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Discussion Starter #1
I bought my 91 Alfa this past April. I am the third owner. The second owner never used the rear boot because one of the plastic hard shell piece in one of the corners of the rear boot had become unattached. He never fixed it. When I bought it - I had it fixed. But - since the boot hasn't been on the car for a ton of years - the leather doesn't want to stretch far enough to actually attach from the left mount to the right mount. It is about a half inch or less short.

So - I have to figure out a way to stretch the leather on this boot to finally fit. My local Afla shop here in the ATL has gotten boot on twice - but with brute force. They tell me that when I put the car up for the winter - to get it on and leave it for those months - so the leather will confirm finally.

Problem is - I can't get it on now to save my life. The boot is in great condition and looks amazing. It just simply won't stretch far enough to secure to both knobs.

Any suggestions on what I can do 'now' - without having to wait till I store it for the winter?
 

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This is a common problem with the boot covers is that they are very hard to put on, even if you use it semi-regularly.

I use mine a few times a year and it is not easy to put on.

The car definitely looks 100x better with it on, so if someone has a way to make the boot cover more flexible, I would love to hear it, but I doubt there is a solution.

Thanks
 

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Hmmmm, does heat allow leather to stretch or does it shrink?
 

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I think they are all a pita to stretch and get on! I have to really pull, though I can get it on every time.

Leaving it on over winter is a bad idea...over winter your soft top roof should be up and taut.

if its hot out, then try to stretch it on and leave it in the sun.
 

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Hi dberry (is your name Don?) What a small world; I was parked right next to you and your son at the C&O show yesterday, with the red Duetto! You mentioned the boot cover briefly but said it was okay or something. I suspect your best bet is to park the car in the sun for an hour or so when the boot can get really hot, then maybe it'll stretch more. Is it really leather or is the boot cover 'pleather', if so, I'd recommend "303 Aerospace Protectant" on vinyl and rubber. It's great! Available on eBay too...Maybe Lexol will soften the boot if it is real leather. Your car looked great at the show!

For about the first 35 years, I did not use the boot cover on the Duetto. Kind of a PITA to put on and take off but since I reconditioned it and for the C&O show I went to the trouble on putting it on. After the C&O we went to Ernie's house & reset the timing and tweaked the carburetors. Then on to Bambinelli's for the club meeting. I doubled the mileage on the new engine; up to about 100 miles and counting.

Mark
 

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The boot cover is made of vinyl.

I always get it on the car, but sometimes it takes a while to do it.

Too bad it does not take a few minutes.
 

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Try a hair drier to warm it up, make more pliable! easier to stretch..

wintertime would be much harder to do...
 

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Real leather? I would use a leather conditioner, work it carefully, for a week or so.
Until it was soft, ‘pliable’. Stretch it carefully.
Synthetic, the hair dryer, prayer.
‘Wish’ I had it for the POS. Need something, but need a lot of other stuff.
Regds
Bill
 

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Lay it out in the sun for a couple of hours to warm it up.

DO you have the bungee cord that pulls the sides down?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi dberry (is your name Don?) What a small world; I was parked right next to you and your son at the C&O show yesterday, with the red Duetto! You mentioned the boot cover briefly but said it was okay or something. I suspect your best bet is to park the car in the sun for an hour or so when the boot can get really hot, then maybe it'll stretch more. Is it really leather or is the boot cover 'pleather', if so, I'd recommend "303 Aerospace Protectant" on vinyl and rubber. It's great! Available on eBay too...Maybe Lexol will soften the boot if it is real leather. Your car looked great at the show!

For about the first 35 years, I did not use the boot cover on the Duetto. Kind of a PITA to put on and take off but since I reconditioned it and for the C&O show I went to the trouble on putting it on. After the C&O we went to Ernie's house & reset the timing and tweaked the carburetors. Then on to Bambinelli's for the club meeting. I doubled the mileage on the new engine; up to about 100 miles and counting.

Mark
Hi Mark - sorry for the delay in seeing your message here. My name is Dave and it was a pleasure meeting you at the car show a couple of months ago. Your Duetto was amazing and drew lots of deserved attention!!! We really enjoyed handing out at the car show with you.

I appreciate the suggestions for the boot cover. I still have not tackled this one yet. Going to put the car up for winter probably in late December - or at least until I see we don't have any more great mid-60's Saturdays and Sundays coming. Glad to hear the new engine is running well for you. It really impressive how good your car looks!

Dave
 

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The boot cover is made of vinyl, not leather, and yes it can be difficult to stretch to mate the hooks with the opposing mushroom buttons when it gets old or dry or cold. That being said, it actually sounds like when the "repair" was made (replacing a plastic wing) the new wing may have been attached slightly too far to the inside, making installing the cover even more difficult.
You can try spreading a liquid vinyl conditioner on the outside of the cover, and warming it up before trying to stretch it into place, but you may be forced to bite the bullet and remove and relocate one (or both) of the plastic wings, farther to the outer edges of the vinyl, in order to make the cover easier to install and remove.
 

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I bought my 91 Alfa this past April. I am the third owner. The second owner never used the rear boot because one of the plastic hard shell piece in one of the corners of the rear boot had become unattached. He never fixed it. When I bought it - I had it fixed. But - since the boot hasn't been on the car for a ton of years - the leather doesn't want to stretch far enough to actually attach from the left mount to the right mount. It is about a half inch or less short.

So - I have to figure out a way to stretch the leather on this boot to finally fit. My local Afla shop here in the ATL has gotten boot on twice - but with brute force. They tell me that when I put the car up for the winter - to get it on and leave it for those months - so the leather will confirm finally.

Problem is - I can't get it on now to save my life. The boot is in great condition and looks amazing. It just simply won't stretch far enough to secure to both knobs.

Any suggestions on what I can do 'now' - without having to wait till I store it for the winter?
I had a customer a few years ago with the same problem with his boot.There is a leather dressing product at your local craft store for dressing leather shoes,jackets,and gloves.We covered the pretty surface of the boot liberally with the product ,let it sit out in the baltimore sun in august,draped over his picnic table with a brick for weight on the long sides and let it heat up for a few hours in the sun.Later polished the pretty surface and it fit like a glove.You will need to keep it dressed every summer because they tend to shrink over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The boot cover is made of vinyl, not leather, and yes it can be difficult to stretch to mate the hooks with the opposing mushroom buttons when it gets old or dry or cold. That being said, it actually sounds like when the "repair" was made (replacing a plastic wing) the new wing may have been attached slightly too far to the inside, making installing the cover even more difficult.
You can try spreading a liquid vinyl conditioner on the outside of the cover, and warming it up before trying to stretch it into place, but you may be forced to bite the bullet and remove and relocate one (or both) of the plastic wings, farther to the outer edges of the vinyl, in order to make the cover easier to install and remove.

[That being said, it actually sounds like when the "repair" was made (replacing a plastic wing) the new wing may have been attached slightly too far to the inside, making installing the cover even more difficult.]

You may be right in that the 'wings' were not installed to give enough room for the fit. However, the shop that did the fix for me has been able to get the boot on twice - I just can't seem to do what they do in getting it on. Mystery. So - maybe I'll take it there before storing it for the winter - get them to get it on - and then see if a month or two with it on gets the boot to conform for future easy fitting.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I had a customer a few years ago with the same problem with his boot.There is a leather dressing product at your local craft store for dressing leather shoes,jackets,and gloves.We covered the pretty surface of the boot liberally with the product ,let it sit out in the baltimore sun in august,draped over his picnic table with a brick for weight on the long sides and let it heat up for a few hours in the sun.Later polished the pretty surface and it fit like a glove.You will need to keep it dressed every summer because they tend to shrink over time.
I agree. My immediate need is to get the boot on - but need a solution to get it on time after time long term. Thinking about getting some sort of 'stretching device' to apply to it. Probably some DIY solutions that could be done.
 

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Use4 a hair dryer to slowly heat it up....make it more pliable....should be vinyl, not leather IIRC , and will work w heat..
 

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The problem with the "leave it on all winter" idea is that come spring you may have the same problem with the top! They have a tendency to shrink a bit and be hard to put up if they've been folded for a long length of time....
 
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