Jim Smart
July 27, 2011

If you've ever considered converting your Mustang convertible's manual top to a power top but have hesitated because the job seems too technically involved, then Paul Gammerino from Mustangs & Fast Fords Orange County is going to show you how to do it. Paul asked if we'd like to cover a manual to convertible top conversion, something we've never done before in Mustang Monthly. We were only too happy to oblige.

Though a power top conversion might seem complex, there's really nothing to it. Manual tops get help from a couple of spring-loaded counterbalance cylinders, which make it easier to raise and lower the top by hand. When you convert to a power top, all you're doing is replacing these counterbalance cylinders with hydraulic lift cylinders, which are powered by an electric pump located behind the rear seat. That, plus a simple wiring job to get power to the pump, and you're in the thick of power top operation in a matter of hours.

Mechanically Speaking

Because we weren't able to get our cameras inside the convertible top well, we thought we would show you proper configuration of both counterbalance and lift cylinders in manual and power top applications. The lift and counterbalance cylinders have one attachment point at the main pivot extension plate and bracket inside the well. Cylinders are tied to the convertible top mechanism via a clevis pin, which always tends to come loose due to cotter pin failure or removal. Always install new nylon bushings and hardware along with plenty of white grease when you do a power top conversion.

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