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1970 Convertible Top Replacement
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:06 am    Post subject: 1970 Convertible Top Replacement Reply with quote

We're installing a convertible top for a fellow Sambanista and
would like to illustrate some of the steps here in the Ghia Forum.
His 1970 Ghia arrived here with the convertible framework and wood bows already installed and in good shape.

Watch this space for updates as work progresses. Some select photos of
the fundamental steps will appear here as progress points are reached.

Scope of the work will include:
1. Adjust top frame with bows for proper fit to body.
2. Install headliner.
3. Install padding.
4. Install top cover.

What follows applies to all Karmann Ghia cabriolet tops
from late 1969 through 1974 with the glass rear window.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

New header bow, corner plates, guide pins and boots.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

New rear wood bow. Keep the glass window in place during the process.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Some adjustments needed here for better fit to body.
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Karmann Ghia & Beetle parts available.
Convertible tops installed.


Last edited by Ghiaddict on Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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72Ghia
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thread idea. Looking forward to any new postings.
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Bill

WTB- Billet center caps with Wolfsburg logo

72 Ghia Vert project
Bodywork http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=303542&highlight=
Re-assembly: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4762737#4762737

72 Beetle Weekend Driver, restored in the 90's
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=353424

www.airsuckers.com
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Lair
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Real wood header bows look cool. They're easy to work with, also.
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gregmporter
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are awesome!!! I am looking forward to this thread.
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I have a samba build thread that is a digest
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=371878

I also have a blog that cronicles my restoration in detail.
http://www.1974kg.blogspot.com

You Tube Channel w/vids of the car's progress
http://www.youtube.com/user/gregmporter
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Using shims to obtain the 6 mm (1/4") clearance between the
main bow and body support pillar. Loosen the 3 frame mounting bolts
on each side @ rear of door to shift the frame.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Also push the top frame outwards until the main bow projects
about 2 mm from the body sharp edge on top of the quarter panel.
Retighten the frame mounting bolts.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Properly fitted header bow will have space between the bare wood and
the windshield frame: Specs are 7 mm at center, 2 mm at the ends.
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Karmann Ghia & Beetle parts available.
Convertible tops installed.
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Loren Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where were the wood bows purchased from and how well did they fit? Where did you buy the top, padding and headliner from? Did you go with a canvas or vinyl top material.
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loren wrote:
Where were the wood bows purchased from and how well did they fit? Where did you buy the top, padding and headliner from? Did you go with a canvas or vinyl top material.


Everything was sourced from SewFine Products in Texas.
The wood bows were already installed when the Ghia arrived here
but judging from what I can see, they fit much better than
bows I've used from some other suppliers.

The top cover is canvas material.
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Convertible tops installed.
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Cover the rear edge of the header bow with matching fabric
strip supplied with the top cover.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Also cover the corner plates. Staple positions are marked so that
the next layer of fasteners for the headliner can be staggered on top.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Positioning of the glass window hinge to body mounting to the middle
of the range allows for future adjustment, if needed.
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Convertible tops installed.
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crocteau
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ghiaddict wrote:
Positioning of the glass window hinge to body mounting to the middle of the range allows for future adjustment, if needed.
You are good! I don't recall seeing anything about that adjustment in the top installation manuals I dug up. I think it's a reasonable and logical approach, but when I finished my top I found myself wishing that I had adjusted the hinges to their upper limit at that step in order to minimize gaps at the lower corners where the glass meets the sewn-in rubber seal. This may have been affected by my reusing the original "body to rear bow" straps, as there was no chance of them stretching to allow the hinges to move up after the fact, and the rear bow positioning seems to be the linchpin to a successful installation. I suppose those little corner gaps explain why VW put the rear window gutter and drain tubes in.
Charley
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crocteau wrote:
Ghiaddict wrote:
Positioning of the glass window hinge to body mounting to the middle of the range allows for future adjustment, if needed.

You are good! I don't recall seeing anything about that adjustment in the top installation manuals I dug up. I think it's a reasonable and logical approach ...and the rear bow positioning seems to be the linchpin to a successful installation.
Charley


Thanks! This one being probably the 10th "late" top done, past experience is the main motivator of what's being posted and explained here. All of the reprints of VW manuals out there leave some details unclear, especially those that have obviously been translated from the German!
We adhere to the "factory" instructions as much as possible. By this
time I think every pitfall in the process has been faced.
And yes, the rear bow position with proper latching of the glass rear
window is critical for a successful top installation for late models.
The pre-1969 models seem somewhat easier, IMHO.
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Convertible tops installed.
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70ghiaconvt
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Loren,

Vince is working on my ghia.

The front bow came from Sewfine as Vince stated and just needed slight modifications to the right side to match the curve in the corner cover plate.

The rear bow came from KGPR and needed to be thinned about an 1/8 of an inch to fit.

Thanks,
Wally
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Glue a foam strip to the underside of the header bow at
the front edge. DAP contact cement on both surfaces to secure it
to the wood.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Glue one end of the webbing straps at the recesses in the main bow.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Sew the straps in place with waxed, heavy duty thread.
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Karmann Ghia & Beetle parts available.
Convertible tops installed.
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danielsan
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic thread! Hope it becomes a sticky or finds a place in the FAQ.

Did you sew this with a large needle or do you own a hand held sewing machine?
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big needle and thread for me.
I'm old school. Cool
Lots more sewing to come for headliner & padding.
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Lair
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry Burton would be proud.
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VW-Variant-L
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great timing with the thread, I am in the process of looking for supplies to do my 70 KG Very Happy
I have seen parts online ( headliner, pad and canvas cover) from KGP&R and Sewfine and am trying to decide which one to go with.
Have you had any experience with KGP&R tops ? Is there a reason for you choosing Sewfine ? I'm ordering from overseas so wanting to get it right
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VW-Variant-L wrote:
great timing with the thread, ...
Have you had any experience with KGP&R tops ? Is there a reason for you choosing Sewfine ?


Wally, the Ghia's owner, made the choice to go with SewFine
for the top materials and most parts. Their products are excellent.
Yes, TMI, Chuck's Convertibles and others have been used to source
these parts in the past for other tops we have installed.
A few years back KGP&R stated that they actually source their
convertible tops/parts from others suppliers like TMI and SewFine.
Not sure if that is still the case, but it seems there are only a very
small number of companies actually making the tops.
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Convertible tops installed.
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Fold the top forward but do not engage the front latches.
Temporarily lower the rear bow and glass window.
Mark a length of 660 mm (26") on each webbing strap from
the rear edge of the main bow. This is the specified distance
to the rear body flange.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Using one inner anchoring strip, attach each strap to the body
using 2 Phillips countersunk screws. Note: the third, inner
screw is fitted in a later step. Also do not cut off any
surplus material.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Right side, same as above.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Close and latch the top. Pull up the rear bow to a dimension
of 300 +/- 5 mm (12") measured from the rear of the main bow to
the trailing edge of the rear bow. Attach the webbing straps with
tacks in the recesses of the wood. It will fit tight!

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Bows are now set in position. Check the latching of the rear window.
Make adjustments now, if needed.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Fold the surplus ends of the webbing straps back and glue them in
position.
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Karmann Ghia & Beetle parts available.
Convertible tops installed.
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22manybugs
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ghiaddict wrote:

Properly fitted header bow will have space between the bare wood and
the windshield frame: Specs are 7 mm at center, 2 mm at the ends.


I think the dimensions are backwards. They may be correct for earlier-model Ghias with the latch in the middle of the main header bow, but on later-model Ghias with two latches - one at each outside edge of the bow - you would want a thinner space in the middle and more space on the outside. The reason is that, for later-models, the top should contact the middle of the bow first, then closing the latches will pull-down the outside corners and you get a good tight seal all the way across the front.

I'm basing that on convertible Bugs. I haven't replaced a top on a Ghia, but I've done a couple Bug tops and that's how they are setup. The idea should be the same.

Ghiaddict, thank you for putting this post together. It has great information!
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1969 Karmann Ghia convertible
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Ghiaddict
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

22manybugs wrote:
Ghiaddict wrote:

Properly fitted header bow will have space between the bare wood and
the windshield frame: Specs are 7 mm at center, 2 mm at the ends.


I think the dimensions are backwards...on later-model Ghias with two latches - one at each outside edge of the bow - you would want a thinner space in the middle and more space on the outside...the top should contact the middle of the bow first.

I'm basing that on convertible Bugs. I haven't replaced a top on a Ghia...


The dimensions I provided are correct.
Here is the appropriate page from the Ghia manual and you can see
it is a later model Type 14 with side latches:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I don't do Bugs and you may be right about the differences owing to
the shape of a Bug header and/or windshield frame. Don't know.
But this isn't my first rodeo when it comes to the Karmann Ghia top. Wink
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