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Top Rivets
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Samba Member

Joined: April 05, 2003
Posts: 469
Location: Cleveland, OH
7thing3 is offline 

PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 11:28 am    Post subject: Top Rivets Reply with quote

I just popped off the rivets on the leading edge of my top. I am going to clean up and paint my frame. What is the procedure for riveting the top back on? Looks like I will need new rivets but is there a special tool or will a block of wood and a hammer do the trick?

Also--any quickie techniques for checking frame straightness?
'73 Thing--Ted
'77 Super Beetle Convertible
'87 Vanagon GL Syncro
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Joined: November 08, 2002
Posts: 276
Location: San Francisco, CA
chinarider is offline 

PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2004 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did this last year when I replaced my old soft top with a new one from the Thing Shop. As far as I recall, it's a fairly easy process. You need to fold the leading edge of the soft top into that long, thin metal strip that is seperate from the rame itself (I think you just fold it over once to give it sufficient support). Next, just line it up with the leading edge of the frame (make sure that it's in the right position, and that the top will be "right side up" when you rivet it back on and flip it back onto the frame).

When I riveted it back into place, I used large 2-piece rivets from the Thing shop, and a ball-peen hammer and a counterweight (you'll need a heavy metal counterweight - wood's too light and soft) to secure them in place. I don't see why you couldn't use a pop-rivet gun to do the same thing, provided they have the right fit. Oh - this is important - when you do the riveting, start in the center and work your way outward towards either side to ensure both an even and snug fit.

Thing frames are notoriously soft and subject to bending, so if it's an original frame, it'll likely be bent. I straightened mine using two straight pieces of oak (which I clamped in place), and both a hammer and counterweight to force them straight. It did an acceptable job - not show-winning perfection, but straight to the untrained eye.

Hope this is helpful.
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