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Soft top is really really hard to latch

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Depcons, Oct 21, 2021.

  1. Depcons

    Depcons Gold Level Sponsor

    I have a 66 alpine. It took my son pushing down from the outside over the latch and me inside with a rubber mallet pushing up from the inside to finally get it to latch. Same in the other side. Anyone have a cause for this and a solution?
  2. Gordon Holsinger

    Gordon Holsinger Diamond Level Sponsor

  3. MikeH

    MikeH Platinum Level Sponsor

    How long has the top been down? It might have shrunk.
  4. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    What was the temperature? In chilly weather the top material shrinks and does not like to be stretched back into shape. Nothing makes a top fit like a nice, sunny hot day.
  5. Depcons

    Depcons Gold Level Sponsor

    It came to me this way. I had it shipped from Ohio. When I got it it was real hard to open. I tried everything to close it again. I even put an electric heater inside the car for an hour with no luck. I broke the left toggle catch. Had to order two more. I am not sure what the previous owner had done to it. I feel the top was cut to small. My 63 I owned was stiff but I could sit in the car and close the latches.
  6. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    The tops are made slightly oversize in length to facilitate installation. The tightness of the fit is determined during installation and the "excess" material at the rear of the top often cut flush with the body. That makes it virtually impossible to adjust the fit.

  7. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    The soft top clasps are adjustable for location.
    There should also be slotted wedges behind the clasps between them amd the header bow that set the angle.

    Try loosening the clasps and check the wedges are still there to alogn the clasps.

    Then Maybe adjust the vertical location of the clasps to allow them to locate into the reciever better.
  8. Warren

    Warren Bronze Level Sponsor

    Ah yes the common thread of initiation in Sunbeam world.
    There's a thread and discussion on plasticity of the vinyl. I've tried lots of products over the years on convertible tops. Silicone spray is a good choice.
    I took a rat tail file to elongate the holes on more than one clamp. Plus the tapered wedges help too.
    Next up my headlight ring flew off, then the hood latch stuck , then the obligatory auto parts store questions a what kind of car... ;)
  9. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    The parts book doesn't show any wedges, but that is a great idea. My latches are pretty tough to close - partially from the seal being thick and fairly stiff, but the header bow definitely doesn't lay right. I believe a wedge would fix that!
  10. Paul354

    Paul354 Platinum Level Sponsor

  11. Warren

    Warren Bronze Level Sponsor

    That's a reasonable facsimile but to pay like 12 bucks each and the shipping from the U.K. seems a little un car guy like. ;)
  12. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    I agree Warren. A good project for me on a lunch break.
  13. Depcons

    Depcons Gold Level Sponsor

    I believe I can make the wedges. When the car was received it did not have the weather striping on the front bow and I still could not latch it. It maybe in the closing latches on the bow. And I will attempt the wedges. Question on installation of wedges. Fat part up or down?
  14. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    Up, based on the way mine lays.
  15. Depcons

    Depcons Gold Level Sponsor

    Thanks I will make these tomorrow
  16. Paul354

    Paul354 Platinum Level Sponsor

  17. volvoguys

    volvoguys Diamond Level Sponsor

    All of the above are good suggestions but I'll add another: check the rake of your windscreen frame:

    If the PO fitted new seals he may have drawn the front of the screen too tight, pulling it forward, causing the latching problem. Compare the gap between the quarter window and the stainless drip rail because it should be consistent top-to-bottom. If the gap is wider (leaning forward) at the top that will absolutely effect how tight the top fits.

    Mark ..... v
  18. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    Paul354 - interesting, my header is low at the ends, which I'm thinking would require the wedge to be fat end at the top.
  19. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    Just a follow up on this - I 3D printed some wedges and gave them a try. Couldn't get the latches closed at all even after trying to re-adjust things.

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