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C4 Corvette Convertible Top Replacement...
C4 Corvette Convertible Top Replacement - Just Top This!
Installing A New Convertible Top On Your C4 Is Possible
By Chris Petris, Photography by Chris Petris, Hope Petris
April 11, 2007
Rear weatherstrip retainer removal can be aggravating since there's a screw buried under the adhesive in the top corner. Screw length is critical here. If you replace any vertical weatherstrip retainer screws, make sure it's the same length. Longer screws will prevent the top from lowering completely.
9: Rear weatherstrip retainer removal can be aggravating since there's a screw buried und
Once the rear vertical weatherstrip retainer is removed, we can remove the top material retainers. The screws can be tight. Always blow out (via compressed air) the accumulated dirt and debris from the screw head before trying to loosen them. These hard-to-find top material retainers are plastic and sometime stick to the material, so be careful pulling them up.
10: Once the rear vertical weatherstrip retainer is removed, we can remove the top materi
At the rear bow, we removed this weatherstrip previously and just threw it away. This is the one weatherstrip we have never been able to save. Once it's glued in position, it always tears on removal, so plan on replacing the rear-bow weatherstrip. These retainers are the only means of mechanical convertible-top material retention. We rely on them during top installations to keep the top material in place.
11: At the rear bow, we removed this weatherstrip previously and just threw it away. This
Before you finish ripping off the old top, disconnect the rear-window defogger wiring from both sides of the rear glass. If you raise and lower your top a lot, check the wiring for wear at the connectors. If you convert to a glass top from a plastic top, the wiring is provided in the kit for it to operate properly. On the plus side, GM has provided the wiring under the carpet near the frame pivot points for a quick hookup on a retrofit.
12: Before you finish ripping off the old top, disconnect the rear-window defogger wiring
My wife Hope came up with this really slick idea to remove the old weatherstrip adhesive. She applies the Xylene-soaked cloth strips in the retainers to soften the glue. After a little while, the adhesive comes out with ease. We originally would soak the retainers in Xylene, but every time we did, the entire finish coat would come off the retainers, requiring a lot of extra work.
13: My wife Hope came up with this really slick idea to remove the old weatherstrip adhes
Before you lay the top on, take a minute to knock the staples back into position. They're not visible when the top is on, but eventually they wear at the inside of the top material. Check the center-bow staples as they will also back out over time. The top of the rear bow has the soft-sided Velcro applied to it to prevent glass scratches during top lowering. If it's in bad shape, replace it now.
14: Before you lay the top on, take a minute to knock the staples back into position. The
This is the crucial part of the top installation. If the top positioning is off here, the entire top placement will suffer. We originally would glue the top material around the rear bow by measuring carefully and hoping that the top was in the correct position when we got to the sides. We then realized that gluing the vertical section first made more sense. This procedure allows the top material to find its own relaxed position and avoid wrinkles or too tight areas.
15: This is the crucial part of the top installation. If the top positioning is off here,
This is what a correctly positioned top looks like. The corner is covered, and the material welting is right on top of the vertical raised edge. When the plastic retainer strip is installed, it has a tendency to pull the welting inward which won't allow the weatherstrip to lay flat. We push the material into the recess for the retainer to avoid welting misplacement. Now is a good time to take a break and let the adhesive dry for 30 minutes. The lower vertical portion of the convertible-top material can slide around if the adhesive isn't totally dry.
16: This is what a correctly positioned top looks like. The corner is covered, and the ma
We pulled the top material over the rear bow in preparation of applying adhesive. This is another crucial step in proper fit. The idea is to let the material seek its "happy place" and roll the edge over the lip of the bow. Once the material is in place, the adhesive is applied while rolling the material over the edge and holding it in place for a few minutes. The convertible top has two pieces of material to be glued on the rear section of the bow, while the sides only use one piece of material for retention.
17: We pulled the top material over the rear bow in preparation of applying adhesive. Thi
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By Chris Petris
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