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Can You Top This?

Q. My question has to do with getting the convertible top to fit correctly. The passenger side latch does not locate far enough forward and has to be "forced" to close. What is the procedure to insure the top fits correctly? How do I adjust the top so that it fits (and functions) properly?

I have the following car:

  • 1988, Ford Mustang GT Convertible
  • 5.0
  • Manual transmission
  • 48K
  • Fuel Injection
  • P/S - A/C - Cruise control
  • Rack and pinion steering


A. Know what happens to bad mechanics when they die? They go to hell and adjust convertible tops for all eternity.

Adjusting any body component is a matter of trial and error. You make an adjustment, try it, see where it puts you and adjust a little more. And you keep doing this until it's just right. What I would suggest is get a body repair manual for your car and study the adjustment procedure. Look at each adjuster and see how it moves the top. Then look at the car and see which way you have to go and take it from there.

Before you get involved with making adjustments, look at all the beams and supports and make sure there is nothing bent or deformed. Look to see if there are any binds or catches as the top moves up and down. Look at the "good" side and compare it to the "bad" side and see if they are the same. If something is really out of whack, an adjustment probably won't do much good. If it's a power top, look at the hydraulic pistons in the well behind the doors, they have been known to break loose from their mounts. Also check for leaks in the hydraulic system.

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