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Thread: New Top Too Tight

  1. #1
    Jedi Knight
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    New Top Too Tight

    My pre 60k TR3A came with a new Robbins top. Bottom line is that it's way too tight. I know from the past that these tops are a bit of a struggle but mine is at the point where it is not practical.
    The last time it went on, early this spring, it took me, my wife and a heat gun half an hour to get it snapped. I left it on over the summer hoping that it would take a better set after time and sunshine. No better now. I had to use pliers on the tenax and a plastic trim lever under the lift dots when I took the top off yesterday. I admit my fingers are not as strong as they used to be but the old top, which came with the car, goes on and off in a jiffy.
    I think the Robbins (and maybe all the current production tops) come without the fasteners attached. Perhaps the installer made things a bit tight when it was fitted as would be correct for a conventional convertible top that is stretched a bit by the frame.
    Any suggestions? Seems like someone suggested leaving off one of the webbings in an earlier post on this topic. I also tried installing the top with the bottom stick pivots collapsed, which makes the top go on easily but I was unable to raise the pivots with the top snapped in place.
    Tom
    1960 TR3A TS73117 (under restoration year 6, owned since 1964)
    1959 TR3A TS58023 (in case I never finish the one above)
    1969 Triumph Herald 13/60 (a whim)
    1973 Buick Apollo (was Dad's car)
    1992 BMW325IC (fun to drive)

  2. #2
    Yoda TR4nut's Avatar
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Tom - I did not attach the webbing to the rearmost frame section - I keep the frame lowered when attaching to the windscreen, then I raise the frame, and finally slide the rear frame member in place. Might be worth a try for you.
    Randy
    70 TR6 - running
    59 TR3A - slumbering
    64 TR4 - got another one!

  3. #3
    Jedi Knight
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Thanks Randy, easy enough to try and certainly cheaper than another top. The top itself would be the only thing holding the front frame in position? The rear bow looks like it will be held by the angle in the top.
    1960 TR3A TS73117 (under restoration year 6, owned since 1964)
    1959 TR3A TS58023 (in case I never finish the one above)
    1969 Triumph Herald 13/60 (a whim)
    1973 Buick Apollo (was Dad's car)
    1992 BMW325IC (fun to drive)

  4. #4
    Jedi Knight
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Tom,
    Might you be putting the top on "the hard way"? I have a friend who has had TR3's for more than 30 years and complained about how hard and long it took him to put the top up. He said it took about an hour. I showed him that I did HIS top in about three minutes or less.
    The best way to put the top on is to bring the convertible top bows up and spread them then push the bows down at the "knee" in the frame linkage so that the bows are just above the rear of the seats. Then put the top over the car and fasten the front and back snaps/ lift -the -dot pegs and such. Then get into the car and pull the frame bows forward at that "Knee" to push the bows up and against the convertible top. Done. If the top is real tight then when you try to pull the frame up at those knee joints you may have to push on one side and then alternate back and forth to get it up. Or if you have a helper then one person on a side will either do it in one push or again one side push and then the opposite side push. I have never had to find an alternate method of getting those "knees" pulled forward but I would guess with my old age I could try to figure out some method / tool of standing on the outside of the car and reaching in to grab the "knee" and full it forward. I would guess in that case it would strongly benefit you to have two people working together to uniformly bring up the bows. One other thing that has worked over the years for me is to --while sitting in the car instead of working those knees forward is to reach up and pull up and forward on the front bow of the frame. You may find some combination of working the knees and the top bows to get the frame to its final position. But working the bows after the top is snapped in place is the best method.
    Charley

  5. #5
    Obi Wan
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    I have done it the same as Randy for 45 years with many tops, some tight, some not so tight-the method works either way.

  6. #6
    Yoda TR4nut's Avatar
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Tom-

    the webbing is still attached to the two front bows and the rear cockpit so the frame stays upright while you put the top on. Basically it's how Charley describes, only the rear bow is tucked in until the knees are in correct position. I'd stay with Charley's way and only loosen the rear bow if a little more flexibility is needed for the top. It takes a little pushing to position the rear bow but it stays in place with the top seam.
    Randy
    70 TR6 - running
    59 TR3A - slumbering
    64 TR4 - got another one!

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    Yoda martx-5's Avatar
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    I have a Robbins top that is tight, and use Randy's method, also leaving the rear bow loose and pushing into position afterward. Works out fine.
    Art
    '58 TR3A TS236xxL
    '92 Mazda Miata -- Supercharged
    '07 Mazda RX-8
    '11 Mazda CX-7

  8. #8
    Jedi Hopeful
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    I too will second the motion on leaving the aft bow free from the strap. With the top secured fore and aft, straighten the knees to get the front two bows in place. Then coax the aft bow under the seam. Once in place it doesn't seem to move any.

    The problem I had with the Robbins top that I bought new had to do with the two outboard fasteners on the windscreen. I installed all of the fasteners according to the tips and techniques that were provided from the many good folks on this forum. The top stretches out nice and tight. But I never have been able to stretch the forward corners out far enough to install the fastener to join up with the Tenex on the windscreen. So far, it doesn't seem to matter that the corners aren't fastened. But then again I'm not pushing 90 on the freeways.

  9. #9
    Jedi Trainee Crankshaft's Avatar
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Back in '62, the dealer I bought my new TR3B from demonstrated Charley's method as the proper way to install the top. I used it then and still use it now.
    Phil

    1960 TR3A TS74517L
    1930 Ford Town Sedan

  10. #10
    Jedi Knight
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    I did not mention the removal of the top. Again just go inside the car and push back on the "knees" to release the pressure and drop the bows. With all the tightness off the top you can just lift the fasteners.
    Charley

  11. #11
    Luke Skywalker mrv8q's Avatar
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Jeez, I've had my car over 13 years, and have put the top on and off exactly once.

    Thank you all in advance for the next time I have to put in on, now I will know the proven way.

    BTW, I've had the steel top on exactly never.
    Best, Kevin Browne
    '59 TR3A #TS58370L
    Look for The Curse of Oak Island on The History Channel

  12. #12
    Luke Skywalker mrv8q's Avatar
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Best, Kevin Browne
    '59 TR3A #TS58370L
    Look for The Curse of Oak Island on The History Channel

  13. #13
    Yoda martx-5's Avatar
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Quote Originally Posted by mrv8q View Post
    "Invalid Attachment Specified" when clicked on...???
    Art
    '58 TR3A TS236xxL
    '92 Mazda Miata -- Supercharged
    '07 Mazda RX-8
    '11 Mazda CX-7

  14. #14
    Jedi Knight
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Thanks all. I will be busy cleaning hood stick joints today. I did try Charlie's method but was unable to push the pivot up with the top on as the joints were quite sticky. Will give that one another try.
    Tom
    PS: Kevin, Let me know if you ever want to sell the hard top. I'm sure it would get more use here in New England.
    T
    1960 TR3A TS73117 (under restoration year 6, owned since 1964)
    1959 TR3A TS58023 (in case I never finish the one above)
    1969 Triumph Herald 13/60 (a whim)
    1973 Buick Apollo (was Dad's car)
    1992 BMW325IC (fun to drive)

  15. #15
    Jedi Knight
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    Re: New Top Too Tight

    Put the top up today for the first time since June. Took 3 guys to help push it forward. It's now up until next June. British tops....

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