Our Top 10 Tips for Restoring your Hardtop.
These 10 Tips are intended to be a help to anyone restoring a Triumph Stag Hardtop, these are tips we have learnt over the last 15 years of Restoring Triumph Stag Hardtops. They are not intended as a definitive guide or a set of authorized instructions in any way.
We want to share them with anyone Restoring their own Hardtop and hope they will be of general help to Triumph Stag Owners.
Tim Collins. The Vehicle Restoration Co. Est 1986.
1/ Removing the side trims from the roof gutter - If you bend these trims when you remove them they seldom go back on properly. Take your time and use a piece of Hardwood (we have a specially made tool) and tap the trim free from the underside starting at the front, all the way along and then carefully remove.
2/ If you have the joiner pieces for the Side Gutter trim to the front roof moulding keep them carefully as you will have trouble replacing them.
3/ Welded repairs to your Hardtop - Be careful with this work. Set up your Roof in a stable easy to work on position and try not to move it during the repair stage, we have seen Hardtops that have been previously repaired and just don’t fit the car, pay attention to the rear lower section below the rear window if you get the shaping of this section wrong the window may not fit and the rubber seal underneath may not close the gap to the Tonneau cover. We have a purpose built Jig and have had to re-align several Hardtops.
4/ If you are welding/repairing anywhere around the rear quarter light windows always check they will fit, open and close throughout the repair. Use new plastic blocks if you have them that accept the 4 quarter light fixing screws per window, a rear quarter light window not fixed tightly will in our experience eventually move and could easily damage the paintwork when opened.
5/ Rear window and new rubber fitting – Not a job you will want to do very often and to do this properly allow quite a few hours to complete the task especially if you are working with freshly repainted Hardtop, use some lubricant on the rubber that will not stain your brand new Headlining! With a decent piece of string and patience your screen is in. Well done. Have a cup of tea and have a sit down because the next part will test your patience. It deserves a section on its own.
6/ Fit the rear window trims – We have tried many methods of fitting these windscreen trims, I.E before we fit the window, gluing/taping them in place, you name it we have probably tried it but we have found that fitting them to the rubber prior to fitting the rear screen is the best method.
Firstly the Trims must be straight and in good shape around the corners, if they were bent on removal or do not match the profile of the window you should look at replacing them, clean the channel at the back of the trims of old glue and mastic, coat everything in a lubricant, insert a piece of electrical wiring in the slot in the rubber, this lifts the rubber lip slightly, then (if the planets line up and it is your lucky day!) slide the trims over the raised lip carefully, remove the electrical wire and tape everything in place before using an adhesive sealer to glue everything in place, leave overnight to dry, Job done!.... However if like us you are merely human they will probably not fit or slide in correctly, we have made a set of blocks to keep the trims in place as we fit one after the other, always start with the bottom trim, make sure you fit the top trim joiner before inserting the top trims, when you do manage to get everything set up and in place, a bead of adhesive sealant around the inside edge against the glass should hold everything in place, it will be a case of trial and error. Then fit your screen as Tip number 5.
If your screen is already in the car and you want to add the trims it will be more difficult but as above use the electrical wire to lift the rubber edge and slide the trims over, you will need patience for this job.
7/ When we come to fit a Hardtop for the first time we leave the 4 locking handles lose (loosen the fixing screws) in there fittings, let them wiggle into position before locking down, then you can tighten the rear handles down while they are locked in, then unlock them and gentle lift the roof front and with an angled Philips screwdriver tighten the front handles, refit the roof one or two times to get this right. We also recommend you coat the front sealing rubber with lubricant prior to fitting if it is a new replacement rubber.
8/ When we set a restored Roof on a car for the first time we set it on 4 rubber blocks, one in each corner, we remove or refit them as we need to when adjusting the fit of the roof, we also lay a thick Blanket on the boot lid to prevent the rear spur damaged the boot lid.
9/ The Chrome plates behind the B post on the car should be fitted with the correct spacers underneath to raise them high enough to accept the rear locking pin. This is often overlooked and if the chrome lock plates are not set at the correct position/height then locking the rear handles can be difficult.
10/ Headlining. You may find that the gussets that take the headlining bars are too long and will prevent the headlining fitting/stretching properly, with care you can trim these back so the headlining is a good fit at the sides.
Be patient. Take your time. We have restored many Hardtops and understand that restoring one for the first time will test anyone. Good luck, these hardtops are a great extra for a Triumph Stag.