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Sunbeam Alpine: Fitting a Series V Soft Top (Part II)

Discussion in 'Featured Articles & How To's' started by Tim R, May 2, 2019.

  1. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    This video is the second of two that cover fitting a new soft top to a Series V Alpine. This job took us a number of days but the end result makes it well worth it.

    Don't forget that you can go direct to You Tube and watch The Sunbeam Alpine Channel as well as accessing individual videos from the forum.

    Tim R

  2. DanR

    DanR SAOCA Treasurer Diamond Level Sponsor

    Thanks!!! Great job of explaining the soft top installation for an Alpine SV..... I may now have enough courage to try one of mine.
  3. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Make sure you have help lined up. Tim mentions this, but this is definitely not a one person job! The helper doesn't have to be mechanically inclined, but I can't imagine doing this by myself.
  4. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    As Alpine1789 says there is at least one point (where you put the initial central screw into the rear body tub through the new soft top material) where you absolutely need a second person. This is because you have no vision from inside the car because the material below the rear window is in the way and without someone outside you can't line the screw up correctly and are at real risk of ruining the new soft top. The rest of the fitting is something you can do alone but like most things it is easier with an extra pair of hands.

    Tim R
  5. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have two Alpines that the top frame does not sit square on the body. It seems to be the hinges , mainly on the passenger side
    on both cars, that are higher than the drivers side. On my black car, the passenger side is almost 1/2" higher which throws the top
    off. How do you adjust these hinges.

  6. SoCal'beaming

    SoCal'beaming Donation Time

    I'm no expert on soft top installation or these particular cars but have you watched how most folks get into these cars ...especially passengers? They seem to grab the windscreen and then slide in. .. so the windscreen may not be sitting right on the passenger side which seems to be a problem with alot of convertibles. Had to show the wife and others how to get in without using the windscreen and bending it inward over time (50+years) this might be a problem with some of these. I was talking to Steven Alcalla awhile back about fitting my hardtop and this was something he brought to my attention.

    ..... David
  7. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    What I did (because the spring steel was broken and I had to make and fit new spring steel strips) was remove the soft top frame from the hinge blocks, then remove each brass hinge block from the car. Once you've got the hinge assembly on the bench you can play around with it until it is working exactly as you want it to and lifting exactly the height you want it to. (At over 50 years old these will probably have seen some action and may be bent, twisted or otherwise misaligned). You also have some play when you install the hinge blocks into the car because the mounting holes are much larger than the fixing screws so you can move it all around quite a bit. In Part I of this video I try to emphasise how important it is to get the various parts fitting together well before actually trying to fit the soft top.

    I think that you are right, there is also a tendency for later Series car windscreens to rot away in the bottom corners and bend and break accordingly. (We actually made a video on how we fix this problem). I always set up the windscreen, quarter lights etc using the hard top and get everything to seal tightly. Then, once I know the windscreen and side windows are correct I introduce the soft top frame.

    Attached Files:

  8. Jimjordan2

    Jimjordan2 Platinum Level Sponsor

    I think the most important thing I've learned here is the prep before even touching the canvas. Fitment and alignment of the frame and windows etc. appears to be the most important part of the installation. That plus once putting the canvas (vinyl) on doing the positioning on the Velcro and Header and sides before any screws looks like a much better way than I did it.
    Thanks for the video, enjoyed it. Learned a bunch.
  9. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor


    Like most things in life getting the preparation right is absolutely crucial. The thing is that if you do this job slowly and carefully you can achieve a first class result without the cost of a professional trimmer.

    Tim R
  10. Jimjordan2

    Jimjordan2 Platinum Level Sponsor

    Tim, you mentioned replacing the springs on the hinge block. How did you do that? What did you do to make that work? Or is just a bit of fiddling around? I know mine are a bit screwed up.

  11. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    Jim, There is a piece of flat, shaped spring steel that pushes the arm on the hinge to one side against a slope in the mounting block. It's job seems to be to provide resistance to hold the soft top frame so that it doesn't just drop backwards as you lower it. It makes the folding action more controlled. On my car the spring was broken in half. I knew I wasn't going to be able to buy one so I went on E Bay and bought some strips of spring steel. I dismantled the hinge and worked out how it fitted and how the hinge actually worked. (It disassembled by unscrewing the pivot that holds the arm at the bottom). I shaped the spring steel on the bench then I heat treated it. I had never done anything like this before but I watched a couple of You Tube videos and basically it was a series of actions of heating to red hot and quenching with water and then with oil. Once the shaped piece of metal was springing correctly and returning to the correct shape after being deformed I fitted it and mounted the hinge brackets. I think it is well worth doing as it stops the soft top frame from being rickety and will hold it in a half up position as you fold the material when you put the roof up or down.
    Tim R
  12. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Wow! That would have made a great video, too!
  13. Jimjordan2

    Jimjordan2 Platinum Level Sponsor

    Whew, sounds like a much bigger job than I thought. Good for you to attempting and accomplishing it. Mine aren't broken yet, so will probably wait till then. Thanks for the explanation.

  14. DanR

    DanR SAOCA Treasurer Diamond Level Sponsor

    Here's a couple PIC's of my top that I am attempting to install.

    Though I had it centered in the back.

    Looks like I'm off 1/4 "

    In the picture the small white mark is where I marked the fabric as center. It is aligned with the center screw hole.

    The longer white mark is Ithink it should be adjusted to take slack from the Driver side?

    Neither of the flaps have enough material to allow the snaps!

    Now to take it back to the center mark again?

    Attached Files:

  15. SoCal'beaming

    SoCal'beaming Donation Time

    Dan ... I've been practicing with the old soft top that came with the car hoping to make any mistakes in practice rather then with a new one .. not quite confident enough yet, never done one before .... but I'm getting the feel for the process. Hope yours slips right on!

    ... David
  16. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    Dan, Obviously different soft tops are of different quality and you have to hope that the one you have is the correct size to start with! From the photos my immediate thought is that it is sitting too high. If the inner part of the soft top in the rear at the sides is pulled down further and clipped to the drain channels it will pull those side flaps down further. As the side flaps come down and go flatter against the body of the car they effectively become wider because they are no longer angling upwards. If you watch Part II of the video again you will see how flat you need to get the side flaps and how far down the sides of the inner part at the rear need to be pulled before you clip them into place. In your picture 3 you can see that the two stitched seams on the roof are in front of the two support bars, they need to be following the line of the bars, this confirms that the soft top material is sitting too high and needs to be pulled down towards the rear at the sides (the centre looks about right although the centre mark might need lining up). Don't forget to keep the whole lot hot while you are fitting it by using heaters and blowers (I think I lost a couple of llbs fitting this one!). Unless you are in the tropics you will never get a decent fit if you try to put a new roof on an Alpine at room temperature.

    Tim R

    PROCRAFT Platinum Level Sponsor

    Dan Guess what I'm doing. IMG_2060.JPG
  18. DanR

    DanR SAOCA Treasurer Diamond Level Sponsor

    Joel, You can't be considering a soft top? A real do-it-yourself:) I am still playing with mine. Can't seem to get the side flaps down "flat"?

    By the way I like your seats!

    PROCRAFT Platinum Level Sponsor

    Dan yes we are probably get a Hartz Stayfast top from Rick cheaper than a trailer. Seats not so much to my liking would like to have something else

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