The comments contained herein are the sole opinions of the contributors, and should be used with appropriate consideration of possible errors of omission, commission, or lack of sufficient information.

Section Editor - Larry Paulick

Section O - Body
Page 7

Hard Top (Page B)

Subject: Hardtop rear trim installation tips?
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 10:19:21 -0700
From: Steve Laifman - B9472289-
To: Bennett Cullen-P21988-

> Steve,
> I'm thinking about buying Chris Vaughn's rear window trim for the old
> hardtop that I have scheduled to rebuild someday. He said that you had
> a tech tip on installing it. He also said that SS had the clips to hold
> it on, are you familiar with them?
> Cullen Bennett
> Tempe, Arizona USA


Yes. Rick was no help at all on how to use the things, and they looked all wrong, with the way he described it. At Big Bear there were only two Tigers that did it right.

BUT, having said that, it isn't an easy job. First, you must be sure you have a good fitting rear window. If it's from CAT, forget it. I bought a new one from Rick, plus his new rubber and clips.

Everybody tries to tell you how to install those clips, once they've got the window in place. Forget it. It can't be done. That's why so many are lost. The tab from the clip fits between the rubber and the top after it has joined the two halves top and bottom, and has been slipped into the slit in the rubber that holds the trim. That straight leg lies directly inside the flat are that goes under the inner edge of the window hole, fitting nicely on the rubber.

Even installing the trim is extremely difficult if the window is installed, as the outer edge of the trim goes around the outside of the rubber edge, and in a slit on the rubber surface. The rear window, rubber, and trim are installed as a unit. You must run a 'rope' around the entire top gripping inside slot and push the mother in from outside, while someone inside is pulling the rope out to let the lip get and the inside of the top metal edge.

My headliner was in-place and around the window edge, so the rubber could grip it. If it's too thick, then make sure that the liner is glued to the top in that area, and the inner piece of rubber gets over it. It's a progressive job, cleaning up the waxy crud they put on windshield and back light rubber, as an installation assist lubricant (you need it) has to be removed with a special solvent.

I had some gypsy installers, who go around to the body shops, come to my house and install the windshield and rear window glass, as well as install the windshield, stainless surround trim and adjust the shims. I did the rivet stuff. It didn't cost anything like what the retail glass shops wanted, and they did a great job. Need to find out from the good body shops that they use.

-- Steve Laifman - B9472289

Subject: hard top pieces
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 17:29:27 -0700
From: Steve Laifman - B9472289-
To: James Barrett-

My recommendations:

Replaced my headliner with SS perforated original design (off-white). Need the correct top bows, in the correct order. Need to get all that old Navy surplus burlap and cracked tar off the underside and replace with the rubber stick-on's from the auto paint store. 12" squares. Need two across and 1 and 1/12 front/rear. Three 12 inch squares, total. Very quite now.

Steve Laifman - B9472289

Subject: Hard Top Trim
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 11:21:48 -0800 Steve Laifman
To: Stu Brennan

Stu Brennan wrote:

> I'm reinstalling the trim strips around the rear window my Tiger factory
> hard top. Or, I should perhaps say installing because they've never
> been on the top during my ownership. I have the two clips, replacements
> that I bought probably in the late '70s, but I want to be sure of what
> to do with them. The originals did not come with the car.
> The outer part that matches the contour of the trim is easy to figure
> out. There is, however, a tab on the back that now would be sticking
> straight into the gasket and top, but I'm guessing that this is supposed
> to be crimped down against the backside of the trim strip to hold it in
> place. Am I right? If not, then what?
> Is this usually enough to hold the strips in place, or have some of you
> added a little adhesive or RTV or something?
> Stu Brennan

Most have this installed incorrectly, per my survey at the Big Bear Concour. That straight piece of the clip should not be bent. It is supposed to stick straight forward. Sunbeam Specialties has new Stainless ones if yours are in bad shape.

The trick is:

1) The Plexiglas must be shaped and sized properly. Some replacements do not fit well. Once again, Rick at Sunbeam Specialties has a correct window.

2) The rubber must be of new, good quality with the proper shape and contours and that waxy assembly crud that you need a special remover to get off (mine was installed in my garage by guys that go to body shops and homes and know their stuff and have the solvents. Same with front windshield). Once again, Rick at Sunbeam Specialties has a correct rubber, specially molded in his own mold.

3) The window is installed into the rubber, and centered first. The stainless trim and clips are installed next. At this point you will discover that those flat tabs lay flush against the ribbed rubber that is supposed to go into the window steel rimmed hole.

4) A pull rope is installed in the rubber groove and the window is put into the hard top from the outside to the inside. Here is where you should have your top mounted to align all the metal and secure the movement from the installation pushing and pulling. The interior headliner should already be glued down in back, with a fold over the window lip.

5) The window/rubber/trim is inserted into the window hole and those tabs stay against the rubber and fit through the top hole at top and bottom. This will trap that clip in a very tight sandwich. The rope is pulled on the inside to get the rubber lip over the window steel edge as it is being pushed from the outside. A two man job.

When you are done, you will no longer see that flat piece, as it is firmly sandwiched between the rubber and the top. The inner edge of the stainless trim should have remained in the rubber slit, and the outer edge curled lip should contain the outer edge of the rubber. This may not lay flat against the top, depending upon how straight everything is.

Good Luck,

Subject: :Hard Top Trim
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 18:48:54 -0800
From: Tom Hall
To: Stu Brennan

>I'm reinstalling the trim strips around the rear window my Tiger factory
>hard top. Or, I should perhaps say installing because they've never
>been on the top during my ownership. I have the two clips, replacements
>that I bought probably in the late '70s, but I want to be sure of what
>to do with them. The originals did not come with the car.
>The outer part that matches the contour of the trim is easy to figure
>out. There is, however, a tab on the back that now would be sticking
>straight into the gasket and top, but I'm guessing that this is supposed
>to be crimped down against the backside of the trim strip to hold it in
>place. Am I right? If not, then what?
>Is this usually enough to hold the strips in place, or have some of you
>added a little adhesive or RTV or something?
>Stu Brennan

The normal failure mode of the trim is for the two side pieces to work their way sideways until they pop out of the rubber. It has already been pointed out to you that the original installation was probably made with the stainless trim already installed in the window seal assembly. I've found it very handy to drill a pair of holes on the lower step of the top and bottom of the side trim pieces before installation. When in place, you can lace a thin strand of stainless wire through the opposing holes to tie and pull the two halves together. The trick is to twist the wire ends together and bend the resulting curl flat against the rubber. The center clip is then only required to cover this tie. It requires a lot of "fitting" with long nose pliers to get the center pieces to lay flat, but they are no longer being pushed out by the ends of the larger side trim pieces.


Subject: Re: Hard Top Trim
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 12:34:24 -0800
From: Steve Laifman-
To: "Bob, Jerry (LBOB)"-

"Bob, Jerry (LBOB)" wrote:

> Steve,
> Do you have tips on how to best install the hardtop to windshield frame
> seal. I am replacing all the rubber on my hardtop and am having a
> tough time getting the seal into the channel on the hardtop.
> Thanks,
> Jerry


This was kind of tough. First, I would use new rubber, as you need the flexibility. Second, I would get two plastic 1 1/2 inch "putty" spatulas. Third, I would get a friend to help.

Putting the hard top on a pad, upside down, saves a lot of agony. You need to push the rubber lip under one clip lip, hold it there with the spatula (which may help inserting it to begin with) You want to slide it under the lip, not tear the rubber. Then, while holding the rubber in place, put the other spatula in the groove between the lip and the seal and compress it towards the opposite lip, while trying to get the rubber lip over the edge of the other clip side and allowing it to slip in. I haven't mentioned front or rear preference, as it depends on your skills and access. It doesn't matter, if you're consistent.

Just keep working down along the clip, in a similar fashion. Don't stretch the seal as you go, and try to slide it a little to assure there is no tension being built up. You may want to pull a little (holding the already installed section down, to get it a little thinner, but must remove the stretch before going on.

There is a sheet metal screw on each end to keep it in place. If you have good rubber (Sunbeam Specialties and Classic Sunbeam carry good new parts) you should never have to use cement on any rubber ( a sure sign of amateur work or bad rubber).

Make sure your channel clips aren't bent or distorted before you start.
On the rear rubber seal, there are two designs. The early design uses a 3 piece flat rubber surface, with a similar shape on the top for similar clips. All rubber seal clips on doors and tops are like this. The later design used a softer foam seal in one piece. The retaining strips are the same, with the exception of a short piece in the back corners to allow the rubber to be held as it turns the top's corner. The corner pieces are much smaller on the inside, and can be made by cutting the original shape to clear the wrap-around seal rubber. A triangular bit of metal, and a few sheet metal screws hold it to the top. This is how the later tops were built.

I believe this is a much better design, seals better, and has a lesser tendency to rub your paint. It allows the top to move, while the soft rubber accepts deformation and doesn't move on the paint surface.

Pressure, and heat, however, can leave a line. I've designed a static cling clear plastic protector for the top. My original was one piece, but it took too large a piece of expensive film. My next project is to make it in three pieces, left/right and center. It is applied to a clean waxed surface with a little water on the surface. A soft shower squeegee is used to remove the water and the bubbles and it sticks all winter (and even summer with the top off) yet peals off easily. Mine has a mark from the top. A straight line and a little rubbing from those corner tips. But the film peels off easily, with no paint damage.

Thinking of marketing them, but most graphics places don't stock the clear heavy duty static film (I didn't want any adhesive against my paint, like the Corvette.) This plastic is what they use for "meat balls" racing numbers, but these manufacturer's don't seem interested in small specialty jobs. I could make up a paper/back sheet, with the correct shape drawn on, and let the user cut it out with a scissors, like I did. Easier for me, but don't know how many are interested to meet the minimum order requirements for the material.

Steve Laifman ---

Subject: Parts-Bin Engineering
Date: Sat, 07 Nov 1998 12:16:49 -0500
From: Alvin and Lucille Johnson-Organization: NA
To: "James E. Pickard"-

> I need a right rear window latch
> for my hardtop. Anybody got one? It is the only part I lack, and with
> Jan. approaching (we have two seasons in the South, summer and Jan.)
> a functional hardtop may not be a bad idea!
> Jim Pickard
> B9473298

It's the same latch as used on a Triumph Spitfire fastback hardtop, which may prove easier to find.

Al J.

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