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Hello all,

In late June I bought a 1986 Chrysler Lebaron 2.5L Convertible and have been working on it ever since. I've been through everything from a new turn signal relay, to a new hydraulic motor and it has proven to be quite the journey. The pinnacle of repairs, however, is a new top for the vehicle.

After removing the old ripped up vinyl top with a plastic window, I opted for a canvas roof with a glass window. I've had every upholstery shop around give me the same quote of $800 and figured I'd save some money doing it myself. I'm nervous knowing that the front-most bow of the metal frame hits the back seat when it closes and am working on a solution, I am also nervous with the little space provided in the back for the window to fold into.

I start the process Friday and hopefully the car will be ready by Sunday, luckily I have a sunny weekend ahead of me.

Wish me luck !

P.S.
If anyone has any tips for me as a new K-car owner, or anything you think I should know, go ahead and comment, I'd love to hear it.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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If anyone has any tips for me as a new K-car owner, or anything you think I should know, go ahead and comment, I'd love to hear it.
I think you'll find you wished you had the shop do it. I know $800 seems expensive, but the few people I know in the industry say this is one job you don't really want to tackle yourself. Oftentimes the new cover is tight and difficult to stretch onto the frame. And there is often adjustments needed to be made in the doors.

Good luck!
 

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I did nothing more than replace the glass window in the back of my 1994 Lebaron and it was difficult. All I did was loosen the back of the top to install the window. it was difficult to get the top back tight without it being too tight to latch it.

However, I did later replace the fabric covering on a Wrangler and it was pretty easy. But it was less complicated than the Lebaron top.

The key will be making sure the top is warm and pliable. Do it out in the sun. Let the top sit in the sun for some time before you start.
 
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Many years ago I helped my dad put a new (J.C. Whitney I think) top on his 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster convertible. This was a canvas top and we spent a lot of time nailing the fabric to the bows.

I am redoing a 1986 Lebaron convertible to replace the 1985 I had that was totaled in 2009 by a Mercedes-Benz ML320. On the front bow (I assume you are talking about the one that is over your head with it up) there are a number of adjustments to the top frame called out in the FSM for these cars, the K body convertibles are very unique in the way they were built everything from the belt line up is convertible specific starting with the side mirrors. My suggestion would be after the old top is off and before you start installing the new one, first adjust the windows to seal at the windshield post and have the top of the windows parallel to the tops of the doors. After that do the same with the rear quarter windows. Once these are done raise the bare frame up into position and adjust it so the side rails are straight and the weatherstrip sections are evenly on the windows. once the frame is properly adjusted, then start with the top cover.

If you do not have the FSM set for the car, look on eBay, the critical volume is the body, chassis and engine one if you can't find a complete set. The top didn't change much between 1984-86, but the doors and window mechanism had a major revision for 1986 coinciding with new rounder body lines.
 
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I was wondering how you made out on this? Mine is getting closer to that time.
 
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