Vinyl Top install

Discussion in 'Color is everything!' started by Mr Big, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Mr Big

    Mr Big Silver Level contributor

    I just received my top ordered from SMS. It was made using NOS material purchased from them.

    I laid it out on the car and it appears to fit well. I no nothing about installing a top, so I'm not sure what to expect. There are a number of wrinkles in the top from shipping and packaging, some are located along the heat pressed seams as well.

    What is next?
    What method should I use to get the top to lay down smooth on the car before I start the install?

    Was hoping to get the wrinkles out even if I hire a pro to do the actual install.

    Attached Files:

  2. gusszgs

    gusszgs Well-Known Member

    I got to exactly the point where your at and chickened out!:laugh:
    Mine was laid out on the roof with wrinkles all over and I thought....forget it. I'd just butcher it, so off to the pro it went and it turned out perfect. Jim
  3. TXGS

    TXGS Paint by numbers 70 GS 455 4spd

    I have done this with the help of a proffesional. I think I agree with the statement Jim made.

  4. pphil

    pphil Well-Known Member

    i just called upholstery concepts in galitan (sp)
    and they quoted me a great price on a vinyl top installation
    for my wildcat:grin: :grin: :grin:


    pm me for the price or call me at 255-4498
  5. RG67BEAST

    RG67BEAST Platinum Level Contributor

    Best take it to a pro. if you never did it before. They'll have it on in a 1/2 hour or less if already cleanly prepped in the window channels. I've did a few but only after watching a couple being installed. There are little tricks like stretching the vinyl if it needs it and the proper tools for a fast install.
  6. Duane

    Duane Member

    If this is what I think it is, a 70 Burnished Saddle vinyl top, then my suggestion is this, give it to a professional to install.

    If this is your first try at a top, you should pick a black one to do first, not one with NOS material.

    Now once you pick out the shop, take measurements with you to let the guy know where the front a-piller folds should be, as well as where the folds should be below the rear window.

    PS. Those puckers at the seams should come right out.
  7. stg1john

    stg1john Member

    I've done a few of these myself, lay the top out on the car and roll it outside in the sun the wrinkles will dissapear, my biggest question is what do you seal or protect the new top with? I hate the greasy crud that runs down the car.
  8. jimhirt

    jimhirt 1970 Stage 1 19A, 1970 GS


    The wrinkles may come out with some free ultra violet rays. But may contract
    to same postion when it cools down.

    FYI... Upholstery Concepts were the ones that did my 70 convertible.
  9. Dale

    Dale Sweepspear

    Wow! nice to see they give you plenty of material.
    I'm waiting for samples from SMS.
    I've been going back and forth in my head as to whether I want to do it myself, or have a shop do it when I get to that point.

    The thing that puzzles me is, getting that drip rail trim off without destroying it.

    Duane, what makes Burnished Saddle more tricky than any other color?
    (That's the color my Riviera uses.)
  10. Duane

    Duane Member

    Dale asks,
    "Duane, what makes Burnished Saddle more tricky than any other color?"

    The deal with the 70 burnished saddle/dark brown is that it is a discontinued color. This means if you want it, you need to find either NOS vinyl or rolls of material that were made at least 10 years ago, because that's about how long it has been discontinued.

    Therefore, if you are willing to pay for the right material, and I mean PAY, then that is not the top you need to learn on.

    If you want to learn, pick a black or white top, that way if you f*** it up, you can throw the inexpensive top away and get another one.
    Does this clear it up?
  11. Mr Big

    Mr Big Silver Level contributor

    Thanks guys for the tips and comments...

    I had SMS heat press those lower rear window and front A pillar seams (I gave them the measurements off of a 70 parts car I have) they look about right just laying on the car. If the rear lower window seams don't work out because of the contours, I have plenty of extra material to do the rear seams again. (on the car)

    I will certainly find an expert to install this thing.
    Wish me luck.
  12. Mr Big

    Mr Big Silver Level contributor

    What do think are the chances this top will work out around the back window area? Particularly that it's already seamed. Being the meddler I am it was my idea to have them to finish the lower seams. The more I look at it and the contours of the rear window; I wonder if that wasnt a goof I'll have to overcome.
  13. Duane

    Duane Member

    I wasn't trying to be nasty, I just didn't want to see my buddy Glen possibly damaging something that expensive, because if I wasn't firm with my answer I figured he would try it anyway. I know him.

    Here is a quicky trick to get off the drip rail trim. Get an old fashoned bottle/can opener and tape up the bottle cap opener end, this will cushion the tool against the trim, and then gently take the trim off a little at a time.

    When we did tops we never got any seams (other then the 2 heat-sealed seams) put into the tops. That way we could stretch the material as needed to get out the wrinkles and we had the option to physically install the seams (on the piller posts & below the rear window) exactly were they were suposed to be.

    Your installer may end up cutting the top and hand creating the seams under the window.

  14. Dale

    Dale Sweepspear

    That's cool. :beer

    So, it rolls off (if that's the term) from the roof side down torwards the glass?
    I've got a few of those old bottle openers around, I'll carefully give it a try.

  15. Duane

    Duane Member


    No it rolls off upwards towards the roof.
    One thing about the can openers, sometimes they get an edge on them from when they were pressed out. If the rough edge is there, make sure you file it off before you wrap it with tape. Otherwise it will dig through the tape and mark the chrome pieces.
  16. PaulGS

    PaulGS Well-Known Member

    I agree on having a pro do it.

    It is one of those jobs that is easy to f**K up but hard to get right.

    My grandfather used to tell me: "Never take a step longer than your leg"...:)
  17. Mr Big

    Mr Big Silver Level contributor

    I was looking at it again last night...

    Duane, I'll take your advice and won't chance it.
    Might be hard to get more NOS material.

    As soon as warm weather gets here, I'll put the car in the sun and see what happens to the top. Hopefully I can find a local professional willing to work with me. Meanwhile there is other work to be done to ready the car for the top. (I think I can do that part) :laugh:

    Another question:
    When this car was painted in the 80's naturally they removed the factory nails which hold the stainless trim. Anyone use the weld on nails sold by Eastwood? They appear to look and function much the same as the ones installed at the factory.
  18. Richie

    Richie Well-Known Member

    Can you post the dimensions that you gave to SMS?
  19. Richie

    Richie Well-Known Member

    The GS I am doing has a green top and i want to make sure I give them the correct information. thanks
  20. Mr Big

    Mr Big Silver Level contributor

    Over the past few years I looked at a bunch of Buick hardtops. I found if you go to a couple of Buick shows and look closely you will find Vinyl top seams all over the place. So obviously there are different opinions on what will work.

    I believe my measurements to be accurate, but I must offer a disclaimer. They came from (2) well used parts cars one built in Flint and one in Ca. If I were in your shoes, I would find a local car "virgin" top and do my own measurements. Trust your own eyes.:kodak:

    These are the measurements I gave to SMS:

    The top seams were approximately 42- 42-1/2" apart. My A-pillar seams were 1-1-1/2" down from the top of the windshield. The rear window seams were aligned approximately at the filer panel seam and measure 51-51-1/2".

    The seams on the (2) cars measured very close to one another within perhaps (1/2"). They also appeared to be positioned very much as on the original cars I had seen. More so, the original pictures of my Stage 1 clearly show the same original seam alignment. So I'm satisfied once installed the top will look the way I intended.

    Please do your homework carefully to be sure you get the results desired. :3gears:

Share This Page