View Full Version : How do I remove a vinyl roof covering?

08-05-2003, 02:57 AM
Don't guess it makes a world of difference but this is on my Mopar (a '68 Sport Fury) but you guys are gods of all things old car tech wise :)

So, i've got the vinyl cover off, it came off in sheets like old wall paper. But its left the dried on remains of the glue all over the roof pannel. What I want to do is prep the roof and paint it body colour which I am happy I can make a nice job of - so long as I can get the glue off.

I've tried nitrocellulose thinners, turpintine, gasoline (my three "universal solvents") and none of these shift it at all.

I don't want to go at it with an abrasive (like a wire cup in a grinder) due to the noise (neigbours have been real understanding so far!) and the dust (must be poison) and the fact that the heat might distort the panel and the abrasive may leave scores in the panel which will be a pain to stop up to get the roof looking sweet when sprayed.

So, what will shift this glue?

Ken R.Nissen
08-05-2003, 08:49 PM
Try laquer thinner setting in a puddle for a few minutes to soften old glue then scrape like crazy. Do not do this with out proper ventilation. you will get a bad high.Ken:grin: :grin: :grin:

08-05-2003, 09:32 PM
The vinyl roof was removed on my 67 and the only way to get the glue off was to sand it. We also found that the seams on the roof were not finished at the factory. Apparently (at least for some GM plants) when a car was to get a vinyl roof, the body work was not completed as it was going to be covered with the top and not seen.
You may find out that just getting the glue off may not help you as the roof may now need to be redone to finish it off.
Again, I can't speak for Mopars, but this was the case on my 67 which was built at Flint.
Good luck,

Rusty Davenport
08-05-2003, 09:32 PM
I prefer the razor blade scraper.Much easier and less of a mess than solvents.

08-06-2003, 01:39 AM
I did a few installations and repairs of vinyl tops on GM cars back in the late '60's and early '70's and removing old contact adhesive was never easy.

Depending on the adhesive's current state-- still somewhat soft and rubbery, or hard and brittle, you might choose a different removal method. If it is still rubbery then chemicals might work best, whereas if it is hard and brittle, then dry ice or sanding would be a better bet.

As different lacquer thinners vary in their chemical composition, it is difficult to say just how well any one might work at softening the glue. I would agree with Ken's suggestion that lacquer thinner would work better if held in contact with the surface longer and prevented from evaporating. Try soaking a few sheets of newspaper with it and then covering the newpaper with a plastic sheet for a while. Keep the area well ventilated for your own health and safety.

For physical removal of the stuff you might consider a paint scraper with the long wooden handle and replaceable blade. But exercise caution with it as it is easy to start gouging the metal.

I've also used a menthyl-based paint remover with some success, but it is getting harder to find.

If the old adhesive is hard and brittle, you could try setting pieces of dry ice on it to freeze it and then chip it off with a wood chisel or similar tool.

Sanding with a dsik sander with a fairly course disk (36, 50 grit) might be a good choice for the brittle, but use a respirator. However, this method will require that you go back and sand the top smooth with succesively finer grits before it can be refinished. I've found that using finer grits right from the start on the adhesive eats up a lot of disks since they tend to clog up quickly. But, hey, try it.

Hope this helps.

08-06-2003, 02:28 AM
Thanks guys, thats more suggestions than I got on the Mopar forum! :Brow:

The adhesive is old and brittle. It looks/feels like dried on dirt.

I have the car outside and its 85-90 degrees here right now so thinners are going to evaporate pretty quick.

I guess I'm going to try sanding it off then. Sounds like the best option. I might use a razor scraper for the edges and the corners I can't get into easy with sanding.

The roof panel will all be resprayed (its in primer under the vinyl so Mopar didn't finish them any better than Buick if they were etting a vinyl top) but I was hoping the factory primer would survive so I could work on top of it rather than going to bare metal and etching. We have high humidity here at the moment so I was worried about adhesion.

08-07-2003, 11:44 PM
I just used a razor blade and Goo Gone on mine. The glue came off semi easy, just depended on the part of the roof. Just took a little while.

I would suggest though, letting the Goo Gone soak on the glue for a little while, just a few minutes, and then going to town...

Jim Weise
08-08-2003, 01:59 AM
Acetone and a red scotchbright pad.

We just took the dried glue off a 72 GS full vinyl top, with 2 guys working on it, it took about 2 hours, and we did not remove or even thin the factory primer on the roof panel.. which you don't want to do.

Make sure you protect the painted surfaces, with masking tape, then covered in plastic, with a couple of layers of duct tape.

Works like a charm.


08-11-2003, 06:34 AM
try toluene .

08-15-2003, 09:01 AM
Thanks guys (especially Jim, sounds like a morning's work then)

08-18-2003, 02:55 PM
I was in the auto trim business for over ten years and replaced hundreds of vinyl tops. If the top is off, use a razor blade with a holder (rivet the holder in the open position) to scrape off the old dried glue. Works like a charm. Yes...you will scrape some of the paint/primer, but, so what. Your going to squirt it anyway. Just do the needed prep work and your off to the races.


08-18-2003, 04:11 PM
Thanks Bob.

I'll try that too!

My wife is in the beauty trade so I can get acetone by the gallon sheap. Scotchbrite and razor scrapers it is. Might have a vinyl top removing party round at mine soon! LOL, if it wasn;t like 5000 miles of water I'd invite you all too! :)

Carl Rychlik
08-19-2003, 01:09 PM
I have used '3M's Adhesive Remover' with great results. This is found in a 1 quart can. Once you wipe it on,let it soak, and then finish it off with a razor blade.

01-02-2006, 10:11 PM
3m stoped making that product :( i called them and found out they dropped it from their product line,and wont make it again.

01-03-2006, 08:38 AM
I just removed mine yesterday from my 71 skylark. I believe it was the original top. Used vinyl wash and paint scrapper is all it took. 4 hours later the job was complete, came off really easy. I must note that my car was painted body color from the plant. This might have made the glue more easy to remove. The Quater panel seams were not ioo% completed.

01-03-2006, 10:39 AM
2 1/2 years after the thread was started...

01-03-2006, 11:04 AM
Didn't notice previous dates on thread. I answered yesterdays new post. Anyway, vinyl top removal is an ongoing issue.

01-03-2006, 01:13 PM
crikey, this is a blast from the past :)

Funnily enough I've got another vinyl top to deal with now. Did you guys read my mind? :) :TU: