Convertible Top Adjustment

Hello, I am in the process of adjusting the windows on my '69. I am pretty sure my top frame needs to come forward about a 1/4" or so. I have a gap between the seal on the side of my top where it meets the windshield frame on both sides and it’s extremely hard to get latched, pretty much takes two people and one person has to pull it forward hard and the other person latches it and sometimes the driver’s side is impossible to get latched. Another reason I think I need to move it forward is because I adjusted my quarter window to the back seal of the top and with it adjusted here there is a gap between the quarter window and side window. The top part of the top frame dips down in the middle of the passenger’s window, but I think this is because the geometry is wrong when when the top is latched and it’s compensating here.

This is my first convertible and I am not very familiar with the setup. I checked my shop manual, but didn’t see anything about adjusting the top forward or backward. Does the top move forward and if so how do I adjust it? I imagine I will have to pull the rear seats and trim covers for it, but wanted to check here first.

I think there is a bolt with a stop nut to control the positioning of the two top segments you show when the top is closed. If I am wrong about that, you have a problem with the top frame.

As for the rest, how old is the top? It may have shrunk causing the problem you have or it was installed too tight (I installed my own - never again BTW - and it is a bit tight).

I found that stop nut you are talking about, its where those two pieces separate when the top folds up. It’s not the probablem though because when I unlatch the top I can make them line up straight, it’s when I latch the top they bow down like that.

The top was on the car when I bought it so I’m not sure of the age, but it looks like it’s not too old and is in great shape.

You may have to re-staple the bottom of the top higher at the rear tacking strips. It would probably be money well spent to take the car to a reputable convertible top establishment to be looked at/adjusted.

I like to do most of everything myself on my cars, but if the top frame is not adjustable and the top itself needs work that is out of my wheelhouse and I’ve thought the same thing as you about taking to a convertible top specialist and hopefully they can fix it without needing a new top or a pile of money sunk into it.

I like to do everything yourself too! As evidenced by the fact that I fit my own top to Isabel. I would NEVER do that again! It took me many tries and many staples to get it right. Anyway, I did think of one other thing after my last post on this topic. There are also adjustment bolts/nuts on the cast pieces that make up the “sail” part of the top (diagonal at the rear of the quarter window). If the top frame when up is more vertical in this area and it is not because of the top material being tight - do you have wrinkles in the sail area? If yes, this would be a good thing in this particular instance, you might try these adjustments to allow the cast pieces to angle further forward.

Hope this helps you.



Thanks for the heads up on the bolts/nuts on the “sail” section. I will have to take a look at them and see if I can get any adjustment out of this area. I don’t recall if there are any wrinkles in this area because the top is always down and when I attempt to put it up I can’t get both sides latched to pull the wrinkles out.

My neighbor’s father in law owns an automotive upholstery shop. He’s new there, but said he thinks he might be able to get someone with more experience from his shop come to my house to adjust the top. I asked him how much and he said maybe $200. Not sure if that is a good deal or if he was just pulling a number out of his rear. I told him once I verify I can’t make any adjustments on the top frame I will let him know and he can see what his guy says.

I spent a couple hours last night on the top. I got to thinking that I had put 2 new top cylinders in since I got the car a couple months ago, but I didn’t remember any adjustment being here, but thought I better check. So I pulled the rear seat and one of the side panels. There is no adjustment on the top lift cylinder brackets and I didn’t notice any fore/aft adjustments, the only thing I saw for adjustment is side to side.

I adjusted the hooks out a little further to reduce the stress when latching. This got me to thinking. Maybe I could adjust the hooks more and that would keep the top frame from bowing when latched, but wouldn’t correct my seal gap to windshield frame unless maybe the seals that are on it aren’t made right? I do have new a-pillar body seals on the way, but I don’t see them taking up the current gap. I’m at a loss.

What about the bolts in the cast parts in the sail area? Pretty sure they exist (but can check on a remaining piece I have at home).

I had same issue with torino top, it was the adjusting bolts by the fat arm

I took a quick look last night and all I saw was 2 screws on a support that runs vertically and would seem like these would adjust the tension on the top to take out any slack in this area, but maybe I missed something. Is that what you were talking about? If you have a remaining piece can you shoot a pic and post it? I very well may have over looked it or not been looking in the right spot.

What year was your Torino? What is/where is the fat arm? So far I haven’t been able to find and adjustments to make the top frame move backward or forward?

Looked at WCCC pictures of the cast sail part, looks like I was mistaken. Still, I think there is an adjustment for the forward lean (assuming the gap at the quarter window is not parallel, if it is, this is not your problem). Found this for a '68 'stang: May or may not apply but one thing it says (and I agree with): Do you have a shop manual? If no, suggest getting one, it will detail the adjustments available.

Dang, you had my hopes up in that I just missed something :frowning: I do have a shop manual I read it and it was a little hard for me to understand; some of the terminology sounded like they were talking to a convertible top specialist like saw bow 1,2,3 or something and there was no diagram to reference what they were talking. The section was very short, I can snap a couple pics, post and see if someone might be able to pickup on something I missed.

I have been looking around about Mustang convertible tops and from the best that I can tell the '65 to '68s had adjustment points in them that didn’t carry over to the '69 model year.

Do you know where the adjustment for the forward lean is? I think the gap is somewhat uniform though.

I had a 70 torino, if I remember, it was an Allen key to adjust, I will look at my top and post pictures if the same

i’m not sure the Torino and Cougar top frame were the same, but I would great appreciate a picture if you could please.


I’ll be working on Isabel this evening, I will have a look at the top mechanism and see if I can find anything.

BTW, sitting here thinking about it, I would recommend unbolting the rear tack strips (they are under the top well liner screws) for the top and rear window (unzip the window and remove it once that tack strip is loose), then see how the top frame fits and/or make adjustments to make it fit properly. Then, see how far off the tack strips for the sail panels are from being able to be bolted in. The top frame should fit perfectly and then the top made to fit the frame. I suspect you are trying to fit the frame to the top.

Think you also mentioned the top being down a lot (or all) of the time. Very bad for a convertible top, always store with the top up. This may be what caused the problem you are having.

Have you tried putting the car outside on a warm, sunny day and see if the top loosens up allowing you to do better than you are at the moment?

Please do, let me know if possibly I’m just not seeing something. This is my first classic convertible so it’s a learning experience for sure.

Ok if it doesn’t rain I might be able to get the car out and try unbolting the tack strips and unzip the window. The top is already installed so I’m not trying to fit anything, just trying to adjust what I have. Should I put the top every night after driving? The reason it was down all the time is because I just got the car, it was the middle of summer and I was driving it a few times a week, and the the cylinders were leaking like crazy and I didn’t want to put it up and down all the time and spew fluid everywhere. I do have it up and latched now. When I first got the car I did put the top up and down twice I think and it was a little easier because it was out in the sun. I’m not sure if the previous owner stored it with the top up or not. If it’s sunny this weekend I can leave it out and see if that helps.