Jim Smart
October 1, 2008
Photos By: Mark Jeffrey

Convertible top replacement and adjustment isn't for the weak of heart because it mandates patience and a solid understanding of how convertible tops fit and function. However, you can do it yourself if you have the right tools and patience. We decided to visit Mustang Country in Paramount, California, for a look at how professionals replace Mustang convertible tops, which combines mechanical repair and fabrication on almost every level.

First, protect your Mustang's decklid and quarter-panels by laying down a furniture pad or blanket. Installing a new top can get messy, and there's the risk of dropping tools and fasteners on your Mustang's finish. Don't forget to disconnect the battery, and be cautious with the power top mechanism when you connect the battery to check operation.

California Mustang provided us with a basic convertible top kit along with all of the repair parts necessary to fix a power top. Tools required for the job include Phillips and common screwdrivers of all sizes, a 3/8-drive socket set, combination wrenches, a heavy-duty industrial stapler (for upholstery work), a test light, and a heavy furniture pad or blanket.

Before you can replace a convertible top, you need solid mechanicals. Anything that is worn out must be replaced or you can count on frustration. There must also be adequate lubrication on moving parts to ensure smooth operation. Convertible top mechanisms don't work properly when they suffer from bent linkages, worn bushings and pins, broken parts, and improper adjustment. Run the existing top up and down while examining the entire mechanism for binding and improper adjustment. If there's binding, check individual links for trueness. You're also going to need to inspect bushings and pins for excessive wear.