TR6 Soft Top Installation Instructions

by
Roger G. Bolick, rgb@exact.com , with additional suggestions by Jeff S. Hapke

Materials Required:

  • 2″ by 42″ female half of velcro, cut to 1/2, 3/8, 3/8 strips
  • 3/4″, 7/8″, 1 1/4″ – 1/4″ hip bolts (cut shorter from longer)
  • misc nuts bolts and washers as necessary for frame
  • snap rivets, 7 – Stainless Steel 1/8″ x 1/2″, rear exposed ones
  • snap rivets, 13+ – Aluminum 1/8″ x 1/2″ (much easier to drill out)
  • original equipment style buttons, and snaps
  • Automobile upholstery spray

Special Tools:

  • 1/8″ titanium drill bit for drilling rivets
  • snap tool for larger snaps, 1/8″ hole punch
  • spark plug threaded top (several) or fine point rivet gun
  • sharp awl
  • 1/8″ hole punch

Time:

  • 4 hours for the top installation
  • 4 hours for frame rebuild (all frames need some rebuild)
  • 4 hours for frame painting

Remove Top:

  • Remove 5 7/16″ bolts from inside rear window.
  • NOTE: check to make sure some idiot hasn’t riveted the channel to the deck. If so, drill these out with the 1/8″ bit.
  • Remove 6 side door screws and lift the top off car, help needed when removing the last bolts. Remove all the bolts you can with the top up and then lower to remove the last 2.

Drill rivets:

  • Drill and remove all rivets.
  • NOTE: Some repairs have used another size rivet, so move up to the next size bit and re-drill. Usually drilling 1/4″ deep and rotating the drill handle back and forth while drilling will pop the cap and allow the rest to be tapped through with a small punch. Use aluminum for all non-exposed rivets as they are much easier to fix your mistakes and put on a new top next time.

Adjust frame:

  • Lay the frame partially folded, inside down on the floor. View from the rear and make both sides symetrical. It helps to have a second car to compare with. Trial fit on the car a few times. There are 3 bolts on each side, these should be replaced. I used hip bolts cut to length for all of these as the hip reduces the wear on the threads at the hinge point. It removes the slop in the joints.

Paint frame:

  • Sand rust, Navel Jelly, rinse, paint, dry overnight.

Install top:

  1. Lay top inside on carpet, fold in half, outside out, align door edges, “white-out” a 2 1/4″ mark on front center.
  2. Fold in half, inside out, align rear window edges and door rear edges, “white-out” a 1″ mark on rear center, another 1/2″ mark on top of rear window bow stub, both sides.
  3. Place top inside up, firmly push rear channel in crevice at rear, double check, double check, punch hole from inside through channel, though outside layer. Insert snap, rivet, from outside through top, channel, inside layer, add washer and snap rivet (practice once first).
  4. Pulling out from center and keeping the channel firmly pressed into the crevice, repeat the prior step for the next one on either side of center, add foam rivet cover to 3 rivets
  5. Now get an assistant to help here, pull as much a humanly possible to each end and rivet the other 4 holes. This determines the amount of wrinkle in the rear window as well as how much you miss the door opening. Every 1/4″ counts. NOTE: you may read ahead to see what an advantage 1/4″ is.
  6. Bolt top to car with top over trunk, leave 2 outer channel bolts slightly loose.
  7. Slide strap pins through sewned end of strap so the good side is down AFTER sliding through channel slot, repeat.
  8. Pull Strap over center bow to front, leave front frame unclamped, so each side is about 1″ short, mark line on the front of the leading edge clip. Now wrap around clip the other way and punch 2 holes (this gets it closer to the top and out of the clamp’s way). Rivet, repeat for other side. Check frame position, drill and repeat as necessary. GET this RIGHT! Toggle clamp’s.
  9. Rivet main bow both sides
  10. Position front bow outside rivet hole 1/2 way between main bow rivet hole and leading edge rivet hole (12 1/4″ each side). NOTE: This determines height of the sides over the windows.
  11. Position rear outside rivet hole 10″ rear of main bow rivet hole and rivet in place.
  12. Repeat rivet and position steps (9-10) for the other side.
  13. Apply strips of velcro on all 3 bows, start in the middle.
  14. Pull top over frame with mark in middle, use 2 1/4″ over lap with Robbins top, all bows should line up with the seams. Try the top fit by holding and closing top, match main bow. The top should already be cut to match the front edge contour. Punch hole for middle rivet on the mark made previously, the 2 1/4″ mark on a Robbins top should align with the edge and hole. Spray inside front edge of frame, pull top, rivet center. NOTE: You use the spark plug cap here to prevent the rail from crushing, place over rivet stem.
  15. Test fit, pull, make hole, rivet, repeat for center 5 rivets NOTE: The Robbins top is cut the same as the frame, so just leave a consistent amount and pull it out from the center.
  16. Fold, glue, edge flap, pull the corner pieces, rivet, repeat.
  17. NOTE: verify three body snaps are in the original position as you want this top to fit other cars and be correct. Mine are 7″ from rear to middle, 7 1/2″ from middle to front.
  18. Pull rear to the side, remember the end of the door jam piece must align with the door edge of the chrome cap by the time you get there, so you likely need to stretch each side about 1″, i.e 1/4″ per snap. Mark hole from the outside, punch hole for snaps (1/8″ punch), use the snap tool, snap each snap as you go and work around to the door. Place snap hole 1/2″ from bottom of reflective strip, so the botton of the top is snug against the body. Just get the snaps to stay in place, finish later. NOTE: this is about 3/4″ from absolute edge.
  19. Inside car, wrap front bow with stub, front, bottom, rear and rivet it 4 times. Make it look nice, snug only, don’t pull this one.
  20. Place the holes for the rear stub, rear, bottom, front. Check the mark you made here for center. I release the rear channel, folded the top in strange ways to attach the snaps to the rear stub. I also gave the side snaps some more effort.
  21. Replace the side velcro and bolts, adjust with window placement

You’re done, I suggest leaving the top up and out in the sun a couple of weeks to let it get stretched out.Roger G. Bolick, rgb@exact.com