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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
R107 Soft Top Replacement With PICS

It's getting close.
I said I wouldn't go to the Buffalo GTG without a new soft top installed.
With less than 4 weeks I have to shit or get off the pot.
I have had the soft top for about 2 months, purchased from ARO in N.Y. and the seals from MB.
I went to a local renowned upholsterer today for a quote to install.
He pulled out an upholsterer's version of a Mitchells guide.
7 hours to install the top.
3 hours to remove the old top and prep.
.5 hour to install the cables.
No mention of the seals.
He quoted me $750 ($75 an hour)
That's a lot of hot sauce.
But time is now my enemy. I have none between now and then, two jobs and a 1500 sq ft basement under construction.
What to do.
I also found a source of top up driving noise.
The rear seal where the bow meets the body is completely missing.
So.......He says he can do it May 26.
What to do.




ATTENTION!!!! EDIT!!!!!

SOFT TOP REPLACEMENT STARTS WITH POST 82.
 

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Call me crazy, but i'm gonna take a shot at doing mine myself.

Okay, so they quote 10 hours, does that mean they work 10 hours? Surely a lot of that time would be spent waiting for adhesives to cure etc, or whatever it is.

Sounds like a bloody rip off, UNLESS, they commit to do 10 full hours on your top, without doing any other work in between. ;)

jeez, I must be cranky today.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
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Discussion Starter #5

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I paid very close to that 2 years ago to have my ragtop replaced. So, from my perspective you're in the ballpark.

I know some of you have done this yourself and had good results, but that's not the kind of job for me.
 

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I have heard a similar price before, and if you do the math I suppose the quoted hours will correspond.
However, I learned a few things about estimates in my many years as a project manager. A bottoms-up task-by-task labour estimate will always produce a total much higher than a top-down job estimate. Reality usually lies in between.
Your upholsterer's guide provides the generous bottoms-up times. Put a clock on him and I am certain he will actually spend much less time on the job. Barring disaster, that's true of any shop using standard times for estimates.

Times are lean. Maybe you can bargain him down.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
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Discussion Starter #8
I have heard a similar price before, and if you do the math I suppose the quoted hours will correspond.
However, I learned a few things about estimates in my many years as a project manager. A bottoms-up task-by-task labour estimate will always produce a total much higher than a top-down job estimate. Reality usually lies in between.
Your upholsterer's guide provides the generous bottoms-up times. Put a clock on him and I am certain he will actually spend much less time on the job. Barring disaster, that's true of any shop using standard times for estimates.

Times are lean. Maybe you can bargain him down.
Good points, all.
Unfortunately, times are not lean for him.
He is busier than a one armed paper hanger.

My problem with this whole scenario is that I am THE DIY guy.
It kills me to pay someone to do something I am confident I can do.
It's a time thing. If I take the time, then I am dropping the ball some where else.
Nobette figures that I paid good money for a premium top, and I want a good job (not rushed) why not let an experienced guy do it.
It's a pride issue.....that, and I hate parting with money for labour.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Especially $75 per inflated hour.
I never begrudge a tradesman /craftsman's wage. It is a dying breed and a niche position.

But, I still don't like to hand over money for something I can do myself but too spoiled to wait until I have the time.
 

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You bought a high quality top, IIRC.

You want a high quality installation for aforementioned.

You're pressed for time.

It's chunk of money, but if you get a tech that Knows His Shit(tm), you will have the satisfaction of KNOWING it's done right.

SWMBO has given permission.

You've never done this before.

Sometimes, you gotta just bite the bullet.....

If you had more time, I would suggest watching an experienced tech do a job like this, then do it yourself.

Sometimes, wisdom is knowing your limitations.

Just a few random thoughts, YMMV.

Whatever you decide, the best of luck to you.

Scott
 

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I never begrudge a tradesman /craftsman's wage. It is a dying breed and a niche position.

But, I still don't like to hand over money for something I can do myself but too spoiled to wait until I have the time.
I feel your pain Nobby. :D

I was brought up to do everything myself and to never waste anything, because as a kid, we couldn't afford to do otherwise.

It has taken me years to even partly overcome that upbringing.

Whichever way you go, I'm sure it will look great. :thumbsup:
 

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Wow. I purchased my top from an online source and found someone local to install it for $350. Dude did a great job, too. However, I was extremely lucky. My guy is a furniture upholstery guy who used to install these tops in the 80's. Found him buy letting my fingers do the walking and calling tons of people for quotes. I picked him, not only because he was inexpensive, but I liked his personality over the phone. He just sounded genuine. Told me he would not do my CLK because he was not skilled enough, but had installed tons of those older SL's.

Again, I got lucky.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
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Discussion Starter #14
You bought a high quality top, IIRC.

You want a high quality installation for aforementioned.

You're pressed for time.

It's chunk of money, but if you get a tech that Knows His Shit(tm), you will have the satisfaction of KNOWING it's done right.

SWMBO has given permission.

You've never done this before.

Sometimes, you gotta just bite the bullet.....

If you had more time, I would suggest watching an experienced tech do a job like this, then do it yourself.

Sometimes, wisdom is knowing your limitations.

Just a few random thoughts, YMMV.

Whatever you decide, the best of luck to you.

Scott
Basically, your comments are what I am looking for....to help me feel better about my decision.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was brought up to do everything myself and to never waste anything, because as a kid, we couldn't afford to do otherwise.
Same.

Thanks for the support.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow. I purchased my top from an online source and found someone local to install it for $350.
Everything is cheaper in the U.S.
Damn it.
 

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Nobby, why didn't you say you were seeking affirmation?
When you feel good, we feel good.
And you will feel (and look) wonderful with a brand new tan top on your ride.
 

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I have heard a similar price before, and if you do the math I suppose the quoted hours will correspond.
However, I learned a few things about estimates in my many years as a project manager. A bottoms-up task-by-task labour estimate will always produce a total much higher than a top-down job estimate. Reality usually lies in between.
Your upholsterer's guide provides the generous bottoms-up times. Put a clock on him and I am certain he will actually spend much less time on the job. Barring disaster, that's true of any shop using standard times for estimates.

Times are lean. Maybe you can bargain him down.
I forgot to say that jobs are often priced rather than costed.... what the market will bear kind of thing. Then the estimate is "cooked" to justify the price.
 

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Call me crazy, but i'm gonna take a shot at doing mine myself.
It's perfectly DIY-able, but there are steps that will be damned near impossible without an assistant. Doesn't have to be a trained assistant (doesn't have to be a trained installer) but it does have to be someone with an extra pair of hands.

My sister and I changed the top on her car over a weekend. It wasn't any big deal, it's all pretty self-explanatory, there are just a few tricks that might make it easier. I learned them when I watched the guy replace mine. And when we finished with my sister's, she got a better install than the "professional" did with mine. Even the wrinkles behind the door glass smoothed out within a couple of weeks, and she's got a beautiful soft top. I wish mine looked as good.
 

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My problem with this whole scenario is that I am THE DIY guy.
It kills me to pay someone to do something I am confident I can do.
It's a time thing. If I take the time, then I am dropping the ball some where else.
I'm with you, right up to that last line. If something else is seriously going to get damaged by the weekend it would take to do this, then pay someone else to do it. Or pay someone else to do the thing that would slide.
 
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