Something's not right with my top installation

Discuss all things Model T related.
Forum rules
If you need help logging in, or have question about how something works, use the Support forum located here Support Forum
Complete set of Forum Rules Forum Rules

Topic author
Al Meadows
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:23 pm
First Name: Alfred
Last Name: Meadows
Location: Castro Valley, CA
MTFCA Number: 4796
Board Member Since: 2017

Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Al Meadows » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:22 pm

I'm getting ready to install a two-man top kit on my 1920 touring in about a month. In preparation, I began by installing new wood bows in my top irons. No problems there. The four straight wood pieces were purchased from a supplier in Auburn, CA and each one was the exact size of the old ones being replaced. I numbered them prior to disassembly to avoid any confusion. I got a couple of them done and to celebrate my partial success, I installed both top bow sections on my car. The front bow overhung the windshield by 10"!

No problem. To the forum I went and, using a dimensioned diagram provided accompanied by some photos, I determined that the front support irons were positioned like a roadster, not a touring. I relocated those two per my downloaded drawing and now have approximately 3". Seems right. Now I'm having a problem with the rear set of bows. When one side is attached the other side extends out away from the side of the car by about 6" from point of attachment and requires a bit of pressure applied to get it pushed on the top bracket threaded shaft. It's not hard to do but is that normal?Now with the bows lowered to the seat you can see from the pictures that at the two attachment points, the upholstery interferes with the bows and prevents them from lowering all the way. The pictures taken from the rear of the car indicate another issue. Even if the bows somehow managed to lower themselves further, they don't appear to line up with the saddles. One side is close, the other favoring the inside.

A friend, a club member that's offered to assist me in installing the top. He's traveling a ways and staying a few days so I want everything to be ready to install the cover. I thought I would throw this out to the membership for some ideas.
Is the bracket wrong or installed incorrectly like the fronts were? Maybe the bracket should be "let in" to the body framing. Upholstery problem? Body? Bows? The bows, never being attached to the car, have been moved around over the years. Could they be deformed? When upright the bow is not completely flat but arches up an inch or two in the center. Is this normal? Thought I would ask before just "doin' stuff".

This forum has given me so much information in the last year while I attempt to finish up this project. Just some background. I restored the running gear almost 50 years ago, put the old body back on and drove many miles. In the late 70s I pulled the body, scrounged up the rear seat section which was missing and had a guy in San Jose, CA put the wood in. Later the upholstery went in and then the car sat, driven occasionally for parades and such and never with a top. I purchased this set of top bows through Hemmings (I'm dating myself) in the 70s.

Thanks,
Al
Attachments
This is as far back as they will go at present
This is as far back as they will go at present
Here you can see top bows would lay on upholstery
Here you can see top bows would lay on upholstery
This side angles in toward car and will never lay down
This side angles in toward car and will never lay down
This side lines up close to saddle but hits seat at curve
This side lines up close to saddle but hits seat at curve
Top irons are pretty close to car body
Top irons are pretty close to car body


Allan
Posts: 786
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:21 pm
First Name: Allan
Last Name: Bennett
Location: Gawler, Australia

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Allan » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:07 am

Al, I presume this is a top which was never fitted to your car before. The body brackets seem far to close to the body sides. There is usually a more than an inch gap between the sides and the hood bows. If this is the issue, I would not undo the upholstery to fit correct body irons. It would save a lot of grief if you simply made an extension piece with male and female threads, to screw onto the existing irons.
I am not at all familiar with US factory Ford bodies, so I may be way out.

Allan from down under.

User avatar

Doug Keppler
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:28 pm
First Name: Douglas
Last Name: Keppler
Location: Fredon N.J.
MTFCA Number: 49716

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Doug Keppler » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:30 am

Al Im no expert but I think the little "nub" on the side of the iron is suppose to point to the outside of the car. You might have the irons on the wrong side. If you flipped them around the iron hitting the upholstery will be on the outside
1924 Touring car
There's No Substitute for Proper Lubrication


DHort
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:30 pm
First Name: DAVID
Last Name: HJORTNAES
Location: Men Falls, WI
MTFCA Number: 28762
MTFCI Number: 22402

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by DHort » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:15 am

Doug might be right. Do these pictures help?
IMG_20190727_070728134.jpg
IMG_20190727_070728134.jpg (46.05 KiB) Viewed 1189 times
IMG_20190727_070709888.jpg
IMG_20190727_070709888.jpg (42.29 KiB) Viewed 1189 times
IMG_20190727_070704488.jpg
IMG_20190727_070704488.jpg (49.58 KiB) Viewed 1189 times

User avatar

Rich Eagle
Posts: 1537
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:51 am
First Name: Richard
Last Name: Eagle
Location: Idaho Falls, ID
MTFCA Number: 1219
Contact:

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Rich Eagle » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:56 am

This shows my '14 which should be somewhat similar. The pivot is much farther out from the upholstery.
my14.jpg
When did I do that?


Rich Bingham
Posts: 752
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:23 am
First Name: Rich
Last Name: Bingham
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:05 am

Irons seem to be upside down. Is that possible ?
"Get a horse !"


J Sundstrom
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:48 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Sundstrom
Location: Vulcan, MI

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by J Sundstrom » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:13 am

BAE22F23-D8C5-42B2-9B71-52CE457BC81D.jpeg
C10EBFB0-F519-4222-9390-EB61CB86ED03.jpeg
989979C5-6276-4AF8-AE89-93524CEE023E.jpeg
Here’s some pictures of my 1920 Touring. As mentioned
Earlier here may have to reposition top iron support.
Appears set in too far in and sits higher on arm rest.
Arm rest wood slotted on bottom for clearance with
Support. Oops oh well turn head slightly to view, not
Sure up for trying to rotate.


Topic author
Al Meadows
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:23 pm
First Name: Alfred
Last Name: Meadows
Location: Castro Valley, CA
MTFCA Number: 4796
Board Member Since: 2017

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Al Meadows » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:36 pm

Wow. I went to bed and when I woke up, you guys were already here with answers. Thanks.

Allan, I'm way ahead of you buddy. I was fortunate enough to grab the last two 1920 Ford top iron bracket extenders at the Home Depot. Yes, they work but could you imagine going to a Model T event. "What are these things? My car doesn't have 'em. Does Lang's sell them? Is this an original accessory?" All this happening while I'm pouring MMO into my gas tank. Oh, the pain! Maybe out of desperation but a good idea. :)

I took two more photos, one of my "super extendo adapter" and one of a top bracket without the iron on it. As you can see, it doesn't extend very far from the side of the car. Note also the bulge in the upholstery at the bracket. Maybe the bracket should be notched into the wood, allowing it to stick out further. I searched the forum looking for one installed in a car prior being covered but to no avail. I'm not opposed to pulling back the material to access the bracket for repairs since I already did it to move the front brackets back by 7" and after that problem, my confidence level on the "wood guy" 40 years ago is waning. Anything could be possible. I too have a problem with sideways photos.

Doug, the two bows seem to be together as a "factory assembly". I mean they're not supposed to be taken apart unless someone in the past messed with them. I see what you're saying about that part that hits the seat. All these pictures help.

I'm sure the top bows are installed correctly as the empty hole needs to be on top to accommodate the front set of bows when stacking. To my eye it also appears that the support brackets are bent downward a bit or just not installed correctly. The sides of the car flare out slightly at the rear maybe by an inch or two. Is this normal?

Frankly, once this top is on I'll probably never lower it again so maybe none of this matters. I'd just like to try and make it right or at least somewhat close if possible.

Al
Attachments
Allan, my version of the Ford extendo, patent pending
Allan, my version of the Ford extendo, patent pending
Doesn't stick out much.  Note bulge in seat.
Doesn't stick out much. Note bulge in seat.


paul hoogendoorn
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:26 am
First Name: Paul
Last Name: Hoogendoorn
Location: South Africa

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by paul hoogendoorn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:21 pm

David, where did you get those cute wire clips that fit around your bows to keep them in place? What are they called?

User avatar

RajoRacer
Posts: 870
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:18 pm
First Name: Steve
Last Name: Tomaso
Location: Longbranch, WA
MTFCA Number: 14972
MTFCI Number: 15411
Board Member Since: 2001

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by RajoRacer » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:54 pm

I don't believe the rear top iron support is correct for your car or it was installed incorrectly !

User avatar

BuddyTheRoadster
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:29 pm
First Name: Chris
Last Name: Rini
Location: Huntington Beach CA

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by BuddyTheRoadster » Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:06 pm

Aside from your top bows being probably too close to the center of the car, maybe your wood bow sections need to be trimmed a little more to go in deeper into the irons? That would probably help with the front bow overshooting the windshield by 10 inches. Good luck!


Topic author
Al Meadows
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:23 pm
First Name: Alfred
Last Name: Meadows
Location: Castro Valley, CA
MTFCA Number: 4796
Board Member Since: 2017

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Al Meadows » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:38 pm

Let me take some of the mystery out of this. I bit the bullet and did some exploratory surgery. What do you guys think now?

I don't know what this bracket is supposed to look like although it seems correct. Not sure about angled bend at top or installation method. Any ideas about why it's so short at threads where top irons mount?

Al
Attachments
IMG_3681.jpg
IMG_3679.jpg

User avatar

jsaylor
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:25 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Saylor
Location: Citrus Heights, Ca
MTFCA Number: 1695
MTFCI Number: 23870
Board Member Since: 1999

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by jsaylor » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:18 pm

Looks like you may have the support irons for a later 2 man top. In 1921 Ford changed the tack strip from the wide style to a narrower one that set on the inside of the body,The outer edge being more flush with the body, so the arm rest area would be narrower with the top support would be shorter.
I have never seen any documentation of this.
support iron.JPG
Attachments
rear support 2.JPG


wayne sheldon
Posts: 1070
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:13 pm
First Name: Wayne
Last Name: Sheldon
Location: Grass Valley Califunny, USA
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by wayne sheldon » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:23 pm

Wow! This is not in my area of expertise, by a mile, however, a few comments. I think Allan B, Doug K, David H, Rich E and Rich B all touched on parts of the problem. What you have appears to be an accumulation of minor errors. Look closely at the positionings in the photos John S posted. Not just the upper and lower, but higher and lower as well as inner to outer and outer to inner relationships. I can't tell for certain from your photos, but it looks to me that someone may have reassembled the sockets close, but not quite right. It likely will work as it is just fine, once the main problem is addressed.
The big problem, I "think" is that when the rear of your touring body was resurrected, the wrong irons were used. There was a significant change in the bodies in 1920. The tack rail which on earlier cars was outside the body sheet metal was moved to inside the sheet metal. This resulted in a thinner body. I am currently finishing putting upholstery in my '15 runabout, and it looks to me very much like your body to top iron is too short. Look closely at the pictures posted by Rich E and Dave H, see how the iron extends beyond the sides of the body. That is how my '15 runabout is. Look at the one of your pictures (although sideways), it does show the tack rail outside the sheet metal which means your body is the earlier style, and the body to top iron being too short. Both earlier and later style bodies were used for much of 1920. Again, not my area of expertise, but I believe that body to top iron is for the later bodies beginning in 1920. Whoever put that rear section together probably used what he had handy, not being aware of that difference.
Your fix (and Allan B's suggestion) is okay. However, you have extended much more than needed. The extension should be no more than one inch (likely slightly less as the tack strip is only about 3'4 inch). Shorter and rounded down would be less noticeable. You do need to consider the stresses and potential fracture points of such an extension. What you got could likely be cut down, drilled out (to provide support and reduce potential failure), and ground down to reduce unnecessary bulk (and make it less noticeable).

Another minor (and easy to fix!) problem is the "L" brackets that the folded top rests on. They also are too short, or too close to the sides of the body. Again, I "think" yours are for the later style body with thinner upholstery due to the inner style tack strips (which are actually part of the body's structure rather than an added outside tack only strip). I just went out and measured the "L" brackets on my '15 runabout. Although earlier, and a different body style, and I know the "L" brackets themselves are different for a touring car, this particular detail should be very close to the same. The lower part of the "L" is slightly over three inches long (out) from the upper part of the "L". Yours appears to be about two inches. The added inch is needed to clear the thicker body/upholstery.

And just as clarification. Although my '15 runabout was in poor condition when I started working on it, wood was mostly rotted away, flimsy and distorted some. And, someone had many years earlier begun to apparently build a bucket T roadster before giving up after some VERY bad repair and attempted butchery. The seat frame, and all top irons and the "L" brackets all appeared to have been untouched since the car was new. I suspect the "L" brackets had never been removed since new until I had to remove them in order to install the upholstery a couple weeks ago. I didn't even need to remove any of the top irons when I re-wooded the body. I carefully measured, slipped the wood in place between the irons and the sheet metal and drilled needed holes in place.

My thanks to all that have responded and helped. And I hope I was able to clarify some things.

I see you added while I was typing. Your body to top irons look like many I have seen. I can't say for certain how correct they are. If you are willing to pull the upholstery that far apart, it may be worthwhile to get more correct ones rather than using an extension.

Wholey mows, more additions!

Hope something I said can help. Dang slow fingers.


John kuehn
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by John kuehn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:25 pm

Here are some shots of my 21 mid year two man top Touring. Also included is a cut off top bow bracket pic that’s the same that’s on my car. I had it my junk T parts that I’m keeping for later use?
The distance between the flat bolted surface to the end of the threaded arm is 3 3/8”.
The bracket arm extends out about 1” beyond the upholstery.

This thread caught my interest since I am finally getting around to installing a top on my 21. Had to many irons in the fire and etc. Hope this can be of help. Also it seems that armrest on my car wasn’t as wide as yours is. Not sure but seems like it.


John kuehn
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by John kuehn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:27 pm

Here are the pics.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 1624
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:27 pm

Al

It appears as though:

1. The sockets are reversed...left on right, right on left
2. The top irons on the body were heated and bent "up", effectively reducing the projected length

If you remove the irons, bend them back down, then let them into the wood both on the inside of the wood framing and the top side of the framing, I believe your irons will project like they should. Fixing the sockets will put all "projections" on the top bows facing "out".

Some pix of how I believe your wood should look (this is a later car but I am all but certain my suggestions are valid for you).

This shows cut-out through top of wood to have a nice smooth tuck on the seat material once padding is in place...no sore elbows here:
PB300267.gif
This shows how I let in the bracket from the inside so as to have proper "stick out" on the outside. My wood was almost all mulch on the floor of the car, but enough of this part existed to support the decision to make this feature. If you blow up the picture you will see that there is a notch for the vertical portion and a tabular recess for the "wings" of the bracket:
P2180263.gif
Last edited by Scott_Conger on Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


John kuehn
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by John kuehn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:38 pm

Again maybe this time for the pics that I tried to load on my earlier post! Sorry abt that.
Attachments
B9F20AA4-455C-4376-918B-4772C9E0FE3C.jpeg
E369429F-94A2-4942-B990-E6600611D48B.jpeg


John kuehn
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by John kuehn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:47 pm

After looking at Scott’s pic could it be that the armrest is to wide? The armrest on my car is very similar to what I got in the Fordwood kit. Maybe because of the difference in the bodies in the 17-22 era the wood wasent always exactly the same. The body that I have has a B on the rear kick panel. I assume it’s a Beaudett body?


J Sundstrom
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:48 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Sundstrom
Location: Vulcan, MI

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by J Sundstrom » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:01 pm

DSCN0979.JPG
1920 style body
Original wood armrest prior to new upholstery with notches for top iron support.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 1624
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:13 pm

John K

the later bodies had no external tack strip (my body). The OP has the earlier version where the sheet metal has a lip that takes an external tack strip and is much wider like John Sundstrom posted.

John S.

perfect picture for the OP
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


Topic author
Al Meadows
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:23 pm
First Name: Alfred
Last Name: Meadows
Location: Castro Valley, CA
MTFCA Number: 4796
Board Member Since: 2017

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Al Meadows » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:38 pm

I sent out the previous post since I already wrote it then I saw some more comments.

Scott - not sure what you mean by sockets reversed. The two are attached together and while I understand someone could have changed them, the two rear bows "nest" correctly when stacked. From new pictures that just came in I see that the bracket should be straight and not bent like mine but I think even with straightening and letting in the bracket a 1/4" or so into the wood, I'm not going to get that 1" protrusion I'm looking for since the point I'm starting with the threaded portion is right at the tack rail. From there I need to gain a whole inch. Your pictures are great. That tack strip is killing me. That's why John Saylor's thought that there may be a different bracket for the wider armrest makes sense but neither of us have any info.

John K - My bracket length measures 3 1/8", measured just as you did although my bracket isn't perfectly straight like Scott's. Do you have a tack strip on your car?

I don't know everything about the wood install. My grandfather gave me this car in the 60s when I was in high school and it was a mix mash of different things. The back seat portion was removed so someone could haul stuff. Making it into a 1920 allowed me to keep the chassis intact, keep the starter and that's how the car came about.

Al


John kuehn
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by John kuehn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:30 pm

Al,
The body on my car does have the tack strip as does J. Sundstroms 1920. And if you notice in his pic the top iron bracket isn’t straight. It has the curve on it. You can see the curve as it just comes over the wood. It seems to be like the bracket as shown in my bracket pic.
The body of my car was found in a field where it had set for many years. A mostly complete car less the engine. The rear end and front axle was long gone. It had the low cowl metal firewall on it but the remains of the early rounded style top bows still on it?
That’s what was confusing about trying to date the car. Years later I found a 21 dated engine and rebuilt it. The frame also had the u channel running board brackets on it that came out around 1920 or so.
You could make an extension piece or cut out the armrest bracket about 3/4” to be able to move the bracket over.
I found that the low cowl bodies weren’t all exactly alike after trying to exactly date my car.
Bruce Mcalley attests to this in his T info book “from here to obscurity. And who knows what happened to them after more than 75 years and more!


John kuehn
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by John kuehn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:46 pm

J Sundstrom.
In the armrest pic you show is the backside of your armrest notched out so the armrest bracket goes under or over the bracket where it bolts to the body. Can’t tell for sure but it looks like the armrest goes over the bracket instead of the bracket bolting to the back of the armrest. That may solve Al’s problem.


Topic author
Al Meadows
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:23 pm
First Name: Alfred
Last Name: Meadows
Location: Castro Valley, CA
MTFCA Number: 4796
Board Member Since: 2017

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by Al Meadows » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:20 pm

I'm out here in the garage looking at this again. I need to get at least 3/4" to get this bracket to stick out far enough for the top to clear armrest when lowered. You can see from my picture that it sits on the inside surface of the armrest. I can recess the bracket some but there's a horizontal wood piece below the armrest that's probably structural. Its notched about 1/2" already and the notch is not used yet but going any deeper would compromise the integrity of this piece if it's truly important . I think it is. So I can notch this bracket into the armrest and use up the notch in the piece below it but I'm not sure I'll get enough out of it. Ideally, it would be nice with a different longer bracket but no one seems to know it it exists.

We'll see what John S. says. I'll let this simmer awhile before any chainsaw action. I have about a month to resolve it before our "topping out" party begins. Honestly, once the top goes up, the wife is never going to let me lower it except for some special event. She's a good sport but worrying about sun, rain, dust and wind in a Model T is for sissies.

Al


J Sundstrom
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:48 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Sundstrom
Location: Vulcan, MI

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by J Sundstrom » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:03 pm

To John Kuehn, yes the wood armrest is notched and goes over
the top iron support. Two short carriage bolts go thru the tack
strip and body panel to fasten. The armrest is held by three
C’sunk wood screws vertically fastened to tack strip. You
Can see the holes in top of wood armrest. This is a beaudette
Body maybe other makers used other designs.


John kuehn
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Something's not right with my top installation

Post by John kuehn » Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:42 am

Well it seems that the top bracket is anchored thru the tack strip with the two carriage bolts and then the armrest goes over the tack strip and is screwed down to the top strip to secure it. The wood was completely gone in the body I restored and remembering back it was a head scratcher thinking how the tack strip would be strong enough to hold the bracket secure enough. But adding the armrest, and the wood frame piece seems to make it pretty secure.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic