Convertible top problems and center console latch

It was a really nice morning and I had some time so I messed with the Jeepster a bit today.  I decided to look into the first two bows on the convertible top.  As you can see above they are no longer attached to the top.   The staples you see poking through are part of the problem.  Those are in a folded over flap in the top and are supposed to be firmly held in some sort of soft material in the top of the bow.  Obviously that is not happening.

This is the other part of the problem.  There was a loop of fabric glued to the inside of the top that tied the top to the bow.  That fabric is totally dry rotted and just crumbles when you touch it.

I removed the front bow and took a look.  The bow is a metal channel with a T-shaped profile.  Some plastic or rubber tack strip is pressed into the channel  for the first 6 or 8 inches for the staples to go into.  The tack strip is rock-hard and crumbling which explains why the staples are not holding.  This will have to be replaced to work right.

Farther down the bow there is a metal strip held to the inside of the bow channel with sheet metal screws.  The fabric glued to the top is trapped inside the bow by this strip.  But the fabric is so weak now it just ripped off the roof.  So in order to fix this I will need to do three things:

  1. Replace the tack strip in the ends of both bows
  2. Glue new fabric to the roof
  3. Somehow staple the top to the new tack strip and get the new fabric attached to the bows

I am not sure I want to get into any of this right now.  I don’t know how to do ANY of these things although I have a decent idea about the tack strip.  For now I just re-installed the bow.

The top still will not go up under its own power.  The pump stalls about 1/3 of the way up.  If I help it manually just a little it works.  I wanted to make sure the top is not binding or stiff so I popped the hydraulic cylinders loose from the top and ran it up and down by hand.  I found that the top operates very smoothly but is very heavy when just starting to close.  That means that the problem is not with the top.  That means the problem is either electrical or hydraulic.  I will measure the voltage at the pump and rule out the electrical system.  I don’t think that is the problem because I have already done a bunch of work on that but I will make sure.  For now I hooked the cylinders back up.

Here is the last project for today.  This is the latch for the center console.  I put this in shortly after getting the car running but it has not been right.  If I tighten the screw that holds it in the button sticks down.  If I don’t tighten the screw it falls off.   I am going to take this apart and figure this out.

With a little careful bending I got the cap off.  There is a little bit of metal sticking out of the side of the button part of the latch.

Hmm.  Looks like they used the same casting as for the lockable version of this latch.  To keep it from turning in the latch they just put a lock tumbler and spring in there.  Clever.

Here is the actual latch.  It has a spring pushing it out.  That shiny corner in the bottom is where the button pushes on the latch.  This all seems fine.  I did notice the button part is very tight in the 4 raised pads that hold the button in place.  I tried polishing the button with crocus cloth but it did not seem to make much difference.

Then I noticed this.  Do you see it?  The gap narrows from the latch to the end of the button.  My new theory is that when the latch is tightened it “squeezes” the button end of the latch causing the button to bind.  Really a bad design.  This is cast zinc so  I need to be careful about breaking it but I gently pried the latch sides apart with a screwdriver and it freed things up considerably.   I thought I had the problem licked but then it started sticking again.  Next I am going to try prying the gap open while I tighten the screw.

I had to mow then lawn so that is all for today.  I did end up driving the car quite a bit today.  I think I have the carb adjusted much better now.

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