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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at a 68 coupe originally from california that has virgin sheet metal and is in incredible condition....except under the vinyl top there is some pitting where it rusted. I can take care of the rust and smooth it out ok, I'm just wondering if intalling a new vinyl top is as straightforward as it looks. Anyone here done it? It looks to me like I'll have to remove the front and back glass, use adhesive to stick the vinyl to the roof and tuck the front and rear under the windshield and back glass gaskets. Some I've seen have a stainless strip riveted over the vinyl in the drip rails and others just look glued in. I know I'll have to rivet the top onto the bottom of the c-pillar under the molding too. How hard is it to get it centered and straight while using adhesive and what kind of adhesive is best? Does it have to be stretched to keep the wrinkles out? Unless I'm missing something here it doesn't look like too hard of a job. I don't want to leave it off since I like the look of a vinyl top on a coupe.
 

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I used 3M trim adhesive (or a heavy duty version of this). Started in the center and worked my way toward each door. Pull tight as you lay it down in the adhesive, but not too tight to create wrinkles. Went over the top with a rolling pin to make sure it was down tight. Looks like a million bucks, even after 14 years.
 

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I used 3M trim adhesive (or a heavy duty version of this). Started in the center and worked my way toward each door. Pull tight as you lay it down in the adhesive, but not too tight to create wrinkles. Went over the top with a rolling pin to make sure it was down tight. Looks like a million bucks, even after 14 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Dave. Am I right in assuming that the top goes in under both front and rear gaskets and that there is a stainless strip that holds it down in the drip rail?
 

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That show musclecar on Spike installed one one the show a few months back. It looked pretty simple, not a lot different than a headliner (a royal PIA) they had one pro and those two guys on the show helping him. I want to say the host said next time he would try it on his own.
 

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I just finished one on my 68 Cougar. Use the 3M adhesive designed for vinyl tops (#08090 I believe). I did pull both windows but I had to put in a new headliner at the same time. The top get wrapped into the window area. Along the drip rails I put in seam sealer prior to painting the roof, put the top on and put more seam sealer on that. Th p.o. pulled the original top and threw away the stainless strips that were on the car :mad: The hardest part was putting the windows and trim back in with enough sealer and then the trim. You need to be real careful with the trim, one slip and you could rip the new top...yeah, yeah I did it :(
 

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Doug, I took the plunge a number of years ago and did my own replacement on a '68 coupe that I owned. A p.o. had done a replacement with a homemade vinyl top....yikes!! Needless to say, a quality repop vinyl top went back on.

The lower pillar moldings were there, but the drip rail inserts were gone. I was able to find a set, but it took awhile AND they were actually off of a '66 coupe. Be aware, the rivet locations are different if you consider this. I ended up filling the drip rail holes and re-drilling to match the '66 holes. Afterward I found out that most professional top installers don't both with re-installing them. Obviously, if you want Concours, this would be an issue.

As others have stated, the top does get tucked under the front and rear glass. If you want to do it yourself, here's a couple of tips:

-Make sure your sheet metal is smooth and flat after your repairs for rust. The vinyl will NOT hide dents,depressions or other deformities. Look at the sheet metal as if you were applying paint.
-Do it on a warm day. Let the top lay out and warm and "relax" in the sun prior to starting.
- Don't use any brush on adhesives, stick with high quality spray. Brushing can allow little "wads" to collect as the glue is being brushed. You WILL see them under the vinyl.
-Measure your vinyl top from seam to seam and find the true center of it at the front and rear. Mark those locations with chalk (on the top surface). Do the same to the front and rear window openings. You can make those marks with a marker or paint pen.
-Apply a narrow line of adhesive down the centerline of the roof and vinyl. Line up you center marks of the roof and top and set this in place first. Your top should be perfectly centered now. Just don't pull too hard to either side as you initially start laying the rest of the vinyl down.
-Do only one half at a time (i.e. the driver's side of the roof). Work from the center outward laying the vinyl down.
-DON'T lift the vinyl up to reposition for small errors. They can generally be smoothed out, if you were being careful to start with. If you lift the vinyl back up, you will get lumps!
-Be extra careful on the pillars. Though they are relatively flat and vertical, they can get tricky if you get too relaxed (you should be nearing the finish line by the time you get to the pillars).
-A second set of hands is VERY nice to have around, though not absolutely necessary.
-Take your time and don't be intimidated by it or feel rushed.
-Make sure the vinyl is tucked into all the nooks and crannies BEFORE final trimming.

Finally, step back and enjoy your hard work!! Actually, it's not really hard, just a little tedious. It's and instant gratification feeling though when you done!! Good luck!!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good advice. Thanks to everyone. Another question, when wrapping the top over the front and rear window openings, do you simply cut small slits in the vinyl for the moulding clip studs to poke through and then is there enough stud left sticking out for the clip to attach to? Also, how far down into the window pinch welds do you take the vinyl? If they wrap all the way inside you would have to take the headliner loose and put the vinyl under it.
 

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I cut slits in mine where it went down under the windshield trim so the clips could be installed. I took the vinyl about 3/4" past where the edge of the windshield trim is.
 

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You can make small cuts at the molding studs. IIRC, I simply made small incisions at their locations so they stuck through the vinyl. They do indeed stick out enough for the moldings to attach to. I ran mine to the edge of the pinch welds. That way the windshield (and rear window) gasket laid over them. With a light bead of sealer in the gasket channel, this keeps water from creeping back under the vinyl.
 

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One more thing to add, there are 2 different types of repop vinyl tops. One is like the original with unbacked vinyl and the other has a white polyester felt like backing. Stay away from the felt backed, its nearly impossible to make it look smooth when gluing it down, the unbacked vinyl is much easier to use. Ive done it twice using both.
 

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Make sure you clean the rust off real good and shoot it with an epoxy primer.

Hopefully your roof isn’t in as bad of shape as my roof was.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Scode68 said:
Make sure you clean the rust off real good and shoot it with an epoxy primer.

Hopefully your roof isn’t in as bad of shape as my roof was.
Hey I know it's a long way to come, but if you're still in need of a good 68 coupe roof I have a parts car in my garage that you would be welcome to if you wanted to drive here and cut it off.
I'll keep the non-backed vinyl in mind when I order a new top. Thanks again everyone.
 
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