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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All:

Going to attempt to replace the soft top on my wife's car this weekend with a replacement I bought from Fonzi. Watched several videos on removal of the old top and prepping the bows for the new one. I plan on reusing my cables since they appear snug when the old top is put up. I have new top seals, but I need to get the seal that goes on the left windshield pillar up from the hood edge to the header. Does anyone know if I can purchase that seal separately or if I have to buy it as a pair and do both sides?

Also, I would welcome any suggestions or advice from members who have done this replacement themselves and had excellent or so-so results. I will try and post some photos from start to finish if I can remember to snap a few while I am in the zone this weekend.

Will be nice to finally get rid of the little mouse's home under the tonneau cover and get that faint aroma of mice pee gone for good!!!

Ted

GO BLACKHAWKS!!!
 

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Good luck, you can do it. Make sure and follow the instructions for the
Contact Cement you are going to use. The cement I used requires that
you coat both pieces that you want to join, then wait until tacky before
pressing the pieces together.
 

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One of the guys in our local MBCA section replaced his R107 soft top himself and he seemed to do OK. His only advice in addition to doing your homework: "drink heavily" :) [I'm sure he was kidding...I hope}\]
 

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I did my top last year with a cheaper one. I will get the real McCoy next time.

My mistake I made, looking back, was not pulling the top down enough to the right of the window, and the left of the window on the pass. side. This caused the seal to not extend over the window enough to form a drip edge, like on a roof, to guide rainwater OUTSIDE the car. I put a foam wedge in the frame to keep out the rain if it gets rained on. I am thinking of some weatherstripping I can add to help keep the rain out. The car wasn't made to leak after all....

There are VERY good write ups on here for top R&R.
 

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Once the installation of the new soft top is completed, be sure to leave it up/in-place and latched tight for at least 2-weeks to allow the top to "stretch/seat" properly. This is advice most professional installers will tell you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I took a boatload of photos before I started ripping the old top off. Nothing looked that beat up except for the passenger side top strap. Looks like the little mouse decided to chew on that a little and both edges are frayed. I assume you will be able to see it clear as day once I install a brand new top.

Anyone know where I can get a pair of these top bow straps? Might as well make the inside look as nice as the outside. I looked online, but could not find them anywhere. I think I am going to need a different set of top seals since the ones I bought don't seem to be that soft, but rather stiff and hard. Anyone recommend a source online for the complete set of seals?

Here are some photos of the top before and during removal:
 

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Anyone know where I can get a pair of these top bow straps? Might as well make the inside look as nice as the outside. I looked online, but could not find them anywhere. I think I am going to need a different set of top seals since the ones I bought don't seem to be that soft, but rather stiff and hard. Anyone recommend a source online for the complete set of seals?
...

I used some matching color Seat Belt material for top bow straps:
 

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In addition, there is also some Elastic that the DVD mentioned to install
between bows 2 and 3, both sides. Its purpose is to tend to pull rearward bow 2
when you start lowering the top into the well. I got some Elastic material
from Joanns Fabric but I think I did not stretch it enough for it to do its
job. In any case, its still a simple task to just reach under and pull backward
on bow 2 when storing the soft top in its compartment. Personally, I would
not fret much about this Elastic anyway as over time it loses it strength anyway.
 

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Whatever you do, don't omit the bowstraps. I did at first, till I found some, and the top is much harder to not only fold, but fold neatly. You want to 'train' the top to fold neatly.
 

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Carl, your interior looks awesome BTW.
Thanks. When I replaced my top I wanted to completely remove all
traces of the old glue. My original top came from the factory with
glue slopped on the top frame. Inside I think it looks better than new
but I want to address two issues on the outside - namely fixing the
duck tail where the top canvas turns up at the bottom of the rear
window, and redo the the tops header rubber seal - I used URO instead
of OEM seal for the header and the fit is not to my liking. OCD I guess :)

BTW, when you get your new top installed, I think you will be amazed at how
much it transforms the looks of your car - it should be dramatically nicer.
 

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I used some matching color Seat Belt material for top bow straps:
I used seat belt webbing too, but it was wider than the original straps. I had to cut it down at attachment point.

This pic shows original beige strap lying on top of wider black strap made from seat belt webbing. BTW, my new top was black on interior. I too installed the elastic straps, but with the heavy duty top material, I don't think the elastic helps much. I found good quality 1 1/2"elastic at a local sailmaker. They use it for batten pockets.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Found a great source for the top bow straps

Well, after much delay and online research, I found a decent source for replacement strap webbing to fix old, stained or deteriorated top straps to compliment a brand new canvas top.

The seller is on Ebay and will sell you 5 yards of 1 1/2 inch wide seatbelt "type" material meaning the webbing has not been tested for tensile strength and should not be used as replacement seatbelt material. For the purposes of substituting for a set of factory soft top straps they work like a charm.

Here are few photos of the straps on my wife's car before and after:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I did add some friction tape over the screw heads to hopefully minimize wear with the top up. I fitted the top and used chalk marks for reference points along the front header. There are a few really good videos online that walk you thru just about every step although the gluing of the side weatherstrips is somewhat confusing.

One video I watched shows the rubber seal being glued underneath the corner material (Wheeler Dealers 280SL Part II) while another showed the rubber seal left loose, but overlapping the front corner material. When I looked at my old top, I can clearly see where they glued the rubber seal on top of the corner material and the edges of the front header seal were tucked under the front of each of the side seals (hard to explain, but I snapped a few photos of that during disassembly).

So far, I was able to successfully glue the rear bow and both side winder vertical sections. Hopefully tonight I can get the front bow material secured and at least trim off the excess material in preparation for the seals. I have painstakingly removed the old top, prepped the top assembly, laid out the new top and partially secured the new top to the point where I can live with the results.

Depending on what I run into tonight, I hope to start installing the seals and adjusting the fitment a little. I read a section on adjusting the windows, but hopefully I don't have any major gaps along the tops or rear sides to contend with.

One suggestion I will add, once you install the new top and get the rear latch secured down tight to check for loose material on the sides, the tension on the bows will be supper tight compared to the old top and if you try to use the small release lever it will not release the rear latch peg unless you push slightly down on the rear bow. If you try and move the lever as far as it will go, you will run the risk of stretching the release cable or worse, snapping it if yours is ready to break. I'm sure after I leave the top in the up position for at least two weeks and drive it in the sunshine, the top will stretch and set in a relaxed position.

I will post a few more photos of the top installed and seals installed too.

Ted
 

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I used some matching color Seat Belt material for top bow straps:
I did the same, except black on black.

But one thing I recall, is that the seat belt material is 2" while the original straps and the front clamping depression are 1 1/2". End had to be cut down to fit. I think I included pictures in the EGV107 thread on top replacement.

I at first bought the elastics from a fabric store. But really, it was next to useless. I then bought batten pocket elastic from a local sailmaker. You can also get it on-line from Sailrite.

I added some foam tape where the nylon webbing crosses the bows. Before I did that, there was a hard point and small crease in that area.

One of those jobs that I am glad I tackled, but don't want to do again!
 
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