CORVETTE TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

1956-1962 TOP FRAME REPAIR


While recently restoring my ‘62 Corvette convertible top I came across a problem with the framework which I almost didn’t notice until it was too late. I had already cleaned, painted, lubricated and assembled my top frame, and mounted it on the car, when I noticed that the forward-most horizontal member on the right side was bent. 

Photo # 1 shows the part to which I am referring. The arrow is pointed to the left side for clarity, but my problem was actually with the right side. At the time I was very surprised because I couldn’t understand how the part could bend in this way. Actually, it turns out that there is sup- posed to be a slight upward bend in it. Mine was bent too much, however, and when the right window was rolled up there was a large gap between the top of the window and the weather strip, due to the excessive bend in the frame piece. As you can see from the photo, it would have taken quite a bit of time to remove the frame and disassemble it to repair or replace that piece, so I tried to come up with a method of straightening it while it was mounted on the car. 

I made up a little screw jack assembly, the parts of which are shown in photo #2. I used a piece of 7/8” square steel bar stock measuring nine inches in length. In the center I welded a piece of 5/8” threaded rod with an overall length of 2-1/4”. The elongated nut pushes on a piece of hardwood nestled in the top of the bent frame as you can see in photo #3. The wood block measures ½ x 1-3/8 x 2-inches long. Two web belts apply the force and they won’t damage the paint on the top frame. 

In a few moments I was able to straighten the bent frame member to its original shape and continue with the assembly of my new convertible top. 

In talking with NCRS member Tom Crockett, who specializes in convertible top work, I learned that many tops were bent in this way. It may be due to the lack of lubrication of the many pivot points in the frame assembly.  I suggest the use of a needle oiler, which will put a tiny drop of oil on the pivot point without getting any on the rest of the car. Too much oil would stain the top fabric or pads and cause trouble. Too little can cause the top frame to bind when being raised or lowered, thereby bending some part of the frame assembly.































Click to download file

TopFrame.pdf



Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3