Installing your Top pad

For the days when you don't want to be totally exposed. Get help here for the top.

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Briano1234
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Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:20 pm

Installing a top pad kit.

You have received your top pad kit, but there are no instructions.

You kit should be 4 parts.
Under layment
Matting (horse hair or foam)
2 nylon straps (for the window).

Front has the holes
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Front has the arch and fold over.
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Remove your old cover, disassemble it to see how it is laid out.
DO NOT CUT THE FRONT VINYL STRAP...UN-wind it from the cover by pulling out the front rod.

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To remove the pad, cut the top pad rear corners off the rivets, you will be drilling the rivets out.
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Remove the staples off the back bar, carefully pull them out, there are possible one layer outer,
and one layer under as the top material folds over itself. Leave a few to hold the headliner....

Pry up the fingers holding the top pad bar up.
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Unhook the top bar from the left and right side keepers.

Remove the top bar from the fingers.

Then bend the fingers up
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Pull out the top bar, and carefully remove it so that the center vinyl strap is intact.

Take the pad liner and lay it vinyl side down towards the headliner fabric side of the vinyl
of the pad liner is up.
It goes so the arch is at the front
The Arch goes to the fingers
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Center it, take measurements and get it centered. (let the fabric drape to the floor...
Once you are sure it is centered. Then you can thread the rod in to the loops.
You will need to Notch the center of the liner front lip to expose the finger.
As you are threading the rod be sure that with the bent ends facing the floor, that the
"V" bend is to the rear of the car.

As you thread the rod carefully place the vinyl strap on the rod by poking the rod through
the hole you cut in the center, and placing it over the rod then back in to finish threading it.
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Pull rod to the front of the lip, then pull that to the fingers.
(A helper is nice as the rod has to go in to the catches on the sides prior to bending
the fingers) But you can catch the one side Bend one finger over then go to the other side.

You will be hooking the fingers through the vinyl and behind the rod, You can cut holes or use a
Leather Punch to make it a tad easier to get it.
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Bend the rest of the fingers through the vinyl and over the bar. Be sure that you get the points
to lay flat.

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Now lay the material flat
Pull it to the rear, and shoot a few staples to hold the bottom piece of vinyl to the rear bar FULLY seat the staples pull any loose ones back out.

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Place the pad so the holes in it are at the front. (curved or arched side) folded edges are on the bottom (against the headliner), and center it
MEASURE TO BE SURE....GET IT CENTERED.....

The Pad will stay in place where you put it....

The padding gets placed behind the fingers right up against them.
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Over the fingers I used stick back foam for a camper shell. I wanted a pad over the metal fingers.

Open the top and place a blanket in between the frame and the windshield to
keep the next couple of steps off the paint.
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Spray Adhesive on the top pad, the foam, and about 3 inches on the front steel frame.
Image
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I used some Polyester batting that was about 1/8 inch thick, 2 yards, to create a transition
from the steel over the foam to the horse hair.

Sprayed adhesive on it (3m Super Heavy Duty Trim Glue). Allow it to dry.
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When dry I carefully laid it smoothly on to the glued area, then trimmed it so that it was on the steel frame about a inch.
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It will assist in keeping the horse hair in place at the front and prevent it from creeping down.

Now pick a side (I am doing the drivers side.).
Fold the material up and over the pad.
Roll the edge so it looks good and that the material is smooth and flat on the top.
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Using a couple of straight pins pin the material so it it flat and shoot a couple of staples
in the back bar to hold it.
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These staples can be Temp, so if they don't fully seat no woories yet.

Pull the front material back, and place a cover between the material and the top of the
pad as you are going to be spraying more glue.
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Spray glue on about 2 inches of the horse hair, the entire batting material and the
front steel frame.
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Spray the underside of the material and allow to dry.
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When dry, Carefully fold the material over smoothly against the glue.
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Get it smooth.

Repeat for the other side as you are going to fold the material over itself.

Trim it back about 1 1/2inches from the Front of the frame.
Top off with Duct Tape of your choice...
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Now at the rear, you will be removing the temp staples, and
Getting good ones You have to fully seat the staples.

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If they don't fully seat smack them in. They have to be below the pad. Pull any loose ones out
as they can come back up and pierce the top.

On the sides of the vinyl Pierce a hole through the vinyl where the rivet that
you drilled out was.

POP a new rivet to hold the corner down.

Image

Image

Smile your done......
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

EyeSpencer
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by EyeSpencer » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:41 am

Hello there!

I have taken off my thrashed vinyl, embarking on the journey to replace the top myself.

Okay, so I purchased the top from mtmfg. Knowing my headliner was fine, and THINKING my padding was still usable – I purchased the kit including the new vinyl + cables. (Not the one with padding) *photo below of kit ordered*

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Onto where we are now...
Image
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Image
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My questions are these:
1. There is no question, I need a new top pad - correct?
2. Where is the best place to purchase that? (I am mad at myself for not ordering it with the top - since I will now have to pay shipping again, wherever I buy it from.)
3. Is there a way to make my own? DIY?

Thank you in advance to anyone who sees this and replies any kind of help!

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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:49 pm

1. yes
2 A good Upholstery shop will sell you foam of the proper thickness width and length (yes you can make your own) or you can order a pad set from mtm
or partsplaceinc https://www.partsplaceinc.com/vw-cabrio ... 10956.html
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VOLKSWAGEN-VW- ... 2G&vxp=mtr
But from looks you will also need a padding cover. (yes you can make your own as well) If you can sew or farm it out

3. yes
Buying your own foam
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=3233
make your own Top pad
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=2783
How to install your padding cover and padding
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=2783
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

EyeSpencer
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:17 pm
What year is your cabby?: 1991
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by EyeSpencer » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:18 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for your reply.

From what I've found through the forums, maybe outdated, is that foam may not be the best option. Does that still ring true?
I have read your writeup with photos showing that after making the pad cover and bordering with duct tape and such, maybe that helps to solve any of the problems with foam? (compared to the "horse hair/coconut husk style)

Side note, found "cooler pads" that appear to be of the same material that is on there now - no idea if those have been used before or not.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Champion-Co ... /206311558


Last thing, from the teardown that I have done - I know there is still a lot of work to be done. For someone as myself, who has not done this "surgery" before, is it best to just have it done elsewhere? Or with patience and persistence, should I be able to get it done myself? Wondering how much I could actually save with the seemingly 3 options:
1. Buy top pad kit, have someone else take care of it all. $$$
2. Buy top pad kit, continue the DIY. $$
3. DIY a top pad and cover, continue DIY. $

Again, thank you so much for your time and knowledge.

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Briano1234
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:18 am

Those from home depot will not be sufficient length or width to work.

I made my last one of foam.

As P-bucket appears to be the ass this morning...sorry for the incorrect error message....I haven't moved a thing.
You can buy a padding kit, they are easy to install. Yes I used foam and batting to attach it at the front as that is how my first one was and it was horse hair as we call it. It smooths the transition, from the front frame and helps to stabilize the front... it is the only way to do it.

Foam better or worse?
Well IMHO they are the same, (boat foam being UV and Mildew resistant.)
I did a 72 Super Beetle rag top for a friend, I removed all the layers, the padding was foam and 15 years old. (last time he had the top done.)
It was still serviceable and I could of reused it just fine. So it holds up rather well.

I charge between 500-800 to replace the top, and I have done a few. depends on the layers, Adjustments and things, I have done the canvas as well as the vinyl, it all installs the same....
Take your time seat all staples and a pneumatic gun works best, use SS staples, and a Electric or Hand Stapler can work but you have to be sure that they are all seated.....
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

EyeSpencer
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:17 pm
What year is your cabby?: 1991
Do you own a Cabriolet?: Yes

Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by EyeSpencer » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:22 pm

Awesome! Where were you able to pickup this BOAT FOAM from? Online or somewhere local?

EyeSpencer
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:17 pm
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by EyeSpencer » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:25 pm

* Also, not sure if it's a problem on my end... Some of your previous posts you linked too have some images that don't show up:
Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 12.24.20 PM.png

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Briano1234
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:05 pm

No, it appears that P-bucket is having issues, I personally haven't moved any images.
I am having the same issue when viewing some of the files, and when I try to copy links they don't.
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

User avatar
Briano1234
Whats that smell?
Posts: 4059
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:45 am
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:10 pm

Try this link all the photos appear to be there.
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=2783
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

User avatar
Briano1234
Whats that smell?
Posts: 4059
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:45 am
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Contact:

Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:10 pm

Try this link all the photos appear to be there.
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=2783
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

EyeSpencer
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:17 pm
What year is your cabby?: 1991
Do you own a Cabriolet?: Yes

Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by EyeSpencer » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:02 pm

Hello again!

I had a chance to work on the car. I've been reading your previous posts like new religion.
I received the top pad KIT (called around to some boat shops, etc. DIY wasn't going to save much more $$$ and take me way longer) Got the KIT.
Removed all the old stuff. (top, nasty pad, railing, etc.)

INSTALL:
I have the padding cover with the front rod looped through, clamped and attached to the front.
Looking to add the pad next. I just have the pad cover draped over the top and sides currently.
Image
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NOW, I have a fresh batch of questions.

1. Not sure if the padding kit I got has weird measurements.. but the front end seems kinda bunched up. Like the fabric is too wide. Is that normal? Will that cause issues? *pictures included. Image Image

2. Looking forward, I'm wondering where in the world all these cables go?! With my vinyl kit, I know I got the rear tension cable. The cables I'm confused about are the other 2, on the rear corners.... I see nothing about the other cables online or with my instructions that came with top.
Image Image

3. I will go get a strong staple gun to complete the project. I believe my next move is to staple the rear of the pad cover to the back bar... Then add the pad. Fold the sides over. FLAT. Glue them down... THEN (as I understand) best practice to also put foam batting over the bent tabs on the front...and... cover front element with felt to even everything out? Image

4. Aside from the strap that I looped the front bar through... Is there any other place that the pad/pad cover should be connected/lopped through/glued to the frame or top anywhere else?


I know I sound like a mess. However, I REALLY REALLY appreciate your help!

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Briano1234
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:56 am

INSTALL:
I have the padding cover with the front rod looped through, clamped and attached to the front.
Looking to add the pad next. I just have the pad cover draped over the top and sides currently.
Image
Image
Image




1. Not sure if the padding kit I got has weird measurements.. but the front end seems kinda bunched up. Like the fabric is too wide. Is that normal? Will that cause issues? *pictures included. Image Image


Not all padding kits are the same, every one I have ever done each one was a tad different.
Here is the one I ordered from Cabrioworld. attention was made to get the curve correct with the Vinyl
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Bunching up like that isn't the best thing, but it will be sort of hidden. The Best way that I cab tell you is that you need to get it to be as flat as possible. From some of the pictures, I don't see that the clamping fingers at the front are Poking through the material. The metal Rod goes through the pad kit and usually I have to Cut a bit in the center to get the rod to have a hole where the vinyl strap gets in there, before proceeding to the other side. Take care to center the Kit to the frame as you will be better served. I have noticed that on the Vinyl based front piece it tends to lay flatter.
But the cloth when smoothed will lay flat. The different manufacturers of the "KIT" do it different. One will make the front ARC, One wont, and I think that your kit doesn't have the arc to it So you are trying to bend a straight line to a curve, and it puckers or bunches.

As you bend the clamping fingers back over the bar, I usually start in the center and work outwards make sure that you have rotated the bar to fit into the holes that catch it on the edges.

If you make sure that the hole is centered. I cut bout a 1/2 circle.
Here are the clamping fingers full up.
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Vinyl loop being placed through the rod.
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Using a Leather Punch to Pre-hole the fingers Pull the rod as close to the front of the material as you can Mark the position of the fingers
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Clamp rod secured and fully latched with the fingers punched into position.

Make sure that you can place a Piece of material over the front edge of the frame bar and 2 inches past the bar and that it Lays smooth.
Foam over the bar to fill the gap and Preventing the Padding from falling in the "crack" as well as dipping when finished.

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It stops the pad from dipping at the front.

Getting ready to place a Transition Strip to hold the Padding at the front, and making it smooth for the cover.
Image
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You can still see dips and valleys but it is minor and the coverlet will be there.
You will see as you bend the sides up, your coverlet is going to have a lot of fold over.... I would cut it so you have but a 1 1/2 to 2 foot overlap.



2. Looking forward, I'm wondering where in the world all these cables go?! With my vinyl kit, I know I got the rear tension cable. The cables I'm confused about are the other 2, on the rear corners.... I see nothing about the other cables online or with my instructions that came with top.
Image Image


The Cables are usually in kit form, although the ones that came with my Cabrioworld kit had springs attached welded to the cables, so I made my own.
there are 2 lengths depending on where the front loop connects, and they are shown in my how to make your own side cables. Along with how to construct them for the length that you need.

The addition of the flat brass plumbers chain, had to be factored in at assembly and will cause the Teat mounted cables at the front to avoid the pivoting and stress of the bend behind the ferrule.

If yours has the Springs welded on the one end then you may better be served by making your own cables.

There are 3 cables in the kit. One long one with Screw/bolts on it that is the rear cable.
The 2 ones that are plain are the side cables.

Normal old way to connect the side cables and see the radius of the bend right behind the ferrule.
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new improved way adding 2 length of flat brass chain to the front.
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Here you see the bend on the front is on the radius of the chain and not the cable ferrule where they usually break.
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The side cables are attached at the rear frame with a spring on the rear frame finger, run up and out the eyelet Through the top slit, hopefully your top vendor placed snaking strings to pull the cable through the top, if not you will use a snake (wire coat hanger straightened, to pull a nylon string through to tiel to the cable to pull it from the rear to the front.

Original way they made the transition from front to horse hair.
Image


3. I will go get a strong staple gun to complete the project. I believe my next move is to staple the rear of the pad cover to the back bar... Then add the pad. Fold the sides over. FLAT. Glue them down... THEN (as I understand) best practice to also put foam batting over the bent tabs on the front...and... cover front element with felt to even everything out? Image


I used a hand Stapler that I had a Heavy Duty Swing line, and after about 400 staples my hand got tired. I upgraded to my next one using a electric staple gun.. the issue is that it sometimes wouldn't fully seat the staples so be sure that you get them flat. If they don't go through pull it out and shoot a new one. Make sure they don't poke up as they can snag and tear the top. I pulled the under side of the pad and secured it with a few staples.
then after getting the top of the coverlet to look pretty I Stapled it to the bar. If your Staples hit another staple it will not seat flat and has to be removed and reshot. Keep track... and flatten all of them to fully seat.

I have since gone to a Pneumatic gun and my compresor, easier on the hand and I can fully seat the staples.

4. Aside from the strap that I looped the front bar through... Is there any other place that the pad/pad cover should be connected/lopped through/glued to the frame or top anywhere else?



Yes, you are going to glue the coverlet to itself on the over lap, You are going to spray the coverlet at the front and partial front frame to run the transition on it.

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transition piece. being glued.
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Transition glued and smoothed in place.
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over lap being glued
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Front of the cover let being glued to the front frame
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Duct tape? gaffers tape applied over the coverlet to add additional strength to the coverlet edge.
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Getting the sides poked and riveted to hold the rear corer down...If yours isn't long enough then add a bit of material
to the coverlet end to get it secured to the frame to hold the corner of the pad down.

ImageImage

Hope that answers most of your questions.





I know I sound like a mess. However, I REALLY REALLY appreciate your help!


Na, first timers antsyness. Not wanting to shoot the pooch.
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

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Briano1234
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:04 am

You did install the head liner first, as that Staples to the rear bar....??????? and the rear straps poke thgough the headiner at the rear.
Image

Image

You may have used a black headliner so that is why I ask?
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

EyeSpencer
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:17 pm
What year is your cabby?: 1991
Do you own a Cabriolet?: Yes

Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by EyeSpencer » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:39 pm

The headliner was not replaced. I have taken out old vinyl and padding, as those are the only 2 things I am replacing.

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Briano1234
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Re: Installing your Top pad

Post by Briano1234 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:26 am

I see that now in better light,,.....
The Padding kit is Daunting as before I did the write up there wasn't really any instructions on how to do it....

Same for the Top, there was a 2 page word document with out pictures, and they didn't know half the tricks that I do now.
Some from experimentation, and some learned, as well as talking to the makers of my tops.

Here are the instructions for the EZ-on top that was included.
Image

lolololol.......The IKEA of instructions.

Now there are how-to Vids, and others who have done write-ups.
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

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