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71-76 Eldorado convertible scissor top recover and repair

Started by MaR, June 28, 2021, 03:19:24 PM

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The 2nd bow is the next part to work on. It just had a little surface rust in places and the pivot arms needed to be replaced. I removed the old arms, sandblasted the bow, and painted it to match the other frame parts.

Next I put a pair of new pivot arms on. The pivot arm kit comes with brand new arms and all new mounting hardware.

I also reinstalled the pivot arm wear sliders in the lifter arms.

The pivot arms point forward on the lifter arms and allow the 2nd bow to remain parallel to the windshield while the lifter arms fold up when the top is being put down. When the top is up, they lock into tabs on the lifter arms and help keep the arms aligned with the door glass so the weather stripping makes a tight seal on the top of the door glass.

Here is how the pivot arm folds when the lifter arms fold inward when the top is going down.


Next to go back on are the latching handles. Previously, both of them had sticking problems and the passenger side was almost impossible to latch. You had to push the top down from the outside while moving the latch handle to even get it close to latching. After I sandblasted, refinished, and greased them, they worked perfectly the first time. I think there were a few issues that made it hard to latch before: the old top material was binding up the top frame, the 2nd bow pivot arms were worn and not helping to keep the arms aligned, and most of the pivot joints were either too loose or tightened up too tightly.

Lastly, I added the trim molding across the upper inside lip of the front bow. That's where you grab the front bow to pull it down when you are latching the top down.


I did continue to refinish the remaining bows on the top frame. All of these remaining bows are too large to fit in any of the sandblasters I have access to but fortunately, they are not very rusty at all. I started with the 3rd bow which mostly just needed the old glue removed and a light sanding. This bow is just behind the rear quarter windows and controls the rear side of the top.

The 4th bow is just a guide bow and nothing is actually attached to it. It's purpose is to push the top of the back window up and give the top it's shape where it changes direction from the roof to the back glass curtain area. It also has a plastic cover that goes on the underside of the bow itself.

The last piece is the rear tack strip. It is a large bow that lays horizontal under the rear body opening. It's what all of the top pieces are stapled to around the sides and rear of the car. When the top is up, there is a lever section on the sides that pushes the bow up against the underside of the body to make the top fit tight to the body opening all the way around the car. This is also on the other frame that was so badly rusted and then cobbled back together. This original one just had a bit of light surface rust on the mounting bracket that I sanded and touched up. The 3rd and 4th bows bolt to the mounting bracket and the whole assembly then bolts to the actuator brackets.

Since virtually all the cloth pieces of the top staple to this part of the frame, I'm going to staple as many of the parts on before I mount this section back into the car.


The first part that will be stapled to the rear tack strip bow is the gutter. I'm reusing my old gutter as it's in much better condition than the one that came with the replacement top. All it really needs is to be cleaned up and new tails attached. You can see below that it cleaned up nicely.

The tails direct the water that collects in the gutter down the front of the wheel well and to the drains in the body. they were torn off of both sides on my gutter and I just made new ones from pieces of the old top that were still in useable condition.

The old tails had just torn off.


I also finished up a few other things on the lifter arm part of the top frame. These guide blocks keep the top frame from rubbing together when it's folded up. They mount near the latch handles.

I also mounted the upper weatherstripping for the door glass. This piece of weatherstripping mounts directly to the lifter arm and has a gutter section that helps guide water away from the door opening when it's raining.

The matching piece of weatherstripping that goes on the top of rear quarter window is mounted to the 3rd bow. It does not go on until the top material is completely attached.


My stainless steel staples arrived so I was able to start on the reassembly of the top. The first piece to go back on was the gutter. It has a notch cut in it where the center of the part is so you can line it up with the center of the frame.

After than, it's just a matter of going around the edges and stapling it all on.


Next is the well liner. It staples over the gutter but wraps over the top of the frame. When mounted in the car, it covers the well where the top retracts into. It has the same type of alignment notch as the gutter.

It's "lightly" stapled all the way around like the gutter was.


Next I scrubbed the rear curtain to get the majority of the dirt and grime off of it before I installed it.

And then I started to staple it to the rear bow. The section below the glass is two layers and they both have alignment marks to help get it centered.

I continued to staple the curtain around the sides.

Both the black parts and the white flap have guide lines printed on them to help align the top material with the bow.

With the curtain stapled all the way around the sides, I stapled the top edge of the curtain to the 3rd bow. I made an alignment mark with the center mark on the 3rd bow before I took it off the other frame.

And with all of the staples in the 3rd bow, this is how it sat.


Next up are the pads. They cover up the frame on the sides and protect the top from wear when the top is up. The lower canvas part is stapled to the 3rd bow and the middle foam and upper fabric extend back to the 4th bow and are glued directly to the curtain.

For now, they just drape off the 3rd bow.


The actual top itself was quite dirty from sitting around and from the fire. It had soot on the underside and was just dingy on the outside.

A bit of test cleaning showed that it would come clean with a little bit of work.

I laid the whole thing out and scrubbed it with a stiff brush. It came about 80% clean which is good enough to install it. The rest will come off easily when it's on the car.

On the sides, there was quite a bit of soot. It all came off easily.

The rear sides where the top meets the rear quarter windows is glued to the frame. I think they used all the glue they had because it was 1/4" thick in places.

A brass brush and a plastic scraper did a great job of getting it off.

The other side was not quite as bad.


To put the top itself on the rear frame, you start with the zipper over the rear glass. This centers the top on the frame.

Next you run the guide cables though the 3rd bow frame and attach them to their posts. There are access holes in the bow frame to help guide the spring though the frame.

And finally, you hook the cable though the guide ring at the top of the 3rd bow frame.


Next I aligned the rear of the top with marks I made on the curtain at the rear tack strip.

And then I stapled it around the sides. You can see some rust staining and overspray from the car it came off of on the top material.

It all came off with a magic eraser dipped in lacquer thinner.

The other side was the same.

With the rear attached, I aligned the staple tab to the middle of the 3rd bow and stapled it on.

And with that, that is as far as I can go with the rear frame off of the car.


With everything attached to the rear frame that is possible, it was time to moved the rear frame back to the car.

The arms have to be about 1/3 folded back to access the upper bolts.

With the arms half folded, next this is to put the gutter spring wire in it's slots on both sides.

With the spring wire in the upper rear frame pivot bolts can go back in.

The next parts to go in are the rear glass lifters. They are very important at this step because if you try an put the top up all the way without them, the rear glass can get caught on the rear cabin wall and break the glass.

They clip onto pivots on the body near the actuator mounts and then up on the bottom corners of the rear glass. The springs attach to mounts on the floor of the trunk but they have to be disconnected while I'm still reattaching the roof fabric.


The next thing to do was to put the last two bolts into the frame. They attach the ends of the rear tack strip bow to the main frame. This allow the rear tack strip bow to pivot upwards and seal the top against the body around the rear body opening when the top is up. There is where the bolt goes. You can just barley see it from inside the car.

With some assistance from my wife, we were able to get the bolts in both sides. I had to push the bow down while she worked the bolt in.

Next up was to attach the pads to the front bow. I had to retract the top about half way back to get enough slack in the pads to be able to attach them. They are attached to the front bow with three screws each.

After that, the ends of the front bow are wrapped in fabric tape to prevent the edges of the metal cutting through the top over time.

And finally before I stretch the top forward, I reattached the rear glass lift springs in the trunk so everything would have the correct tension.


There are a few layers on the front edge. The first one is the top itself. It has a center mark that lines up with a hole in the center of the bow.

The ends are stapled down and then the front flap is folded over and stapled.

Next is the front welt. It's a big piece of trim with a foam core that protect the front edge of the top and helps cover the staples. It was still a bit dirty so I cleaned it up first.

It has two layers and the staples go into the inside layer. It's mounted directly over the staples on the tops front edge. There is a center alignment mark like all the other parts had.

Here it is with the outer lip folded back over.

The last piece is the actual weatherstripping for the front bow. The one that was on the car was still in great shape so I just cleaned it up and snapped it back on.


With everything stapled in, the entire frame bolted together, and all the springs installed, I was able to close the top and see how it fits.

The fit looks good and there are just a few little things left to do. After it's stretches for a few days I will glue the sides in where the rear quarter window weather stripping mounts. There are also a handful of some small things that have to go back together on the inside.


 I glued the rear opening flaps on and installed the rear quarter window weatherstripping. I also noticed that I had one of the cables run incorrectly so I fixed that.

This is the first time that I have been able to completely close the interior up since I have owned the car.

I also experimented with some different techniques to clean the top. Lacquer thinner works the best but it's messy and can damage other parts of the car. Castrol Super clean is not as fast, but I think it will work almost as well.


And that concludes todays regularly scheduled program.


Matti R

How is the gutter wire attached to body in the middle part of the wire? Or is the wire just keeping the gutter in correct shape and preventing water flowing to trunk?
Best regards,
CLC #33333
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