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BT7 Tonneau Cover

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CaptRandy Avatar
CaptRandy Randy Alkins
Warrington, Pa, USA   USA
The leatherette tonneau cover for my BT7 has shrunk about 3 inches in length so it will not reach the dash when connected at rear. Any ideas of options available to correct it? Sew in a piece of leatherette to lengthen the cover?

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sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
Randy,

That's an impressive amount of shrinkage, how long has it been since it fit? I'm assuming at some point this tonneau originally fit your car. Unstretched vinyl has a tendency to shrink, especially when it's cold. The good news is if it can shrink 3" it can probably be stretched 3". IMO the best way to proceed is to let the sun do the work for you. First I'd attach the front middle snaps only, then I'd attach a padded pair of vice grips to the middle rear so you can tie a rope to them, pull tension on the rope and tie it off at the rear bumper. Ideally this contraption should sit out in the hot sun(the hotter, the better)for hours. Every couple hours you can go out and retension the rope as the vinyl is relaxing in the heat until the snaps meet. Once you make that first connection you can work your way out from the center.

Your biggest problem will be this time of year, short days and cold weather. If you sew in a 3" extension you'll probably wind up with a big sag in the tonneau.

CaptRandy Avatar
CaptRandy Randy Alkins
Warrington, Pa, USA   USA
Guess I will have to wait for one of those warm weeks in Feb to attempt this. Thanks for idea.

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bluecatmodels Avatar
bluecatmodels Silver Member Dave W
Three Rivers, CA, USA   USA
Randy,
Lay it out flat inside a warm room for a week and see what happens. If it doesn't stretch after that it's probably a goner.
Dave

CaptRandy Avatar
CaptRandy Randy Alkins
Warrington, Pa, USA   USA
I do have heated floors in basement(hot water) maybe that would work.

bluecatmodels Avatar
bluecatmodels Silver Member Dave W
Three Rivers, CA, USA   USA
I think anything warmer than 60 degrees would help. Another thing you might try is to hang it up, some how, and use a heat gun or hair dryer.
Dave

sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
Randy,

While long, hot, sunny days are in short supply this time of year (especially in PA) to try this method, you probably won't have much use for it this time of year either.

CaptRandy Avatar
CaptRandy Randy Alkins
Warrington, Pa, USA   USA
I do keep the regular top on most of the time but while in garage thought I would try putting it on for a while then found it shrunk.

bluecatmodels Avatar
bluecatmodels Silver Member Dave W
Three Rivers, CA, USA   USA
Randy,
According my friend, George, "Shrinkage" is common during cold, wet weather. smiling smiley
Dave

petnatcar Avatar
petnatcar Silver Member Peter Carbone
Watertown, NY, USA   USA
Randy,

How old is that Tonneau Cover?

You can get that vinyl to stretch a long ways with a good Heat Gun but
3 inches might be a bridge to far so maybe it's time for a new one.

If you really love your car get a canvas tonneau and you'll love it even more.
It will add a ton of curb appeal.

Good luck,
Peter


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CaptRandy Avatar
CaptRandy Randy Alkins
Warrington, Pa, USA   USA
Peter, it is about 25-30 yrs old so I think you are correct. Will loo into new one this spring.

sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
Randy,

You've got nothing to lose by attempting to refit your old tonneau, maybe it'll work maybe it won't. I've always considered the tonneau cover to be an ablative piece of equipment, it's designed to protected the much more expensive interior from sun and weather if, like me, you drive with the top down. I've had three on my TR7, two on my Jensen-Healey and I'm about due for a second on the Austin-Healey. Since I almost never use them I have the tops for the Austin and Jensen stored in the garage.

One thing to consider if you're thinking about canvas(top or tonneau), Peter is right it looks awesome, however any color besides black is very difficult to keep clean and get clean.

rjray Ron Ray
Kansas City, MO, USA   USA
I would say 3 inches in nearly impossible to get back. I still have my original one from 1959. I didn't bother with it when I finally got the car back on the road in 2006, after over 20 years of storage and a complete restoration. I went with the "original English vinyl" version for both the soft top and tonneau cover.
Even if you could regain the 3 inches, with the age of the cover it would just be a matter of time when the stitching for the zipper fails.

If you get a new cover, like a Robbins, I suggest you specifically order one with a brass zipper. Remember, Tom's Toys offers 15 percent off Moss regular prices, which are Robbins covers. Also, watch for the Moss sale on these items. Tom offers additional discounts on Moss sales prices too.


,

CaptRandy Avatar
CaptRandy Randy Alkins
Warrington, Pa, USA   USA
Thanks Ron, will keep an eye out for their circular sales.

Jack T Avatar
Greensburg, PA, USA   USA
In reply to # 207960 by bluecatmodels Randy,
According my friend, George, "Shrinkage" is common during cold, wet weather. smiling smiley
Dave

Elaine might help to stretch it.smiling smiley

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