replacing touring top

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Emeraude
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replacing touring top

Post by Emeraude » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:20 am

I have been driving my 21 touring for several years after a rebuild. When i bought it the owner gave me the top irons with no fabric on them. I am considering for a winter project to buy the top kit from classtique upholstery and to install it myself. I am confident on my abilities in welding, painting, body work and engine work but I have never done any upholstery work. I have watched the videos on the classtique web site.
my question is,can a person without any upholstery experience replace the top material? another question i have does the classtique videos give enough information to do the job?


Sarikatime
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by Sarikatime » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:52 am

I helped my friend replace the top on his 25 touring. He watched the tutorial several times and it turned out nice. He is a machinist and knew nothing of upholstery but made key notes to follow as we went along. I am going to be putting on a top on my 21 touring this winter also cause it only has the top bows and no fabric. Good luck, watch the video and take notes to follow as you go along. Now all I have to do is follow my own advice. Frank


Norman Kling
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by Norman Kling » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:27 am

Several important tips. First align all the bows. be sure the center bows are straight up and down. You can measure at top and bottom of the upright portion to be sure they are parallel. The front bow is fastened by a leather strap and can be moved forward or backward by adjusting the strap. Same with the back bow and strap. When you get the two center bows parallel, be sure to measure the height of the back bow. Measure from the top of the body panel where the wood tack strip meets the metal above the seat back. It should be the same height on both sides. Do not make the mistake of measuring from the floor, because if the body leans a bit, the top will always look crooked. If you measure from the top of the metal it will look straight regardless of how the body is leaning. When you get all these measurements you are ready to install the webbing which holds all the bows in place and also install the pads on each side. These webs and pads keep everything in alignment. Install the rear panel starting in the center and working outward to the sides. Tack to the rear top bow. and to the tack strip around the rear of the body. Install the top starting at the front and working toward the back. First tack on the windbreaker in front which should hang down right in front of the top of the windshield. Then install the top. Only tacks at front and back. You also start in the middle of the bow and work back. I would suggest you put in a few tacks in front and lay the top in place and then just a couple tacks in back to keep it straight. Then finish the tacking in front first before you stretch the top tight and tack in back. Trim off the excess in front and in back and install the trim strips.
Note: I notice you live in the north where they have very cold winters. It would be better to install the top in the summer or fall. If you install in cold weather, the top might stretch in the summer and be loose and floppy. Best to install on a day about 70 degrees so it is not too hot nor too cold.
Norm


Humblej
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by Humblej » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:47 am

Yes George, you should be able to install a touring top yourself.

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jsaylor
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by jsaylor » Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:04 pm

I am replacing the top on my 21 Touring using the Classtique kit. The rear straps on my car were adjustable. The ones that came in the kit are not. They just nail on. What are you all doing in this area? Is the adjustable feature necessary. I don't remember ever adjusting them in the past.

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CudaMan
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by CudaMan » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:20 pm

Mark Strange
Hillsboro, MO
1924 Cut-off Touring (now a pickup)

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GrandpaFord
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by GrandpaFord » Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:20 pm

When you first back into your garage after putting the new top on, make sure that there is no low hanging bracket on your garage door that can poke a hole in the new top. Can anyone guess why I mention this?


Vrayfoster
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by Vrayfoster » Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:02 pm

I just replaced the top on my 15 touring car. The information in the Model T Ford Owner is for a 1923 and later top. I determined the length of the wood bows using that drawing, but set the rear bow to align with the rear seat tack strip. From the Ford Owner book I determined the bow lengths. I'm not certain that is correct for my car, but it came out looking good. On the last bow, raising it to align it made it about 1/2" to long, so I adjusted the rear bow length. The top iron mounting locations are in different locations, i.e. they are not in alignment nor are the top irons the same length. I just adjusted bow lengths on each side as necessary. The front bow length from the top iron on my car is about 1/2" different. I broke a bow, so I replaced all of them when I put on the new top. I went to harbor freight and bought a dozen ratchet straps to align my top bows. If you use straps, put them there the top pad wont interfere when putting them on. I found a nice pair of sheer scissors at Harbor freight for under $10 bucks and they were handy trimming the webbing to length. I bought longer tacks as my fingers are just to large to hold the short ones. Also I bought extra finish tacks as I bend a lot of them. I used a plumb bob to align my top irons vertically. A minor movement of one ratchet strap affects the whole top iron alignment. I tried tacking wood strips in the past and that worked just wasn't as easy as ratchet straps

The 1915 car uses a wedge shaped piece of wood on the last top bow. I do not know if yours uses this piece.
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ivaldes1
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by ivaldes1 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:05 pm

This article is by far the best one on how to do this: https://modeltfordfix.com/installing-a- ... r-model-t/ The videos are ok and helpful but the reference article is the one that really explains it. Yes I did it without experience. My Mother said it is ok and not cheating to use fabric glue instead of stitch for the pads. So far she was right and that was a huge time saver as well as I don't stitch very well. Someone said 3 Saturdays and that was about right. Here is an extensive discussion of my experience: https://mtfca.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3803
Emeraude wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:20 am
I have been driving my 21 touring for several years after a rebuild. When i bought it the owner gave me the top irons with no fabric on them. I am considering for a winter project to buy the top kit from classtique upholstery and to install it myself. I am confident on my abilities in welding, painting, body work and engine work but I have never done any upholstery work. I have watched the videos on the classtique web site.
my question is,can a person without any upholstery experience replace the top material? another question i have does the classtique videos give enough information to do the job?

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paddy1998
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by paddy1998 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:18 pm

Emeraude wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:20 am
I have been driving my 21 touring for several years after a rebuild. When i bought it the owner gave me the top irons with no fabric on them. I am considering for a winter project to buy the top kit from classtique upholstery and to install it myself. I am confident on my abilities in welding, painting, body work and engine work but I have never done any upholstery work. I have watched the videos on the classtique web site.
my question is,can a person without any upholstery experience replace the top material? another question i have does the classtique videos give enough information to do the job?
I see you live in North Dakota, I would not make this a winter project unless you have a heated garage.

And when I say a heated garage, I don't mean a garage that's 55 degrees while it's -10 outside. That garage will need to be 70 degrees at least, and even then it will be harder to deal with than if you do it on a sunny 85 degree day in the driveway.

Which is not to say it can't be done. But when it's over you will likely think to yourself "I probably should have done this in the summer."


noelchico
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by noelchico » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:06 am

With no experience with upholstery and "backyard" and motorcycle tech training in repairs, I put a top on my 23 touring. I agree with the concerns about the cold winter work. the fabric should stretch as it's put on. That being said, you can certainly do all the preliminary work, setting up the bows, tacking strap across the underside of them as you anchor them in place, then heat the shop to 75+ degrees on the day you install the fabric. Good luck. I'd consider giving a hand if you weren't so far away.


Sheri
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by Sheri » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:44 am

We have installed well over 100 tops over the past 25 years. The dimensions in the model t ford owner book are in fact for the 1915-22 top and are very useful. The 23 and later top is a different and much easier top to get right from a kit due to the fixed bow positions(especially at the windshield)As shown above the real secret to doing a 15-22 top is fixing the bow positions correctly beforehand and making sure they dont move during stretching. The biggest mistake i see people make is to not make sure the rear bow overhangs the back of the body by 2-3 inches. This gives the top the correct look at the back. Unfortunately even the top kit makers are not aware of this and leave little or no extra material to grab onto lengthwise. We are in minnesota so if you want some help let us know.

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RustyFords
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by RustyFords » Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:27 am

I'll be tackling this soon myself.

There's a lot of great information and advice on this thread.
1924 Touring


Original Smith
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by Original Smith » Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:11 am

Mike, the owner of Classtique has not put out enough information on his tops to the hobby. First, he has TWO types of top material. Colonial, and Turf. The Turf is very close to the original that Ford used, and is shiny too. The Colonial is semi shiny, and the pattern is quite different than the original. I believe the Turf is somewhat more expensive. I've used the Turf on two of my cars, without buying a kit. I do my own. From what I've learned it is a good idea to have plenty of padding in the pads, otherwise your top won't look right. Mike is one hell of a nice guy, and I used to sell him binding for his business, because no one else in the hobby did it correctly. I have since turned over my half of the business to my partner, so I can spend more time on my cars.

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bnasheller
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Re: replacing touring top

Post by bnasheller » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:19 pm

Just received my Classtique top in the mail last week and am working on laying out everything needed for installation.
I'm definitely thankful for all of the videos and writeups there are out there! I feel like I've virtually installed the top several times already!
Good luck with yours:)

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