Questions on convertible rear panels removal, convertible hydraulic component replacement and convertible top replacement

Gs1987GT

Active Member
Sep 25, 2019
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Hello Gents, good morning,

I looked last night and can see that both of my convertible top hydraulic cylinders are leaking and need replaced.

From what I gather here, it's best to replace all components, at once, pump, lines and cylinders?

How do the rear panels next to the rear seat come out? I see a few screws here and there, but I've never had one apart.

Are the cylinders and lines hard to access to replace? I also noticed last night one of the tops cables was slack\no tension so that's not good either.

Is the top itself hard to replace? I've never done one. I believe lmr has a video for sale that covers it I may buy and review before deciding.

I have above average mechanical aptitude so I'm willing to take this on myself, but if I'm opening a can of worms by doing so, I'll just spend the money to have a shop replace it for me.

Any help or thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks
Greg
 
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90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
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The back seat needs to come out. The side panels are kindof self explanatory. I remove all the screws and pull towards center of vehicle and up. The top cylinders aren't hard and sit on pins that slide out. Should be done with the top down. The tension cables attach to screws and springs behind the frame by the quarter windows. The front end goes in a slot at the front of the top frame. A wire hanger comes in handy to push a new cable through. Make sure not to poke through the top.
 
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ChillPhatCat

5 Year Member
Apr 22, 2002
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Syracuse, NY
As far as the top replacement goes, I watched a few Youtube videos and bought a top and an electric staple gun and knocked out the convertible top in about 10 hours all by myself. I have a couple vertical wrinkles in the sail panels, but it looks pretty decent. It was not an overly difficult or complicated task, it's all designed to come apart so that it can be replaced. I am betting that most people that do it themselves will get a couple wrinkles vs getting a professional replacement but it's good enough for me as I rarely drive it without the top down... and I never bought the car to be a show piece. I originally had a busted glass rear window, with the two-piece top and opted to go to a single piece with vinyl window... was blue originally as well which was just too much blue for me.

After top replacement. Hard to tell unless you get up close to it.
GILorXm.jpg
 
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Gs1987GT

Active Member
Sep 25, 2019
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MidAtlantic
The back seat needs to come out. The side panels are kindof self explanatory. I remove all the screws and pull towards center of vehicle and up. The top cylinders aren't hard and sit on pins that slide out. Should be done with the top down. The tension cables attach to screws and springs behind the frame by the quarter windows. The front end goes in a slot at the front of the top frame. A wire hanger comes in handy to push a new cable through. Make sure not to poke through the top.
Much appreciated. Especially the top on putting the top down for cylinder access. I figured the rear seat had to come out... Just wasn't sure from there besides for removing all the screws. I don't want to break them coming out or going in

I reckon I'll order the lmr video and go from there.
 

Gs1987GT

Active Member
Sep 25, 2019
484
186
53
MidAtlantic
As far as the top replacement goes, I watched a few Youtube videos and bought a top and an electric staple gun and knocked out the convertible top in about 10 hours all by myself. I have a couple vertical wrinkles in the sail panels, but it looks pretty decent. It was not an overly difficult or complicated task, it's all designed to come apart so that it can be replaced. I am betting that most people that do it themselves will get a couple wrinkles vs getting a professional replacement but it's good enough for me as I rarely drive it without the top down... and I never bought the car to be a show piece. I originally had a busted glass rear window, with the two-piece top and opted to go to a single piece with vinyl window... was blue originally as well which was just too much blue for me.

After top replacement. Hard to tell unless you get up close to it.
GILorXm.jpg
Looks Good to me man! Well done. Appreciate the tips and suggestions..

I'm thinking I will give this a shot... But want to watch the video first
 

foxbodybill89

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Jan 19, 2020
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Seat back and cushion come out first, then remove the screws in the side panels and just pull them out. Don't forget to unhook the speaker wires if you have speakers back there. If your lift system is all original I would replace the whole system, it's not too bad, routing the lines and removing/installing the cylinders are a little difficult. When filling the pump put some paper towels down and put the ATF in a squeeze bottle like a gear oil bottle and fill carefully, it will go all over if you overfill. The top is tricky at best, I would leave it to a shop. It won't be cheap either.
 
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Potomus Pete

I'm still waiting for the fully nude shots
Mar 7, 2019
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Top replacement cost me $350 with the staple gun included... could have bought 3 tops and messed up two of them and still come out ahead of having a shop do it. :p
X2...$350 for a new top. It helps when you add up what you have in your car, and how nice it is for the money. Besides it's our hobby. It's what your supposed to do.
 
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Gs1987GT

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Sep 25, 2019
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MidAtlantic
Thanks for the additional comments gents. I appreciate them.

I'm going to buy the lmr top replacement video, watch it and go from there. I've never done one so I'm a little intimidated, but I've not watched the video yet.

For the cylinders, what is the best way to get them in and out? There's a of bracing in the way from what I see. Are there bushings and such that will fall out when they come off? Are there any diagrams out there that show where all the pieces go to reference? U tube is not much help on foxbody hydraulics replacement. CJ pony has one on a 70s mustang, but I didn't see any good videos on foxbody convertible top hydraulic components replacement.

As I noted above, I have one cable that is slack I should probably correct before I do anything else. Looks like it goes into a hole in the top frame, then disappears from there. Not sure where the front connects to? I should probably replace both cables also given one already had an issue. Any suggestions on replacing those?

Thanks again gents, I appreciate the help.
 

Potomus Pete

I'm still waiting for the fully nude shots
Mar 7, 2019
3,002
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Sarasota Florida
I got the video. Used it , and sent it to a kid on this site. Everything is marked on the car and the fabric. The whole job is about where the bow sits, and your first window piece. Make sure you get that right, and your good. I found the job rewarding. No grease, and no bad back.
 
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90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
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It runs through a channel in the vinyl top itself. It ends under the top material at the first part of the top frame above the corner above the door glass. It's got a stop on the end that fits in a slotted hole. That cable pulls the side of the top down when it's latched. You can usually feel it by squeazing the side of the top.
Screenshot_20220827-013648_Chrome.jpg
 
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Gs1987GT

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Sep 25, 2019
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Ok, thanks 90sick. Much appreciated. Can the cables be changed out with the top still on the frame? I wonder if the end of my one just came out of the connector or if that end just came off and the cable is junk.

I'm going to tear into this today, get the back seat and rear panels out and do some additional diagnosis on my hydraulic leak, see if I can confirm it's the cylinders as I suspect. The prior owner gave me a brand new top motor when I bought the car so I have that. But the existing one still works well, I just have the leaks. Probably needs new cylinders. When I look down from above, I see the top of them where the ram comes out have some dampness on them.

Any suggestions on top brand? I see lmr has several different options, a cloth one with glass rear window is $800 but seems to include some extra items. That cover for the rear window well/top area on my car is not in the best shape, should probably replace that also.

If I do this myself, I'd rather some more on a known quality top that will fit well, than a cheaper one I'll struggle (more) with.

I got a 6% off code from lmr for labor day...might as well put it to good use.

Thanks guys...
 

ChillPhatCat

5 Year Member
Apr 22, 2002
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Assuming you're looking at the set with the pads and both top pieces... Probably not a bad deal. I reused my pads but they were in so-so shape, and I was on a very tight budget and I chose to covert over to a one piece top to save additional money. Pads only take a few more minutes to replace while you've got the top off. The top and glass rear window are replaceable separately if one or the other is in good shape, but might as well do it all if it's all showing its age. I'm guessing it will be an easier job with the two piece set because you have the side bows and then the back bow... with a one piece top you have to wrestle all three into alignment as you staple it together whereas with the two piece you will be able to do the top, bolt in the side bows, then address the back window and the back bow which overlaps the side bows on each end.
 
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Gs1987GT

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Assuming you're looking at the set with the pads and both top pieces... Probably not a bad deal. I reused my pads but they were in so-so shape, and I was on a very tight budget and I chose to covert over to a one piece top to save additional money. Pads only take a few more minutes to replace while you've got the top off. The top and glass rear window are replaceable separately if one or the other is in good shape, but might as well do it all if it's all showing its age. I'm guessing it will be an easier job with the two piece set because you have the side bows and then the back bow... with a one piece top you have to wrestle all three into alignment as you staple it together whereas with the two piece you will be able to do the top, bolt in the side bows, then address the back window and the back bow which overlaps the side bows on each end.
Thanks CPC. I really appreciate your thoughts and insight on this.
 

90sickfox

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I start installation at the back and work my way forward. The last thing I do are the side curtains. When I started doing then there were no videos available except for a VHS tape. I never used one. Learned from a guy that used to make custom hard top convertibles.

You can replace the cables with the top on. You just have to unlatch it and prop the front up a little above windshield. The end at the front just hooks in a little notched hole. The other end connects to a spring that sits on a screw behind the quarter window top frame. If you sit in the back seat you'll see it.

I order from https://www.convertibletopguys.com/

...Or Ez on tops brand. The EZ on tops already have the basic measurements drawn out on the fabric. You may have to tweak and double check but it's an awesome starting point.
 
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Gs1987GT

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That's awesome guys. Thanks, much appreciated. I got notice from LMR that my instructional DVD and the ford convertible top manual shipped yesterday, so I'm looking forward to getting and reviewing those?

Should I buy an electric or air stapler? I have a 60G\150 Psi compressor in my shop, so plenty of air

Thanks
 

ChillPhatCat

5 Year Member
Apr 22, 2002
393
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Syracuse, NY
That's awesome guys. Thanks, much appreciated. I got notice from LMR that my instructional DVD and the ford convertible top manual shipped yesterday, so I'm looking forward to getting and reviewing those?

Should I buy an electric or air stapler? I have a 60G\150 Psi compressor in my shop, so plenty of air

Thanks

This is the stapler I used, took a combination of 1/4" and 3/8" staples to get the job done, anywhere that the top overlaps itself you'll need a bit more staple to get it in. I'm sure an air stapler would be at least as effective.
 
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