The convertible top you have in place now is starting to look pretty ratty, so you know replacement is in your near future. If you are like a lot of convertible owners, you will research a little and decide this is a project you can do on your own. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about convertible top replacement that you need to know before you get started. Otherwise, you could end up halfway through a major project you are overwhelmed by.
Misconception: Installing a convertible top is a simple, straightforward process.
Fact: There is a good reason why most people just hire a professional body mechanic to replace a convertible top: it is a highly complex job that requires many different steps to accomplish. This is a fact that you would never guess by looking. However, from keeping the top supported during installation because of its heft to making sure the sections overlap precisely, there is a lot of room for error and a lot of small details to be considered.
Misconception: Installing a convertible top doesn't usually take a lot of tools or materials.
Fact: You might have your basic toolbox and assume that you have all you need for this project, but you will probably gain a lot of new tools and materials during a convertible top installation that you would never dream you would need. A few examples include:
- carburetor cleaner to remove old adhesives
- wooden planks for support
- flat steel anvil to weigh down folds during installation
- silicone sealer for finishing
- threadlockers for hardware installation
Misconception: You can usually finish the project within a few hours.
Fact: Removing an old convertible top and replacing it is a project that you should fully expect to take a few days to complete. Just removing the old top and all of its already existing components is a process that can take several hours because you will spend a lot of time removing old adhesives and sealers to ensure the new top goes in place properly. Besides, once you have replaced the top with a new version and added new adhesives and sealers, you will need to wait several hours for everything to dry.
In the end, installing a convertible top can be a trying feat even if you have prior experience. If you would like to know more about convertible top installation, talk to an auto body professional at a location such as Fred's Auto Interiors for advice.