Mercury Cougar Owners banner

1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My old thread has gotten buried so I thought I would start fresh. Here's a pic of the well trim nearly done now. (Please forgive the crappy iphone camera). It's not easy to see, but if you look below the trim across the back, you can just make out my DIY tack sticks made from metal shelving rails and old fan belts.

The trim still needs to be buffed and polished but I probably will leave that for next spring. With the smell of autumn in the air, I need to get going on the top.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
Jody,

Just to follow-up a bit on our discussions regarding tack strips. I cannot tell from the pictures, but I am hoping that you have devised them such that the stapled side of the strip goes against and bolts to the body? In other words, once installed, the tack strip is visible from the inside of the top well inside the car, the top material is clamped between the top well metal and the tack strips. Also, the rear window tack strip is wider and overlays the two top sail panel tack strips at their (toward the rear window) ends, so the window fabric material ends laying up against the top sail panel material where it ends at the rear window opening. Hope this all makes sense, let me know if you have any questions.

Oh, and post some better pictures! Including some of your whiz-bang tack strips (you cheapskate! :buck:)

Regards,

Bob
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
P.S. The top well opening is awfully square at where the sides turn to the back, rather than a radius like the top will want to be/is designed for. If the top radius's, then there will be a big gap with the trim at the corners, wondering how are you planning on handling this area?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Although this pic doesn't show it very well, the corners of the drip rail and tack sticks actually still follow the same radius as the original mustang. Here's a better pic showing what I mean. With the top stretched tight, there is about 3/4 inch gap between the top material and of the edge of each corner peak. I plan to eliminate all or at least most of this gap by mounting a plastic "bumper" directly underneath each corner peak. The idea is that these bumpers will push the material upward closer to the edge of the trim. I'm 90% sure the material is stretchy enough to accommodate at least 1/2 inch of deflection, leaving only a 1/4 inch gap, which I can live with.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I spent the better part of six hours installing the glass curtain and started on the top itself today. I had the curtain in and out at least a half dozen times before I finally managed to get it lined up straight. The most nerve racking part was shooting the staples into the top across the rear bow. No turning back from there. Luckily, my measurements were more or less on target and everything started to fit into place from there. There may end up being just about a quarter inch of the curtain seam showing below the rear edge of the top, but I can live with that. I can see why the pros get big bucks for doing these top installs.

Here's a shot of my progress so far.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
Yep, it's tough Jody, ain't it? The job gave me "fits" (literally!) fitting and refitting until I got it right. Lots of staples (many more ripped out than ended up in the final product!).

I had a hard time with the rear curtain too. It ended up almost exactly like yours and I trimmed the material at the top of the curtain to make it fit the top edge better. Long and short of it is the curtain needed to be up higher (less material at the top, more material at the bottom). End product is just fine, as I am sure yours will be.

You did use Monel or SS staples, right?

Regards,

Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I have a feeling the side flaps are going to be real buggers. Not sure how I'm supposed to pull it tight and line up the tack sticks at the same time from inside the car. At least it's supposed to be sunny today so that should help with stretching.

Yes, I did use SS staples.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
I have a feeling the side flaps are going to be real buggers. Not sure how I'm supposed to pull it tight and line up the tack sticks at the same time from inside the car. At least it's supposed to be sunny today so that should help with stretching...
Yeah, could be tough since you are in uncharted territory given your application. At least I had a pencil line on the fabric to go by/get me in the ballpark (one for Mustang, one for Cougar).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Last night I took a closer look at my top and discovered it also was pre-marked for Mustang with a line of pinholes. I figured I'd start by stapling my tack sticks an inch below that line and work my way upward. Four hours, a zillion staples, and much cussin' and swearin' later, I got things pretty well lined up. I still have the corner "bump outs" to install which should pull things even tighter and hopefully take out some wrinkles. I'm going to leave the top up for a day or so to let things stretch out before dealing with the corners.

A couple of issues are now coming to light. First, the wire-on trim that came with my top is going to be way too narrow to cover up some the staples so I'm going to have to find a wider one or reposition the staples. Not sure what to do about the holes if I do that, though. The second thing I noticed is that some of the holes for the tack stick bolts are stripped. I think I can get around that by putting nuts on those bolts from the trunk side.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
Last night I took a closer look at my top and discovered it also was pre-marked for Mustang with a line of pinholes...
You're welcome! :buck:

Jody,

Thinking about what you are doing, the following occurred to me, you are using a top pad set, right? They are wide belts that go from bow to bow and then wider, trapeziodal shaped pads for the rear bow down to the quarter tack strips. They are important to position the bows and provide a underpinning that you will then seemingly endlessly struggle with to match with tension of the top material based on where you staple. :buck:

The wire on trim, yes, it is very hard to keep the staples within the confines of such a narrow strip. Not sure if you could find/buy a wider one or how that would look if you can buy it. If you end up repositioning, I would try to get vinyl repair liquid in the appropriate color and dab it into the holes, sealing them. Vinyl Pro of Western Pa is where I got a vinyl repair kit I used for interior vinyl. Should work for 'vert tops too but you'll probably have to mix to get the right color.

Most of the tack strip bolt holes were stripped on Isabel, I believe it is a common problem. I bought 1/4-20 Rivnuts from McMaster-Carr and Rivnutted all of the holes. On a regular convertible, the backs of these holes are for the most part inaccessible (at least on 69/70), perhaps that is different on your setup/on earlier 'stang 'vert stuff.

Regards,

Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I have pads on the sides (from #4 bow forward), but not quarter pads. I realize that quarter pads help smooth things out, but they won't stretch to the shape I'm going for at the corners. I hadn't thought of Rivnuts-- thats a great idea.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
I have pads on the sides (from #4 bow forward), but not quarter pads. I realize that quarter pads help smooth things out, but they won't stretch to the shape I'm going for at the corners. I hadn't thought of Rivnuts-- thats a great idea.
The pads also keep the top material from taking too much stress, which will lead to stretching. I think you can/could use pads on the quarter sections too, you would just have to staple in the correct shape at the edge/tack strip to make the shape you are going for. I think I know what you are after, you are looking for the top material to actually go back more than on a regular top at the corners, almost making a "fin" of sorts to match the opening shape there where the HT quarters sail portion was.

Good luck, I am sure you will come up with something good, I'm routing for you.

Regards,

Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Nearly done! I still have to install the wire-on and weatherstripping, but that's pretty much it for the top. Now I have to get to work on fabbing some lexan to replace the stock quarter glass.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
...Now I have to get to work on fabbing some lexan to replace the stock quarter glass.
What did Bill Pratt do for this aspect of his conversion? If there is a stock window that works for this application? Even if there isn't, I think you would be much better off with glass. You plan on curving the lexan to match the original glass contour? Sounds tough to me. I'm thinking if the original glass is too big (what you would hope for), you mark the glass, take it to a glass shop and have them cut it down and finish the edge for you and you are done. Go glass, man.

P.S. Post some details pictures so we can see how the top fits in those difficult areas!

Regards,

Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
From what I've read on the interwebs, there's no way to cut the curved side glass without exploding it. I'm pretty sure Bill used Mustang convertible quarter windows which apparently work, but leave a bit of the window frame exposed when used on a Cougar. Plus, the Mustang glass is big $$$ and I'm a cheapskate, remember? I'll post better pics after I get the corner "bump outs" installed.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,577 Posts
Jody,

The Mustang coupe glass is not expensive at all repro. I think I paid $35 each for glass for mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
I just read through this thread and I am impressed with this project. Very cool! I think it looks great so far. I laughed at the cheapskate remark. I would use resourceful rather than cheapskate. :)
Steven
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
I used stock Mustang quarter windows and (mostly) hid the Mustang window frame bottom with cut down Cougar hockey sticks in place of the full ones. With the window up, there is a little bit of the Mustang kick-up visible but most people don't notice it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
389 Posts
i'd personally leave it w/o the windows and drive w/ the top down before i put plastic windows back there. up against real glass windows in the doors its gonna look like crap IMO. i'd wait till u could do it with the mustang glass...but then again, im cheap too and take people's reject parts for my ride so what do i know.
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top