Since the hardtop is now installed including the doors and upper door bows, its time to work on the iconic creamy white polyester roof top.
Fortunately these rooftops were made of polyester fibre, like speedboats, and therefore resistant for many weather conditions. Because of this, most of the roof tops survived 30+ years of daily use. The weak spot of these roof tops is the metal rain gutter, mounted with aluminum studs to the polyester top and sealed with automotive seam sealer in between. Unfortunately, the seam sealer didn’t survive the 30 years of rain and sun and therefore moisture reached the surface in between gutter and top. Even my really well preserved cruiser had the same illness, a rotting rain gutter.
First I started to sand the gutter, so I could see what the damage really was. Fortunately it was mainly focused on the left hand side, some holes in the corner, the middle and the end of this side. I already ordered a replacement gutter corner from Cool Cruisers of Texas. The only question was, what is the best solution in my case for repairing? Only a few areas were shot. did I had to take of the whole gutter and therefore go through hell mounting it back onto the top?
I decided to cut the rotted parts out of the gutter and see if I could weld in some new pieces, hopefully it wouldn’t melt/burn the polyester top. It worked as I hoped for, no melting or burning on the polyester. I could easily weld in new pieces, I cut the new corner piece from CCOT so it would fit the area I cut out.
This way the gutter was fixed in just a few hours, I only had to use my lovely Debrasel (liquid metal bondo) to fill the uneven places/holes in the gutter and sand it afterwards.
After sanding the gutter I stared working on the upper side of the gutter and the top. The previous owner used silicon to secure the leaking gutter, which was a terrible job to remove, that took me 4 hours to get all round.But this way I exposed all the small rusty spots so I could prevent they would become a hazard later on. The top I sanded with 150 grit sandpaper, nice smooth matte finish, ready for some epoxy primer.
I also sanded the inner side of the top to a smooth finish, so the new headliner will glue in smoothly.(will post pictures next week of this procedure).
The top is now ready for its first layer of epoxy primer, next week I will finish the top in a glossy factory original creamy white. yeaaah!!