HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP - Mercedes-Benz Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
#1 (permalink) Old 09-16-2005, 02:58 PM
BenzWorld Elite
 
flyboyike's Avatar
 
Date registered: May 2003
Vehicle: 2012 Focus SE
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
Posts: 7,395
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

This article was written by my wife Zhenya, who's owned nothing but convertibles since age 16.

Convertible Tops

Hi!

Ike has asked me to say a few things about convertible tops. This brief discussion is based merely on my experience with convertibles (consisting of a lifetime of adoration and exultation). By the way, my experience has taught me a few things.

First of all, a convertible is, just that, convertible. The top of such a vehicle is the modus operandi that converts an ordinary automobile into a vehicle that provides the thrill of wind to add to your sensory delights. Thus, one must take care of one’s top.

Folding a convertible top is something that requires attention. Whether your top is manual or automated, watch exactly how the creases SHOULD fold. Guide the top. Pull the creases straight so the top will lie in its well in the flattest manner possible. Walk around your car and look at the top as you fold it or as the car automatically compresses it. Get to know its best possible fold and guide your top into that pattern.

Plastic or vinyl tops are especially susceptible to breaking at the window side of creases. Make sure that when the top folds, you only have one crease on the window sides per fold. If you see wear marks that appear to be the forerunner of cracks, lubricate the plastic with something that will not degrade the vinyl or plastic. Make sure there is no ammonia in any lubricating or cleaning product you use on such tops. After talking to many “experts,� water seems to be the best and least damaging cleaning agent for vinyl or plastic tops. Mild detergent has also been suggested, but you would be best to avoid it.

If you have a small, probably older sports car that requires you to unzip your rear window before collapsing the top, do that. You could ruin both the window and the top if you don’t. Mind how you drop the vinyl window—do it carefully; they scratch easily.

Vinyl windows are not everlasting. They scratch easily. Use only water to clean them—and the softest of cloths. Almost all detergents and cleaning agents cause them to yellow (especially those with ammonia) or dry out. When they start to dry out, they crack. When they crack, they leak. When they leak, your beautiful buggy rusts and loses value. Always pay attention to the vinyl window and how it folds—check it regularly to make sure it is not “wearing� into cracks.

Canvas tops do not usually require cleaning—rain usually takes care of that. A soft brush can usually do more cleaning than any liquid on a canvas top and works very well for dust (as does a vacuum small round brush). Do not use a brush on your vinyl window.

One thing many people do not realize about canvas tops is that they can create bedding for tree seeds. If you do not keep seeds off of your convertible top, close it up when it is damp, don’t be surprised when the seeds germinate and put holes in your beautiful convertible top. I have seen the results of this, and the tops had to be replaced. Sometimes water at the bottom of the well fails to drain properly, so water evaporates slowly, creating a damp top. This can result in the same kind of nursery. Canvas is a natural material and creates a wonderful place for germinating seeds. So dust off those cottonseed, elm seeds and maple spinners.

Try not to get your canvas top soaking wet (does the earth turn ‘round?). Well, if you get it really wet, try to not touch it with your hands because the oil in your fingers will make your canvas top leak. Liners also get stained when they, too, get soaked. Alas, though, it will happen—just try to be careful. Always make sure your hands are clean when touching a canvas top. If you have a very valuable convertible, wear gloves when you touch the top.

For those of you fortunate enough to have a glass window, try to avoid glass cleaner use. The spray can run down the window and get on the top, weakening it and pushing it towards rips or cracks.

If you develop a tear in a vinyl top or window or a tear in your canvas top, take your vehicle to a professional. Tops can be patched, and windows can be replaced. Though, you probably know, it is always better to never create a problem.

All in all, outside of my love, Ike, there isn’t much more fun than a convertible—so take care of it. You will have more fun, higher value for your vehicle, and less money to pay those wonderful convertible top artists who fix our debacles.

Attached Images
 

Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
flyboyike is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 (permalink) Old 09-16-2005, 06:33 PM
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
briandale's Avatar
 
Date registered: Aug 2005
Vehicle: 1999 slk230/ 2008 Infiniti FX35
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

Thanks Ike and Zhenya! I tend to ignore my soft top since i rarely put it up, but now I will start taking better care of it.
briandale is offline  
#3 (permalink) Old 09-16-2005, 06:59 PM
BenzWorld Member
 
Date registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

thank you both!


i feel really secure with my SL , know i have such knowledgeable people to turn to with questions.

also may I add, i firmly agree with you about not washing the top. just mild water and a quick brushing once in awhile..

and the damn windows do scratch soo easy! i just was rubbing it one day and i saw scratches that i made with a terry cloth rag!

hey one last thing, i have this annyoning little glue stain on the inside liner. it loks like its original. i tried getting it out with no luck,. any suggestions?


thanks

Matt
mattcara is offline  
#4 (permalink) Old 09-16-2005, 07:07 PM
BenzWorld Elite
 
flyboyike's Avatar
 
Date registered: May 2003
Vehicle: 2012 Focus SE
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
Posts: 7,395
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

Quote:
mattcara - 9/16/2005 7:59 PM

hey one last thing, i have this annyoning little glue stain on the inside liner. it loks like its original. i tried getting it out with no luck,. any suggestions?


thanks

Matt
Zhenya says:

The glue stain may be original because the liner is glued in places to the framing portion of the top. My true advice is to learn to love it.

Your other option would be to try to remove it. Just remember you are dealing with a natural fiber that can disintegrate.

Buy a piece of unbleached muslin and put different types of glue on it--or you could buy actual canvas, which is more expensive. Try different removers. You can try fingernail polish remover, goo be gone, or any other solvent that exists. See what they do to the muslin.

If you are determined to take the chance of making matters much worse, do not rub, blot.

If it all goes badly, you could wind up weakening your roof, tearing it, altering its color in a spot.

If you change the color of canvas, you can always buy a permanent marker to restore the top to its original color--art stores carry a variety of colors. These come in useful for lots of repairs caused by bleaching--from sun or chemicals.

Good luck. I wouldn't do it.

Zhenya

Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
flyboyike is offline  
#5 (permalink) Old 09-16-2005, 08:53 PM
BenzWorld Member
 
Date registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

hey,

i did try to remove it and i rubbed it, it did make it worse , so i left it alone.


after hearing your advice, i think i am going to just ignire it.

hey tell Ike. i bought the touch up paint he recommended and i wasnt too happy with it. it is so much darker. and i have tried and tried to apply it, without success. i guess i dont have enough experience..

Matt
mattcara is offline  
#6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2005, 08:56 PM
BenzWorld Elite
 
flyboyike's Avatar
 
Date registered: May 2003
Vehicle: 2012 Focus SE
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
Posts: 7,395
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

Quote:
mattcara - 9/16/2005 9:53 PM


hey tell Ike. i bought the touch up paint he recommended and i wasnt too happy with it. it is so much darker. and i have tried and tried to apply it, without success. i guess i dont have enough experience..

Matt
Sorry to hear that, Matt. Paint is always iffy since every car fades a little differently, even non-metallic colors. Sometimes you can lighten it up with enough polish.

Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
flyboyike is offline  
#7 (permalink) Old 09-16-2005, 09:04 PM
BenzWorld Member
 
Date registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

its ok,, it looks better then the chips did,

my paint is in excellent condition, and i am lucky no digs at all.

i think next spring i might just paint the hood.
mattcara is offline  
#8 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 08:43 PM
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
Date registered: May 2005
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Send a message via AIM to k1hb
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

thanks. i used meguyars with a small sander/soft towell to really shine/clean my badly neglected plastic window and boy what a job that did!
and i washed my badly neglected top out with a carpet cleaner and then let it dry and then i added an impregnating or waterrrepellent for outdoor clothing and that seemed to give it extra repelling power.
for patches i found an impermable matching tissue and glued it UNDER the top with that 3m yellow adhesive for automotive external applications sold in autoparts stores.
works very well and is not ugly at all.

Fred
k1hb is offline  
#9 (permalink) Old 11-11-2005, 10:58 AM
JBR
BenzWorld Junior Member
 
JBR's Avatar
 
Date registered: Oct 2005
Vehicle: 73 450SL
Location: NE PA
Posts: 47
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

Hello Zhenya: I have only had my 73 450sl for a week now. I have removed the hard top for storage and lifted the soft top into place. I noticed a very bad roughed up area ( half dollar size) dead center in the rear window plastic. I beleive the old owners when putting the top down must have hit the center latch in the storage area. For my question- when folding the top down do the side windows fold inward or outward towards each rear fender? At present they fold outwards is this correct? Thanks Joe
JBR is offline  
#10 (permalink) Old 11-11-2005, 04:39 PM
BenzWorld Elite
 
flyboyike's Avatar
 
Date registered: May 2003
Vehicle: 2012 Focus SE
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
Posts: 7,395
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
RE: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP

Quote:
JBR - 11/11/2005 11:58 AM

Hello Zhenya: I have only had my 73 450sl for a week now. I have removed the hard top for storage and lifted the soft top into place. I noticed a very bad roughed up area ( half dollar size) dead center in the rear window plastic. I beleive the old owners when putting the top down must have hit the center latch in the storage area. For my question- when folding the top down do the side windows fold inward or outward towards each rear fender? At present they fold outwards is this correct? Thanks Joe
Zhenya says:

A 73! Sounds great!

Any object in the rear well can cause the roughed-up spot you describe. It is hard to hit the latch when the top goes down correctly. YOu are right to think the top folds the windows inward, but if it has been done incorrectly for a long time, you may not want to change the fold. The older the top gets, the more brittle the windows become.

You can go to a good upholstery shop and get the windows changed. A good shop here in Minnesota charges about $110 for a genuine Mercedes side window installed. All the windows are very subject to abrasion--even a stiff cloth can scratch them. Just remember--never use window cleaner on them, only soap and water. Rinse with plain water after cleaning.

Have fun with your car! It was actually warm enough in Minnesota today to drive a convertible, but I had already switched out the top. Waaaah.


Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
flyboyike is offline  
Reply

  Mercedes-Benz Forum > Mercedes-Benz Roadster Forums > R/C107 SL/SLC Class

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mercedes-Benz Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 

Title goes here

close
video goes here
description goes here. Read Full Story
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome