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Thread: Convertible top: mechanical problem !

  1. #1
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    Question Convertible top: mechanical problem !

    Since 2 weeks we have warmer weather in Germany and I had time to work at my car. I prepared my parade boot : fixing some older cracks and preparation for painting it. After that I tested the installation and found a big problem : the top canīt be folded down deep enough on the drivers side to install the boot ! Itīs 1.5 to 2 inch to high for the boot (pictures). Also the normal cover canīt be installed.

    Does anyone know what could be the reason and what could be done to get it correct to be able to install the boot ? Probably there is something I could do with the mechanic to get it lower (?). Every suggestions are appreciated !
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    Last edited by The German; 06-08-2010 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Tried to reload pictures but failed ... .
    Rolf

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    Rolf I attached the drawing of the cable. When my top wouldn't fold inward I noticed the screw that held the cable snug (View U ) near the front roof piller was missing and the cable was just hanging loose in the top. Once I re-attached it the top folded up ok.
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    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson

    Rick Martinez

    1973 Centurion 455 convertible - My show & tow car
    1970 GS455 Racecar
    9.25 @ 144.83, 3070 lbs

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    Thanks, Rick, for your information.

    I checked this point short after I got the car and refixed the right one of the side rail cables - the left one was okay. Half a year later I had to refix this side also. So now they both are okay and also I help the top when I drive it down to fold in the exact way. I learned how to do this to get it down deeper than before but only the right side goes deep enough now for the parade boot while the left side still remains a little bit too high.

    Any other ideas ?
    Rolf

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    Again and again I thought about my folding top today and looked to the drawing you posted, Rick. Also I looked for some photos I took of the top earlier and suddenly I had the idea that the mistake could be hidden in the fact that my top is torn open a little at the left side (shown in the first pic down here).
    When the top is down I always have a fold directly below the bow at the left side (next two pics). Perhaps that is the reason why it can not go down deeper.

    Up to now the little rip was no problem for me because itīs not falling hard into the eyes when the top is up. And also I have no hole in that region while driving. So I thought it could remain as it is for some more years. But now I will drive to a convertible top specialist next spring and ask whether it would be possible to fix that rip. Up to now I thought "wait some years until the top has some other weak parts, then replace it with a new one". But perhaps a specialist knows how to fix such a rip and perhaps afterwards I can drive down the top deep enough for the parade boot; that would be wunderful !

    What is your opinion or experience - is there a possibility to fix such a rip and could this rip be the reason for the other problem ?

    Often I saw pictures of convertibles with the same problem in that region, so probably there is someone who has experience with such problems. Would be nice if everyone who could give advice would not hesitate to post it here!
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    Rolf

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    Rolf, that is a very common spot for those tops to fail. As long as I can remember, that rip was there. I had made one attempt for a shop to repair it when I bought the car, but he nevr got to it. So I don't know if it can be fixed or not. But now that you mention it, that could be your problem - the top probably is folding wrong with that rip there.
    Adam Martin
    BPG# 1358
    BCA# 39765
    1970 Buick Skylark Custom 455 Coupe


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    Thanks, Adam; hope that someone of our group here will tell us more about repair possibilities. Iīm convinced that this car is not the only one with such a problem so that we are not the only men who asked for help.
    Perhaps someone here has the searched experience or special ideas regarding the problem (?).

    ===>> ? ? : !
    Last edited by The German; 11-25-2008 at 11:18 AM.
    Rolf

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    Rolf,

    Are you pulling the top fabric, and the pad out from between the top bows, as you're lowering the top? I do this when the top is halfway down. It allows the top to fold lower, and it cuts down on top wrinkles.

    Randy

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    I donīt know, Randy, I pulled the fabric and the pads only into the direction where it seems that they have to be. Perhaps itīs the same but I donīt know - have to look for and test it next time (now itīs too cold in my garage - only ca.38°F !).

    Thanks, Randy, for this advice; hope it will help.
    Rolf

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    There is an adjustment at the base of the side arm that sets this height. If you have access to the factory convertible roof adjustment manual it shows where it is.

    My memory may be off but I think it's visible when the roof is folded. If you look down inside the roof well you'll see a bolt in an oval slot. I think that's the one that you need. If you want to adjust it I suggest you carefully mark where it is now so you can get back if it doesn't work. This is one of the places where the roof is bolted to the car and you are shifting it slightly forward and back. I can't remember which way does what.

    If I remember right the roof is supposed to have an inch of bounce when folded. More tension makes it easier to raise the roof but the stack folds higher. Lower makes it harder for the roof to rise from fully folded but it settles deeper in the well.

    The manual has a specific order for making the adjustments because each change affects all the others.

    If you can find an expert on these roofs I suggest you get one of the roof bushing kits that have recently turned up on eBay. I also recommend you cut your roof back right where you have that rip and grind any sharp edges off the arm. I think those edges are part of the reason it always rips in the same spot.

    Take the bushings and have your expert install them and a new roof. Then he can adjust it properly. I ask the shop to leave the roof a little loose in that spot. It wrinkles a little but it prevents or delays that rip.

    The roof is actually 2 peices. The rear window and it's canvas and then a shell that fits over that. If your window is fine you can have them just replace the shell. The last time I had mine done the two peices cost about the same, so you can save some money if you don't need to replace both.

    Those side cables are CRITICAL to your roofs workings. Check them every time the roof folds. You know you're going to watch it fold so just take a moment to make sure the cables are still attached at all 3 points. If you fold the roof too often with these cables out of place the frame can actually bend itself.

    The plastic they screw into strips out very easily. The cables need to pivot around that screw so don't try to tighten that screw too much. Unfortunately this means they tend to unscrew themselves and disappear. I used a larger screw but the right way is to replace the black peice they screw into. I don't think this can be done with the roof in place so it might be another item to gather before you have the roof replaced.

    I hope you can find an online version of that top adjustment manual it has all the details.

    Good Luck,
    John

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    Thanks a lot, John, for your again so detailled information !

    It sounds to be difficult to adjust the roofs mechanism, so I first will only look for the height adjustment screw but do nothing.)* Until spring Iīll try to find a good specialist - guess thatīs the best way.

    My top still is good enough, only the rip and the adjustment has to be done. Hope that this will be possible.
    ____________________
    )*: Had to search a little but now found what you refered to - itīs shown in the following pictures, correct ?
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    Rolf

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    Good info there John. It had me stumped.
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson

    Rick Martinez

    1973 Centurion 455 convertible - My show & tow car
    1970 GS455 Racecar
    9.25 @ 144.83, 3070 lbs

  12. #12

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    That's the page I was thinking of!

    It really is very simple. Synchronising the top mechanisms means unscrewing the drive cable from each actuator. Do this with the top up and latched. It's very easy. Just tuck your head over the back of the rear seat and look for a cable on each side. It looks like a speedometer cable. Unscrew the collar then screw it back on. Repeat on the other side. No tools required. This could fix your problem all by itself.

    If your roof has any problems raising or stalls this is the very first thing to do. I have to synchronise mine once every couple of months for some reason. If the roof header does not sit level with the trunk (when folded) you're probably out of synch.

    Then lower the roof and look for the adjustment shown in the diagram. You only need to loosen and adjust nut "A" in the diagram.

    MARK THE STARTING POSITION BEFORE YOU ADJUST IT.

    Then loosen the nut. If you lift the arm of the roof a bit you'll see the slot slide back and forth along the stud. You're trying to set it with 1 inch of bounce. That means you can press the folded arm down about an inch before it hits something solid. You don't need to lean on it, just press it down with 1 hand.

    You can probably do both of these adjustments for both sides of your roof in 20 minutes if you work really slowly.

    John.
    Last edited by 73 Centurion; 11-26-2008 at 11:31 AM.

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    Hey, now it sounds easier, John ! Seems as if you are a good teacher !
    Thanks a lot again, John !

    Okay, Iīll try to adjust it myself if we will get some warmer days within the next weeks. Your advices are copied to my special "help-yourself-when-having-Centurion-problems-box" ! Guess some others here will do so too.

    Great that we have so much friends with their special know-how on this site.

    Thanks again to all who gave their advice or thought about how to give advice to me in this case!

    Iīll tell you about my success (or the result of my adjustment) later.
    Rolf

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    Now we had several days with bright sunshine and really warm temperature in Germany, but I had no time to drive my car or to work at it until today. Now, this afternoon, I had some free hours. First I drove it for nearly 2 hours and then I loosened the screw you told me about, John, a 2nd time and got the top move down another half an inch. (I told you about the first step some weeks ago within another thread.) Now it sits deep enough for the parade boot - !

    That means I will get the boot out of the cellar and prepare it for installation within the next weeks. Guess I will paint it blue so that it will match the color of the cars interior. Iīm sure this will give the car a new look.

    THANKS again, John, for your helpful advice !
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    Rolf

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    The hard boot is supposed to be body color.

    Great job getting the top down! Nice..
    Adam Martin
    BPG# 1358
    BCA# 39765
    1970 Buick Skylark Custom 455 Coupe


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    I know that, Adam; on the other hand the soft boot is blue and gives the white car some contrast which also would be achieved with a blue hard boot. A white boot also is a good possibility but for me the blue color looks more interesting.

    I tested it with a photo which I painted with a white and a blue boot (picture down here). Itīs not the best photo of the car, but guess it allows getting an impression about the difference of the colors. If the car would have another color I would paint the boot in body color, but the white car wins with interior color of the boot - in my opinion.

    What are your thoughts after looking to the pic ?
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    Rolf

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    Rolf,
    That looks really good how you got the top as low as it is now.
    But if it was my car, I would paint the parade boot in body color.
    Amazing how long the car looks when itīs body color.
    And in most cases itīs not possible to mix a color that matches exactly the interior color.


    Peter

    72 Centurion Hardtop 455
    57 Chevy Bel Air, frame-off resto at the moment
    64 T-Bird Hardtop 390 - SOLD - badly missing her
    57 Cadillac Fleetwood, S.O. car: dual quad setup

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    Rolf,
    I would too go for the body color on the Parade Booth, but I understand your thinking with the contrast having it blue.
    You should do whatever feels right for you
    Per

    Buick Centurion two door hardtop 1973
    Hyundai Santa Fe 2006
    Honda Accord 2009
    Cadillac Seville STS 1999

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    Thanks for your thoughts, Peter and Per. I still have time enough to think about the color and I can test the white because the boot is white at the moment. I had to repair some cracks but it still has nearly white color all around. So after finishing with the fasteners I will install it to see how it looks ... .
    Rolf

  20. #20

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    Here's a strange thought for you. Leave the boot white but put 2 blue pinstripes that line up with the rear upholstery. It would help the exterior and interior flow together.

    John
    Livin' Large.

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