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  #1  
Old 01-05-2008, 03:39 PM
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107 How to Remove Conv entirely on Frame?

My convertible, in really good shape, even the windows, except....for whatever reason, the thread holding the windows in has been breaking. As we all know, replacing the top entirely costs a lot and is a labor intensive job.

I'd like to try re-stiching the seams along the windows...all shops I've brought it to say no trouble if they can get it under the machine...but if its getting removed from the frame..because of the labor (and it will probably rip anyway), well then I'm just going to put a new top on anyway. We're even attempting, while on the car, thread and needle by hand....not pleasant..not pretty..(any suggestions on that approach?)

But, maybe, if i can remove the entire top WITH THE FRAME easily, and while a bit big, it could then be manipulated under the machine. It seems to be just a couple of nuts on each side (in the well) and maybe a spring or two holding it on. Anyone have some insight on what type of job it would be?
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by IamLostRU View Post
Anyone have some insight on what type of job it would be?
What it would be like to remove the top, still on the frame, then get everything positioned on a sewing machine and work it around to re-sew the windows?

A freaking nightmare. There's absolutely no way I'd try that.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottinSoCal View Post
What it would be like to remove the top, still on the frame, then get everything positioned on a sewing machine and work it around to re-sew the windows?

A freaking nightmare. There's absolutely no way I'd try that.
It might only be a few inches of stitch in one area. might work. I have no idea how to remove the frame.

John Roncallo
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  #4  
Old 01-05-2008, 07:28 PM
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The shop manual confirms that there are only 4 'screws' (bolts), 2 on each side, that secure the frame to the body. They are visible with the top raised in ready-to-fold for storage position underneath the hinges.
I agree however that the job you're envisioning would be extremely difficult. I just received my copy of the Robbins top video covering how to remove and install a new top. There's quite a few detailed steps involved that are difficult to describe in words, but it isn't a job that I'd hesitate to do myself. If your canvas is so deteriorated that it wouldn't survive removal, it's probably not worth the effort anyway. And, if it's an original top, the windows are supposed to be glued in as well as stitched.
My top is in need of new plastic windows, but I can't find a source for just the plastic, and if I did, it would be hard to justify the work of removal, changing the windows (wife does have a leather industrial sewing machine BTW) and re-installation when you can buy a complete top for anywhere between $250.00 and $550.00.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:58 PM
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Thanks all...
If it really is just those couple of nuts to remove the entire frame, with top assembly....which then is only maybe 2" thick at the most (at the back bottom where it touches the rear deck)..that should fit under a sewing machine foot....and reinforcing the few feet of window to binding to cloth...amy just be worth a try. This top is really in good shape otherwise.

The contention installing one on the frame is something to be attempted by anyone other than a really decent upholstery pro...I've always heard different...I've always had cost estimates that prove otherwise...and finally...even all the books show a minimum of 8 hour shop time estimate.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by IamLostRU View Post
The contention installing one on the frame is something to be attempted by anyone other than a really decent upholstery pro...I've always heard different...I've always had cost estimates that prove otherwise...and finally...even all the books show a minimum of 8 hour shop time estimate.
I've had my top replaced on the 78 and paid someone else to do it for exactly the reasons you've listed. But the guy came to my house and changed it in my driveway, so I was front & center for the whole performance. When I replace the top on my 75 I'm doing it myself. There's one area that's at all tricky and that's the front bow. Unlike the back and sides, there's no seam or marking to tell you where it has to go. I watched the guy do it and I won't even hesitate. If I'd just dug up the nerve to even try it myself I wouldn't have had any problem doing it. Taking the old one off told me everything I would have needed to install the new one.

And if what I suspect is true - that I'll be able to do a better, more careful, more detailed installation than the guy I hired bothered to do - I'll be replacing the soft top on my 78 again. He didn't properly line it up to the bows, he didn't properly line up the seams on the sides, he didn't measure the cable from the rear bow to the bow at the top of the back window. I wasn't at all happy with the way it turned out. By taking my time and paying more attention to the details than he did, I think I'll get a better looking and longer lasting install.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:54 PM
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Scott..I've noticed you seem like a reasonable guy in your very helpful posts..& I must agree...even the well experienced shop that installed the top I have on my 107 now...well, I wasn't terribly pleased with. And I'd have no qualms about doing one on my TR6. But, too many people have warned me this particular project is for those more inclined to this type of work (I'm more mechanical than body or upholstery).....but I must agree all that said...the terrible work at absurd fees I've had to endure is something we all should speak out about. While difficult for me, thats because i don't do it daily...give me a few tries.....and I'll figure it out...a little glue here, a little pull there....and it's set...I' sure your right.

But, for now I'd just like to fix the darn seams!
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Old 01-06-2008, 07:10 PM
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Speaking of tops, mine is ripped right at the bottom where it meets the top of the door and where the quarter panel ends Its`seems like its` pulled away from the seam on both sidea about three in" back. and they tell me that it can`t be fixed, But I think it can. Any of you have a correct answer.-- 57 190sl-------TOM
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:35 PM
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Donbryce - you mention that you just need the plastic windows. My top also just needs the windows. Surely there has to be a spec on these we could find here or elsewhere on the web. It seems to make sense that you could just slit one side and insert the replacements - then glue and hand stitch the one side back down. This is what the manual suggests when windows are replaced. Any thoughts on this?
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by imbenzcrazy View Post
Donbryce - you mention that you just need the plastic windows. My top also just needs the windows. Surely there has to be a spec on these we could find here or elsewhere on the web. It seems to make sense that you could just slit one side and insert the replacements - then glue and hand stitch the one side back down. This is what the manual suggests when windows are replaced. Any thoughts on this?
I'm not sure which manual you have. My shop manual (book 2, Service Manual Chassis and Body Model 107) covers this as follows:
Removal
1. Remove roadster top cover (77-305)
2. Separate outer seam on window with a knife and remove window
3. Remove threads remaining on roadster top cover.
Installation
4. Coat back window inside along edge with MB universal glue, part no 000 989 82 71
5. Spread roadster top cover on a flat and clean base
6. Coat inside support for window on roadster top cover with MB universal glue
7.Glue window into cutout of top and let air-dry for 2 hours
(I'll abbreviate from here)
8. Go round window perimeter with sealing compound MB part 000 989 40 20
9., 10., 11. Insert sealing strip around perimeter and sew in window (sealing strip appears to be welting, sewing machine must use a welting foot)
12. Seal inside seam with compound (000 989 40 20).

So, it would appear that the seemingly simple operation of cutting out and replacing the window plastic is somewhat involved. You might get as far as the gluing in stage with the top on the frame, but there is no way around the sewing with a heavy duty industrial machine, equipped with a welting foot if you want the finished job done right with the 'sealing strip' (welt) sewn around the edge of the cloth.
To completely remove a window you'd have to cut all the seams, all round. The replacement would have to be sewn in as described above, as well as glued, and there are 2 seams, 1 including the welt. Not feasible to do this by hand - just try pushing a needle through one of your seam holes, and imagine this with a fresh plastic you'd have to punch a hole through with the needle. Then imagine getting every one of them into the same hole originally punched when the window was first sewn in. Yikes!
Using the right machine, a skilled operator could follow the original seam line and you'd hardly notice the old holes. This cannot be done unless the materials are FLAT and can be manouvered between the foot and the base.
No, all things considered, and even with my wife's machine at hand (and her sewing skills too), I think a new top is the only practical solution, for me anyway. If you have time, navigate to my website and check out the upholstery my wife and I did on my streetrod. We learned a lot.

When I have time, I'm going to start a new thread on members experiences with various top manufacturers. There are a number of them out there, and I'd like some feedback on the quality and pricing of products available, as well as anyone who has done their own installation. This may include a search for replacement window plastic too, as I'm sure someone has done this.
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