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 8

Soft Top

RE: Lowering top on early Tiger
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 04:24:45 -0800
From:(Armand & Lorie Ritchie)

>Hi all, I'm a fairly new Tiger owner. The car is a '64 MKI, with a hard
>boot for the convertible top. Although the car is mostly original (85K
>miles, un-restored), I think that the top is fairly recent. It's been in my
>wife's family since 1970, but the person who would know is no longer
>Anyway, after our best attempts, we can't get the top down far enough to
>get the hard boot to close. The center section (hoops, header rail, window)
>seems to stow well enough, but we can't get the side rails to fold down far
>enough for the side covers to flip up. It's far enough that we can drive it
>with no problem, but I'd like to be able to get the boot closed. It seems
>like the problem is more in the frame than in the top material itself. I
>don't want to risk tearing the top, so we haven't tried to force the frame
>any further.
>A fellow Tiger owner, with a soft boot, says that he has a hard time
>getting his down even far enough to put the soft boot on.
>Any help would be appreciated!
>Jeff & Elea Feit

Hi Jeff, we also just acquired a early Tiger with the metal top covers. What I do is push the widow down first to the bottom of the space, then I put in the header rail that attaches to the windshield. I make sure that it is all down as far as it can go and then I fold in the frame last. Make sure you tuck in the top around the edges near the side covers, that's were it usually hangs up. Also you might want to put a little oil on the hinge points of the top frame.

Hope this helps.

Regards Armand Ritchie B9470219Armand & Lorie Ritchie

Subject: 'Soft Top Installation
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 10:17:18 -0600
From: "John Crawley"-
To: Colin Cobb-

For those of you that have great manual dexterity, lots of patience and are truly crazy do-it-your-selfers I post this method of top installation. For those of you that are not so inclined I include the same instructions at no extra cost as you may wish to supply these to the upholstery shop that you choose to install your top. I do not profess to be a qualified upholster but I do have some knowledge as my sister owns a upholstery shop. She did not help with this installation but I used the principals that she taught me.

I INSTALLED a Robins top PURCHASED FROM CAT. This may or may not be the correct way to install TIGER "weather equipment" but it did work for me. YOU TAKE YOUR CHANCES IF YOU FOLLOW THIS! READ this ALL BEFORE you start.

The entire top may be fitted with glue and duct tape to ensure that you know what you are doing BEFORE you punch any holes. Practice FIRST. Sandblast and paint the top-bows or finish them by industrial plating before you start.

1. Adjust the tension rods. (See following)

2. Adjust the Top-bow webbing (see following)

3. Ensure that the Top-bow pivots (on the top of the B posts) are adjusted and function perfectly. Check that the top-bow side-window surround fits the side windows when they are in the up position. The thin metal pieces that the top pivots on are the most delicate part of the top assembly. If they are bent the top will not fit the side windows.

If 1,2,3 are not done properly you will never get the top to fit. Your side glass must also be correctly adjusted in the door to ensure that they do not lean too far in or out.

4. Place the new top over the top-bows. Align the front cross seam over the non-folding, front top-bow. The rear cross seam should line up over the rear, folding, cross-bow if the top-bow web is correctly fitted.

5. The vertical seam at the rear of the side window openings should line up with the vertical post of the top bow. The seam at the bottom of the top should touch the body of the car on both sides at this point. If not, center the top.

6. Replace the Velcro on the top bow stays if required. Use book binders tape or duct tape to hold the hood on to the Velcro (Remember Velcro sticks best if it is rubbed down several times). Do not leave this tape on for more than a few hours or the glue will mark the top

7. Tape the Top-bow-to-Windscreen rubber to the top of the windscreen.. Now tape the top to the chrome of the wind screen surround.

8. Use GEL TYPE contact cement on the top-bow uprights and then on the top to glue the vertical seam to the upright. GEL contact cement will not melt the plastic that the top is made of. It also will not string out and get all over everything and it will clean off. Let both sides dry and then make contact. Do not bunch holes for the screws that hold this area on to the top bows at this time. It is essential, though, that the top be tight from side to side, over the top bows.

9. Brush contact cement on the rear cockpit cowling and on the rubber edging that finishes the cockpit. Attach the edging to the car after both surfaces are dry. If the rubber trim is new use a white marker on the rubber to pin point the screw holes in the rear cowling metal. If you are re-using the rubber, line the screw holes up with the screw holes in the metal. You may now put a screw in each end of the rear trim, pulling gently outward from center on each side.

10. From inside the car pull the rear of the hood back - at the center (not too hard as it is better to be loose than too tight). Locate the center hole in the aluminum trim and screw through it and the top into the center screw hole in the rear cowl. this is the first hole that you will put into the new hood and your stomach will tie into knots here.

11. Check that the hood fits correctly at the back. The flap that contains the snap and the "Lift-a-dot" must fit flat on to the car body. The rear edge of this flap, were it is sewn to the hood, should just meet the car body.

12. Check the fit over the cross bows. It should be tight. Install the lift a dot on each side now.

13. Install the rear snap pulling gently back on the flap against the lift a dot. If your top is properly installed you will not have to pull down only back. This is the secret to having a properly fitting TIGER top with no wrinkles in the side panels.

14. Now go back to the inside rear and begin working from the center outward on alternate sides, screwing the rear trim to the body. As you do this pull gently down and away from center. Remember that you are only pulling against the binders tape at the front. You may pull harder towards the sides as this must be a good fit for the top to be tight. Check the outside fit as you put in each screw. Be sure to see that your tape has not pulled free at the front. You do not want wrinkles to develop either. DO NOT screw the inside shorter side trim on at this time.

15. Now work on the leading edge. Pull the top tight and re-tape working from the center outward to each side. Run long pieces of tape from the hood down to the windscreen. Now mark the top with masking tape where it crosses the leading edge of the peak rail. Also mark the center of the top with masking tape and with a second piece mark the center of the peak rail. You will have to remove some of the binders tape to do this.

16. Now unsnap the top clamps that hold the peak rail to the windscreen remove all the binders tape and fold the tension rods upwards. At this point you may want to tape the side stays into their retaining pins so that the whole thing does not collapse on you. Spread GEL TYPE contact cement on the underside leading edge of the peak rail and on the front 1 inch of the underside of the top. Be sure to cover the top with paper before you do this so that you do not get any glue on it. Let this dry. Now attach the top to the peak rail starting at the point that you marked as center. The masking tape that you marked the leading edge of the peak rail should just roll under the peak rail leading edge. Press the glued top edge into place working from the center outwards and pulling tight as you go. Be sure to work the top well up into the under side curve of the peal rail.

17. You may now snap the peak rail back onto the windscreen. The top should at this point be a snug fit with no wrinkles nor loose spots. You may adjust the fit at the front by repeating step 16.

18. Adjust the fit at the sides by repeating step 8 if required. Wind the side windows up and make sure that they fit. The screws and trim may now be installed on the uprights.

19. The back fit may be adjusted by removing the rear trim screws and pulling downwards and from side to side in order to take up any slack or to eliminate any wrinkles. Remember I said in #10 that it is better to be slack here than to be too tight. NOW is the time to take up the slack. Any holes previously punched in the back edge will be lower than the new holes and will not cause a problem. You may find that all fits well and no further adjustment is necessary. I mostly give this caution so that you do not pull too hard in step #10 and pull the top out of position.

20. At this point you can now let the work rest a while. Let the car get cold in the evening. Let the sun shine on it. Drive it a bit. I put 300 miles on my Tiger in pouring rain and the front glue held but I do not recommend this as a test.

21. Once you are sure of the fit remove the rubber that you taped on to top of the windscreen and install it onto the bottom side of the peak-rail.

22. Now all that remains is to secure the short side trim to the rubber trim that finishes the cockpit. This trim does not hold the top it only holds the rubber in place.

Remember that the top in this area must be slack for the top to fold down when it is finished. The piece of the top that hangs down is simply held to the edge of the car by a clip. Several "alligator clips with the handles removed can be used for this of the originals are missing. This is the area that most people including professional upholsters screw up. It seems logical to pull the top tight under the short trim pieces and screw it down.

You will find that the top will not fold if you do this and you end up with unwanted holes in the top. The purpose of these flaps is to guide the water that leaks in into the drain holes behind the B pillar. Be sure these drain holes are clear.

Top Bows

The top bows of a Tiger are strange things indeed. Their stability depends upon two blocks of plastic holding two thin rods from moving laterally. The two rods are called tension rods. They pivot upwards from the top rails and insert into the "Peak rail" (That part of the top that clamps on to the windscreen). These tension rods can be a real pain. As they are part of the "weather equipment" they are very prone to rust. If you have a set that are free of rust and the adjustments are able to move with no trouble you are home free but most that I have seen have long ago given up the ability to move. These have very narrow threaded ends on them and are easily broken when you try to make the tension adjustment. Once broken they are expensive and difficult to repair so treat them with care. Tip: rather than adjust them with the screw ends bent the rod body a bit. A small bend in this area will enable the end of the tension rod to be at the correct angle to the hole in the peak rail. This angle is a more critical adjustment then the length of the rod. Try this slight bend before trying to lengthen or shorten the tension rod as it may save you a difficult repair.

Top Bow Webbing

The webbing that goes between the top bows is critical for a good fitting top. This webbing spaces the folding top bow and the peak rail in relation to the fixed top bow. It also takes some of the sag out of the center of the top. The soft top has two seams across it and these seams must line up with the top bows for proper fit. Because of this the length of the webbing is critical to a good fit for your soft top. If you are having a upholstery shop install your new top be sure to have this adjustment made before the top is installed as the old webbing stretches and is probably deteriorated. You can easily do this part yourself by taping the new soft top into place and installing new webbing to fit the top. Tip: Use a black seat belt, with the ends removed, as replacement webbing. The nylon will not stretch nor will it deteriorate with age and exposure to the weather. It is the same width as the original cloth webbing and the black looks just perfect against a black soft top.

Well good luck and Godspeed


Subject: 'Beam tops - Installation, Long Post
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 09:21:10 -0600
From: "John Crawley"-

Believe it or not even though I live in the frozen North I seldom have the top up. The TIGER is put in storage during the winter months and our summers are among the best in the world with just enough rain to keep things green and not too hot. Top shrinkage is not a problem in this area. The scuffing can be taken care of though. I made a pair of "socks" out of soft material to go over the two folding top bow arms. I also made an envelope that slips over the peak rail when it is folded. I have had no scuffing on any of the windows in 10K of driving. The method of fixing yellowed windows that I have devised is as follows:

1. Remove top from car.

2. Cut old window out of top and trim close to hood fabric.

3. Sew "Edge Trimming" (this is the same stuff that you find around the edge of automotive carpets) around the window opening.

4. Now sew "eye- side" Velcro to the inside of the top around the window opening. Use the "stitch-in-a-ditch" method of sewing. (This is where you sew just along the point where the "Edge Trimming and the top fabric meet.) This makes the seam almost invisible and leaves a factory look to the finished product.

5. Cut new window plastic about 1 in. larger than the window opening.

6. Edge trim the plastic and sew the "hook-side" Velcro to the plastic using the same method as to the top.

7. Re-install the top on the car. The windows may now be removed when ever you wish and be replaced at very little cost. The back window can be removed when you fold the top or when you are driving. Remember that Velcro must be rubbed quite vigorously to ensure a strong and tight fit

Godspeed Jc

Subject: Back window fogging
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 10:04:07 -0600
From: "Tim Ronak"-

Ray and Listers,

Ray inquired about a BP stained rear window ( I am assuming that BP is Gas). I have a 66 Mk 1a and it has the original top and those of you who have stored your tops for a period of time will notice that the back window gets damaged or chaffed by both the tub it sits in or the front top bows. I found that using two products from McGuires that I was able to remove all of the condensation fogging and most of the scratches. It transformed my opaque window from unusable to very good. The products are called clear Plastic cleaner and Clear Plastic polish. They are fairly expensive at about $26 per bottle but are worth much more than that if it salvages a damaged roof. It took a bit of elbow grease but was well worth the effort.


Tim Ronak B382000680

Subject: Top Back Window Stain
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 09:49:34 -0700
From: "JAN HARDE"-
To: "Tim Ronak"-


Common problem, if the stains are on the rear window, try setting the car out in the sun, then get some non or very low grit tooth paste such as Colgate, mix a small amount in the palm of your hand with some water. Then rub gently on the window, it will remove the stains and discoloration, just be patient and do not rub too hard. Best of Luck and have a GREAT day..

Warm regards, Jan S-E Harde

----- Original Message -----

Subject: Top Back Window Stain
> You said:
> Tim: Thanks for the information on the McGuires cleaning and polishing
> products. I'll try them out. It just really hacks me off that it was a new
> top!
> I hope your son survived the error as I too was the son of a car fanatic
> and had my share of OOOPPPS!@#%*%@#@$ that my dad was really p-ssed
> over.
> Regards,
> Tim Ronak

Subject: Rear Window polishing
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 07:28:17 -0600
From: "Tim Ronak"-


To restore the rear window I am assuming that it is just fine washing type scratches and not heavy gouges. You have a couple of options.

Option 1: you can use the Meguiars plastic cleaner and then follow up with their plastic polish that is available from the Auto Body supply stores and apply a liberal amount of elbow grease, or...

Option 2: You can use extra fine polishing compound moving up to the Meguiars stuff above but use a slow speed polisher and pad.

The big enemy if you are going to restore this is to avoid heat generation at all costs. heat will cloud the plastic rendering it unsalvageable. Go REALLY REALLY slow and you will be pleased with the results. I have restored several motor cycle windshields with this technique with great success except when I become impatient. I have not done this to my Plexiglas back window yet but I did use the stuff on my clear back window with great success.


Tim Ronak - B382000680

Date: Thurs., 2 Sep 1999 00:02:07 EDT

By all mean remove the top.

Remove the screws mounting the rear of the top to the body and then remove the top from the hinge in the door A-post. No big deal. You can also just remove the A-post hinge with the top still attached.

Have the top frame cleaned and repainted. Before repainting remove the windshield and frame. Rustproof the h*ll out of the frame and then have it repainted to match the car.

Don't loose the rubber shims under the windshield frame and they are very important to the rake and must go back the same way. Order a new top frame to body seal from SS. Don't bother reusing the old. The leaks aren't worth it.

The more you strip from the body, the less masking and the better it looks. That means removing all the weather stripping also. Have fun over the long weekend.

Dave Johnson B382002668.
Just a few after yours.

Subject: After-market Hardtops
>Is there a supplier of after-market hardtops for Tigers in the north east
>or eastern Canada?
>Mike Burd

When I visited the UK last March I picked up a car magazine which advertised Sunbeam Hardtops (They also had them for other sports cars), price from memory was about 390 Pounds.

Company is Honeybourne Mouldings, Warks, UK. Telephone is 01789 762071. Maybe one of the people on the list in the UK can check it out?

Regards Wally Menke

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