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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone! Here goes on a subject discussed here before. I've read all the prior threads so hopefully there isn't to much redundant info/questions. First off, I have a '69 with a manuel top. I wanna change it to a power top. I found this:

http://www.carid.com/auto-metal-direct/x-parts-top-frame-assembly-mpn-x605-3567-s.html

I believe I am aware of all the other items (shoulder bolts, frame mounting bolt kit, weatherstripping, cylinders, line kit, switch, circuit breaker, bezel, switch bracket) and that Rcks sells a kit for the electrical/hydraulics. I don't like their kit as the switch is a generic version. Plus, I have a pump out of a '67 (I think) Chevelle.

Here are some questions and I would appreciate anyone's advice even if you think I may already know what you have to offer.

- will the pump I have work?
- is that the same frame assembly that I see advertised for $1000 all over the place? If not, does anyone have any experience with this one?
- what else have I missed?
 

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Re: Manuel to power top conversion

Hi John,

Yes the power pump from a 1967 Chevelle will work, they are common for a lot of convertibles.

And of course you will need a new fabric top....

I've never did a conversion, hopefully others will chime in here...

Did you check with Ground Up for a kit?

Jeff G.
Cromwell
 

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Re: Manuel to power top conversion

The motor/pump should work - I am pretty sure they used the same pump across a number of models. I can't provide much help on the frame. I found eBay sellers that have the original style cylinders for around $100 each. This seller should also have the ones that fit Camaro. As with the pump, I suspect the same cylinders are used across a number of different models.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1966-1967-Buick-Gran-Sport-GS-Convertible-Top-Cylinder-/110251432087?hash=item19ab7f5897:m:mgv-Y8G2fcsoGcBxDxCbhEQ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Manuel to power top conversion

Really hoping to hear from someone that has done a conversion also. I wasn’t sure on the pump cause I see different part numbers between the Chevelle one and the Camaro one. It even appears there are several different ones for Chevelles over the same period. I know there are some differences in mounting which I can deal with. Just not sure on the placement of the lines and where they attach to the pump.
 

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Re: Manuel to power top conversion

John, so what is your reason for switching? A power top doesn't stop you from getting out and adjusting the folds of the top or rolling down the qtr windows. :D
Or dealing with those crappy clips on the well molding if you use the boot! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
To be honest, and I have considered the rolling up the window issue... after hearing the latest updates to thread, I do have to question why? Nothing like seeing the counterpoints whether I've thought about them or not in print from fellow enthusiasts. It is an additional $1400-$1500, not a huge chunk. I never drive the car in the rain, though have been caught out a couple times .... I'm curious how many people have power verses manual tops? I've seen a couple posts from people doing what I was thinking so I guess I'm not the only one.
 

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I have power tops on both because they came with them. But after talking to manual top owners, there is not much difference in experience. If it starts raining, it takes as much time to hold the button and wait for it to come up (they are not very speedy) as jumping out and pulling it closed. Still have to deal with the windows and if you have a boot on, you would have to take it off (PIA). My .02, if you car came with manual, keep it. If it came with power, keep it. Not much reason to switch it (except for personal preference). IMHO, it does not increase the value of the car for the money it takes to switch. Now if your manual top frame is too far gone and you have to buy a frame/canvas anyways, then that is a different story.
 

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I did this conversion many years ago in the mid 80's. I got the power top parts from a junkyard of sorts that specialized in first generation Camaro parts & restorations. As best I remember, I had to buy the very back end of the power top frame (from the wrecked Camaro) in order for the power top movement to work properly. I'm referring to the part of the power frame that the hydraulic cylinders bolt to. Also, as best I remember, the power top action never worked quite as smoothly as a factory power top would have. It was acceptable, but NOT as good as original factory installation. I think there are other minor difference between the original power top frame & the manual frame. Also (from what I recall) just about any GM power top motor from that time period is interchangeable & will fit. I bought one off of eBay years later that was NOT advertised as a "Camaro" power top motor & saved a good bit of change. The same might hold true for the hydraulic cylinders, you'll have to research that issue.
 

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There's a lot to go wrong with power tops. The repro switches seem to be good for a few cycles before frying - the solution is to wire in relays. Breakers die, pumps fail and cylinders leak. Entropy rules.

I have a manual top. I put the top down in the spring and put it back up in the fall. Have never considered a conversion to power.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I appreciate the input from everyone here. I think my thinking was stemming from that this is my 4th 1st gen convertible since I was 15. (I'm well into my early 50s now ugh lol). But, this is the only one out of the 4 that was not a power top. So, since I got it, I always felt something was missing. Reading what everyone has to say, I'm now not sure how much sense it makes as opposed to removing the existing one, sending it to media blast or sanding it by hand myself as I've heard of issues of the media getting into the articulating parts. I have to buy a new weather stripping kit either way. So another $1200-$1300 and that's not taking into account paying for it to be blasted if I go that route.
 

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I have a power top,but would be just as happy with a manual top. I have to say I hold my breath and cringe a little every time I hit that switch. As said above,a a lot can go wrong. I got my pumps and lines from Hydro-E-Lectric, good price and 5 year warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Question. I can get the new power top frame for about $500 more than what I'm gonna have into refstoring/refinishing my existing manual frame. Can I install a power top frame and use it as a manual lift one, thereby giving me the option of adding on the other components at some point if I choose?
 

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Discussion Starter #15

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Johnny, I you can manually lift and lower a power top with the rams detached (I have been doing it a lot lately since I am working on my hydraulics.) However, the manual top is designed to be lifted this way, and has a set of assist springs as well as hold down clips to keep the top from getting caught by the wind when you are driving down the road with at speed with it lowered with no boot on. You can raise a power top manually, but IMO the only safe way to do it is to climb in the back seat and raise it from the middle. When I try to raise it by grabbing the frame from the sides, I am afraid that I will end up twisting the frame. I think that is what those assist springs are designed for.

I have both - my 67 has a manual top, and my 69 is power. I am not facing the prospect of spending a few hundred dollars to get my power top working again. The manual top just keeps on humming along. IMO, the only time I can see the true benefit of a power top is when it is combined with power windows. That is a nice combination. My 70 Cutlass SX convertible had both, and I could literally perform the operation while sitting in the car. Now as mentioned, the boot can be an issue if you use that, but the Cutlass had a much better system for the boot - no clips to deal with for the molding, and it had a channel to hold the front of the boot in place so all you had to do was flip the boot down into the top well.
 

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Johnny, sorry about that previous post. I was in a hurry and made some errors. Was going to go back and edit them, but for some reason they have a 20-minute time limit on editing a post. :confused: I'll try to fix it later if the mods grant me permission.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just to clarify, the top needed to be replaced. I'm told to keep the top in good shape, it really should be put up when not in use. I'd like to think I'd do that but the reality is I just don't see myself doing it. Im gonna keep the car forever more than likely so I'm not concerned with whether the value increases or not. Doesn't seem like a crazy amount of money anyway. More concerned with aftermarket fit. Maybe I just want someone to say it's not a bad idea John lol.
 

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Hey there John,

I am fortunate to have an SS Vert with both the Power Top and Power Windows. One additional thought here is just how cool it is to see your car come alive watching the top go up and down! I know, there are a lot cooler things in life, but this is at least within the "top" 100!
 

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My car (67) came with a power top. I had so much trouble with it,I unhooked it
about 1970.It takes two people to raise or lower it now.It is possible for one person to do it.Much easier for two. Any way now it is much easier,than dealing with a top that becomes air bound half way.
 
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