Okay, so Dave Pizzoferrato (of Weebee Webbing) came down and picked up the M416 trailer and brought my new canvas top this morning. We had a good time loading it in the back of his 1 ton Chevy truck. We flipped the trailer over, and with a boom pole on the tractor, we ran a strap to each spring perch and lifted from there. It was almost perfectly balanced! I was able to lift it high enough to slide it in the bed (we had 2 2×6’s in the slots in the middle of the side walls for it to sit on). I should have taken a picture, but we were both in a hurry – him to get back to Ohio, and me to get my new canvas on!
When I first unboxed the top, I was expecting the great smell of Canvac, but instead, I was greeted with the smell of musty canvas! Man, that thing stunk! I pulled the side curtains out because they were packaged separately, and the main top was bagged in a thick plastic bag. I pulled the Jeep out of the shop so I would have room to work – this being my first time putting one on and all. The instruction sheet that came with the top said to either put the top on and strap it down tightly, or store it in a cool, dry place. If not, new canvas will shrink DRASTICALLY, and they assume no responsibility for shrinkage. So I put the side curtains in the plastic bag that the top came out of and taped it up really good – because I’m not planning on using them right now, and I didn’t want them to shrink.
I put my top bows up and support rods in, flipped the top upside down on the hood, and started threading the front rope lip in the channel on the windshield – it took forever (actually, about 10 minutes, but it seemed like forever!) to get it fed through there, because it wasn’t formed to the shape of the channel yet. It should be easier next time. Then I flipped the top over the bows all the way to the rear. I got out and pulled the back curtain down, but it didn’t want to go over the rear bow at the corners. I had to push the bow forward while pulling down on the canvas, and it slipped right in. I cinched down the 6 straps on the back and moved to the inside. there are 3 flaps that need to be secured over the front bow to hold it in place. As it turned out, my rods that support the front bow are too long, so the bow wasn’t far enough forward to fit in the flaps. I took the support rods out for the time being and fastened the flaps around the bow.
He also threw in a gas can strap ($16) – the only strap I was missing. I started threading it though the slots an found out that my license plate bracket is going to have to be slotted for the strap to go though – the way it is supposed to. For now though, I just ran it under the can.
Now, all I have left is to work on getting the body where it needs to be for the hood to line up, paint the finish coat of 24087 on it (so it will all look the same), and paint the unit markings on – and she will be done! There are a couple of more small things, but not really worth mentioning.
I finally got my insurance paper work in the mail on Friday, so I am legal to drive her on the road now. With that said, while I had her out for the photo-op, I decided to run down the road for a quick road trip – since it was Sunday, during church hours. I figured there wouldn’t be many cars on the road. I drove about a mile down the road before I turned onto another road. In that mile, I passed 5 cars – when I turned on the side road, I passed 3 more! Anyway, out of those 8 cars (and trucks), 6 waved and 2 blew there horns – quick beeps, not mad blows – and everybody smiled going by! And, I might mention, I only got her up to about 45 max – and she was whining all the way! I think 50 would be the limit for me. Also, I figured going 45mph, it would be hopping all over the place with the tires not being balanced – it was a pretty smooth ride! Surprising, I must say. I didn’t drive far for a few reasons – #1 is the brakes need to be bled, so the brake lights don’t come on unless you put a lot of pressure on the pedal, #2 – I only put about 3 gallons of gas in it a couple of weeks ago, and don’t trust the gauge (or the temp gauge for that matter), #3 – first road trip in her – ’nuff said, and #4 – nobody around here that I know is home, so if I broke down I’d have to wait on someone.
There will be more rides to come soon – I’ll get farther and farther out every time until I build my trust up and fix all the little leaks and creaks and everything.