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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I pulled the T-tops for the first time & placed them indise the soft-lined carrying bags in the back.
Being in a bit of a hurry, I didn't bother to be careful placing them in the proper direction, which I now know is with the window AGAINST the soft, white lining. Pulling them out of the bags later on, I was disappointed to see 2-3 long, skinny scratches approx. 3-6 inches long on one of the windows. Investigating the bags, I discovered enough grit (tiny rocks, dirt, etc..) to cause the scratches, which I should have emptied out first as well as placing the windows the right way. Oh, and DON'T put anything on top of the T-tops while they're stored in the bags in the back of the car! The scratches aren't super-visible until you get up close & I suspect I'll be able to do something about them (though probably not completely remove them?), but, nevertheless, this is a hard lesson learned about being extra-careful and knowing what I am doing before trodding into unknown territory with this car.
 

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I think we all have gotten a bit too worried over our first baby (collector car) - but it's like the guy who visted his wife after giving birtth to their fourth child and said: "Boy what a hard day I've had".
 

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I'm worried about something happening to them in the back of my 83 280ZX. They always work loose under the straps and start moving around. The other day I had to hit the brakes hard and they slammed into the seat back. How does everyone else keep them secured back there?
 

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That's what passengers are for.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
WI280ZX said:
I'm worried about something happening to them in the back of my 83 280ZX. They always work loose under the straps and start moving around. The other day I had to hit the brakes hard and they slammed into the seat back. How does everyone else keep them secured back there?
OH! So THAT'S what those straps are for!!!
Seriously, I knew they were for securing whatever you want to secure in the back, but I haven't, until now thanks to you, thought about putting the T-tops under the straps.
As of yet, I have not secured them in any way just laid them in the back, never on top of each other. I've found there's just barely enough room for them to fit snuggly side by side.
I don't know how to secure them in your situation. I haven't has a problem with them working loose. Maybe you drive too aggressively?! Just kidding. Maybe lay something on top of them, or rotate them within the straps to a position where they can't work loose. It sounds like you put them on top of each other, which would cause me untold anxiety.
Yes, I worry way too much about this first "baby." However, yesterday after her first bath post-2,000 mile trip back to Texas, I looked at the few hood dings and thought; "ya know, this is gonna happen if I drive the car, and I just need to not worry so much." Besides, someone said that hood dings from rocks & gravel & such give the car a personality that states that it is driven, enjoyed, and well-loved, which my 280ZX certainly is!
 

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I was going to make my 86 with 49k miles a garage queen. It also had a new, very nice paint job. After two months the concensus was "screw that, I'm driving it". Five years later, 50k miles, additional 40-50 horses added under the hood, I couldn't be more pleased. As you indicated, chips in the paint are just character marks. Nothing wrong with a 10 footer. Don't worry about paint, that's what they make touch up paint for. Just like your trip home, it's about the drive and the big, fat grin on your face.
 

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Thought you were using a bra?

The t-ops go on top of each other, then strapped down. Post some pics, Ricky.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
palladin said:
Thought you were using a bra?

The t-ops go on top of each other, then strapped down. Post some pics, Ricky.
On top of each other, strapped down...I assume with the windows facing up? I will experiment today to see if they fit together in such a way that there is no contact with the bottom window to the T-top on top of the stack.

Pictures! Dang it! I stick the flash card from my new Canon T3i in m old HP printer. There's the proper slot for the card. The card type was brand-new when my printer came out. So, the old HP won't read the card for some reason, now I have to go the route of installing the software, hooking the camera up to my computer & getting the picts I've taken of the car on my computer, then to the anxiously-awaiting crowd at Zcar.com!

I'm going to work on that right now after posting this. Even though I should go to the garage & replace all 3 of my belts & pull my A/C dryer, lines & maybe the compressor. I decided to go the long, thorough route to get my A/C working. Central Texas is getting HOT! The T-tops are wonderful air conditioners, but I do want the A/C sometimes.
 

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WHOA NELLIE!!!

Don't start ripping stuff out. What is wrong with the AC?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
palladin said:
WHOA NELLIE!!!

Don't start ripping stuff out. What is wrong with the AC?
I've done several hours of homework related to the many, various options and opinions when it comes to A/C in old cars (R-12, I mean) that isn't working. I've narrowed the problem down to there being very little to no freon (r-12) or pressure in the system, meaning a possible small and/or slow leak. The compressor works. The choices? Let me say I'm not telling you I don't want your input. Anyway, the choices for me are many, ranging from (this is not an exhaustive list, just the main options I've considered... 1.) Sticking with r-12, and just biting the bullet to pay for a re-charge, but this is too expensive in spite of it's superior cooling abilities. 2.) Just sticking r-134 in the system right now, as is with the old r-12 oil, which I've read nightmares about from those who've done this, normally catastrophic compressor failure within a few months to a year, destroying the compressor. 3.) Evacuating and flushing the system and re-charging with r-134 without changing the O-rings, compressor seals, and receiver-drier. 4.) Finally, and this is the route I've probably chosen...Taking out the receiver-drier & replacing with new (I've already ordered one at $21.00), replacing all O-rings in/on the lines, pulling the compressor & either changing the seals myself (which the A/C shop says I can do, but I may need a special tool & I might have a little difficulty in the disassembly/reassembly), or taking the compressor to the same A/C shop & let them change the seals for r-134 oil & also they'll bench-test the operation & do a pressure check all for $75.00. Another option is to just replace the compressor, but the cheapest I've found is around $150.00, so if my compressor works, I don't see the need to replace it, and the A/C shop agrees wholeheartedly with this. They said all I'd need is to replace the seals, drier, and O-rings on the lines, but even if I went with the old seals/O-rings it might work fine for a long time. Some do apparently, but most fail after some time on r-134. I've searched many, many posts here & on other forums, as well as visited this well-known & highly-trusted & regarded car A/C shop & talked their ears off fishing for the best solution. Oh, I would also need the shop for the system flush, vacuum, evacuation (well, I'll do the evacuation myself when I push the little valve until it hisses no more, but they'll have to pull the deep vacuum needed to flush the system as I don't know of any way of doing it at home, I have no access to a compressor if I can even do it if I had one).
O.K. my head's spinning a little right now with all this A/C info, so I'll stop. I'm not firmly settled if someone gives me an option I like better than what I'm about to do, but not today or even in the next 2-3 days. It'll likely be later this week.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
palladin said:
Thought you were using a bra?

The t-ops go on top of each other, then strapped down. Post some pics, Ricky.
Argh! File too big when I tried posting picts just now...let me learn how to reduce file size in this new program & I'll get some picts up tonight hopefully.

I decided against the bra for the trip, too expensive & didn't want to keep the bra on except for the trip. I didn't like the wear I saw picts of & heard about using bras so I used blue painters tape instead. Looked awful, but now I have a great line about a foot up my hood with NO chips where the tape was!
 

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pictures: right click the picture and select "send to" your email client. The email will pop up with the picture as the attachment. double click it and it should ask to open or save it. Save it...it will save as a 230kb file.

AC: If the compressor works...i.e. you hear it clicking and visually can see the clutch engage, then you have pressure. Has anyone put a set of gauges to it to see what the pressure is? Remember you have auto air...your air could be fine, just that the system is opening the heater valve because it is STUPID. The AC guys you are talking with do not know how to work on this auto air unit...they are used to working on cars in this century whose auto air does not malfunction as this does.

Next case in point: All of a sudden my air has turned hot...then it will work...then it is hot...after a couple weeks of this I notice I can hear it click, compressor comes on...then in a few moments it is warm again...but now I cannot hear it click. So, assuming I have pressure b/c it did blow cold sporadically...I troubleshoot the premise of a bad 12v connect either at the compressor, fuse, or switch itself.

moral: Don't necessarily jump to conclusions.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm glad to hear you speak on the stupidity of this auto-air I have. On the trip I knew it wouldn't blow cold, but I WAS trying to just get some sort of "fan" setting, just so I could get ambient air blowing into the car while I was talking on my phone. Too noisy with windows down for phone calls. Every time I turn on the system it blows hot. No matter where I place any of the controls, it blows hot. I was like; "what the heck is the deal with this thing?" I'm both relieved and concerned to know there is a general issue with the auto air systems. Now that I've read a bit I do know many people remove the auto air & replace with the standard type of A/C system. I'll read more to see how involved that is, because it seems auto air is a real pain in the neck most of the time. I suppose this would involve removal of the under-dash components & the control panel.
 

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Bad news: You have to remove the dash
Good news: You don't have to break into the system.

basically, there is a hose and T-connector change in the eng compartment. The std air uses one vac hose so you have to plug the other one. The control panel is changed out. And the big pain is a couple of the vacuum control hoses are rearranged and you have to read the somewhat ambiguous hose schematic and reroute them.

I would try this. O'reilly has a $10 shutoff valve made by murphy that you could place at the firewall into the input hose just before it enters the cockpit. Then shut the water off. If the ac is cold, you should feel it. This does not solve the blower problem though.

http://www.xenons130.com/auto2manualCC.html
 

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and while we are on the topic of t-tops...I just noticed that in the center of the t-top opening on the top is the small piece of metal with a pin sticking up that the t-top centers itself on. That metal is pop riveted from the inside and both of mine are just sitting there. The only thing coming to mind is JB weld.
 

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I haven't kept on where the thread has been going, but I have some advice on the original topic.

I don't have straps or anything in my hatch. What I do is keep two soft towels in the hatch and wrap each top in one and set them on top of each other. It's quick and it keeps them safe. The friction of the towels keeps them from sliding around too.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
palladin said:
and while we are on the topic of t-tops...I just noticed that in the center of the t-top opening on the top is the small piece of metal with a pin sticking up that the t-top centers itself on. That metal is pop riveted from the inside and both of mine are just sitting there. The only thing coming to mind is JB weld.
That's interesting that you'd mention that, because I just got through doing a temporary-fix of one of mine. I super-glued it! It's held three days now. One was "just sitting there," which causes insertion of that T-top to be a bit difficult, the other (pass. side) is wiggly & I can tell is near coming un-riveted. The good news here is that I'm an aircraft sheetmetal mechanic and this will be an easy fix for me. Instead of the smallish pop rivets, I'll drill the 2 holes slightly over the size they're at now & use solid-shank rivets, or maybe even Hi-Loks, to permanently put this metal thingy in it's place. I'd like to use solid rivets & buck them, but this ONLY if I don't have to do a huge removal of ceiling carpet & ceiling, too to access the other side of the riveted holes. If getting to the other side of the holes is difficult, I'll use Cherry Max rivets, which are blind rivets in the same principal as the pop-rivets, but larger and much more stout & long-term. All I have to do is get ahold of a Cherry Max gun of hand-squeeze riveter from work. I would recommend to anyone else experiencing the removal of these T-top pieces to rivet them back into place. Just drill the holes out in the roof and the metal pieces the same diameter of the rivets you'll be using, countersink the outside of the holes (the part facing you when you look at the piece) and, using a hand-squeeze riveter, or a gun if you have access to one, fasten those suckers back into place forever. Of course, you'll have to borrow, rent, or buy a rivet squeeze or gun. Riveting, especially blind pop rivets, is really very easy. I'll update you on my progress & perhaps take pictures, too. One thing that comes to mind is to probably apply a strong vacuum (shop-vac or suck-vac or even the vacuum at a car wash if necessary) to the holes post-drilling to remove any metal shards from floating around in the ceiling "crawl space."
 

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So you are going to rivet from the front? Pics WOULD be nice. That is also a long rivet.

Let's discuss a moment about the value of T-top straps. Not only do we not want them sliding around, but in the case of a sudden stop.....we do NOT want them coming airborne and hitting us in the back of the head!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
palladin said:
So you are going to rivet from the front? Pics WOULD be nice. That is also a long rivet.

Let's discuss a moment about the value of T-top straps. Not only do we not want them sliding around, but in the case of a sudden stop.....we do NOT want them coming airborne and hitting us in the back of the head!
I will drill the hole just slightly over the size it's at now, really just enough to drill the remnants of the old rivet out and clean the hole out as mine seem to be a bit corroded (I think these are aluminum?). I'll drill the holes, and old rivets, out of the brackets (I'll call the "pieces" brackets) FIRST (very important), and then use those newly-drilled holes to "match-drill" the new holes into the car's roof, exactly where the pop-rivets went into the roof. That will get rid of the old rivets, which remain in my bracket and roof as well (they broke in half). It's important to use the holes drilled into the brackets as guides for the holes going into the roof, since it's difficult to drill those holes into the roof, and then get them to line up exactly with the holes drilled through the brackets, if drilled seperately. With aircraft, if I have an old hole that's being used for a new fastener, I always use the old holes, or the new, whichever is most convenient, as a guide for match-drilling. This, because to insert a fastener of any type, the holes must line up exactly.

I will photograph this process as I go through it, and I'll try to do this this week or coming weekend, since it sounds like fun and is kinda "right up my alley" in relation to work I do on aircraft structures and sheetmetal. It helps that I have access to an unlimited supply of rivets which I can ask if I can take a couple out of the recycle bins or fastener trash cans. If not, I can use the fasteners at work to look at & figure out which is best to use, and then go buy some at the local aircraft tool supply store. I would use aircraft-approved fasteners, just because they're a much higher strength & quality than rivets one would find at Lowes or Home Depot. But, really, probably any rivets will do. The main deal in achieving long-lasting fastening is to clean the hole and around the holes with maybe an acetone-based cleaner. If there's any bare metal, make sure it is alodined or treated in some other way against future corrosion or rust, and then prime and paint the part, especially around the hole. It helps to use a fastener of the same material as the part being fastened, since metals that are not similar will have a chemical reaction leading to corrosion & rust. Heck, Fastenall would be a good source of fasteners, too. And, thinking of this, Auto Zone has a tool loan deal and they might have hand-operated rivet squeezers you could borrow. I'm fortunate to own all the riveting tools needed, since I use them almost-daily at work.

And about the T-tops, yes, I am now fastening them on top of one another under the straps.

O.K. DUMB question...WHERE is my spare tire? Where is it located, or supposed to be located? I will go look in the Haynes and the FSM (I have the DVD given with my car's sale), but it just struck me that I haven't seen it, or even looked for it yet. Just last weekend I discovered that the two metal bars behind the seats conceal two "hidden" storage spaces (which look like they might be able to hold ice & drinks!), so I'm definately learning & discovering brand-new things about this car!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
OH, and, yes, I will most likely drill from the front (as seen when looking at the T-top hole standing next to car, looking at the "bracket" and the place where they fasten to the car's roof, I'll call this the "front"), unless I take the trim off from the ceiling in the interior and find easy access to the "other side" of these two holes.

I'll venture a good guess that to get to the other side of the holes, the ceiling carpet is going to have to be partially removed, which I don't want to do unless it's needed, and with a blind fastener, or blind rivet, it's not necessary to access the other side of the hole. That's why it's called "blind," since access to the other side of the hole is restricted, or impossible to get to.

It's always best, in my trade, to use a solid-shank type rivet or Hi-Lok, to do fastening. A rivet of this type means bucking the tail-end of it, using a rivet gun & bucking bar, & a Hi-Lok means breaking off a high-tension nut on the "tail-end" to complete the fastening process. But since access to both sides of a hole is sometimes restricted, a "pop-rivet" or "Cherry Max" rivet (same thing, but "Cherry-Max" is bigger & stronger) is acceptable, and, with a car, high-strength needs are usually not a thing we need to be concerned with.
 
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