suggestions, Joe
 

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I don't think you will hurt the bows. I recall mine being pretty firm. Try a helper on one side just to hold the frame at the bodyand then you push and rock a bit. The top should be collapsed and not attached at the windshield.
work it a little, it should come off. The attachment points may be stuck. Try a rap with a rubber mallet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Removing Convertible Top - TIP

Hello Gary and all who offered suggestions,
I hope I am following the proper protocol for adding to my earlier post but this is the only way I could find to attach a photo.
Removing the top & frame simultaneously can be a challenge if you are doing it alone. In addition space is cramped, light is dim and I've never done this before.
The main concern I had was with all the spring tension in the frame. The last thing I wanted to do was to bend it out of kilter so I used a ratcheting strap (photo attached). I am no engineer but it seems to me that the ratchet would apply equal pulling pressure to each side as long as the frame is square to the centerline of the car.
Gently increase ratchet pressure making sure neither side is binding. With some wiggling, it came out. I was very pleased with how this worked although it is still like wrestling with an octopus. I should mention that whoever installed this like-new top on the 1988 Spider Veloce donor car used a hammer on the drip rail where the frame is bolted.
The next step is to remove the top from 1985 Graduate and install the donor part on it. I expect this will be a bigger challenge so I probably will not be offering any updates for awhile.
I am writing all this as a way of paying back those who were kind enough to offer their comments and I hope that those lesser skilled (like me) can take hope in attempting this project.
Thanks, Joe Tierno
Rochester, NY
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Convertible Top Switch A Success

I am happy to report that I have successfully moved the top from the parts car to the road car. My automotive skills are not very strong so I made a blunder that needs to be documented so that others might learn.
This procedure was done alone, by a 71 year-old retired accountant who is not afraid to admit his mistakes. I was concentrating so hard on not doing any damage and yet wrestling with a bulky object, I failed to properly orient the two mounting brackets. The brackets contain three bolts and are just aft of the seat backs. Look at the attached picture and you will see that the bracket should have been rotated anti-clockwise from noon to 9. They are supposed to align with the holes in the right corner of the photo. It took me a long time to figure out this most basic step. I also should have lubricated the brackets as well so the angle could have been changed more easily. Extra strength Tylenol might have helped my sore back.
On a brighter side, please note how I dealt with not bending the bows when removing the top from donor car. I hooked a ratchet to each side and slowly increased the tension on the ratchet until I was able to remove the top. With just enough tension to do the job, I used the ratchet when installing the top on the road car. If I had a helper the ratchet might not have been needed.
I hope you find these tips useful. I also want to thank everyone who offered suggestions.
Regards, Joe
 

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looks really great! Hat's off to you!
Now just a little vinyl window polish (Renovo is a good make for instance) on that rear screen and it will look like new!
 

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Joe,
Very nice job! The ratchet and strap idea were great. I will use that when I take mine off to transfer over. I don't have a helper either so have to be innovative like you. Enjoy your drives
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Cleaning Convertible Top Window

looks really great! Hat's off to you!
Now just a little vinyl window polish (Renovo is a good make for instance) on that rear screen and it will look like new!
How ironic, that was to be my next post. I thought I would find simple solutions on YouTube (or here) but that was not the case. I even wrote to Rain-X and they had no suggestions. It should be noted that imprinted on the window is says to wash with plain water. Obviously, cleaning the rear window can be a disaster because of the risk of abrasions. Chemicals can be just as bad. Thanks for the tip.
Regards, Joe
 

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Joe,
yes, once you polish out the haze with a specialist polish, then using clear water is the best way to keep it that way.
Get a top cleaner and impregnation fluid as well, it should enrich the colour and keep the cloth healthy.
What is important is to use some protection for the vinyl window when storing the top down, so the vinyl doesn't get rubbed.
Here is what I do. (my window looked like yours when I got the car, you can see here it looks quite clear, now it has been polished)
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/1157216-post12.html
 

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Top Cleaner

Joe,
Others on this BB have suggested 303 Fabric guard as a highly recommended top cleaner. Amazon has kits Convertible Top Cleaner with this product for about $25.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hello,
I'd like to close out this topic by offering my sincerest thanks to all the suggestions offered by members of the BB. The top looks great.
Thanks, Joe
 
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