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Top Frame Repair - ideas needed


Jedi Warrior
Country flag

So, the front header rail on my top frame cracked from metal fatigue on the front right side where it has a large rivet connecting it to the side frame. This is at the upper right side of the windshield frame.

I'd like to weld the repair. But, I am afraid the heat will melt the top in that area. So, can I remove the vinyl top from the header rail, make the weld, and successfully reattach the top to the header rail without damaging it? I did not install this top and have no experience installing tops. My understanding is that the top is glued and riveted to the header rail. Can I remove vinyl top from the header rail without destroying it?

Here are pics
For perspective, the broken spot is right in the center of the picture
Pictures from Galaxy S Phone 2013.05.22 019.jpg

Here is how it used to look before it cracked
Pictures from Galaxy S Phone 2013.05.22 001.jpg

And here is the cracked (I highlighted the crack with a white pencil)
Pictures from Galaxy S Phone 2013.05.22 016.jpg

Any ideas?


PS: sorry the photos are so small - my first time posting pix. If you click on the picture, I think it will open a larger version.


Country flag
I am not sure about the top, I have put them on, but haven't taken one off, especially after it has been mounted a long time, but you should be able to carefully strip the top off the header rail after removing the retaining strip. A little heat might help loosen up the old adhesive. What is the plan for repair, a weld? leaving the frame on the car, or taking it all off. I also have a spare TR4A top frame that has been in the garage rafters in for, like, ever, and would be willing to part with it, but shipping wouldn't be cheap from Nebraska.


Jedi Trainee
I've welded almost everything on a TR at least once. This is easy.

With MIG the heat spread wont be more that about 1in, 2in at absolute maximum. But there will be spatter which make spin-holes in things. You should see my trousers.

So cover everything with wet cloth or Aluminium cooking foil or both. There are prper welding blankets for this kind of job. Work well but not cheap.

You will need to get the vinyl away from the frame for a couple of inches/

I would take that rivet out rather than trying to weld over/around it.

It always take thickish stuff back on a 45 angle so I weld in the V.

Clamping this will be tricky. I'd get an assistant to hold it put on a few small tacks before the finish weld.


Jedi Warrior
Country flag
I would take the whole top off the car to work on it. Pretty sure I can repair with a weld but, thanks for the offer on the top frame. I have access to a MIG. I had no idea the heat would stay so localized. I'll see what he says. And thanks for the idea of wet blankets and notching a V in the weld.



Jedi Warrior
Country flag
Update...successful repair. Alan, thanks for your tips and encouragement.

My brother owns a MIG welder. I removed the top from the car (10 minutes max). Took up to his house. Isolated the crack and blanketed the whole rest of the top with wet towels. With an angle grinder, we notched a V in the crack to give the weld more clean material to hold on to. We were not able to remove that large rivet even after grinding the top off and hitting it hard with a punch.

Anyway, here's the weld. Probably stronger than new.

Pictures from Galaxy S Phone 2013.05.22 002.jpg

Pictures from Galaxy S Phone 2013.05.22 003.jpg

Thanks again




Even though you think the weld is stronger than new, always treat that area delicately like it is about to break. The transition around a weld zone can be somewhat brittle and that area on the frame is bound to be stressed a bit.


Jedi Trainee
FWIW, I've found that an old aircooled VW input shaft has a somewhat close to correct concaveness (is that a word?) to match that rivet head. If the header rail is too floppy, a block on one side of the rivet and a BFH smacking the input shaft on the other tightens things up. Just a random discovery.
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